Bloody hard work today but I almost completed everything I was hoping to do.
I was up at 5.00 am, out on site at 6.30 am and left at 7.00 pm.
Today was the day to install the 13 metre steel veranda beam across the back.
I have to admit - I was apprehensive about this as I was doing all the work myself using the museum hoist and a chain block on a tripod.
However, everything went exactly to plan without any dangerous sudden movements in the beam.
The first job was to move the museum hoist in to position.
How I missed Tanguy and his help.
With two of us this would have been a ten minute job.
On my own it took me an hour and a half to manhandle it out of the workshop void and in to the correct position under the steel beam.
I had to lift it up on to planks so that it would roll across the muddy areas.
Then I had to get it up the sand embankment during one of the positioning steps.
The sand was too boggy and the small hard castors just kept digging in to the ground.
In the end I ran a rope from its winch over to my utility and winched it up the slope.
I had 4 piles of calsil bricks acting as support piers along the length of the beam.
I ended up rebuilding each of these about three times during the course of the day.
Firstly, I figured out that the hoist would need 5 layers of bricks on top of it in order to lift to the required height.
Secondly, the pylons were about 500 mm away from the columns. I realised that they would need to be in line with the columns when the main lifting started or else the beam would swing wildly when first lifted using the tripod end.
Before I could lift the beam any higher I also needed to cut off about 2 metres of excess material at one end.
This was only a rough cut and I will do a careful detailed cut once all the welding is finalised.
In addition I needed to grind the primer off any surfaces to be welded and create chamfers on the top of each column.
Finally I hung the chain block off the tripod, added some safety rope support in case the bracket broke and wrapped the beam in protective cardboard at the winching point.
It was probably 2.00 pm before I was ready to start winching in earnest.
Keeping the hoist and the chain block in rough sync I raised the beam all the way up the height of the colums and then stopped for lunch (my thinking being that I would leave the hoists under maximum stress for a while and give it a chance to fail if it was going to.)
After lunch I raised the beam just a little bit more so that it could sit on top of the columns and used sash clamps to crimp it in to exact position on the corner joint.
I clamped short pieces of timber at the tops of the columns to bring it in to exact alignment with each column.
I had to do some extra grinding to improve the fit at the joint but after this I was able to tack weld at the main corner and the far end.
By now I was pretty much exhausted and the prospect of tack welding at the top of each column, and storing away the hoist and chain block seemed overwhelming.
I put away all the tools, brought the chain block inside, covered the hoist with a tarpaulin and then clamped the top of each column on to the beam.
I had hoped to tack weld every column and to run temporary braces from the core of the building out to the beam.
However - the beam is stable enough as it is and I will leave it until next weekend to perform all the detailed welding and to add extra bracing.
A good day - but I was very tired and sore at the end of it.