Summer Kitchen Renovation Part7: Preparing for going UP!

The hole in the wall window (we left off with last time) healed fairly quickly:

Once we put in a properly dimensions and straight frame in we learned how un-straight the wall is. As a result the frame sticks out and will require some “integration work” … to be dealt with in the future.

With that done we have set our sights on going up to the second floor. After “shaving” the top of the structure flat(ish) we had some placed that required mending and filling in with cob:

The water level is a simple, beautitul but somewhat cumbersome tool to use … we got pretty close to level.

We continued to have a rainy season and we’ve gotten pretty good at covering the walls with tarps. The pigeons also seem to appreciate our efforts:

While the cob-on-top-of-the-walls was setting and in between rains I experimented with wood charring over an open fire. I usually use a gas torch for this, but we have LOTS of wood to char … and we have leftover scrap wood. After some fiddling around I came up with a system that works pretty well, makes for good paced work and creates a good char (deeper than what I would typically do with the torch):

It felt nice re-cycling the “waste wood” we’d just torn down into fuel for preparing the new wood … which will hopefully protect it and give it a longer life!

Then it was time to build the formwork into which we will be pouring a concrete bond beam. We used a combination of new (and charred) beams, boards, and re-used materials. We started with a peripheral frame:

… and then moved on to constructing two internal frames:

… and according to the water level one corner (the one in the foreground of the image above) is 1.4cm higher than the other 3 corners … and we decided that was close enough for us.

The formwork also provided us with a clear reference for the cob walls. Gaps in height were clear and easy to tend to … so it was another round of cob-on-top-of-the-walls to level and seal all around the formwork.

Meanwhile, I’ve also been spending a few full days in the workshop preparing the window frames for the second floor … so that the framing, when we come to it, will flow well. The thicknesser has been working overtime … and the dogs love it 🙂

We’ve put in some rebar … and if all goes well … tomorrow will be concrete day. We are hiring help for tomorrow … aiming for two people … unclear if both will show up. Concrete needs to be poured in one continuous effort … so tomorrow will be an early start … and hopefully pleasant work … with correct effort!

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