Saturday, 2 June 2012

Cross battens in place

The next thing for Chris and me to do was to cut the cross battens and fit them in place. Each one had to be measured separately as the walls of the hall were not exactly parallel. There was also the small matter of how they were to be fixed to the battens on the wall. For some reason which I can't recall we decided that we wanted the underside of the cross battens to be at the same level as the underside of the wall battens. Eventually, we decided to cut the cross battens to exactly the same measurement as the gap across the hall between the wall battens. We then cut shorter lengths of batten which we fixed to the top of the cross battens but protruding at each end. These short lengths could sit on top of the wall battens and we could fix them by screwing down through the protrusions. It was not until we had nearly finished that we realised we had made unnecessary work for ourselves: all we really had to do was to fix the cross battens immediately underneath those on the wall and screw up through them. We consoled ourselves by telling each other that our method produced a much neater finish!

So far we had given little thought to the most difficult part of the job but that could not be put off any longer. At the far end of the hall from the front door the stairs curved round the corner of the wall behind the shower room and jutted out into the hall a little way. There was insufficient height over the bottom two stairs for our new, lower ceiling. We stood gazing at the spot for some time until eventually Chris exclaimed, "I've got it!" He had worked out how to construct a step in the false ceiling so that, although the step itself would be clearly seen, it would not look out of place.

I left him to the carpentry while I went and prepared our lunch.

We were ready to nail the first length of tongue and groove boarding to the cross battens. Now, however, we had another decision to make - and we realised that there was something we had forgotten. We had intended buying the nails the previous day as we had to pass Mr Bricolage on our way to the timber merchant to buy the battens. Six times we had driven past - three return journeys - and each time we had forgotten to go in. Before we could go any further, that had to be put right.

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