Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Starting the first floor

So far this week I've spent Monday and Tuesday wire brushing down the oak beams ready for the solives. This is one filthy job. First off I chiselled off the loose rotten wood and then finished off by wire brushing and then brushing all the dust off. This leaves the beams solid and ready to nail up the mounting strips for the solives. The only tricky bit is than because the beams are no-longer square you have to try and bend the mounting strips to match the shape of the beam. After this its just a case of finding the high spot and working out from there. The good thing is that is you make a bit of a cock-up (like nailing the first mounting strip 20mm too low) you can just shim it up and carry on. To some extent it actually looks more authentic if its a bit uneven. I went round to Alison's to crib from the ceiling in her house and not one solive is spaced the same as the next, it's all over the shop (and looks all the better for it). With this in mind I decided not to get too precious about it and just get on with it.

For good measure where the old beams are rounded off I'm mortising the solives in so they're not just sitting on the mounting strip.

I've learnt one or two things today.

1, Oak is hard, after 300 years its like concrete.
2, When nailing into Oak use a big enough hammer.
3, Once you have nailed something to an Oak beam using a 6" nail, Don't try and get it out again (measure twice, nail once).
4, Wear gloves, oak turns your hands black.

Lastly, I love my Makita mitre saw, You should be issued with one free with every French house.

à bientôt


  1. Great stuff dude and looking great. I know you'll do a fab job ;-)

  2. Pleased to hear that the new tools are coming in handy!

  3. Thank's guys. Now I'm getting into my stride I'm starting to really enjoy it. Which given the task ahead is a good job I suppose!