Saturday, 19 May 2012

Glittering walls and a fireplace

Feeling like a good job was done, as yesterday and today I finished putting up the expanded metal sheets on half-timbered parts of the east gable. Sounds like a simple job, but try hammering 3.5kg-worth of 6 and 9cm nails into old oak beams. I've a lot of respect for the strength of oak, despite cursing it every time a nail bent (more often that I liked, and drilling pilot holes only got me so far till I broke my fourth and final drill bit of the right size). So, sheets cut, nailed on, overlapped, wire-tied and holes cut for the windows. Whole gable (2.5 stories worth) done in about 16 hours. I bet a professional could have done it a lot quicker, but working solo takes time.

Spot the bent nail.
Nice and tidy.
Half-timbered part begins at eve level.

From the back. Only one patch left.
Quite nice getting the sun on this side in the morning, and a birds-eye view of the work going on down below.

Meanwhile, inside, my wife discovered what looks like an old fireplace in the living room, while hacking off loose plaster. This is right at the bottom of the chimney (hence fireplace). The thought of reopening it flashed briefly across my mind, but I'd rather not take chances with that crack above it. We'll probably install a wood stove to the right, with a new stovepipe drilled directly into the chimney. Interestingly, the position of this fireplace is exactly in line with the wall we removed. We knew this was a later wall (modern material), but the position of a fireplace here suggests the living room was always a big, open room, or at least since 1937.
Old fireplace, probably built 1937.

We know this is the case, as the current chimney position was indicated as new on a 1937 plan. The former owners told is that legend has it that the house was used as a Gaststätte (Inn), and the living room was the common room. Something we have to research, but I find it hard to believe!

The proper village Gaststätte is also under renovation, though a lot faster, and to better standards, then ours.

Zur Linde, well-insulated.
Other smaller jobs done today: finally severed the electric cables leading to the barn and cleaned up the facade a bit. The cables were rather ugly, running across the front of the house, just under the eves. The new ones will run inside the cellar, across to the barn.

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