Well, we did as I said we'd do: had christmas in the dining room. Eleven fitted in with plenty of room to spare:
There are two or three regular lurkers in those photos. I forgot to take any photos of the WC, which was fully plumbed, and had walls, door, toilet roll holder and towel rail..........plus some dried flowers. Not bad for 2 days work!
I then had a day or two off, before taking the table apart and converting the dining room back into a workshop. Time for some more oak work. Next on the agenda was a beam running longitudinally along the line of the house which will form a key part of the structure of the stair opening, as well as being part of the facade of the downstairs loo. I had left this joint in the dining wall top plate:
I was not going to get a chance to offer the beam up into this joint and do any adjustments, so I had to get it spot-on first time. So I made an accurate template, and used this to form the pair of tenons:
Here is a really important joint further along the same beam. Remember this, because next week its purpose will become obvious:
Note the really big chamfer. This was forced on me by a nasty piece of damage to the timber (looks like the supplier dropped it). I couldn't hide it anywhere, so just chamfered it away. There are a lot of electrics to run through part of this beam:
This is a 150 x 125 beam 3.6m long, so is just within the capabilities of one person to lift, an end at a time, but old fashioned rollers were a necessity for moving it into position to start the lift:
The lift was helped by having stuff to fasten to, so I clamped a horizontal on at the dining room end, and rested the beam on there, whilst the other end rested on a piece of 200x50 screwed to the temporary framing of the WC. This view is out of the dining room across the stairs and WC towards the study:
Later, from the other direction:
And finally, up. The double M&T joint fitted perfectly first time. The electrics took quite some time to fiddle into place:
It's a tight space, so awkward for photos. The next job was to install the 125x125 corner post, which was load bearing and so sat on its own special foundation (through a hole in the insulation and screed). Again, as with the similar post in the dining room, it was to sit on a couple of engineering bricks (with lead between brick and post to spread any point-load imperfections). I built a little mini-lever set up in the bottom of the hole, dropped the post in, then built a man-sized lever arrangement to lift it the 80mm into place in the mortice in the overhead beam:
Unfortunately, I had left too little tolerance to fit the bricks under! Idiot. It was an hour's work getting the post in, so I didn't want to take it out, shave 2mm off the end and then put it back again, and I had no way of acrowing the ceiling beam up a little. I rigged up another lever working on a small notch in the side of the post below finished floor level, and just bullied it up enough to squeeze the bricks in underneath:
After completing all the remainder of the framing you are about to see I then filled in with insulation and screed (note the adjacent door post of the loo):
The two loo door posts (125x125) were next, and they went in easily. I shaped the tenon to allow me to offer the post in at an angle, and left them about 10mm above the brick they were standing as they are non load-bearing, sitting temporarily just on wedges. I was planning to pack a strong concrete dry mix under them............but came up with a much better plan, which involved taking the posts back out again, and doing some work to the foot of each:
Sitting them on a 4x2 plate will enable me to fix them permanently in place simply by screwing and plugging to the brick below. This will control any tendency for the posts to twist as they dry (remember, this oak is freshly sawn, not seasoned).
Here is a bad photo of the loo door post in place below the new beam:
The study door and wall was much easier. I did a lap joint for the junction of its beam under the main beam I've just described erecting. This gives clearance for the electrics to run through an over-panel, and brings the door head to a much better height (I'll need an infill piece over the WC door). Again, my tolerances were too tight, so I ended up shaking the house somewhat with some big blows from a big hammer, but everything ended well:
I really like this happy little detail inside the study:
The edge of the post lining with the two chamfers pleases me. I'm that trivial sometimes.
Back to the dining room. I omitted to show the sticking on of some plasterboard over the blockwork of the plinth. Here it is:
I plastered the end section today, using a bonding plaster (a sort-of old-fashioned undercoat plaster, used for difficult surfaces). Depending on what it looks like dry, I want to use this as a top coat because I am after a rough look to this bit of the wall to replicate what you see of plinths in old buildings: