Month: August 2010

Bowsaw

I get laughed at when I insist on using a bowsaw from time-to-time instead of a chainsaw. I'm glad to read that I'm not the only one who appreciates the rhythm and relative silence of this method of cutting wood. From Woodland I worked with a small triangular bowsaw. It is surprising how much you can do with one in a day. Bowsaws have the supreme advantage of being quiet and allowing you to work at your own human pace. The manic dictatorship of the chainsaw seems to deafen you to all reason or judgement. A chainsaw is ideal for…
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Build in Technology

Whatever the original structure, a conversion means major building work. Take the opportunity to build in major renewable technologies - PV, solar hot water, rain-water harvesting head my list. Invest now for sustainability and low bills. Snippets on MBC Rather than my usual wordy ramblings I thought I'd challenge myself to come up with some short gems of (throw-away) advice on how I think you should go about a conversion... Snippets ...this is one!
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Outdoor inspiration #1

Once painting (windows frames) and pointing (repointing the stonework) are completed, I'm hoping that the good temperatures and most importantly dry weather of late summer-autumn will extend long enough to allow for some further work outside the barn. We intend to dig out much of the the bank that currently dominates what will be the rear garden and then to landscape it to provide a level lawn area surrounded by slopping banks, terraces and retaining walls. Due to the nature of the plot we'll need to cleverly build quite a few retaining walls of varying sizes. For the smaller, less…
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Keep Beams!

Utilise as much of the original structure as you can and make the most of it. Keep internal beams, exposed stonework (on fully internal walls only, building regulations prohibit exposed stonework on the interior of external walls), reuse original flooring... Snippets on MBC Rather than my usual wordy ramblings I thought I'd challenge myself to come up with some short gems of (throw-away) advice on how I think you should go about a conversion... Snippets ...this is one!
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Wales has a ‘carbon free’ house

An interesting story on Wales Online today that raises more questions for me than it answers for me... Wales has it's first 'carbon free' house. The house is built along PassivHaus lines on a small estate in Ebbw Vale from mainly Welsh materials. It has PV panels so generates its own power and has managed to achieve level 6 in the Code for Sustainable Homes. However, it still has energy bills of £50 a quarter. Not sure what that's for, perhaps electricity connection or standing charges (although the article does specify 'energy bills of just £50 a year'). As such,…
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Building Progress ~ July 2010

Let's get in early this month... I've mainly been occupied with repointing the external walls. I didn't do any repointing last year, but want to get it finished this year so I've got my hands full. It needs completing before the weather turns colder so I probably have until the end of September to get it done. I had forgotten many of the small skills and techniques that I'd developed previously - Which tools to use when, how to get mortar into that shaped joint at that angle, the fact that when I try to twist my arm to push…
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