21 March 2012

Rendering has begun...

The rendering crew arrived at sparrows Monday and they flew through the process quick as a wink... it was all over in 2 days!  The weather was perfect... almost 30 celcius on both days with a pleasant breeze to take the edge off the heat.  We're so rapt that the first coat is on... it really feels like we're getting closer to the finish line.

That said, here are the facts.  Three fit blokes (2 from out of town) ran the operation in clockwork fashion.  They are an amazing crew, led by Mark the renderer, Adam the first timer and local guy Paul, who kept up the pace so fierce, I was puffed just watching them.  Adam & Paul on the mixer and pump, with Mark dragging a hefty hose around spitting out mud from a crude looking nozzle.  You have to admire these guys, they really do keep going like Energiser Bunnies ALL day... a massive achievement. 

The rest of us worked bloody hard too.  After Mark applied the render, AC, Nama and I had to follow his trail and run our gloved hands up every inch of every wall to 1.gently push in the render, 2.ensure every little piece of straw was covered & flat (dealing with the stalictites hanging from top of window frames was tricky), and 3.look for and expand cavities (we called them rabbit holes)... and unfortunately, we found masses of them.  In between now and render coat #2, these holes need to be filled with 'cobb'; this will be explained in an upcoming post.
Not dirty yet, but evidence
I was there AND worked!

The trick for us was timing... follow Mark too early and the render is too runny, or wait too long and it's almost dry, which is what happened after Mark applied render to the north facing wall and we stopped for lunch.  Upon our return, we learned that a little water had to be applied so we could do our job properly.

As I mentioned in the previous post, there was more than a week's worth of work to be done in preparation, and right up until the very end of day 2, MOTH was finishing off the chicken wire and trimming of the east facing wall... so much so that Mark was chasing him along the wall at 6pm.  Unfortunately, MOTH didn't get to complete the last section of wall, so we'll have to hand mix a batch of render and apply it after MOTH is done.

Fuzzy gets showered with
straw shavings
Nama making more pins
for MOTH

The mixture got quite runny towards the end of the day (understandably so... the boys were weary), so we had quite a wait until we could start wiping the east wall... alas our job continued til about 7:30 that night.  Wow, what a day!

Fuzzy trying to convince me
he's hard at work

Playing with mud
seemed fun at the time

Personally, it was the physically hardest work I have ever done and I am extremely sore today in most areas of my body.  Being a totally unfit person is my undoing, but it was awesome fun.  I even climbed to the very top of the scaffolding to wipe the walls right below the roofline.  Scary when the wind is blowing!!!  Much of the day was spent on my knees and learning lessons... 1.wear goggles to prevent mud going in eyes, 2.wearing kneepads makes spending long periods of time on knees less painful, and 3.keep mouth closed cos mud tastes yucky and the sand makes it gritty. 

But pigs in mud we were... literally.  The house now looks like a pig sty... as did we at the time; Mark was voted the filthiest at the end of the day, with AC & I coming a close equal second.  Mud was flung in every direction possible, not just from the actual rendering application which blew, puddled and spat, but also when we had to frequently offload the weighty excess gunk from our gloves... which we turned into artwork (inspired by Pro Hart).

Art in the making

Mark wins!

The boys are all cleaned up at the end of the day

Today, MOTH, AC, Nama & Fuzzy are back on the job preparing for the next coat of render, starting Tuesday next week.  Me... I'm so sore I can barely walk and lift my arms.  I hear coat #2 is much thicker and must be trowelled after application, so that doesn't sound quite so labor intensive.  Should be fun!

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