Browsing Posts published on 09/10/2010

Stobbing the beds #2. 09/10/10

The weather today was exactly as forecast: Dull, overcast, but otherwise dry.

And a little chilly perhaps, but that was only as a ‘reminder’ to pick up your tools and carry on working to get warm again!

So, today’s task was as the title suggests, re-stobbing three of the beds on the top plots.  This came about as we were weeding one of them, and in taking out a particularly stubbon weed, part of the end piece of wood cracked and split.  Closer examination of the rest of the beds showed that three in particular had badly deteriorated in the last year or so, and would need replacing.

The end of a bed remade before stobbing.

The end of a bed remade before stobbing.

To this end, myself and John -a recent recruit, not the Jon of famed tea-mug and wok exploits put new ends together using wood that had been ‘saved’ from previous jobs.

Here you can see the end of the first bed before we put the external stobs in to hold the soil back.  You will also notice that the soil in the bed has all been carefully moved back by Gary last week in preparation.

Now, with conventional joinery, you would use a spirit level, a measuring tape, a pencil and all other manner of tools to make sure the ends were square and that the new wood actually fitted where it is meant to.

Here at LEAF, we practise ‘Rough Joinery’ where we try not to ‘over-complicate’ and slow down a job.  We rely on our eyes to see if things fit!



On the right here, we have the other side of that end with the first stob in place.

Now, these beds had had ‘internal stobs’ in that these ‘pillars’ had been placed inside the edge of the bed.  This may look good and not ‘break up’ the line of wood, but we’ve found that in practise, these are far from satisfactory.  What tends to happen over time is that the wooden side ‘bow’ outwards, and the nails used to attach the stobs to the planks tend to pull out with the weight of soil pressing out from them.

By placing the stob ‘externally’, we are not just relying on the strength of a nail or two to hold it all together.  As you can see from the picture above, all the weight is now pressing into the side of the bed and into the stob.  Much more satisfactory.

And finally, a coat of paint.

And finally, a coat of paint.

And here is one of the other beds we did today with a final coat of paint.

Note that we didn’t move the earth immediately back behind the new shuttering, not really because we were waiting for the paint to dry, but because this earth has a fair amount of clay in it -particularly from the stuff dug up from deeper down, so we thought we’d maybe give it a bit of a chance to dry out a little.

The paint here is the same as we used on the greenhouse earlier in the summer and also on the top wooden shed.  Its water-based, completely non-toxic, wildlife-friendly and dead good fun to slap on.  Washing out the brushes afterwards is a pleasure as it simply washes straight out!

The fire today was done by Barry, and what an excellent job he did too!  The potatoes were done perfectly! I think I may have to relinquish my crown as ‘Chief Firestarter’ to him!

Whilst myself and John were busy with the woodwork, more and more volunteers arrived, and by the time I left this evening, the place was buzzing with volunteers and of course The Plot Kids running amok.  Again, lots of people brought home-made food (…Matt’s soup, again: Excellent…), home baking by various others, in fact far more food than we could actually eat!

I left soon afterwards, having to get back to this, and also carry on with the electronics and programming for the bikes.

And talking electronics: I spoke with Bardwell’s today about the power supply that ‘died’ last night and they’ve agreed that I can take it back early next week for a replacement as its under warranty.  Good news, as I really did not want to start taking it apart!

More soon.


Yesterday afternoon, I’d been over to The Plots to be there for a meeting, and Diane thankfully gave me a lift back here -mainly to drink tea and see the new oscilloscope in action.

Well, we were talking, when suddenly there was a faint ‘pop‘.  I looked round at my bench to see that the power supply, while still being ‘on’ had suddenly stopped supplying current and voltage.

Errr, Huston.  We have a problem…

Feeling the case of the power supply, it was a little warm, and maybe the fact that I’ve got a lamp sat on it blocking the air vents didn’t help either.

Now, today is a Plot Day, but as soon as I get a moment, I’m going to have to take it to bits to see what the problem is.

It’ll either be a fuse (…Yay!  We like fuses!..), or the mains transformer will have blown its internal fuse. (…Boo!  Internal transformer fuses are baaaad!..)

If it is the main internal transformer fuse, it’ll mean unwinding all the copper to get to it.

This will be a really pain in the bottom.

Anyway, I’d better get myself together for a full day’s ‘Plotting’, but I’ll let you know either way, Dear Reader.

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