Sunday, 24 August 2008

16 - The Putting Back Together of the Front Verandah

After too many months of looking across at the house from our shed and seeing the missing part of the front verandah we were more than ready to rectify things. We first thought we would need help in this potentially awkward job so tentatively searched for carpenters and the like to step up. We quickly discovered that it is almost impossible to organise someone to help out with such things. Everyone is so damn busy. After a substantial period of time, characterised by the silent lack of returned phone calls, we again took matters into our own, unskilled, bruised, reluctant yet thrifty, hands. We began to sort through the pile of debris that was once the missing part of the front verandah. Some of the pieces of wood that we now wanted to use were not thought of that way when they were disassembled. As a result they were cut incorrectly and in odd places ensuring that their patching up would provide quite the quandary.

As it turned out this fact was not the only challenge. In my haste to dismantle the verandah, I failed to number any pieces of decking, joist, bearer, roofing iron, fascia and the rest. This would have saved a lot of time in the putting back together stage – a lot of time. Over its lifetime the materials that went together to make the verandah and its associated roof had bonded to become a new single entity that transcended inconsequential sole considerations such as square-ness. Many of the individual pieces of wood were twisted, warped and/or bent. So they sort of had to go back in the same place from which they came. Matching up paint lines and nail holes shed a tiny amount of light on our slow stabs in the dark at working out where everything used to be.

These posts are very heavy

Another issue emerged early on when we found that the bearers did not quite fit as well as they should have on the fresh new stumps that stood there waiting for them. We had to bolt a strong bracket to the top of the stump which increased its footprint on the bearer. This seemed to work rather well at the time. Let’s hope it keeps on working.

Jan's dad and I

Jan’s parents came to stay in their caravan on the property. Her father helped us out with the verandah while her mother took on baby minding duties. The three of us took about five full days to fumble our way through the issue raised above plus many more. Parts of the finished product are not quite square, a fact delaying the reinstallation of the wooden louvres seen above on the title of this blog. We are still thinking things through there. Though, all in all we are thrilled to bits to have finished this rather unique part of the house. And, as suspected it looks wonderful here. One day soon it will provide a nice viewing platform to the kitchen gardens that will sprawl out from the house to the north.

Finally the house is back to the way it was pre move - at least from the outside and from a distance anyway