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  1. #76
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    Day Twenty Six

    It Did rain. It started about two in the morning and didn't let up untill about three in the afternoon. I reckoned that no-one would show up and thought that I might start clearing up a little. In reality, it just wasn't safe to leave the path. Another day lost, oh well.

  2. #77
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    Day Twenty Seven

    It's, understandably, a big soggy this morning, but we have a seven strong crew to make up for it. The case comes of the big pillar. This little wall will have the house number and stuff on it.



    Lee is trimming the sides a bit, to get a good seal for the last little pillar tops.



    June and Nuy are recycling the top cases. You can just see A? as he hangs on to the wall for support and makes encouraging noises.



    Jet has been tweaking the lower wall attachment points, ready for the next stage.



    With the sun full in his eyes, Sing adds a few binders to the remaining loose bits of rebar,



    ...and Blue Wellie Man wires them together.



    Back at the high wall, simple cases are made and placed on the earth ramps.



    The rebar is bent over, binders are added and wired in.



    The assembly is then wired to the attaching points,



    ...and the whole thing is earthed and blocked.


  3. #78
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    Chit and Jet have been making some complicated 'boxes', to house the top stubs for the front wall. These are now nailed and propped into position.



    Time for some gloop, so we start at the back,





    ..then move to the front,



    ..then they heave the whole lot..



    ..over to the steps,



    ...and get them finished.



    They really earn their beer today and I am promised a full crew tomorrow. There are three pillar tops and one top rail to go, before we start on the 'making nice'.

  4. #79
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    Day Twenty Eight

    It's the last pouring day. A? wants all the timber returned to the depot ASAP. The big rumour is about a mega rich Fallang with nine Rai of walls (and possibly, more money than sense). We have ten men with a lot to do today and I can't keep my eyes on them all at once. We'll start with the arch.
    Jet grabs some old planks and makes a frame. We find a bit of something flexible and discuss and mark the basic shape.



    next, some old wooden distance pieces are nailed on,



    ..some hardboard is appropriated and a strip cut. The bloke turned out to be well human and thanked me for helping. Traditional old Thai, wouldn't smile for the camera because I am not family. Fair enough.



    The strip is affixed to the wooden blocks,



    ...and the frame is nailed and propped into position. The phrase' Pig's ear' sprang to mind,



    ...but the hardboard was only there to stop the gloop from falling through. Now the rebar is pulled into shape around the mould,



    ...binders are added, tied off and the conduit bent to fit.



    Not bad for a first attempt. Sing is keen to point out that it will look great when it has been 'glooped' and tarted up.

    Here we are suitably glooped.



    Meanwhile, in other places, the usual stuff has been going on. Hammering,



    Tweaking,



    Dressing,



    Genuine Isaan style, wooden trough construction,



    ..and pillar casing.



    Jet and Somchai has been quietly working on the straight edges all day, but at this point, the camera died. Everything got done though and I will start the process of recovering all the half buried bricks tomorrow, maybe.

  5. #80
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    Day Twenty Nine

    After the flurry of excitement yesterday, it was inevitable that we would have a few days of relative boredom. Trying to get action pix of builders making straight edges is about as exciting as watching paint stay wet. However, it had been a personal challenge to try and get a shot of Lee smiling, laughing would be even better. This morning, I shuffle out from under my rock, minus by glasses, front teeth and shorts. I should have tried it earlier.



    Anyway, *cough* as I said, everything that has an edge, will have a nice sharp edge and the bits inbetween will look fantastic when they are filled in. This takes a long time. Sing makes a start by the gate,



    ...and builds a fancy top.



    Everything was checked and rechecked. Several times I found myself thinking, 'why didn't this man build our house'?



    Edging moves around to the front.




    Then we had a small pond start to develop by the water feed pipe. I did the usual rushing about to find the shutoff valve. Where was it this time?
    On it's side in the trench....Brilliant!



    I offered Sing my sevices as child minder fo a day and he moved the whole lot to the front of the wall, mended the pipe and hid it in a deeper trench. Consequently, we ended up with the proper job we should have had in the first place.


  6. #81
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    Interesting to see all the PVC at the meter here in BKK all exposed piping around meter is brass.

  7. #82
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    Day Thirty

    Funny old day, Sing and Lee turn up a bit late and just hang about. A? pops in and reclaims one of the mixing tanks and mutters something about money. The parent Company won't cough up for wages and can he have a sub. Alone in the house (again) and unable to locate the promise, I fob him off with white lies. I ring the parant Company, messers P & P but they are all out for some 'religious thing'.

