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Showing posts from August, 2009

Getting framed

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Principle 5: Use and value renewable resources & services

Timber seems the obvious choice for framing the house in this location. A renewable resource with low embodied energy. While I intended to reuse the hardwood framing timber from the old house, there were a few things that we considered.

Problems of using seasoned hardwood for framing include:
- the need to pre-drill holes before fixing (to avoiding splitting), which is very time consuming
- it will often have twists and bends in it, which make it difficult to fix cladding onto later, and to get square

But there are benefits too:
- low embodied energy, bringing new life to an existing resource
- it shouldn't bend or twist any more, that's already happened
- more resistant to termite and borer attack than soft woods like pine
- more fire resistant than soft woods

Since I was intending on building a deck anyway, reusing the old framing timber for that purpose makes a lot of sense.

So what timber should I use? Treated p…

Getting out of the ground

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Principle 9: Use small and slow solutions

I've tried to source materials from as close as possible. Supporting small, local businesses, like Chris's Timber in Seymour. Chris makes his own concrete stumps on site, with a machine made by a fella just around the corner. Chris could make about 8 x 800mm stumps for me at a time, each batch taking about a week to fully cure. I used about 40 of them.


Concrete stumps getting made locally at Chris's Timber. Machine built locally too, in Abdallah Road.


Finished stumps delivered


I didn't salvage much in the way of material that I could use for bearers (100mm x 75mm) from the house, so I bought them second-hand from McIvor Hwy Recycled Building Materials in Heathcote (60km west), where all sorts of building materials are recovered from demolition jobs in the local area.


By drilling a hole in the bearer, fitting the stump rods through the hole and bending them over, we could hang the stumps in the holes - resting them on bricks. We cou…

The cellar story continues...

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Principle 4: Apply self-regulation and accept feedback

In order to ensure that the cellar performs the tasks that it is designed to do we need to build it to last. A crucial feature of the design is the roof. The roof needs to be able to hold a substantial weight - that of the water tank that will sit on top of it and the weight of the roof itself. About 8 tonnes (8000kg).

A combination of design elements, including: the four brick piers used in the construction, heavy duty reinforcing steel, a relatively high cement component (25 MPa), 200mm thickness and a slow drying process - all help to ensure that the roof will do what it is designed for.

The combination of the thermal mass in the roof and the water tank that will sit on top of it, will help to regulate the temperature in the cellar, help keeping it cool.


Quent lays the final course of bricks for the cellar



Quent fits reinforcing steel in place in preparation for concrete pour for the cellar roof


Timber supports for the ceiling of …