Thursday, January 2, 2014

Damaged wood shed

Let me explain my title. I’m talking of a recently-constructed shed at Gamone, made out of timber and designed to house firewood. The tiled roof of this shed was damaged severely (as you might be able to see in the following photo) during the wind blizzard that struck Gamone during the Xmas period.

Click to enlarge

Most of the tiles in the three or four lower rows of the roof were uplifted by the wind. Few, however, were actually broken. As things stand, only the background pile of firewood (planned to age for another year) might be dampened through gaps in the tiled roof. So, the immediate consequences of this mishap—throughout the approaching winter—are minimal. Meanwhile, I know exactly how I must set about repairing this damage, in a series of several well-defined operations:

• First, I shall have to remove the totality of tiles (few of which were broken by the blizzard), and pile them up neatly on the ground. Then I shall remove all of the narrow horizontal battens upon which the tiles were laid.

• I shall then board up the entire roof surface with thin timber referred to in French as volige. (I haven't found the English translation of this technical term.) I realize today (a little too late, you might say) that I should have laid this volige in the beginning, before putting the tiles in place, but I didn't imagine, naively, that it might serve any useful purpose.

• Be that as it may (there's no sense in fretting about old errors), I shall then nail new battens in place, and lay out the tiles once again.

• The lower row of tiles will be fixed to the woodwork by means of brass screws through carefully-drilled holes, and successive rows will be held in place by dabs of Sikaflex mastic.

• Finally, to prevent gusts of wind from hitting directly the inside surface of the roof (which then behaves like the sail of a boat), I intend to board up the upper front third of the façade of the wood shed.

• If, after all those carefully-planned adjustments, my wood shed still suffers damage through seasonal winds, then all I can say is that it’s surely the will of God or the Devil (I don’t care which)… and I will no longer give a damn.

Meanwhile, let me take this opportunity of sneaking in an advanced item of information concerning Future Plans for Gamone. In a nutshell, I would like to install my future pizza oven beneath a wooden canopy—roughly half as wide as the wood shed, and of a similar style, probably not quite as high—located approximatively at the current place of Fitzroy’s kennel… which would be moved to the spot where the compost box is currently placed.

Not so long ago, I had a sudden revelation that a pizza/bread oven at Gamone would function perfectly well outside the main house… just a few metres from my front door. In other words, there’s no sense in my bending over backwards in an attempt to place this future much-desired pizza/bread oven inside the ancient cellar, where the problem of the evacuation of smoke would be critical and hard to solve (with safety). Besides, it’s so much more fun designing a pizza/bread oven from scratch, outside in the open, without the constraints of space.

The basic pizza/bread oven will be enclosed by a rectangular cement block, 1.5m by 1.5m, about 2.0m high. It will be protected by a shed (four massive posts and a tiled roof) of about 2.5m (wide) by 2.0m (deep), with a small protruding chimney. It goes without saying that I would appreciate any architectural design suggestions.

Certain designers prefer to house their pizza/bread oven within a curved plaster tortoise shell that encompasses the oven within a minimal volume of isolation, culminating in a neat little chimney. Apart from the fact that I wouldn’t know how to actually build such a curved structure, I’m not sure that the volume of the thermal isolation surrounding the oven should be reduced to this minimal extent (for operational reasons).

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