Tuesday 18 September 2012

Hemping timber lintels and up to ceiling height

Joined by our good friend Steve, who had travelled down for the weekend from Port Macquarie, we managed a day and a half of hemping over the weekend. Steve had helped us bag the inside of our mudbrick house almost 10 years ago and had helped friends build a straw bale house earlier this year (http://www.pearlandelspeth.blogspot.com.au), so he took to hemp building quickly.

Friday we started a new wall on the western end of the main pavilion. Hemping without the interruption of noggins and windows was a breeze and we clocked up 9 mixes in the afternoon. Forming up and hemping the acute angle between the main and front pavilions was not difficult.

Acute angle between pavilions
 Saturday morning we tackled the difficult spot of hemping up to the ceiling and above the windows.  We were worried about the hemp not having anything to key into above the windows as there was a large timber lintel and the hemp only joined up with the other side for a small section above the top plate. To combat this we improvised some timber v-shapes across the lintel where it was thinner than the frame timbers this would allow the hemp to key around them and the v-shape provided resistance to gravity to stop the whole section of hemp just falling out. On the inside the lintel was flush with the frame timbers so we added a cross piece to our v-shaped timbers, with some added holes in the cross piece for more keying in. All of the timbers were at least a finger width inside the form work to allow coverage by the hemp and to allow them to be easily packed around. The timber pieces were easy to hemp around and when the form work was removed there was no apparent movement of the hemp. We did however leave in place the form work on the underside of the top of the window and will do so until just before the windows are installed.

V-Timbers on the outside of the lintel

V-Timbers on the inside of the lintel
Form work away from v-timbers
Working high up was not as difficult as we expected, the secret to this was keeping the rises small - about the depth of your hand. As the join between rises is an area then can be a bit weak we raised the outside form work to its maximum height, but raised the inside form work up in two stages. As soon as we had hemped to the top of the inside form work and hilled the hemp up against the higher outside formwork we removed it and raised it up. It was not a problem moving the formwork up so quickly as the boards were large enough to completely support the work that had just been done and this quick movement of the formwork prevented there being a joint between the rises. Work was slow and we only got 5 mixes done in a whole morning. 

Hemp done to ceiling
Corner section to ceiling
Outside wall to eave line

Hemp above window to eave line
To take a break from working high up we spent the afternoon doing the second rise on the western wall of the main pavilion and the hall way. This was so much easier and we got a further 13 mixes done - more than making up for the slow morning.

Western wall of main pavilion
Around the corner into the front pavilion
Progress on the hallway
Just to prove that it is not too early to swim at the beach in mid September we all jumped in for a dip before the trip home. The south coast water felt icy, at least until I lost the feeling in my feet.

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