2016-Nov-26 - Wooroloo - Loft Floorboards #5
Well - I'm still stuck on 4 floorboard runs a day at the moment.

The biggest drag on productivity at the moment is the countersinking process.

In order to avoid break out I need to press very lightly and drill very slowly initially.

I am thinking that I might change over to some countersinking bits (ie 4 flutes, no helical drill) to see if I can work more quickly.

I will just have to wrap a piece of tape around as a gauge and work visually to achieve the correct depth.

I might also use my largest drill to achieve a bit of weight behind it (which I will need with this method).

I am not too fussed about today's progress as I am still setting up a lot of infrastructure.

When I arrived on site I raised the tarpaulin (37 degree day forecast) and then had to poke around through my discarded tarpaulins to attach a corner apron to it when the sun beats in at the acute angle of the early morning.

Next I had to carry up this week's load of floorboard pieces to provide a raw stock for the floorboard runs.

During the week I had purchased a single 5.4 metre length of pine to use as the compression beam and as a gauge for preparing the boards.

I marked up the centre line on all the joists, put the gauge piece in place and transferred these positions on to it, and then used a setsquare to transfer the positions to all sides of the beam.

Next I carried up my newly created mist sprayer.

This is an experiment of mine to see if I can cool down the environment under the tarpaulin during peak heat between 1.00 amd 3.00 pm.

Usually the heat chases me indoors for a while. The mist sprayer (with a fan positioned behind it) was a great success. Its effect could only be directly experienced when standing within a metre of it, but today it kept the entire volume of air under the tarpaulin at a tolerable temperature and I did not have to retreat because of heat at any point.

During the week I had also been working on creating various lengths of sash clamping.

As I mentioned last week, my suspicion that the pipe sash clamps were just using standard galvanised water pipe was confirmed.

I have a lot of 3/4 inch water pipe so I bought a tapered cutting die and a handle and went to work.

My first issue was finding a way to clamp the pipe while I was cutting the thread.

The forces needed are immense and I was working right at the limits of my strength while threading the pipe.

For starters, I did not even know the name of the clamping device that I needed (turns out it is called a pipe vice) and none of the plumbing outlets seemed to know what I was talking about or stocked this type of tool.

Eventually I found several vices advertised in Gumtree at quite affordable prices - but by then I had created an alternative method.

I have 4 sets of cast iron sash clamp fittings so I set about threading 4 x 900 mm and 4 x 2100 mm pipes.

I already have 2 x 2400 mm pipes so I will just add another two of these. I was also able to buy some brass couplings so that I can join various lengths up and eventually span 4.5 metres as I work my way across the floor.

Back on site - I also implemented my plan to avoid continuously squatting up and down as I made up each floorboard run.

This involved setting up carpentry horses to carry the raw pieces of floor board, horses to carry a 5.2 mm working surface and my cut off saw on its own stand.

Using this combination I was able to prepare 5 runs without much effort.

Placing and clamping the floorboards was also reasonably easy using a combination of my 4 sash clamps agains the compression beam and a few judicious blows with a 3 pound hammer.

As I mentioned before - the countersinking step really slowed me down, but all the other processes went reasonably quickly.

Packing up at the end of the day is still a problem.

I find that I need to make about 10 trips up and down the stair cases, and then when I am totally exhausted I need to cover up the work done to date and the raw floorboards with plastic and drop the overhead tarpaulin.

This process is taking me about an hour at the end of the day - I will have to work out something more efficient.


Progress by the end of the day


Short pipe sash clamps


Longer pipe lengths awaiting processing