Getting It Up:
the erection of craig's big column
by Cindi

Craig and his labourers Ben and Johan had a conundrum... how to move a 200kg + tree trunk that was to be the central column for the main room of the house. Initially it lay just where the tree had been felled, and today Craig chainsawed it to the correct length. But how to move this beast into its final position?


  To begin with, a steel cable was attached to a heavy duty sling cinched around the near end. The cable was threaded through a pulley and attached to a hand-winch. Craig slowly jacked the winch and the boys spotted the column as it was pulled across boards placed to prevent scratching. Using this technique the column was dragged about ten metres forward to the front of the house, safely past the electricity safety box, and then a three point turn needed to lift it up onto the slab was successfully negotiated.  
  Looking important is necessary

At this stage everything was going relatively smoothly, as a 200kg log being dragged along the ground doesn't have anywhere to fall to or onto.

But now, the massive log needed to be erected in its final position, at the centre of the main room, positioning its base on a piece of reobar as the locating pin. This was attempted first by winching the log's far end closer, while using will power and some small bits of wood as a pivot to hold the base in place. As to be expected, willpower wasn't enough, but fortunately the log wasn't too high up to cause any damage as it began to rotate rather than lift, and we were able to quickly put some chocks under it.

At this point the lads began using brains rather than brawn, and brought in a steel scaffold system which was erected around the column to support it during the lifting. The scaff legs, and the base of the log, were tied off to the front of the house, to prevent these from sliding forward as the top of the log was winched toward the rear of the house.

Slowly, the large column was winched upwards, and every so often the scaffold was reset to provide a safety position should one of the ropes fail. As the column was winched, it began to pivot on the base that was locked in position, and we were able to get some blocks underneath it so that it did not crush the reobar pin that was already in place.


Finally the column was vertical, resting on two large blocks, with the pin underneath. How now, to lower it onto the pin? Firstly, the blocks were replaced by stacks of packers (5 and 7 ply boards of varying sizes, that just happened to be at hand), which were positioned by raising the log using a pinch bar as lever, quickly substituting block for packers.

Almost got it up
lowering slowly
Final product

Now that the log was on packers, it was moved inch by inch until the hole at the base of the log was located directly over the pin. This took a bit of precision choreography, Craig lifting the base with the lever, Johan moving the top with his muscle, and Ben using his keen eye to get the position right. Now it was correctly aligned, Craig levered the column up as Ben pulled out the packers one by one. Thus the huge column was gradually lowered onto the pin. Cement and Mastick were packed into the join to seal it.

Once it was in place, the column was checked for vertical alignment and level, and three braces attached to keep it in position.

With that huge log now vertical, the main room looks very solid. Good work to the team for getting it up!

Now it's time to cut the last of the top plates and connecting beams, and we will see the roof go up.