Saturday, June 10, 2017

How do you move a 60 year old, 6 tonne concrete tank?

Recently, Gary and his 14 tonne excavator and bobcat turned up. We decided we'd have a try at moving the 6 tonne, 60 year old concrete tank - and after breaking several chains plus a lot of huffing, puffing and praying we managed to shove it 3 metres to the south by basically lifting one side at a time and walking it along. That means that only a third of it will now sit inside the future walled garden.

When Gary left, the place looked the Somme in WW1. So Nette and spent the next week raking, levelling and landscaping. Lots still to do, but the groundwork (!) is mostly done.

We also waterproofed a second old concrete tank (the twin of the one we moved) ready to be connected to the new shed. Our plumber, Phil, reckons we should stop collecting tanks now as we have enough in his humble opinion. He may be right - we have one 110,000 litre (full), and three 22,000 litre tanks (one is full and 2 have only just been connected).

And what a big difference it made getting the front doors on  the shed! Many thanks to local company John Atterbury Doors.   From the outside the shed almost looks finished now. Just gutters and some odd bits of flashing to go.  Inside is a different story.  The ceiling battens are up - which was a job and a half - ready for the ceiling, but that's about it.  Good thing we're not in a hurry eh?
Almost art - ceiling battens

Sunday, April 30, 2017

You have to love a scaffold

Perhaps I'm exaggerating.  But one of the best things we have purchased is our own scaffold.  I don't have the scientific proof - but I reckon it's 500% safer than a ladder and 900% more fun!

Ours is a budget number from Synergy Scaffolding and it is absolutely brilliant.  Imagine being able to stand on a flat, level, stable surface 3.5 metres up.  Can't picture it?  Buy a scaffold :)

Mind you, sometimes you need to be a bit creative and resourceful when you're setting it up.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017


I have to say – we do like a white picket fence. Our son-in-law, Simon (yes, that is a familiar name) pitched in and put this together for us. It would look a lot better without the jumble of bricks and building materials around it, but we’re working on that.  

I think one of the “secrets” to a good picket fence is getting the spacing right, which is a real challenge when the width of the (el cheapo) palings varies by up to 12mm. The winning strategy seems to be to mark where the left hand side of each paling should theoretically go on the top rail and then fudging it a bit depending on the individual paling’s width.  

From experience we’ve learnt that you can’t just use a spacer stick between them like BH&G suggest. That would work if the palings were all exactly the same width. Either way, when you get to the last 4 or 5 you need to make some adjustments or the last gap will look totally wrong.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016


It was with great excitement that we took delivery of our shed frame the other week.   Manufactured by The Steel Framing Company (TSFC), owned by Will and Sarah.  It is a work of art. 

TSFC had thought of everything; Kevlar gloves, brilliantly labelled plans, drill bits and even the exact number of bolts (100 in case you were wondering) to tie it all to the slab.  On top of that we were invited to call Will on his mobile anytime if we needed a hand. Which we did - in fact the day we didn't call, Will called us to see how things were going.  Will and Sarah even helped us stand some of the frames up when they dropped by a couple of days later to check on progress.  Now that's customer service.

As Will pointed out, it's not really a shed, but a class 1A dwelling (ie a house) with no internal walls. Hence the unshed-like diagonal braces and verandas. 

The completed frame
With all the extra steel the heaviest panel was 88 kilos and 4.5m high - which was a challenge for Nette and I. But we pulled it off by gradually lifting it onto progressively higher rungs of the scaffold.  We met our match though when it came to the trusses.  Spanning over 8m they were too long and the walls too high for us to safely manage. 

It took us over a week to get all the framing done, including a day with a local builder and roof plumber to get the trusses up.  But it looks brilliant.  So much so it will be a shame to hide all that precision steel engineering behind colourbond.

BTW - My comments about TSFC are totally unsolicited, my enthusiasm is simply related to their incredibly great product and brilliant service.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Stair challenge

stair plan
The stairs have presented a few challenges along the way, the final one being how to make the awkward bit, near "X" on the plan, safe. 
The rules are pretty clear; any spot with a drop of 1 metre or more requires a rail.  We didn't have a problem with that - but we wanted the space for displaying space of our junk and a rail like the others wouldn't lend itself to that.
Hand rail is 100yr old pine and
balusters are copper plumbing pipe.