Big steps in the right direction…

Such a lot can happen in four days!

On Tuesday, Mike finished with the plywood and plaster board around the fire door from the new stairwell into the cafe lobby, but stopped short of skimming as we had a big group using the cafe on Tuesday evening and we didn’t want them to get their clothes dirty.

Doorway, fully plaster boarded, ready for skimming… and someone loitering in front of it

So on Wednesday, Mike skimmed this wall which we then left alone so that it could be dry by Friday.

..now skimmed

On Thursday, Mike and I trimmed some timber to size, and Mike then bolted two pieces together and we put the resulting trimmer into place, ready to be moved to its final position tomorrow.  I, meanwhile, returned to my real task this week, which was squeezing various citrus fruits (including lemons, Seville oranges and pink grapefruits) and then cutting the peel into strips, ready for making marmalade this weekend.

Friday lunch time, after my return from Welsh lessons, Mike and Dick prepared for this momentous day…

Mike and Dick, reporting for duty

We hauled the third section of the stairs up through the gap in the first floor, and slowly lowered the bottom part into position – where a tongue fitted into a groove in a newel post.  We lowered the rest of the stairs roughly into position (see below) to check location, and then had to take the lower tongue out of the grove for minor adjustments.  My apologies for the quality of the photo below, but it was taken as I held a camera phone one-handed, whilst also anchoring the stairs in place by hauling on the rope.

Funny thing – no sooner had we got the stairs roughly in place and vaguely balanced, but the building inspector arrived, unannounced.  There followed a brief pause in proceedings whilst Mike showed him around, and Dick and I whistled and kicked a few tyres…

The third flight of stairs, suspended ready for fitting…

With the stairs now roughly accurately in place, we had to lower the trimmer into place.  This went rather more easily than we had feared but, sadly, we found the newel post shown below exactly lined up with the head on the bolt in the trimmer, which threw everything slightly out of true.  After a short session of head scratching (or, in Dick’s case, chin-rubbing), we used an Acrow to prop up the stairs and then raise the trimmer slightly, so that Mike could trim the trimmer a tad which then allowed us to re-position it with the bolt heads now out of harms way.

…with stairs in place, the trimmer is being moved into position…

Once this has happened, we removed the Acrows, gently released the tension on the rope, and carefully dropped the stairs into position.  There followed a little more head and/or chin rubbing when we found that although the stair treads were level side-to-side and front-to-back, the top part of the stair sides was not square to the trimmer.  Long story short – we eventually thought to measure whether the trimmer was square to the back wall of the old manor (which will form the back wall of the stairwell) and found it was significantly on the wonk (please forgive the technical terminology).  One swift and strategically placed engineer’s tap with Mike’s boot solved that issue…

…trimmers in place, stairs ready to be tweaked into place…

…so we all retired downstairs for some confirmatory measuring and perhaps a little bit of gloating before we had a well deserved cuppa.

Mike just checking the stairs are square in their final location

Tomorrow Mike will do some faffing about such as fitting the missing risers and treads that complete this flight of stairs, and prepare to to fit the landing at the top of the stairs whilst I relax at my Theology for Life seminar in Criccieth before shopping in Porthmadog.  After a weekend in the cafe, we will I am sure both be very much looking forward to returning to building work on Tuesday, when we plan to start working on the flight of stairs between floor 1 and floor 2.

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