While our rear veranda, a project that started in 2016, is still unfinished and requiring something to fix the woeful floor, our forgotten front veranda became in need of far more urgent attention. After returning from our weekend away and venturing onto the veranda, the floor almost gave way in some spots, clearly informing me that it was time to do something about this hidden mess. I was already aware that some of the joists were partly rotten, but it wasn’t until I removed a number of the floor boards that the true extent of the damage became evident. There was no doubt that this was a bigger task than what I could fix on my own, so I enlisted the aid of a builder who had just completed similar work on my neighbour’s house. I’m very glad that I did.
One of the funniest things I see from time to time are 4WD videos and the like where the owners proudly show off how they have ‘built, not bought’ their particular 4WD. This is often a statement meant to disparage those who go to a 4WD accessories retailer such as ARB, TJM or similar and have them supply and fit accessories such as suspensions, bull bars, winches, battery kits etc; basically everything that you need to kit your 4WD for the great outdoors. Sadly, doing so is viewed by some as being inferior, if not a disgrace, to those who fit stuff themselves. Personally I see nothing wrong with taking your vehicle to such a place, especially if you’re not mechanically inclined or simply don’t want to go through the hassle and time of installing things yourself. Sometimes it’s also a matter of warranty, where if something fails or doesn’t do what it’s supposed to do, you’ll be in a better position to make a claim. It’s not much different to taking your vehicle to a dealership or mechanic for regular servicing, for some that’s far better value than doing things yourself at home, especially if you don’t have the equipment and location to do so.
When we moved into our rural abode seven years ago, the place wasn’t in too bad a shape, but there were some things that beggared belief and, to this day, I can’t understand how these things passed council approval, if they ever did. The veranda was one aspect (which I still haven’t quite finished), but vastly more significant was the retaining wall along our front driveway. Absolutely no building regulations could have been followed with this pretend retaining wall and the fact that there had been no serious accident (as far as I know) prior to us moving in, is amazing. That retaining wall was constructed of 200mm x 50mm treated-pine sleepers with no concrete foundations, but simply a few 200mm x 50mm sleepers pushed into the ground to hold it up, with a horridly narrow dog-leg in the driveway to make things even more dangerous. I was truly fearful that a car would go too close to the edge and roll over into the not too minor drop below. That was the first thing that needed to be repaired and many thanks to Rob from Evison Concreting and Chris from C&D Earthworks for a great job in fixing this abomination (and for letting me observe and learn something new).
In Part 2, the internal panelling was completed and now I had to build a base (hearth) for the Chiminea, as the floor couldn’t be left in its current manner. So I went about looking for some suitable tiles that I could lay in the corner and, as luck would have it, National Tiles in Traralgon had just what I needed on discount, so I ended up getting four 600mm2 ceramic tiles. Now the larger the tile the more difficult it can be to lay but, in this instance it was a simple situation so laying four tiles wasn’t a major issue. I was careful to sand down any unevenness in the floorboards before laying down the ceramic tile underlay, making sure that it was nailed down well and then giving it a coating of underlay primer/additive. I thought that 4kg of tile adhesive would have been enough (according to the instructions) but I had to get another 1kg tub to complete the job. I even surprised myself as to how level and even it turned out, though the grouting was a pain to apply.
Continuing on from Part 1, with the completion of the external panels, the internal panelling was another aspect that I dwelled on for some time before starting the project. My first thoughts were to use decorative corrugated iron (the small stuff), but it couldn’t be sourced in one metre width (or height depending on how you look at it), which meant buying two metre width and then cutting it but cutting corrugated iron is an utter pain. The second option was pine lining, but it only came in 4.8m lengths, which meant wasting 15m of lining for what I needed (72 x 1m lengths). So as things coalesced, I decided to use cement sheeting on the inside as well, as it was reasonably cheap, could be easily cut to fit the framework, there’d be minimal waste and we could paint it so that the interior would be as light as possible. Ensuring that we didn’t severely reduce the light was an important aspect of this build.
Since moving into our country home close to five years ago, one of the most urgent tasks was to put a roof over the veranda, which we did a little while ago; however, there were still aspects that required attention. Firstly, while the veranda was well under one meter from ground level, I didn’t like the fact that it didn’t have a balustrade; as I preferred to err on the side of safety. Secondly, I also wanted to partially enclosure the veranda, because the prevailing weather blows cold wind and rain from one end (see photograph below), and when it’s not raining, leaves take over, producing a constant mess. In the long term, this isn’t good for the veranda and anything within. So with this in mind, we finally got moving on finishing off what we started some time ago.
Those old enough to remember, the term hammertime came from a song by MC Hammer in 1990, ‘U Can’t Touch This‘. Hammertime was also a reality TV show featuring MC Hammer and his family. Anyway, this story has nothing to do with MC Hammer and, if you haven’t already guessed it, it’s about hammers. Where would the world be without the hammer? Even the wheel probably wouldn’t have eventuated without a hammer to form, shape and put together the first wheel. Over time, hammers evolved into a myriad of shapes, sizes, materials and forms to suit the task at hand, from delicate nailing of shoes, to breaking rocks (and some nasty things in between). They also became somewhat more hand friendly over time.
Steampunk is a ‘somewhat’ recent phenomenon, which can be described as a sub-genre of science fiction (H.G. Wells, Jules Verne etc), that adopts design cues and styles from the 19th century Victorian industrial era. Steampunk incorporates various technological and other themes into a wide variety of subject matter and has become a bit of a sub-culture, as well as being used as a theme in movies such as Wild, Wild West, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Stardust and many others, even in sitcoms such as The Big Bang Theory. Steampunk covers all manner of subjects from clothing, devices, bars, vehicles, music, furniture and even homes, the list really is endless. Sometimes it can be quite extraordinary in accomplishment, functionality and outright beauty, or simply wishful thinking.
Anyone who has watched Mythbusters would know of Adam Savage. Adam is the ADHD counterpart to stoic Jamie Hyneman, two special effects practitioners (and what not) who put their combined experience into a TV show that’s now been running since 2003. I’m a big fan of Mythbusters and how they ‘do’ things in their show when it comes to myth busting; showing how common myths, movie stunts and the like do or do not ring true. In doing so, they often build things from scratch to demonstrate and put the myths to the test. Though, like many fans, I don’t always agree with their testing methods or outcomes.
Ever since we moved to the country, my newly acquired Man Cave has been an utter mess, with everything that didn’t fit into the existing two cupboards simply stored in random piles on the floor. This doesn’t make things easy when I want to do some work, as I have no surface to work on, and it creates a habitat for losing things. So I’ve had it in my mind to build a work bench, with an under-bench shelf, out of timber left over from our veranda roofing build. As luck would have it, there was a house demolition happening around the corner the other week and everything was up for sale, which gained me the perfect timber bench top for $5. The top actually came from the laundry, but was of the same type of construction usually used for kitchen bench tops, heavy, laminated timber. After stripping off the unnecessary bits and marking where the frame would go, the project was on.