The last n days (n a large integer number) seems to be blur of… mesh! Putting two layers of mesh on a 9m x 3m x 2.5m structure is no trivial task – especially around the old climbing frame which has a few weird nooks and crannies, and which isn’t that dead straight anymore either.
And so the saga continues…
Day 14: I had a good buffer of work hours done in my day job, so I had a gap during the Friday morning to start meshing around. I was supposed to take a certain young gentlemen to school, but he ended up not feeling well at the last minute, so I got a late start. Had the trailer already hooked the night before so shot off to get the mesh from North Geelong Timber Supplies, where the friendly dude helped me load the heavy rolls. I was pretty apprehensive when I felt the weight; didn’t even tie them down on the trailer. Anyway, back at home started on the outer roof of the front run. The first sheet had that young gentlemen which now suddenly wasn’t so unwell anymore crawling over the rafters with the staple gun, but then it dawned me we could staple as we unroll the sheet – working over the curl so to say. So we finished the three outer sheets of 25mm x 25mm mesh before I had to log on to work at after lunch time. It came surprisingly straight and tight for our first mesh job.
Day 15: Started at 6:00am working on the inside panel at the back of the climbing frame where it was really tricky working around weird joins and an old climbing pole which was too hard to remove. That was when I realised how much harder the 12.5mm x 25mm mesh is to work with! It is really rigid and is a nightmare to pull tight if it makes boils or soft folds. Got that sheet done by about 10am, with the feeder fitted and all. The rest of the day, until last light at 9pm, worked like a machine. Grind a section off, staple in place, nail with elephant clips, and then pull tight downwards and using a combination of staples and elephant clips. Of course, the outside ones had to be clipped onto the by now overgrown fox-proof wire which runs along the base. Nice job (not). At stages the young gentlemen came and helped – mostly to position the mesh straight and then to shoot the staples as I pulled it straight by wedging a screwdriver against the wood frame. Quick break for dinner and carried on until 9pm.
Day 16: Started at 6:00am again, and squeezed in a quick varnish session on the feeder covers in the shed – more to delay the hammering a bit. Followed pretty much the same routine, except for a few variations due to the intermittent squalls we were having. I always had one of the inside sheets cut already and straightened out outside. Worked on the outside when the sun shone and then when the squalls hit I would switch to the inside under the roof. One of the sections entailed a mesh-to-mesh join in the back corner using fence clips. We wanted to use the same approach for the inside roof, but I quickly realised it’s not going to work trying to clip heavy mesh working upside down – you can hardly get the clips in on a corner join. I knocked off at 7pm for Sunday dinner and called it quits. At this stage we had most of the sides except the “front window” installed, as well as the three feeders.
Day 17: I had my diary clear until lunchtime to squeeze in a surf and get some work done, but sacrifice all that. Started at 5:00am to get a head start on my day job stuff until 7:00 and then it was a quick rush to get more wood to fasten the inside roof pieces on. Back on the tools. Carefully did the “front window” and was quite stoked how straight it came out – it is right there in the eyes as you step off the back porch.
Anyway, started on the inside roof of the back covered area. That’s when I realised the errors of my design. Fixing heavy mesh upside down is no easy task. No matter how tight I pulled it, it always kept sagging. It looked horrible. Fortunately, there were two higher beams running cross-wise to support the roof sheets – about 2cm higher than the where the mesh was supposed to go. But the mesh was hanging even 2cm below that. So I made a quick executive decision and stapled the mesh all along those higher beams too, so the result is that mesh now follows the curves of the beams. Not perfect but definitely better than sagging. But that me realise we had to change the whole idea of hanging the inside mesh off the frame on the front run – which is very visible and most of the attention would be. So changed the design on the fly to put the second layer of mesh on top instead of underneath, even though the fine mesh is now on the outside instead of on the inside.
Day 18: Quick rush to the green shed to get even more wood and cut and varnish it before the day job started. Another coat of varnish straight after work and off to guitar lesson with sticky fingers…
Day 19: Another 5:am start and got the wood frames fixed on top. Started with mesh after work. My word, the 12.5mm x 25mm mesh is a b-word to pull straight! If you pull too hard, the little wires break, but otherwise it sags. Eventually figured out I had to lie on two loose beams and fix the centre first and then pull the sides outwards on both sides. Got one sheet on.
Day 20: Friday. Only had a few meetings booked so spent most of the day crawling across my two beams on the roof fixing mesh. Hardly used the staple gun anymore. Just pulled it tight with the screwdriver and banged it tight with elephant clips. Got the roof done by the time the kids got home and started working on the front door area. Went through the whole inside re-fastening all the bottoms with elephant clips too. I somehow trust the clips more than the staples. Late afternoon the young engineer helped me hang the outside door – he loves precision jobs like that which is more about lining up stuff than hard physical labour. Anyway after dinner fixed the last panel on the front as the sun was setting. Mesh done. Not perfect but good enough for a back-yard job.