Month: November 2011

Cabin bed – plans

So with the ability to build shelves firmly under my wing (or rather under my stairs) I started on my second carpentry challenge, to - Box in the thermal store and build a cabin bed in the second bedroom. Basically, to enclose everything on the other side of the internal door shown on this photograph... From Barn Conversion 2011 This is a much more involved job than my simple shelves. As I've previously described it "The cabin bed will run along the length of wall ... with wardrobe doors on the left to allow access to the tank then the…
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Sketchup

I've been dabbling with Google Sketchup recently. Sketchup is according to the blurb "3D sketching software for the conceptual phases of design" or as rather more grandly proclaimed by McCall & Associates "SketchUp is the finest (and most innovative) tool available for anyone designing anything from coffee pots to skyscrapers." I've wanted to produce a series of 'anatomy of...' posts detailing the components and terminology related to the various parts of a building for some time now. I really wanted the series to be driven by diagrams rather than words - this is one of those subjects where a picture…
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Building shelves to fit under the stairs

My first proper foray into DIY carpentry at the barn has been constructing a shelving unit to sit under the stairs. The shelves are required to provide storage, box in the under-stairs area and muffle the sound from the under-floor heating pumps. The timber I chose was basic off-the-shelf stuff from B&Q - planed smoothed softwood boards. My original intention was to paint or stain the wood so the appearance of the untreated wood wasn't of great importance. However, once finished I'm relatively happy with the finish of the wood and the gentle contrast between the whitened oak of the…
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Smile

This blog has taken a bit of a kicking recently from big brother Google who came along with his 'Panda' and gave us right going over. (For the uninitiated, Panda is a rolling update to the algorithm Google uses to produce search results that has been creating uproar across the web for most of 2011). Traffic to the site has halved since the middle of October when the impact of the update began to bite. I find that quite upsetting and discouraging - for me the main reward of running a blog is feeling you're communicating with your 'audience'. When…
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The anatomy of a roof

Laying bare the basics of my roof structure through an annotated diagram that a layman like me can better understand, the aim of this post is to answer the question...what are the component parts of a roof? Based on the roof of my barn, a pretty simple A-frame / truss structure as (badly) pictured below, my anatomy of a roof diagram follows. From Before Or view in 3D: The diagram shows a basic A-frame roof, with angled rafters, a single tie-beam for each pair of principal rafters and horizontal purlins. You can also download the anatomy of a roof Google…
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Can you tell what it is yet…?

I took this picture a few weeks ago at a favourite spot... From bochgoch The picture is taken up through the centre of the keep at Dinefwr Castle, one of the seats of the kings of Deheubarth. Beautifully circular, striking when you consider it's over 800 years old (although I'm not sure exactly how much restoration CADW have carried out and I seem to recall that the Victorians or their contemporaries messed about with the castle a fair bit turning it into more of a folly than a stronghold, so what we see here is probably considerably younger than 800…
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The anatomy of…

Anyone who has ever experienced my struggling for a correct structural term, name of a tool or other fine point of building terminology will understand why I thought writing an 'anatomy of...' series was a good idea. This series of posts will be about laying bare the basics of building through annotated diagrams so that a layman like me can better understand and use the vocabulary of building terms. If you've ever asked yourself what exactly is a purlin, a stud wall or a trickle vent then hopefully I'll start to provide some answers... There'll be a bias toward the…
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Carpentry

Over the last couple of years I've kept on returning to the question of carpentry. Not in a general sense, but specifically in relation to my ability to turn my hand to the following projects: Build shelves under the stairs, Box in the thermal store and build a cabin bed in the second bedroom, Build a high level, long, wide shelf in the kitchen, Put up shelving in the utility room. ...OR the alternative of hiring a professional. A steady accumulation of tools over the period (chisel, hand saws, a circular saw, jigsaw and sander then most recently a router…
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Passive Solar Heating Systems – ideas

As I've posted previously: A direct gain system is one where the main means of thermal gain is through direct heating of the thermal mass by solar radiation entering the building through windows and being absorbed by the thermal mass. An indirect gain system is one where solar radiation is captured and stored in a component of the building that has a high thermal mass and from there released to areas within the building that require heating. That's all well and good, but what does this mean in practical terms, how do we design our buildings to maximise solar heating?…
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