Sole Plate II

After some troubles with a broken V-belt over the weekend we finally got underway with compacting the recycled glass pebbles.  Although the insulation company only specified a 90 kg ( ??)compactor Peter had hired a 180 kg (??) beast as that was all that was available at the time.  Unfortunately we quickly discovered that the compactor was more work than expected. It would sink a good 4-5cm into the ground and begin veering off course or tilting over. This was made worse by the fact the layer of pebbles was not level. After persevering across half the site the decision was made to hire a smaller compactor to go over the loose pebbles first before following up with the bigger one. This worked out admirably.

Bringing in the CompactorUsing the JCB to lift the compactor onto site

Peter CompactingPeter fighting to keep the beast on course

Compacting - Double the FunSmooth sailing. Terry manning the new, lighter compactor which is much easier to handle.

Fixing in the Hazel Stakes to the Sole Plate 2Meanwhile Nino glues hazel stakes into the sole plate. These stakes will hold the first layer of bales in place.

Once the glass pebbles were compacted the next task was assembling the sole plate. This involved lifting the railway sleepers onto their footings and ensuring that they were level with the concrete footings. At 85cm thick, the straw bale walls will be supported by both elements so it was important that they were at the same height. This process turned out to be quite fiddly and involved lifting the sleepers on and off their supports.

Sleepers - Checking LevelsPeter checking the levels between a railway sleeper and the external concrete footings.

Sleepers - Checking Levels 2Sleepers - Adjusting Block HeightPeter using a hand saw to shave off a thin layer of a recycled glass block that the sleepers sit on so that it will be level with the concrete foundations

Sleepers - Checking Levels 3More levels…


Sleepers - Chainsaw Adjusting 2Old railway sleepers are never level on all surfaces. Luckily Peter had a chainsaw at hand to plane down this raised section. 

Membrane - Level and Ready for the Next StageOne side done! This photo was taken before the chainsaw leveling above. The natural deviations of the sleepers are quite obvious here.

Once the sleepers were sitting nice and level with the concrete it was time to lay the waterproof membrane over the cement. As the surface of the concrete footing was not level Peter decided to lay another thin layer of cement under the membrane so that the wall would not be resting on any high point of the footing.

Membrane - SweepingNino sweeping down the footing in preparation for laying the new cement layer.

Membrane - CementingCement layer going down

Rolling out the Water Proof MembraneSylvain rolling out the waterproof membrane over the freshly layed cement

With the membrane down we were finally ready to lay the wooden frame of the sole plate back onto the walls. Luckily we had five people on site as the frame was heavy!

VIDEO: Lifting the north-east corner of the sole plate into position

Membrane - Inspecting the ResultsStepping down the sole plate frame to make sure it is distributed even across all surfaces

Membrane - Inspecting the Results 2Surveying the handiwork

MembraneNo time to delay, there is still plenty more wall left to finish!

Screwing Sole Plate to SleepersScrewing the sole plate into the sleepers

Sleepers - ChainsawingMeasuring the Sleeper for the Front DooerSleepers - Angle 2Sleepers - AngleCompleted Sole Plate InspectionSole Plate - First Section Layed!Membrane - Rolling OutMembrane - Rolling Out 2Sole Plate - AdjustingSole Plate - Final LevelingSole Plate - Final Leveling 2Adj waterproof mAdjusting the waterproof membraneBuilding Inspection

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