20m2

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The Mezzanine

Took the opportunity (and the willing participation of my FIL), to make some progress on the mezzanine floor.

Dennis (one of the site regulars) and I tried a few combinations with the attic stairs yesterday, unfortunately finding it a little trickier than expected, and took them down again.

So last night I used some 90x45s to box around the outside of the stairs’ frame, then took down the two flooring beams that the stairs will attach to, and reversed the process, attaching the beams to the stairs on the ground, rather than in situ.  A few bugle-headed hex bolts today to really lock the whole structure together, and we raised it all up back into position, and screwed it all down in place.

Much easier, and a really good outcome.  The stairs (almost) reach the ground – so much closer than I possibly expected, and it will only need a small step (about 50mm high) under the bottom of the ladder for the lower legs to rest on.

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With the stairs in place, access to the mezzanine becomes significantly easier.  We then started on the laying of the redtongue.  Rather than just going with the sheets simply going between the end beams (conveniently the same distance apart as the boards are long – 3600), we are instead maximising the floor area, and with some short vertical panels, separating the mezzanine from the lower section completely.

This requires every sheet being cut down in length, so it stops midway on one beam, and leaving 3 beams (including the half-beam) for a shorter section to finish off and sit fully stabilised across all 3.  These are alternating left and right.  It does mean I am short two sheets of redtongue now.  It also means I am making more use of the Triton Circular Saw freehand than I think I ever have before.  Heavy, powerful, good on the plunge cut.  Still, I’d prefer if I had a Festool circ saw and a rail.

The first section needed some significant tailoring to fit it in among the combination of posts, and electrical conduit.  With the first piece down (and the silver builders paper underneath), it did get easier, but still it took a lot longer than expected.  We only ended up 1/2 way across the floor before having to stop for the day.  Still, a good start.

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The Festool Ti15 has been getting a good workout in all this – has been really beneficial.

I don’t have any of the Centrotec bits though, and it is obvious this is a ploy used by Festool, as normal bits are not positively retained and fall out often, which becomes frustrating.

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The first view out the mezzanine window.Photo 25-01-2014 17 44 27

And the workshop floor gets its first real taste of sawdust.

Weekend Progress Report

Had a fair amount to get on with today, getting ready for the electrician as much as anything (although I still haven’t planned the GPO layout yet – have to be tomorrow.)

After trying to work out the order things needed to be done in, I realised that one of the difficulties was having the SawStop still in its box, still on the pallet.  I didn’t have time to go through a full setup, but I did manage to:

1. Get the mobile base from under the previous tablesaw (that was a bit of a mission in itself, being over 200kg, and in restricted space in the garage).

2. Size it to fit the base of the SawStop

3. Set up, and film the first stage of the SawStop setup, up to the point that the saw is out of the box, upright and sitting on the mobile base.  I’ll continue the process when I have more time to dedicate to it.  At least the saw is now mobile, and it sure looks good – black is definitely the new black where it comes to workshop machinery!

Next, I decided removing a couple of purlins would make life a lot easier, so off they came.  The benefit of a steel structure, held together with heavy-duty screws.

I managed to get the sheets up there – bit of a combination of angles, rope, and brute force.  With the mezzanine at 2800, it was a bit of an effort even so.  The sheets are only 33kg each, just cumbersome.

At the moment they are only sitting up there – I will fix them down later once the final building permit is signed off, and then the attic stairs installed.  They look raw underneath, but I have a solution to that.

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This was the first chance to see what the shed looks like with the overall vertical view blocked, and it is fine – not too closed in.  Benefit of having a high ceiling.

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I still haven’t decided whether to run the floor right to the edges (which needs more than the 3600 length the redtongue comes in), or to stick with the current length and secure it down.  Decision for another day.

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This is what I’ve bought to lay down under the flooring, so it looks the business from the ground.  Has some minor insulating properties, but I got it because it looks like the existing insulation on the walls, and is a good reflector, maximising available light in the shed.

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Speaking of lights, this is how I am installing them on my own.  A MagSquare.  And specifically the 50mm.  It comfortably holds the light fitting in place until I can get the self-tappers in.

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With the main and rear sections done, it looks pretty good.  All in line, spacing about right.  Double tubes per fitting should make for plenty of light.  Each fitting has a standard 3 pin plug end (which is the flex you can see hanging down), so wiring them in will be easy.

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Not looking as wide as it will when fully assembled, but there is a real presence in the workshop…..

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Mmmm.  Shiny.

Stick out your tongue and say “ahh”

No, not one of those “health articles”, this is about flooring!

Never looked into it before (and still have only glanced at the whole topic), so I wasn’t aware there was more than just yellow tongue.

