One of the tenets of passive solar design is thermal mass, and from a passive solar standpoint there are two problems with our house: too much glass and too little thermal mass. But we've been over this before. This weekend we added about 3500 pounds of thermal mass to the north wall of the bedroom. Due to an odd coincidence I met again one of the stonemasons who helped build the arch mentioned here. I got to talking with him about my ideas for the north wall of the living room and ended up hiring him and his partner to help me build the wall using stone from my land. This is a dry laid (no mortar is used) stone wall measuring 12' long by 3' high and 20" deep. 20" is pretty narrow for a drystone wall but we're not anticipating getting any frost heave in the living room. To figure out the weight of stone you usually use the weight of water which is 62 pounds per cubic foot.
Bright and early Saturday morning Matt and Mike arrived and we spent the morning drivinga round the land investigating and excavating the various stone piles around the land. Eight trips later we had a good bunch of stones to work from and we started work on the wall. I've rebuilt some of my grandfather's mortared walls, but I don't have very much experience with dry stacked stone. One of the secrets of a dry stacked stone wall is that it is actually two walls, that lean into each other. This lean is called the batter. We could cheat a fair bit because we were building on a solid surface that wouldn't (hopefully) be moving. So we have only 1" of batter in 3' of height; it's barely noticable.
On Sunday Matt and Mike returned and brought John the fellow who was running the arch seminar that I crashed. With three of them working (and me helping) things moved much faster. We made four more trips for stone - if you're building a wall budget on needing about two to three times as much stone as you need for the wall. Things wrapped up around noon, with the wall capped and level and looking pretty spectacular. It'll take a bit of time to see if the wall is enough thermal mass, I suspect that we'll need a bit more mass. But it looks spectacular, and when the wall is finished with our cedar I think the whole living room area is really going to come together.
Now if you know Gator, you know that he loves stones. Loves them in a way that is nothing short of disturbing. So imagine if you will attempting to build a stone wall witrh a dog who is obsessed with rocks. Imagine that dog spending two days with several men who are equally obsessed with rocks, though not perhaps in quite the same way as Gator (I never saw Matt lick a stone). It was an interesting weekend.
Sometimes life interupts the blog and this has been one of those times. But there has been some great progress in the last few weeks, despite more than a few setbacks. I've picked up a contract in the city and so with Joanne home on leave now I'm cimmuting into Toronto on a daily basis. Needless to say this has cut into my available time for working on the house. Recognizing this we hired a friend of my father's, Russ, to help us with the framing if the interior walls. Gil has walls and a room, but no doors. We have an entry to our bedroom room and a linen closet but no door either. Our weekend alarm clock is Gil jumping onto our bed.
Gil's room is drywall on the inside, we figure that kids are so hard on walls, why bother with wood. In the long east wall of his room we've actually roughed in a doorwayd. We figure that he and Declan can share the room until they're about 10 (or so) and when the time come to separate them, we cut open the wall, throw up a door, and build a wall between them. Hey presto! Two bedrooms. So we have ten years to forget where the door is.
Dad has been busy dressing the cedar that we cut back in the summer. We tried to do it here using my generator (the tools are 240V and the house doesn't do 240V). Unfortunately the generator doesn't supply the quantities of current that the tools need and we blow motors on both the planer and jointer. The planer was fixed with a capacitor change, but the jointer needed a whole new motor, which we just got on Thursday. Next it's routing and finishing and those walls can go up. The doors are on order and will hopefully arrive soon. We didn't build the alls up to the ceiling yet for two reasons, we don't really have a ceiling to build to, and we're hoping to do something with sandblasted glass and awning windows for both light transmission and ventilation.
Born: Oct 2, 2005
Weight: 7 lbs 3 oz.
Length: 22 inches