    Meanwhile, Sing has raided the brick stash and is busy kicking up the bottom beam at the front.



    Lee is still on the uprights.



    After a short while, the bottom beam has been transformed into a thing of beauty,



    ...but the rain catches us all by surprise. Sing is up and the house at the time but Lee carries on for a bit, because he is drowned already.



    That is it for the day and they don't come back the next day or the day after. Some 'religious' thing, I think.

  8. #83
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    yes, it is "beer worship" day

  9. #84
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    Day Thirty Three

    I was expecting something major today, something to do with the Elecricians promising to come over and start the wiring. I had heard on the grapevine that the 'rich Farrang' was having cash flow problems and I was hoping for a full team to turn up here. It was no suprise, however, when Sing and Lee turned up alone and without a smile or a word. They seemed happy to carry on working, but I was begining to notice a distinct change of mood.

    A further raid on the brick stash, left over from the house build, and we start in nextdoor's garden,



    ...and down the run.



    This is followed by more of this,



    ...and more of that.



    I get a bit concerned when they don't come up to the house for lunch. Instead, they clear some scub, make a nice little shady patch and have a picnic.



    Lee has been overheating,



    ..so they sit there for several hours. I can't really say anything, as they are sub contractors working for a sh*t Company. Later, Lee makes it to the turn by the back wall,



    ..Sing is...somewhere else.



    Hopefully, that's the last of the boring stuff.

  10. #85
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrAndy
    yes, it is "beer worship" day
    Quite possibly I'm afraid. That or the Company is just going bust.

  11. #86
    Pronce. PH said so AGAIN!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loombucket
    That or the Company is just going bust.
    That might not be too bad, if it happens perhaps you could negotiate a direct rate with the workers and save a few baht getting the job finished.

  12. #87
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    Day Thirty Four

    Here is a shot of my new alarm system. This little fellow cheeps and then shoulder charges the window, when it is time to go out and get on with it.



    A? then arrives with God, to reclaim the Company timber.



    A's English is pretty basic, but I understand the tale of woe. A little cash to pay the men. This takes a little time to organise, he signs the promise and the mood is lifted. A quick telephone call, or two, brings every available man, and Sing's Daughter Pui.



    Every available man turns out to be three, but it's the thought that counts and it's better to have a pug boy even if he is Jet's Son with two days experience.



    God stays on to recycle everything,



    ...before starting on the arch. I can't wait to see it naked.



    The phrase' Feck Moi' springs to mind.



    So, while the guys blaize away outside, Pui is treated to food, games, a movie, sweets, more games and a nice rest.
    The men concentrate on the pillars by the tree, chasing the shade and talking about the money.



    At going home time, Pui doesn't want to leave and poses with her Dad for a decent picture. Dad shakes me by the hand, gives me his best smile and remembers the only bit of English I have managed to teach him. "We'll be knee deep in Men tomorrow".


  13. #88
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    Day Thirty Five

    The Electricians are coming!!! Whilst I am not waiting with baited breath, 9,10 and 11 o/clock pass without a sign. They make it in the morning with 14 minutes to spare and start threading the wires through the conduits,



    ...and fixing junction boxes.



    At precisely 18 minutes past twelve, they stop for lunch.



    I am keeping a close eye on the cable, as I bought it myself. This is the power stuff, the switching stuff is a bit thinner.



    At about three'ish, the 'Engineer' rounds them up, drags them out of the cafe and proceeds to show off his technical skills. He manages an, almost, faultless display on how to waste silicon sealant. Note the hard hat and machinists safety glasses.



    Meanwhile, the others are making a reasonably good job,



    ...actually fixing the conduit to the walls.



    They seem to be plagued with self doubt, however, and spend a lot of time speaking on the phone or sitting doing nothing.



    It starts to get late.



    They loose the tin of pipe glue and then the only screwdiver of the right size. The phrase 'Yippie-I-Oh-Ki-Ay' sprang to mind and then it was too dark to see. Working with LoomB's head torch, they make the other rear corner but it is pitch black.



    Eventually, they have the wits to use their car headlights but I have seen enough. They ask for money for whisky but go away with an earfull.

  14. #89
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    Day Thirty Six

    Time to apply a little render or S-cap, as it is known locally. This is where the cement gets all used up. First, a good wetting so that the pug will stick,



    ...next, the lads start to smear the cement carefully over the damp blocks. Lee has managed one panel already.



