Saturday, August 20, 2011

First Lounge - Plaster-boarding Walls, Sugi Ceiling & Worm Eaten Structural Beam.

Having finished the bedroom ceiling off, Arnie & Shinobu moved onto plaster-boarding all the upper walls. This included having to cut to fit over the protruding roof beams (These weren't previously visible, as the ceiling used to be only as high as the first beam, at the same level as the bedroom) and cutting sheet to it would follow contours of beams. This took a good few days to do, where the much easier bedroom had only taken them an afternoon to board the walls.

With summer and the humidity now in full swing, being up there was hot & sweaty work.

In between, I spent one evening GL puttying the larger gaps and screw holes ready to apply eco-wall.

The ceiling planks had been pre-prepared from bare unfinished Sugi (Japanese Cedar) which cost a little over 1,200 Yen per 8 plank bundle. Being rough, they'd had to be prepared. This included drying by stacking with enough space in between for air flow (& using a large fan to blow air through them during some nights!), passing each displayed face one by one several times through the planing machine, followed by cutting a 45 degree chamfer on each length, routing each plank for splines to be fitted, cutting splines, then treating the wood in the same way as the bedroom.

Here we see Arnie & Shinobu fitting the first planks.
Note the dark brown slats are from the original ceiling which had been much lower before.

Whilst fitting and nail-gunning into position, Arnie & Shinobu had to be careful to put the nails in the right place so they'd go straight into the slats and not next to them and also ensure they didn't apply pressure to the slats but keep them running straight.

The Sugi plank's preparation had included oiling, staining and sellacing before carefully nailing each plank into place. They also made a small box around each vertical wooden post, to nail the edges of Sugi ceiling into.

Such factors of attention to detail should pay off to stop dust falling through the boards - helping keep the house clean in future. To finish off the ceilings Arnie covered them from above with synthetic in-bag insulation.

By this stage Shinobu had left to go and spend a couple of weeks in Tateyama with family friends. Arnie's & my next job was structural. The tall thick beam separating the first & second lounge showed signs of having been eaten through by woodworm.
Arnie made a guide and routed off a rectangular piece bit enough to see inside. It became clear a long time ago worms had eaten through this (Pine) but left the outside mostly intact. It was disgusting how much worm poo came out, but we chipped at it till all that was left was solid, then vacuumed it out with the trusty Dyson.
We finished by putting in some 2 x 4 beams inside (A friend I told this to likened it to putting matchsticks in as support!) and wedged in smaller pieces of wood.
We then filled the small holes on the opposite face, glued on a wooden board where the routing had been done, nail-gunned it in, then once everything was suitably hardened I filled the remaining space inside with expanding foam.

It was clear the beam (as well as the rest of the house's structure) was about 10 times over engineered originally and the woodworm hadn't caused any danger - but it feels better to know what's what and have no untreated decay in the house.

We want to do this job once then enjoy living in it and avoid having to do them again from having band-aided things the first time around. I had been reliably told to expect Arnie's work to be permanent and well executed. Now the house is taking shape I'm glad to see he's as much a perfectionist as I am.

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