We have reached the final week of construction!
With the buildings almost finished, this week sees the finishing touches being added. On building 851 we have finished daubing the last section of wall with the crushed chalk, this will hopefully dry out now that the sunny weather has arrived.
The completed north wall of building 851.
Around the eastern side of building 851 we are adding a woven hazel fence line, this features in the survey carried out when these buildings were excavated. This is a small section of fence approximately two metres away from the building.
The fence line on the eastern side of building 851.
On building 848 the floor has now been laid, this means that we no longer have to crush any chalk! Also we have started the last sections of roof that need covering. When these are finished we will be able to evaluate the different thatching methods used to see which are most suitable.
The last sections of roof on building 848 have been started.
After a day of grading, crushing and mixing chalk we have now finished laying the floor in building 851. We were quite amazed at the quantity of chalk that was needed in the floor.
Keith and Gareth mark out the hearth. Photo by Briony Clifton
The finished floor complete with hearth. Photo by Briony Clifton.
We also completed another section of thatch on the roof of building 848 today, this section also uses wheat straw but the method used is similar to that used yesterday on building 547.
Bob finishes another thatched section of building 848.
Another section of roof has been finished. The water reed thatching on one of the roof sections building 547 was completed today and now has a neat stepped finish.
Janey and Guy tie on a sway on building 547.
With the roof now complete we started to prepare the ground for the chalk floor in building 851. Our buildings are situated on a sloping site and so the first job today was to remove some of the turf from the upslope section. A layer of dry chalk was tamped into place to create a level surface then a wet mix of chalk is being laid on top, the smoothing of this with our hands is producing some lovely squelchy noises!
The dry chalk tamped into place.
The chalk floor being laid in building 851.
We have completed the ridge on building 851 today!
The sways were put in place over the folded rush and secured through with willow ties. We have also trimmed the ends of the wheat straw that were projecting out from under the rush.
Luke trimming the wheat straw at the ridge.
On building 848 we have finished two sections of thatching. One of the completed sections involves using grass to cover the roof structure, the other section is thatched using wheat straw.
Another two different thatching methods on building 848.
We are finally enjoying some warm weather!
On building 851 we have started the ridge capping, using a roll of wheat straw to provide a guide, we folded rush over the ridge and are going to secure it using a hazel sway on each side tied with willow. We should finish this tomorrow.
Gareth removes the excess rafter from the roof of building 851.
We have also started thatching on the other two buildings. On building 547 we are thatching a section using water reed. The reed is held in place using hazel sways, these are tied through to the ringbeams below with willow ties. We think that this makes a very neat finish.
Three layers of thatch on building 547.
While on building 848 we are using wheat straw attached in the same way as the water reed on building 547. We are also trying some experimental thatching using rush on the adjoining section of roof. We are using these test sections to establish which methods provide the best coverage.
The two types of thatch on building 848.
We have now finished the main structure on building 848. The woven hazel banding is now complete and an extended section has been added to create a sheltered doorway.
The sheltered doorway on building 848.
Another amazing push on the daubing has seen us complete almost three quarters of the walls in building 851. We hope to complete the walls in the next few days.
Guy daubing building 851.
Our thatching team completed the last quarter of the roof of building 851. We now have to put on a capping on the ridge and the roof will be finished.
Thatching is complete on building 851, just the ridge to finish.
Three schools took part in our house building workshops – we’ve updated our schools pages so you can see what they’ve been up to!
Working as a team to weave the hazel into the fence.
Today was the first day of the school workshops that we are running. All the children seemed to enjoy the chance to work on the buildings.
On building 851 our thatching team have now completed almost three quarters of the roof. We only have a little way to go before the building is watertight.
The thatch is nearly complete on building 851.
The sheltered doorway on building 848 progressed today with a hooped section being attached over the doorway and supplementary rafters added. To create a strong framework extra bands of hazel are being woven in at the same levels as on the main structure.
Les, Rosemary and Richard forming the doorway on building 848.
On the other side of building 848 we have continued to add to the weave and we are now almost at the top!
The woven roof section on building 848.
We have made amazing progress with the daubing on building 851 and, as a result of us using a large amount of chalk in the daub, we have had to start on the chalk crushing again. Much to everyone’s delight!
The ever shrinking chalk pile.
Building 848 has been progressing nicely with the team adding to the hazel weave on one side and added more bands on the other. We are now working on creating a sheltered doorway. After this has been completed we can start on covering the roof.
Wendy, Bob, Lisa and Les constructing the doorway on building 848.
The progress made on building 848.