    After the cement goes tacky, the lumps are evened out using a straight edge.



    The holes are then filled and the whole thing is smothed out using a metal float.



    Water is flung on using a small brush and a sponge is used between the metal float and the wall. This can take ages.



    The desired finish is then obtained using a small brush. Note that the electrical box has fallen off the wall already.



    One side of the front wall took most of the morning. After lunch, and sporting a new pair of trendy shorts, Sing arrives to show them how it's done.



    The extra man makes all the difference and we are soon down the other end.



    They start to slow down towards the end. As this is the front, it's vital to have a good finish because this is the bit that everyone will see, they all said.



    Here just getting a 'showroom finish',



    ...and using up the stuff left over. How I have missed that smile.


  15. #90
    I am in Jail
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    Nice job! One thing the asians can do is render, the conduit for the power, I have noticed it has been blue and yellow, is there a certain grade and color for power and communication? In Australia white condiut for power/Comm, yellow is for gas and blue for water.
    Lift your feet!

  16. #91
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    ^Yes, pretty much the same in England. In LOS, they tend to use what they can get the cheapest. The yellow stuff is used for electrics inside as it is not waterproof and there is no confusion as there is no gass to pipe in. The blue stuff is water pipe and that is waterproof. I told the Cowboys to junk the yellow stuff and do a proper job, if they wanted to be paid.

  17. #92
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    Day Thirty Seven

    We start with a raid on the remainder of the woodpile. The surviving 'horse' gets an upgrade and another is rapidly assembled, so that the tops of the pillars can be reached with a degree of safety.



    Jet is the slowest and starts at the bottom,



    ...Lee gets the full benefit of the morning sun,



    ...while Sing slips round to the shady side, to carry on with the edges.



    Chit doubles as pug man and waterboy. Note that we are all avoiding the inside corner. This is where the top-up, decent soil will go, if it ever gets here. I force myself to remember that this is Thailand and the fact that we have been waiting for the good stuff for a year or so means nothing.



    A bit more splashing,



    ...and sponging.



    Later on, Nuy tries a complicated ballancing act on the horse and falls off. I just missed it but caught the reaction of sympathy from his team mates.



    Sing still has one or two personal problems and works alone all day,



    ...but at the front, we are ready for the metal man.



    We are going to have some little railings along the front. Nothing too fancy, just something that looks good and blends in with the gate.

  18. #93
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    Day Thirty Eight

    Time to take the surviving woodwork back to base. The guys load up the state of the art, Isaan style, pick-up and ask me if I fancy a ride. How could I refuse?



    Guys, and girls, if you ever get the chance for a ride in one of these, you will understand my passion for them. Licencing laws mean that you can't drive them in cities, or from one Province to another, but hey, they are fun for a short hop. Anyway, here we are hammering up the road,



    ...and here is the author, loving every minute.



    It was no surprise to find that 'base' was a patch of ground behind some fancy places,



    ...marked by a, long since, abandoned digger.



    The lads unload and I wander about, thinking that you only get to see places like this, when you go around to see 'her Mum' for the first time. A simple shed for livestock.



    A half pretend log cabin, belonging to the owner of the 'ground'. This has the usual outside kitchen, one big room and a good view of open fields on one side.



    It's time to go but I insist we stop for a beer to say thanks. I have to leave the camera in the truck because the owner did 'not want to have photos of his kids all over the internet by morning'.
    Susequently, it's late by the time we get back and the others have been working hard.



    It's a nightmare round those holes,



    ...and require lots of time 'scrootling aound' to get a nice finish.



    With the benefit of a full team, and three that have had a relatively easy morning, the left side of the arch is soon completed.



    Just before lunch, we are treated to a display by the Isaan growndworkers mickie taking team, playing 'spot your mistake'.



    After lunch, the team move inside the wall. A little cleaning of the corners, using a chisel made from an old inlet valve.



    Sing makes a convicing platform and is back to edging,



    ..the others overfill the pug tank,



    ...but it doesn't take too long to empty.



    In the middle of all this, the earth man pick his moment.



    Full earth dumping will take place tomorrow if we can agree to quality and price. The quality is what we want, but I will have to stand there and check each truck, as it dumps. Serves me right for going out and having a nice time.

  19. #94
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    Great fence and story telling thread Loombucket. Funny thing about self portraits I always pictured you with black hair.

  20. #95
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    ^Thanks very much. I started going grey when I was a teenager, beard went white shortly after I started work. Hair hasn't seen black for twenty odd years now and my Father was the same. Better than baldness, I reckon.

