Saturday, October 30, 2010

We Lay The Last Stone

Approximately four months from the time we laid the first stone, we laid the last. It feels great to be moving on to a different phase of the project.

This is what it looked like after we finished for the night. We were really trusting our stone working skills, by finishing in the dark.

Then, we celebrated our success.

Today we began putting the GluLam beams into the pockets we made in the walls. FYI, if you need to make box outs for beam pockets in a concrete wall, don't use wood. If I had to do it all over again, I would try foam. The wood was jammed in there tight even though we oiled them before their use. It took us a long time to remove them.

With the help of good friends with strong backs, we picked up each beam and hefted them into place.

We wrapped the ends that would be inside the wall with roofing felt to protect them from condensation that can occur when wood comes into contact with concrete in the right conditions. We left the plastic wrap on to protect them from precipitation until the roof goes up.

Jenn was a master at stapling the felt on after wrapping them in Christmas present fashion.

We got 5 of the eight beams into place, we'll finish the rest tomorrow. There are four 21 footers and four 24 footers. We estimate that they weigh in at about 500 pounds or so. We were tired and very thankful for the help that showed up. Stay tuned for the reveal of the south gable.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The South Gable

After we finished all the stone work on the first floor. The only stone work left was the peak on the south side that extends up to the second floor. Due to the weather getting colder, we considered doing the peak in wood frame. Ultimately we couldn’t decide on a facing material that would equal the beauty of the stone. So stone it is. We also took a time out while the weather was warm to do some prep work on the back filling.

The peak went as fast as I expected it too, which was a comforting change to how things usually go.

We are using buckets and rope to get the rocks and concrete to the top.

The speed picked up even more after a surprise visit from my Aunt and Uncle. Thanks!

We are really racing the clock at this point. Not only are the temperatures getting colder, we also have much shorter evenings. Needless to say, we are very eager to set the last stone. We are very close to being able to put a roof on and make it weather tight.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Process

I’ve been promising a few pictures of our actual stone laying process for a while now, and haven’t delivered. We are getting closer and closer to completion, so I figured I better snap a few.

Set the rocks.

Sand to a depth of about 1 inch. Poke holes in the sand marking the joints.

Cover with concrete.

The next set of rocks ideally covers the previous joints, using what masons call the “two over one, one over two” technique. Just like bricks.

We're living on borrowed time in our ND, fall climate - but we're getting close to being done with masonry work. More about that next time.

Monday, October 4, 2010

The South Wall

After topping the north wall we moved around to the south (and east) wall. This is very exciting to us since it closes off the stone portion of our house.

The south wall contains the bulk of the first floor windows to achieve maximum solar gain in our frigid North Dakota winters. Setting the window boxes is time consuming, but once they are in the wall takes a lot less concrete and stone.

Here's a look at the finished north wall. We put only one window on this side so as not to let in the cold winter winds.

Bailey found a new friend. She scared this little bugger out from underneath the trailer. Before we got a visual of it, we thought it might be a rattler. It was doing a darn fine impression. Turns out it was just a bull snake, a welcome rodent eater.

Here's some pictures of the progress.

Bailey's Queen of the sand pile.

This is a cross section of the wall that gives a glimpse of how it all goes together.