Sunday, March 31, 2013

Adrian's Wall

Adrian, our eldest son, has been with us a couple of weeks, having just completed a trip through Central and South America.
He had just finished a half year travelling through Africa on a smallish pink Kawasaki.
Here he is. (He figured the fact that the bike was pink was some protection against theft)

Having completed his travels in Africa he flew to Costa Rica.  From there he went to Panama, from Panama to Columbia on a small sailboat (which he and the other passengers had to help sail) and from there to Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia. Together with his friend Tercel, they searched out much of what Central and S.America has to offer. Here he is at the ancient Inca ruins at Machu Picchu in the mountains of Peru.  Of the 900 photos to choose from, I selected this with him actually visible, and in a setting he (and I) can appreciate.  You can tell he likes the look of well-fitting stone.

If you ask my son about brick work, a trade which he earned his Red Seal in, he can point out all sorts of things you would and I might never notice.  Adrian has only just begun to achieve the many goals he has set for himself.
While he stayed with us Adrian completed the decorative wall he promised us when we built the house. The project was ambitious. We sketched for him a rough idea of what we would want for the wall.  He designed arches which matched the gothic arch style on our wood stove.
We had to reinforce the floor below to hold the extra weight of a wall of full sized bricks.

Adrian built a series of forms and laid out the pattern of bricks on them to make sure everything would line up properly.

Two days were spent just cutting brick with a tile saw.  The bricks used in the arch had to have a few millimetres trimmed from one end so the mortar lines would be even.
Yours truly did basic labour work, mixing mortar and such, while our cat helped inspect.

The arches had to be made first and they had to be strong enough to hold themselves up before the rest of the wall was filled in.

Quite an undertaking.

He was two weeks at it.  My best time with him in years was just sitting in the living room, watching him work, yakking, cutting an occasional brick and yakking some more.

Even the ceramic tiles underneath it all didn't break, despite all the weight.
The stone for the shelves we bought from a local stone dealer.
(My friend Joe Dibbits offered to deliver some 2-ton limestone slabs he had laying around, but I declined his offer to lower it through the roof.)

We never appreciated how much nicer real stone is compared to the man-made stuff you see everywhere.  Adrian insisted we don't go too cheap and use nasty stuff.

Adrian cut those to make ledges.

The arched box on the right is for firewood.

Once everything was done, we shrouded the whole business so he could acid-wash the bricks.

So here it is: Adrian's Wall
(sorry Adrian, it's late at night, and I just couldn't think up a better name for it right now, but I'll work on it)

Sometime in the next year I will build shelves on either side out of dark oak wood to complete the medieval look on the wall.  

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