Monday, January 20, 2020

home(t)raveling: the side projects

 #4 - a steel & wood bookshelf for the livingroom

the desperately empty-looking dining-room, without a bookshelf. Sigh*
We're back today with a new side project for this never-ending home renovation of ours! Like the previous ones (check our previous home(t)raveling: the side projects #3, #2 and #1 respectively, clicking on the links), this project has been on our minds for quite a while now. I mean, look at this living-and-dining-room: what does it lack? a couch? well, not only! curtains? well, also. a giant TV screen? maybe not... a big, nice, kickass bookshelf? yes, thank you! The thing is: we never imagined we would end up doing it ourselves! We needed some shelving for the living-room. To put some books and CDs, plus some objects we like for the memories they carry and such...

So, basically, we wanted our bookshelf to:

 - reach the ceiling (the sky is the limiiiit, woooh!) to store a lot of our stuff, while allowing some "void" in between, and for stability too (impossible to anchor in the hempcrete wall) => tailor-made for the room and with a tight fit.
 - be "thin" enough, that is to say, not too dense visually to allow some hemplime seethrough => metal structure preferable. also cool because the stove, on the other side of the room is another nice black cast-iron thing.
 - still have wood shelves because, ye know, we like wood and it's cool if it can sort of match the kitchen island, homemade barstools and firewood bench => we designed what we had in mind and we'll see what to do next.

our project's final sketch with figures and storage capacity ; the four finished frames just back home ; the first try-and-set into position!
Look: we first thought we'd hire somebody to build it for us, from our design. Asked for quotes, got some 1500+ euro ones, said thanks and jumped to option 2: we'd pay for a welder to build the metal frames with our design, then do the rest ourselves. Asked for quotes, divided by two, still couldn't afford it, said thanks and did nothing since we had no option 3 to jump to. Until our dear R. appeared and offered to solve the equation: he'd get all the 4x40mm x6-meter steel slats we needed at cost price, take Futuna to a friend of his' metal workshop, help with the cutting, grinding, sanding and drilling with professional machines, then teach Futuna how to weld and mentor him through the process! Ah, not to mention, there was a "funny little detail" here: our hempcrete wall leant backwards, as stonewalls often do because they get thinner as they grow higher. Consequently, the ladder frames couldn't bear straight angles. We needed to weld every single horizontal piece at a 87,5º angle. To make things more entertaining! This, R. solved in no time. Engineers: they know how to deal with sh--! It's a pity we don't have pics from this crazy, busy and amazing day at the workshop (cause it was crazy and busy, you know?), but here's what we brought back home the same evening.

testing the ladder frames in situ and, meanwhile, finally (at last!) putting up the power heater on the wall under the window, just in case...
We knew where to put each of the ladders, as the width and height of each section was set beforehand - that's the thing with welding at a workshop 20km from home: either you do it all at once or... you need to drive back there again! Since the back wall was not a solid anchoring option, we needed an alternative. Of course, with the shelves leaning against a gentle slope, we trusted the structure would already be stable enough once loaded. But we sure didn't want a toddler, a kid, or even a person to climb, grab or pull a shelf, eventually being crushed under the whole thing! So we decided to: 1- anchor it in the ground with 10mm expansion bolts. Two pieces on each of the four ladders, to prevent them from falling to the front and 2- screw the top of the ladders with plasterboard anchors/pegs. Of course, these aren't meant to hold the weight of the structure from a 13mm plaster sheet! They'll just work at a 90º angle, to avoid any swinging of the top of the ladders in any direction. So finally, the whole thing is leaning against the wall, strongly anchored from the ground and just kept still from the top. I think we're ready to try'n'put some shelves and some load!

the ground, the drill and the expansions: before, during and after - with an beautiful, old, solid oak board salvaged from the barn*...
From there, things went pretty fast: measuring and marking the laminated oak boards, cutting them, sanding them, rounding the edges, treating and protecting them with antiquaire's beeswax, then finally working our way up the frames, screwing all shelves into position. Last piece of work was to improvise and build some little bridges, half-levels and stoppers with as many of the offcuts as we possibly could... Below are a couple of pics of the process, then pics of the most enjoyable part of it all: getting to some old cardboard boxes, some of them taped 7 years ago before we left Barcelona, digging in them to get some books, CDs and objects that mean a lot for us... Filling these shelves with our stuff we've lived very happy without for long, may seem pretty futile, but it's a lovely, enjoyable thing to do! It's also - mostly, maybe? - an opportunity to remember places, moments, stories, cities and circumstances...

building up the shelves ; waxing ; ready to put some load ; let the music play! ; almost there... ; with a little help from our friends ; coffee break!
Conclusion: we're really happy and proud of the way our bookshelf finally came out. Welding was fun, and only made possible by the amazing Tiercin sculpteur's fantastic help and mentoring. Thank you so much!
But we're even happier that these shelves can display some beautiful pieces of art and cratmanship from dear friends of ours: a warm thought for the beautiful souls who wrote that book, drew these pictures, sculpted that face or designed those loudspeakers: many many thanks to Mirko, Xavier, Riki, Mercè, Gonzalo and Blackspot Acoustics for walking part(s) of the way with us and leaving such beautiful footprint(s) along our path(s)...
So, with these and other friends on our minds, whose love and inspiration make our lifes a little bit brighter everyday (and since we're still on time for the new year words - look at that cool cue!), there's no better opportunity to wish you all a beautiful, wonderful and happy 2020!

Take care andLove to you all!
W., T. and F.


About this beautiful, old, solid oak board salvaged from the barn: it was basically an abandoned pigeons' toilet buried in a corner ; pretty much looked like sh-- and was ready to go to the junk yard. But it was so freakin' heavy we immediately suspected it was gold! After grinding it for about 5 minutes, we retrieved this:


No comments :

Post a Comment