Friday, October 9, 2009

Euroa Over-Engineering Part 2

In part one, your three adventurers managed to lay the foundations for the bridge over Castle Creek. Day two dawned with two tasks ahead: laying the floor of the bridge between the new supports on sandy bank and the landing root; and constructing the ramps up to the bridge and from the bridge to the far bank.

First the side supports need to be made roughly parallel, involving some work on the trunk on the right hand side. The left side log was remarkably straight and required little work.

There was an old dismantled wooden fence that the team had identified as suitable material for the bridge floor. It had been dumped in a 6 pile high mound near the homestead. In pulling the pile apart, we disturbed a local who'd been enjoying a long winter's slumber.

However, the fencing was perfect for the bridge, and the idea to hold the fence together and attach in slabs saved a heap of time, even if a large number of the nails had to be replaced with new ones. From downstream you can admire the efforts to provide a straight edge on the far edge, at the same time observing the supervisory efforts of Espie.

Despite the day being shortened by compulsory attendance at the Euroa Show and Shine show, day 2 came to an end with a pretty substantial looking bridge.

The only casualty of the day, despite the careful attention to relevant OH&S standards, was a tool utensil that, in the parlance, 'copped a hammering':

All that remained for day three was the construction of the ramps; and peripherals. There was enough fencing for the ramps, the only challenge was to build up the supports;

which was easy enough on the Sandy side, using (once again) old fencing supports ...

.... but somewhat more challenging on the Root side, with both an angle and dead tree to negotiate.

If you look carefully, you can see the Root side construction involved some fairly unconventional but ingenious woodwork, using, as always, off-cuts and property timber only:

The finished product positively gleamed in the late evening sun; and the last minute attention to detail from junior engineer made sure that nothing was left incomplete.

Proud of mission complete, we sat on the bridge, admiring our handy work and waiting for the much deserved gin tonic.

Euroa Over-Engineering Society Unlimited

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 ...