More Snowy Cottage

Cottage and Dogs with Treehouse in Distance

Yesterday and last night we got a lot more snow. It’s compacted down some but still quite fluffy. The world is white under a crystal blue sky. Cold weather to come.

Ben parged the entire bathroom ceiling today. I had wanted to get it all in one shot so there would be no seams. It came out gorgeously! They had practiced on the bathroom and laundry – today was the big race to do one ceiling in one day. They were able to mix (1:2:4 in 5 gallons with 1.125 gal of water), apply the mortar and smooth it at a rate averaging about 4 sq-ft/person/hour over an eight hour day.

While they did the bathroom ceiling I plastered the west wall of the office. This is the first time I had done an entire wall with a new technique and it went beautifully, free hand floating the entire thing to a 1/4″ thickness in only three hours. That’s 13 sq-ft per hour.

Walls are significantly faster than the ceilings because I’m working a vertical surface while Ben was working up over his head, having to convince the mortar plaster to stay up on an inverted surface – the underside of the ceiling. In both cases, walls and ceilings, having sticky lime parge and wet surfaces are the keys. You might have noticed during construction that we also did things to make the ceiling surfaces very rough in preparation for parging.[1, 2, 3] Then it’s persistence and technique. Good thing the mix is so sticky – kudos to Ben for his superb batch control.

I knew it was possible. I had seen photos and old houses where it had been done. I just hadn’t gotten my hands in the mud so to speak, not on a whole wall. Today theory met reality and passed the test with flying colors. Now I know we can do it and quickly.

Doing an entire plane of surface, such as the ceiling or a wall in a room, at once means a better finish. We’ll be doing each face edge to edge and then on a different day we’ll cove the corners. Ben and I have been getting that technique down on our partition work.

With all this interior finish going in interior is starting to feel like the final spaces. Gaping holes in the walls where shelves, built in equipment and such will go are now filled. The rooms are real. It feels great!

So what has Will been doing you ask? Metal working. He’s playing with stainless steel and making a big machine for bending and fabricating doors, tables, shelves and other machines. We invent the tools to build the equipment to make the machines we need to do our processing. Photos soon…

Outdoors: 7°F/-9°F Sunny, 16″ Snow
Tiny Cottage: 65°F/57°F

Daily Spark: Show me someone who has never made a mistake, and I will show you someone who has never done anything. -Anon

About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
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2 Responses to More Snowy Cottage

  1. Trey Jackson says:

    It’s my understanding that icicles form on houses when the inside of the house heats up and melts the snow on the roof – causing it to trickle out and then freeze when it hits the colder air. I’m surprised to see icicles on your house given your attention to thermal efficiency.

    • Yup! The cottage does not have it’s full insulation on the roof yet. There is only R-14 up there. We got interrupted by winter the first year and since been working on the butcher shop. Since we only use 0.75 cord of wood a year to heat the cottage it hasn’t become a high enough priority to complete the insulation, yet. I think the cottage is so efficient because of the high thermal mass – it is very slow to release the energy it has despite the thin roof insulation. This surprised me. The mathematical models I’ve made for heat transfer focus on insulation for blocking heat transfer but there is a mass element blocking heat loss that needs to be in the equations which I have not figured out. Someday, maybe next year, we’ll add more insulation. That was the original plan and still the goal. In the mean time we get to enjoy the icicles.

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