Catwalks


Catwalk East

We are starting to work high up on the butcher shop. With the goal of safety Ben and Holly built cat walks all around our work areas. In the back of the building it is only about four feet off the ground because the butcher shop is set into the hillside – a bit of earth berming that will serve it well in the long run. But in the front of the building the drop is already about 14′ off the ground.


Board Walk from Above

Here’s looking at that same boardwalk but from above, standing up on top. It is nice to have a wide sidewalk to the building with a catch. This is 14′ up above the ground. Watch your step.


Chiller Formed Up

Looking down into the carcass chiller. The doorway at the far end is 12′ high and comes from the abattoir, the kill floor, the slaughterhouse. After killing, dehairing, washing, gutting and final wash the pig carcasses ride the 11’8″ rail into the chiller. Theoretically we might be able to pack up to 40 pork carcasses in the chiller. That is a lot more that we want to do. We are only putting in a refrigeration system capable of handling 10 to 20 carcasses. In the future we plan to also do one beef which will then go into aging as well as some lambs and goats. But that is several years down the road.


Joy de Construction

Will and Ben just got done locking in the forms together with the horizontal waler boards. This involves tightening down the 5/8″ threaded steel rods on spacers all around the building.


Spacer Brick

Some of the spacers are door and window frames. Others are bricks like the one shown above. Holly used her diamond engagement ring to cut them on the table saw. Every man should give his wife a diamond tipped saw blade so she can cut stones. :)


Holly on South Catwalk

Ben played around a bit with the widths of the catwalks as well as the angles of the diagonal braces and how high they fall back boards go. This one is 2′ wide with 8′ long diagonals that rise up the steepest of all the ones he did and everyone liked this set best.


Butcher Shop in Fall

In this photo you can see the raceway forms are now up on the chiller, cutting room and commercial kitchen. Next we start putting up trusses to support the ceilings we’ll be pouring in our next concrete pour. The ceilings will be poured in white concrete.

The ceiling of the chiller will be a beautiful, pure barrel vault arch with a longitudinal Hershey Kiss shaped beam at the top.

The ceilings of the kitchen and the cutting room will be catenary arches. If you’re not sure what they are, ask a spider. I’ll talk more about both in an upcoming post.

Technically it is now almost fall. We are about at the equinox. The leaves are changing color. We almost got hit with frost three times but so far even the pumpkin leaves are fine. We’re hoping for a long, warm fall so we can get the butcher shop closed in plus some other projects before the furies of winter.

Outdoors: 63°F/43°F Light Rain
Tiny Cottage: 68°F/66°F

Daily Spark:
Why do trees turn red in the fall?
For soon they know they’ll be naked before all.

About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
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5 Responses to Catwalks

  1. Susan Lea says:

    Truly impressive! You guys are amazing!

  2. Nance says:

    could I apprentice to Holly? I enjoy working with wood and would love to know how to build a catwalk. Good work Holly and Ben! Good work, ya’all!

  3. Nance says:

    “pure barrel vault arch with a longitudinal Hershey Kiss shaped beam at the top” . . . you’ve got a lot of explaining to do, young man. I don’t know what all that means!

  4. Ellen says:

    Walter why do you have all that roughness on the top of your cement walls and what are the blue things up high? Also why all the white pipes? Your project is facinating. It is so amazing that your building a butcher shop with your family that is going to be smaller than my house. I am always amazed at what you and your family accomplish!

    • The white pipes are the ends of vent tubes and conduit for water lines and such.

      The blue things are plastic bags covering work lights that illuminate the site in the early morning hours or late evening hours – we’re starting to lose our daylight so that extends our work day.

      The roughness on the top of the walls is rough concrete, a key line groove, spikes of rebar and chunks of granite all designed to make the next section of the wall lock into the one below. I don’t want to pull a Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, not that we get much in the way of tornadoes. Still…

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