What on earth is going on here now?

To recap: we are trying to build the dormer window you can see beginning to emerge below. The top beam is in place, and the first few rafters likewise – and we also show a couple of bracing timbers which will soon be removed.

The next pieces to go in were two very long, very thick pieces of timber hereinafter known as the valley members. These needed to be precisely the correct length, and have angled cuts on both ends so that they sit tightly against the rest of the structure…

…like so. The angle of the valley has to precisely match that of the other rafters (at 31 degrees) vertically, and also pull together horizontally so that they meet just behind the top beam. So far, so simple.

This photo is us just showing off the valley members in place and the stabilising timbers gone, as we think we now have enough rafters in place that even an unforecast wind shouldn’t disturb this lot (she says, touching wood).

The picture below is again just us preening. And we had thought that bit had been complicated…

…but when it comes to fitting the remaining rafters, which sit on the (sloping in two dimensions) valley members, it turns out it is REALLY COMPLICATED to work out the lengths and angles involved. Those lovely front rafters we could fit about two pairs a day because the slopes were 58% but all cuts were at right angles to the edges of the timbers. Now that the rafters sit on the valley members, the joint over the top rail is all square and straightforward, but all the lengths and angles as the rafter meets the valley change front and back, and side to side, so I am now TEARING MY HAIR OUT in frustration as we can’t seem to work out, either mathematically or using templates, any method to accurately predict these angles and lengths. Everything we have found on line or in books doesn’t mention such angled joins, so perhaps we have got the wrong end of the stick (or rafter), but…

…it took us the best part of a working day to install one pair of rafters. (Mind you, our building day is currently only about 4 hours, what with the rain and being busy with guests…)

…but I think we are both hoping that some miracle of understanding will dawn on us, soon, as we still have seven pairs of rafters to make and install. Anyone would think we were doing this for fun!

So thats my progress report for last week. The weather forecast suggests that next week will be drier, so obviously (?!?) we will be able to make more progress next week. I am looking forward to being able to report on better progress, but then again, please keep everything crossed for us…

A new window on the world…

We started putting the rafters in last week, and this week we started on the dormer window. We constructed the frame and fixed it in place (having checked the verticals, obviously)…

…and then added the ridge beam to the dormer window (that’s the long horizontal bit that looks like its resting on Mike’s shoulder) along with the two uprights on which it sits.

Once that was in, Mike got a little windy – because the wind was rising – in case the wind caught this beam and sent it sideways, so we quickly added a couple of temporary bracing beams. I don’t tease him for being ‘belt and braces Mike’ for nothing, you know!

We then fitted the first of the rafters to the dormer window, at precisely 58 degrees (or 32, depending on which way you are measuring) which involved cutting two bird’s mouth joints on each rafter, plus a profiled end – it’s no quick job to fit these things in!

Following that, we then added the next three pairs of rafters. We also added some noggins between the first two pairs so be sure that future gusts of wind won’t be able to rearrange these, either – hopefully, or gobeithio, as we say in these parts.

This is how we left it yesterday- partly because the showery weather was bringing out the midges again and we have had enough of being bitten; and partly because we have guests in for the weekend and need to be hospitable. The wood arrived yesterday for the wall plate and the roof valley for the dormer window, so when we return to the building work, we should be able to make smooth progress again…

And now the roofing starts!

You may recall, last time, we were packing the horizontal steels on the left hand suite, ready to start fitting the joists. Having completed the packing out, we started…

…fitting the joist hangers. We have had to work between showers but otherwise are progressing as we might wish…

…and once we had the joist hangers in place, we started fitting the joists. This wasn’t as straightforward as it sounds, because we first had to check whether the vertical steels were actually vertical and, if not, correct their position. Having done this, we managed to fit the joists in the central sections…

…and, once that was complete, we started fitting the rafters. As you can see, Mike is utterly thrilled about this! He tells me we will have a roof on this building this summer, but he did comment that the summer may last until February…

Once we had one rafter in place, and next few followed reasonably quickly until…

…we reached this point! At this point, we had to stop to request an elevation drawing that we needed to find the necessary dimensions to construct the dormer window frame here. In the meantime we fitted rafters either side leaving us plenty of wiggle room to back fit with the dormer frame next week.

We stopped building for the weekend, and have had the privilege of hosting some really wonderful guests this weekend. We will return to the building work on Monday, we hope!