One of the things we are learning with this project is that a lot of things that can’t really be seen have to be done in between the good photo opportunities showing a lot of progress. This floor was done shortly after the last blog post, but then a number of things had to be done to get ready for the next big step in building.
We decided that because I want the kitchen area of the building to be open, but it still needs to be secure because we will be storing things like alcohol in there, we needed to cage it in. In part, this is just good reuse of material we have on the property, but in addition to being secure yet open, it provides a good backing for the palmetto (pimento) sticks we are using for the walls. However, before the cage material could be put up for the walls and ceiling, it had to be taken down from the cages still standing on the property, which is an awkward and time consuming job. And, it’s not easy to handle in big pieces, so getting the walls up and straight was a job, and getting the large pieces into the rafters took a few extra hands.
Once they had the sticks here and unloaded, we had a big conference about what we wanted the outside walls to look like. We decided that the walls should be four feet high in the kitchen area to provide a backsplash for the counters, and three feet high in the dining area so they don’t impede people’s view when they’re sitting at a table. Tom used his power mitre box and set up a line so that the sticks were fed to a board, Tom used the saw to cut them, and they were then stacked to the side.
The other part of the conference was what we wanted the sticks to look like. Many places around here have palmetto stick walls, but most leave the hairy bark on the sticks. We decided that since this is a kitchen, we’d rather have the bark peeled off in hopes of giving bugs one less place to hide. Plus, we like the look of the peeled sticks. But, it was quite a job to peel each stick!
Once the sticks were cut and peeled, the noticeable construction was able to start. They put up two guide boards between the supporting posts and inside the cage material, then nailed the sticks to the boards from the outside of the cage material. Because the sticks were all cut evenly, it took two people inside to keep them at the right height and straight…
…and one on the outside to do the nailing. Daniel made it a point to hammer the nails in from about a 45 degree angle so when you look at the wall, you don’t see metal nail heads on the wood.
His effort was well worth it. We’re quite pleased with the look of the walls, and are looking forward to getting the sticks up the rest of the way around the building.