From a 200 year old ruin to a workshop, a 3 year journey... #7: Finally some wood....

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Blog entry by Serradura posted 05-10-2013 08:09 AM 3975 reads 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 6: Building the new front wall Part 7 of From a 200 year old ruin to a workshop, a 3 year journey... series Part 8: "Aut Viam Inveniam, Aut Faciam" »

I don’t know what the bigger job was, making the wooden wall for the second floor, or getting the timber up to the building sight. Our street was made hundreds of years ago when the only way of transport was a donkey or in the case of being rich and noble, a horse. Even though the Templar Knights were thinking big, they never could have imagined huge trucks, cranes and bulldozers. I had to go and pick up the wood myself at my supplier and it took 4 rides with my (Iveco) van to get from there to the hilltop. Being on a tight budget meant using standard 260 cm long Eucalyptus planks again.

Normally these are used to make moldings for concrete and scaffolding boards over here, and that’s why my supplier, who lives a few villages away, always keeps stock. Now, they’re not all the same, the thickness is more or less 28 mm, but they come between 8 and 30 or more centimeters wide. You just buy per square meter, and have to work with whatever size is there.

What was I thinking when I made the whole wall in one piece, laying down on the second floor… I did it because it gave me the opportunity to lay out all the planks, combining small and bigger ones. Because of the wood being fresh I made sure to overlap a good 3 cm on both sides (witch in some cases even turned out “just enough” after it dried out) There was also the connecting roof to consider, so the outside bottom of the wall had to be in a 10 degree angle. In all, I just made it according the plans in my head….

After a few attempts with some ropes, a carjack and some supporting beams, it just wouldn’t move. Luckily I have someone looking out for me and she decided to call some friends…. 10 minutes later the wall stood straight up.

Having the wall in it’s place, time came to fill the gabs between the wood and the old walls. Maybe it’s just the other way around from how such a process would normally take place, but using random sized and shaped stones it’s just easier to have a guiding surface on both sides.

Now, there’s one issue to be explained. Why not make the whole building out of stone…. Portuguese laws would force me to get a permit for any new constructive alterations, but… they don’t see wood as a permanent material (you can still build a house out of timber without getting any “aviso” (permit), I already stretched the rules by putting up one wall on the front, so… that’s the answer to that.
Walls that have survived hundreds of years, now suddenly are considered structural unsafe, although there are aquaducts in the vicinity that were build 800 years ago, without using any cement, and are still standing tall, sometimes up to a 100 meters high.

No, they want you to use inferior hollow bricks and concrete pillars….. (but are there any building regulations that make any sense, made by some clerk behind a desk)

Next time; Putting on a roof.

-- Não só Serradura, Tomar, Portugal

6 comments so far

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30677 posts in 3793 days

#1 posted 05-10-2013 09:38 AM

Do you folks get any sleep? Very impressive work, but it looks like a LOT of work.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View Julian's profile


1693 posts in 4146 days

#2 posted 05-10-2013 02:44 PM

You are doing an amazing job. This will be one incredible shop. Looking forward to see more of your work.

-- Julian

View BTimmons's profile


2303 posts in 3940 days

#3 posted 05-10-2013 04:02 PM

In the second hand drawn sketch, the Roman numerals on the door, “MMXI” indicate the number 2011. Since you only recently bought the building, I doubt the plans are two years old? If the dedication on the door is for the year 2013, it should real MMXIII.

-- Brian Timmons -

View Serradura's profile


195 posts in 3399 days

#4 posted 05-10-2013 04:14 PM

answer to BTimmons;

No… I can’t put MMXIII on it yet. That’s why I called these blog series “From a 200 year old ruin to a workshop, a 3 year journey”. The property was bought in 2009, started working on it seriously in 2010…. In the sketch I still had the strange thought that I could finish in that year. That obviously was a bit wishful thinking. We are now almost in to the 4th year and still not ready. The door….. soon to described in this blog, was made in 2012, and although I wish I could put a date of finishing on the whole project…. I can’t.

Thanks for your replies, and all others who do to! I hope to show you the final result this year…. but nothing is as uncertain as a project as this.

-- Não só Serradura, Tomar, Portugal

View BTimmons's profile


2303 posts in 3940 days

#5 posted 05-10-2013 07:10 PM

Ah, gotcha.

-- Brian Timmons -

View DocSavage45's profile


9071 posts in 4298 days

#6 posted 05-14-2013 04:19 PM

Fortuitous journey. Your budget limits what you can buy. It is being put together by manual labor, which is how it began. Old and new coming together.


-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

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