Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Working away

As we're building the walls, there's not much to report, so I thought I'd point out how sometimes I bury random rocks (broken up concrete) in the middle of the wall - gives a strong 'tooth' to tie into the next layer, and takes up space - and the small bits of rigid styrafoam junk that is leftover from shaping them. It's not like they add a lot of insulation, but at least we're not putting it in the landfill.

We've decided to put the tankless water heater onto the northern side of the northern buttress, which means we had to put some 'deadman' in for future supports for that. Since we don't actually own the thing yet, and thus don't know the measurements that the hanging hooks will be, I decided that by putting in two vertical pieces, I can in the future, bolt a horizontal piece to these, and that horizontal piece can have the proper hooks on it wherever the heater needs them to be.

I attached a small piece of plywood to them to keep them parallel while the mud dries.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Some More Progress:

The kitchen wall is up to counter height now. You can see that we've got the little back-splash section in as well. The higher side will be where the window glass will sit. You can also see the future anchor points buried right in for later.

Melissa tiled the mid-house cold box (liquor cabinet? we have't really decided) and did a great job. Good thing we remembered before building the walls all the way up.

a close up of the tile.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Jody got muddy!

Mr photographer himself was out here doing work and having fun last week. We managed to talk him into trying the cob experience, and while I'm pretty sure he isn't going to be doing this back in the north, he had some fun.

We worked on the front kitchen counter space. That area is almost done!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Talcott Visit 2009!

The Talcott's came to the mountain for fun and work, and boy, did we have a bunch of both! Here's the whole family sitting on the future living room bench, looking like they're ready to work:

One of the first things we did was flatten out the 'patio' space in front of the earthen oven, so that it's more pleasant to sit there and eat pizza. (it is, we checked) Note Lisa and Michael supervising in the background.

Both Karl and Lisa and Michael! helped build the walls and make cob. We worked mainly on the southern kitchen wall, but we also did some work on the interior wall between the bathroom and the bedroom.

We also replastered the earthen oven, and Michael really helped us out on that project: he does a great job of wetting down the dry layer before we put the new stuff down. He actually wets down a lot of things, now that I think about it.

Karl did some detail work by getting us ready to figure out how far up the wall should come so we didn't mess up our counter height.
And, everyone got in on the act of making cob! No one can resist the squish between your toes!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Almost the last Notch?

We got out the old hammer and chisel again the other day, to make a notch for a rafter in the window buck/wall end that will create a transition between the cob and an opening window.

You can see that we've already treated the bottom of the log (and sliced one side off so it's flat) with varnish, so that the moisture in the cob that it will be burried in won't hurt the wood. The rest will get varnished as well.

Turns out the back door lack of steps makes a good spot to work on an angled notch

yes, my clothes are dirty, but their my work clothes! I don't always look like that!

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Cutting Glass

well, here's something we've never done before. We got a batch of big pieces of glass from a neighbor, and after much deliberation about how best to place the windows, Melissa decided we needed to cut the windows to the size of the opening (I had thought we might bury parts in, or leave glass up into the wall above for easy building).

So, we had to find a flat surface big enough to hold the glass while we were cutting it. Of course we don't have any full sized pieces of plywood around, so we took a 3 inch foam piece and put it in the back of the truck, which worked great.

Breaking it once it's scored is actually not that hard, though it is dramatic.

However, we discovered one of the pieces wouldn't break along the score line, so, thinking it was just too thick, we got out our tile saw (with the diamond blade) and started cutting it that way, after spending a bunch of time setting up a system to slide the glass across the saw.

Well, turns out that piece was tempured glass... which shatters just when you start cutting it a little bit. what a mess.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Some Bathroom Details going up

As we begin to work around the northwest side, the bathroom details have to be taken into consideration.

Here you can see we've put the vent pipe in that will pull air from below the bench, underwhich will be the composting toilet buckets. We don't have this in the yurt bathroom, so we know it's not necessary, but it's an added luxury.
Here you can see the first bits of 'hardybacker' (the stuff that goes behind tiles) being put into place. Since we don't have studs in our walls, we decided it'd be easier to put the hardybacker onto some 2x6s, and then bury the whole thing in the cob as we go. This allows us to make sure the hardybacker is plumb and level, instead of worrying about individual boards that we'd screw to later.
Here you can see the back of the hardybacker (and the boards buried in) and the plumbing access box that will house the shower mixer and such. It's pretty big, but it's only 14 inches across, just like the space between studs in a normal house, and it's about 5 feet high, so that both the water spout and the showerhead can be put in from this side (the outside).

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Shower pan liner, and strange tubes

Melissa did the work of laying the shower pan liner the other day. Since we have already sloped the subfloor in the shape of the shower, we have a definite spot for this thing. Normal applications call for it to be nailed to the wooden studs around the shower in a stick house, but we can't do that, so we're going to have to play it by ear a bit.

Guesses on what these tubes are? They're my idea for a heat escape route for the back of the fridge, allowing the radiating coils in the back to let off heat (there's also cool air inlet tubes lower down) and also help with any possible fumes from the propane fridge pilot light. They will be cut flush with the wall after I make sure they're in there solid.
you can also see the anchor points for the future counter top on the right side of this photo. They're just bits of 2x4 with some nails in them to anchor them in.

$1 tool rescue

Had a moment last week, so we strolled the flea market. A woman had a pile of rusty tools "anything $1!" and so I dug through it ...