Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Euroa Over-Engineering Society Unlimited

Project time again ! During the October long weekend, on a visit to a tree-change friends' place, we decided to change a few trees ourselves; change them into a bridge, precisely. Mike and Nicola have a picturesque property just outside Euroa in country Victoria. It's a great place, but there was one challenge Nicola faced when feeding the horses in the back paddock - getting across the improvised bridge (copper pipes below) - carrying a new-born, with a three year-old in tow.

For three engineers, that was too good a challenge to resist, and plans for the bridge got under way. With the exceptions of the nails, the bridge was to be built just using what could be found on the farm. The roots on the far bank make a natural landing point; step one was to construct a platform on the house side of the bank, mostly sandy, that would not get washed away.

OH&S Approved Concrete Carrying Posture

In she goes...

The solution was to use two concrete filled oil drums (previously used to hold a water tank aloft), and lay across the top of them a miscellaneous piece of concrete, next to the silo, that was earmarked for the tip.

Next stop was choosing the branches to form the underlying frames to carry the bridge. There was a large storm flattened gum tree in the back paddock, but finding 18ft straight pieces (there are no metres in an old-school project like this) was still a challenge. Eventually a first piece was identified, and the cutting technique apparently agreed upon.

I told him to cut this way ...

.. cut this way

Moving the log was no easy matter though; barley shifting the cut branch was a challenge, even for three lads in the prime of their early middle-age. Luckily there was a ute and a gold chain, and that combination was put to good use in transporting the said log closer to the creek - which also allowed some log-surfing.

Surfin' E.U.R.O.A

Next challenge was getting the log in place; the ute couldn't drive across the copper pipes dragging the log behind it; so a complicated manouevre ensued to slide the log onto the copper pipes (aka the old bridge) relying on momentum and ropes to get it across the creek before it slipped off the copper and jagged into the bank.

This somehow achieved, it was time for some mid-creek chainsawing to remove unwanted knobs,

... before the whole process had to be repeated for log number 2, which ended up being an even heavier mother.

Much to the amusement of the locals ...

what are they up to ?

And finally, at the end of day one, we have the two side supports in place, solidly supported, and ready to be built upon.

to be continued ...

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