  21. #96
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    Great Wall and some mistakes.

    Hi, congratulations for your wall which is of good quality and look straight and right.
    The fact that you check the work every day is maybe a reason for this result...

    "Excuse my English that is not very good..."

    But ( sorry for the but, I don't want criticize but just give some information ) it could have been better, the problem with better things is not only the quality of workmanship and management but the cost...

    - I only see DB steel bars ( plain steel bar ), the DB bar should be the rebar links between RB bars ( reinforced striped bar ) and not the main steel structure ( at least for the ground beam and foundations )
    Even DB have a big difference quality (and price) depending on the density, SD 30 is cheaper than SD 40
    millconsteel.com/product-deform.php?lang=en
    millconsteel.com/product-round.php?lang=en


    - what is the quality and brand of the cement for the concrete structure ?
    Need to be of portland quality
    by exemple at cementhai the portland quality is the elephant (chang) while tiger ( sua ) is for the walls.
    cementhaionline.cementhai.co.th/cs/newhome.jsp#

    - should use a concrete vibrator ( from 2000B ) instead of a piece of wood but need 20% more concrete volume. Better but not necessary on a fence wall with not a lot of pressure on it.

    - wall blocks.
    I hate red bricks for a house (for thermal reasons) but for a fence wall it's much stronger and less cracks.

    - water tube.
    Blue PVC connected to your meter is not a problem but between the meter and the house should be black ( orange one is for protection of underground YHH electric cables ) HDPE ( high density polyurethane )
    For main water blue quality is ok ( EVEN FOR INSTANT HOT WATER ) but green is better.

    - electric tube : white, yellow or grey (very bad quality) but why use blue water tube ?
    the junctions boxs inground should be waterproof or if difficult to find filled with resin or good clear silicone but not only silicon on the outside, on the wall it's ok but not inground.

    - inground drain ? not sure if you need one or not.

    Thanks for this good thread and cannot wait to see the end...

    Cheers


    PS : as a new member the forum didn't allow me to post inline weblinks

  22. #97
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    well said Carl, but it is only a country wall

    hope it lasts!

  23. #98
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    yes DrAndy I know.
    These info are for construction in general, but in ground electric can be dangerous for a kid..., and I have already seen some walls finishing their carriers on the neighbor land...

  24. #99
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    Thanks carlbraun, I can't really answer most of that. The cement was the right stuff, I sent some deliveries back. Yes, the bar could have been a bit thicker in places. I put a certain ammount of trust in Khun Sing and Khun Lee, who make walls for a living. The others double as Farmers and Taxi drivers. The electrics were done by Cowboys and they did not like being told to 'bladdy do it again', by a Farrang with a cert. in Health and Safety issued in another country. If I could/have to do it all over again, I will do it myself when no one is looking. But I am ahead of my self....

  25. #100
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    Day Thirty Nine

    An early start to the day has been thoughtfully provided by the soil man who is obviously suffering a broken alarm clock. Soggy heaps of black stuff are waiting for my inspection. This is known locally as 'Ban Samur', and is quite a strange brew. When dry, it is rock hard but goes powdery on top. When it is wet, it spreads out like thick soup and levels itself. Think of it as potting compost with attitude. It's hard to find, expensive but great for anything that grows.



    The loony in the tractor came free. He raced about, looking important, oblivious to any other living thing that got in his way.



    Our construction team rapidly evacuated to a safer place, outside.



    Counting and checking the trucks was pain, but trying to stop the tractor from causing damage to my nice new wall was a different bucket of trout. He was too lazy to remove the earth cutter at the back or the headphones from his ears.



    The truck drivers weren't a lot better. I had giving the man in charge specific instructions and marked out the no-go area. When one guy pushed me out of the way and got stuck in the grey water tank, I, sort of, lost it big time.



    Meanwhile, the crew were still smearing away, oblivious to the ranting and raving, coming from over the wall.



    By lunch time, I had calmed down a little bit and took in the drivers view of the great green beast. I thought about various forms of revenge, but settled on taking some of his profit, to pay for the ruined tank.




    Here is the before and after scapping view, with an idea of the new soil level. There is a complicated Isaan style, rubble trap, around the tree.



    When we finally got rid of the loony and the soil man, we had half the guys dig out the bottom by the wall, to make it easier to render. God was quick to make a few model annimals, out of the clay like stuff.



    Man on Buffarow anyone?


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