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posted Jul 30, 2010, 5:56 AM by Julie Bateman

Today, I again had a chance to appreciate electric vs. manual power – we have been disassembling the column formwork (wood planks made into a box) so we can make formwork for the bond beam (the beam that wraps all around the building). Before Mercedes arrived with James’ incredible box of battery-powered tools, James and John were assembling the column formwork with a screwdriver and hammer; now with a quick-charge (20 minutes or so) we can work at light-speed for a good two-hours to place and remove screws. Onwards, so today James taught me how to use the electric drill without drilling through fingers, and I spent the morning on formwork demolition duty, well about two-hours into my work, the battery died out. So I was handed a screwdriver. And what took me on average fifteen seconds before (first-day novice driller), now was between one and two minutes depending on how deeply the screw was driven into the wood. And with five formwork boxes, and about sixty screws per box, you can imagine how happy I was when the battery was re-charged and I had the drill back in hand.

More excitingly on site, John and Ethan finished connecting the bond beam cord to the column rebar and around the top of the building. Once the bond beam formwork is made, we will be ready to pour concrete inside, wait two days for it to cure, and then let the carpenters fly. Mercedes and Giorie finished off the foundation for the bathroom and pantry walls, and also started setting in 15-cm rebar standoffs all around the bond beam cord to keep the formwork inline.

James has been hard at work (as he has been for over fifty days now) and finished the fourth and final truss today, the cows delicately stepped over them at sunset to reach their corral. Mercedes and he leave this Thursday 7/29 for Iguaçu Falls. To the right is James with Jico, the head lumberjack, with his finished trusses. 

And just at sunset, the ConstruMax truck arrived with more sand, gravel, cement, sikal, aaand toilets, tiles, and plumbing fixtures! We still have to cover the bricks with a mortar-like coating and do the floor, but Ethan couldn’t resist outfitting the bathroom any longer.