Turns out there is yellow, red and blue in the STRUCTAflor range, and other colours by other manufacturers (such as green, which the staff at the store said was inferior).

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The stuff is structural grade particleboard sheet flooring. The tongue colour represents material thickness

o Yellow = 19mm
o Red = 22mm
o Blue = 25mm

They are wax impregnated throughout, so cutting the sheet doesn’t compromise the moisture resistance.

As I am going to use the mezzanine for storage, I’ve gone with the heavier red tongue. It cost a little more, but thanks to the ongoing head to head between Masters and Bunnings, the price was better than expected. Got 6 sheets of 3600×900 – should be enough.

Not exactly sure when I will install it, but wanted it here so I can potentially use it for a path to get machines from the garage to the shed, and so I can do some work up on the mezzanine, specifically power installation.

That is starting early on Tuesday morning, so I don’t have long to work out just what I need out there.

Flooring the Opposition

How often do you find that you walk on a hardwood floor, to quickly realise that the floor is an illusion, that the wooden surface is nothing more than a thin veneer.  You feel it underfoot – that springy feeling, and the sound, the slap each step of the floating panels hitting the floor underneath.

Another common polished timber floor are full thickness boards, but they are not tongue and grooved together, and each board is nailed down by an enthusiastic builder with a nail gun.  And every nail hole filled with poorly colour-matched knobs of putty.

What if you have found some beautiful pieces of timber, either virgin or reclaimed that you would love to use?  Then the solution is to make your own floorboards, and creating your own tongue and grooves is the way to go.  A tongue and groove in its simplest form can join the boards together, but Toolstoday.com have a much more refined bit set available from Amana Tool, and again a set endorsed by Lonnie Bird.

Router set storage case

Router set storage case

The set of two matched router bits is particularly well made – I don’t normally notice the fit of the shaft in the router, but these bits were particularly well machined.  Many companies ignore the shaft to a large extent, with microridges from the tooling marks on the shaft being acceptable.  These were very fine – a really good fit, and smooth.  You may think that smoothness leads to slippage, but that is not the case.  Lubrication causes slippage, as does a limited contact area, and ridging can cause quite a drop in the contact area between the router shaft and the collet.

A smooth shaft maximises contact area, and therefore grip.  If you don’t quite believe this, ask yourself why (in dry weather) Formula 1 cars perform best on slick tyres.

Onto the rest of the two bits, and the finish remains immaculate.  No rough brazing here, and quality carbide well backed up with the router bit base material.

Immaculate Amana router bit set

Immaculate Amana router bit set

The router bits have to be used in a table-mounted router, and a fence is highly desirable, if not a must.  The router bits have bearings, but for thinner boards, the bearing does not contact the board.  It still is very useful to ensure the fence is set to the right distance for the bit.  Speaking of board thickness, there are two sets available – one for boards 5/8″ – 3/4″ (which is the set I have), and another for boards 1/2″ – 5/8″

Mounted in the router table

Mounted in the router table

One thing that these bits do not do, is cause the groove to be too deep, or the tongue too long. (We do not need a Gene Simmons endorsed router bit!)  Once the boards are interlocked, you don’t need to risk having either portion of the board cracking or breaking off.

There are a number of other subtle developments that have been incorporated in the Amana Tool design.

Interlocking Board Features

Interlocking Board Features

Starting from the top of the joint, the two boards come together completely flat, ensuring the least amount of gap possible between boards.  This is the only contact area between the boards in the horizontal plane, so seasonal change should have minimal impact on the joint.

The next feature is the tiny triangular indent out of the lefthand board.  This is a gap for a hidden nail to be shot at an angle through the board to nail it to the joist that holds the floor up. Having a gap for this hidden nail prevents the head of the nail interfering with the joint.  It also means it is easy to nail the board at an angle through the solid portion of the timber, rather than firing the nail vertically through the much thinner tongue, risking forming a split.

The tongue is short, and rounded, so there is one point of contact at the widest point of the tongue. The corners of the tongue, and the groove in which it engages are all rounded.  This minimises the likelihood that a crack will start in the corner and break off the tongue, or the outer edges of the groove.

Finally, there is the large cavity at the bottom of the joint.  It helps prevent moisture from gathering at the joint, and being wicked up into the joint.

Joined boards

Joined boards

Boards once joined together are seamless, with only the different grain of each board giving away where one finishes, and the next begins.  Having a decent thickness adds to the overall quality of the floor, and being able to make the professional-style tongue and groove boards yourself can save a fortune, and also allow you to specifically choose the timber that the floor will be made from.

Once again, and unsurprisingly, a quality set of router bits from Amana Tool, and Toolstoday.com.

A-well-a bird, bird, b-bird’s the word….

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