Days On A Roof

i-8904875e13a371d6c4cfd8fd8742a10a-2010-11-16 13.59.28 lores.jpg

My dad is building a guest house and an octagonal two-story sauna on the steep scarp from his house down to the sea. Things suddenly got very hurried, and I was called in as a building hand to help get the roof onto the sauna before winter. So in addition to a lot of travel, lately I have learned a few things about how to put an octagonal roof onto a two-story building. Crazy scaffolding…

I’m filled with respect for the builders of the past, like the ones behind the Medieval churches that dot the Swedish countryside. We have power tools, spirit levels, boards in exact dimensions… They had plumb lines and axes and hand saws. When I was a boy my dad nailed houses together at our summer place, but now it’s all electrical screwdrivers and screws that drill their own holes. You can hold a board in one hand and fasten it to another just by pointing this gun-like thing at it, leaning on it and and pressing the trigger.

Anyway, with that view, it’s going to be a pretty amazing pair of houses.

i-db44fcc6673aee81f3bbf3afce2c1506-2010-11-17 09.35.16 lores.jpg

Comments

  1. #1 EricJuve
    November 17, 2010

    You must not be Acrophobic. I would have great difficulty working in that situation as both my arms would be wrapped around something solid….

  2. #2 Martin R
    November 17, 2010

    True, I’m lucky that way. Though I did make sure to move around slowly and deliberately. When it got dark, and we lit a floodlight up there, you had this false sense of security since you couldn’t see the ground anymore…

  3. #3 Rev Matt
    November 17, 2010

    I was in China about 4 years ago, in big tier 2 or 3 cities like Guangzhou, Nanchung. Bamboo scaffolding was being used on 3-4 story construction or rehab projects along side arc welders and all the other power tools we enjoy today, it was a scary and amazing sight, to say the least.

  4. #4 Birger Johansson
    November 17, 2010

    (OT) Vikings brought Amerindian to Iceland 1,000 years ago: study
    http://www.physorg.com/news/2010-11-vikings-brought-amerindian-iceland-years.html
    — — —
    Looking back at my youth, when I helped out painting walls while standing on flimsy, improvised scaffolding it is amazing that I am still alive…

  5. #5 Phillip IV
    November 17, 2010

    I’m filled with respect for the builders of the past, like the ones behind the Medieval churches that dot the Swedish countryside.

    Comparing the results they achieved to the tools they had available, one cannot help but feel the utmost respect.

    …assuming, of course, that the results they achieved where the results they set out for…

    700 years earlier:

    Builder 1: “Dang, we’ve completely screwed up this one -again ! This will never work as a stable!”

    Builder 2: “Oh, what the heck. Let’s add a little belfry to it and sell it as a church.”

    Builder 1: “OK, then let’s do that. But the next time, we try out that new Italian thing.”

    Builder 2: “Italian thing?”

    Builder 1: “It’s all the rage down south. They call it ‘pianare’. The basic idea is, before you build something, you draw a little picture of it. It’s a kind of charm.”

  6. #6 Sandgroper
    November 17, 2010

    There is such a thing as safety harness, but it slows you down a lot.

    It’s a sobering thought that a stone mason could spend his whole life working on one of the great mediaeval cathedrals and never see it finished, and maybe his sons too.

    Bamboo scaffolding is stronger and lighter than steel, but the plastic ties work loose and need to be renewed every 6 months, and it frequently comes down in typhoons – you don’t want a bamboo pole spearing down at you from height. It’s really quite frightening to watch the scaffolders putting bamboo scaffolding up the side of a 50 storey building, all held together with little strips of plastic.

    If you want an uneasy experience, try climbing bamboo scaffolding that is swaying around because the ties have not been renewed for a couple of years, 50 metres up the sheer vertical and unstable rock face of an old quarry.

  7. #7 Jim
    November 17, 2010

    Then, there are wild & wonderful constructions. Be glad that you aren’t re-roofing this house in my neck of the woods:
    [ http://www.joplinglobe.com/local/x967715222/Rippling-Rafters-house-in-Redings-Mill-gets-new-roof ].

  8. #8 Lassi Hippeläinen
    November 18, 2010

    octagonal two-story sauna
    Big family, eh? Anyway, glad to hear that it will be a sauna, not a bastu.

    Medieval builders took some risks. According to legends the builder of the Oleviste kirik in Tallinn fell to his death after completing the tower, which at one time was the tallest building in the world. It is an abomination. Thor has hit it with his lightning several times.

    And bamboo scaffolding is combustible.
    http://boingboing.net/2010/11/15/towering-inferno.html

  9. #9 Eric Lund
    November 18, 2010

    It’s a sobering thought that a stone mason could spend his whole life working on one of the great mediaeval cathedrals and never see it finished, and maybe his sons too.

    Not just in medieval times either. Consider Antoni Gaudí’s masterpiece, the cathedral in Barcelona known as La Sagrada Família. Gaudí took over the project in 1883, one year after construction began. Estimated completion date: 2026, the centennial of Gaudí’s death.

  10. #10 Jonathan Jarrett
    November 19, 2010
  11. #11 Sandgroper
    November 19, 2010

    #9 – Lassi, it is, but the scaffolding on that building in Shanghai is steel.

The site is undergoing maintenance presently. Commenting has been disabled. Please check back later!