Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Should i keep this mason?

Keyhole gardens is a popular gardening method recently.  Nashesha, our 14 year old daughter,  did some research and did this today.  She is half through filing with compost, soil, waste, etc.

Should I pay her?

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Recycled wood , Stan's packing crate

Stan Benson is a significant part of my life.  He found me a couple of jobs in Tanzania and encouraged me in what I was doing.  He retired to the USA maybe 20 years ago after spending about 40 years in Tanzania as a missionary.

He was a missionary first in Borneo before coming to Tanzania.  In about 1950 he left Borneo with this crate in the picture below, maybe a year later he came to Tanzania and stayed about 40 years.  (This is my beautiful wife Bernice).

When Stan left for retirement he cleared out all his junk and brought a pickup load to me.  There were many treasures in there, like a box of odd bolts and nuts, hinges, morticed wood boxes that hoes came in,  etc, and this crate.  It weighs allot.  It is the heaviest wood I have touched, including our own loliondo wood.

While farming it  became the chemical cabinet, then it was a box to store scrap metal.  In Dec 2009 I took it apart and tried to remove all the nails.  It was too heavy to move around.  Even the nails were interesting.  Then I planned one board and realized it was beautiful wood.  I looked at it in a different light.

It was on my list to make into furniture, and when daughter Nashesha came back from grade 9 as exchange student she needed another clothes cabinet.  So this was made.  I can barely lift it up.  Planning the wood on the shaper took 4 times as long as African teak.  It has some imperfections but it will last forever and I will think of Stan Benson when I see it.

Thank you Stan for the memories.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

I just met a vault star

I just met a rock vault star.

I was minding my own business, and was transitioning from contractor to managing director and was about to leave for my office job.

Fred Nnko, a builder, calls after many months and says there is an architecht from South Africa and he would like to show him some of my vaults.  He suggests Kisongo but I say come to the brick factory.

I envision the architect being ho hum about vaults like engineers. 

So I meet Peter Rich pictured above and realize right away he knows all about vaults.    Then he mentions he was the architect on the Mapungubwe Interpretation Center In South Africa! 

"Sorry what is your name again"
"Peter Rich"

  This Center won a world architectural award in 2009 and I have spent hours looking at pictures of it.  I mean this guy has taken timbrel vaulting to extreme levels, and the architect is standing there in my house talking shop!

One article about this is here .

He knows and works with people I read about such as John Ochsendorf.  After some years maybe now I have someone to discuss things with.  Like right away he said what i want is quick setting gypsum.  We talked about water proofing.  We talked about materials.

I felt like I had met a star.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Groined vault house update

Some months ago we started again on the finishing work.  I have posted about the catalan vaulted stairs and ceiling in bath, but here are some more.