In the recession we had to have, work was slack, and I wasn't going to sit around and do nothing. So I decided to build a rock house, and bought a block of land in this not yet complete subdivision.

I had 18 Months to plan. The original sketch: note the swimming pool and diving board from the first floor

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A basic octagon to take advantage of the views with timber verandahs. But timber verandahs didn't seem right, so they had to be from stone as well; with arches... I thought a house warming at the turn of the millenium would be good. Well that came and went! I wrote a small program to plot the arches so I could see what they looked like. The rocks sat on a turnatable on an A frame that could be tilted with a 6tpi handle. The program gave me the number of turns necessary from cutting one face, to cutting its opposite so the vousiour had the right 'wedge'. I originally plotted a couple of arches with a HP33 calculator and graph paper. After two attempts, I wrote this small program (you canchange the values). The intersection springer stones where two differing arches landed required adjustments until they both landed at the same level.

Rocks are numbered alphabeticaly with the keytone = A. On the Large Arches M is the springer for the two arches, N is the column stone below that etc. The top drawing is a plan view, and the bottoom drawing is an elevation looking directly at the right face, with the left face running back at 45deg. So ML is the springer between two large arhes and NL the one under it. MLB is the springer between a large arch and the smaller arch Beside the steps; NLB is the stone under that.

 

cutting arch rocks -

The machine moved slowly back and forth a set amount, and when at a certain depth, it stopped. The visible turntable with hydraulic jack was unsatisfactory at setting the precise angles required for the voussoirs, so it was soon modified.

Although the photo below relates to something else it shows the turntable and the threaded rod that tilts the whole assembly

 

I could spin the rock around, lock it, then angle the table over. You may note this is a version 2 machine. A blue gum branch fell on the first, but it could only be moved sideways 600mm and by this time I'd planned to add a column, so I needed at least 2.4m side travel.

1993-03 AHHH! What have I started?

1993-07 6 Months in and only about 30 stones cut.

1993-08 cutting after work in winter

1995-05 plans drawn up: Lower ground floor

1995-05 plans drawn up: Upper ground floor

1995-05 plans drawn up: Roof deck and modifications

1995-07 - Finally start on site. The top stone recieves the two arches on a 45 degree corner. It's the first I cut - I thought if I could cut that, I could cut any of them

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1995-08

1995-10 - I took 3 months off work to make a start. Working on the external staircase. Later I removed the brickwork

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2007 - Hey Jakobi what are you doing? (didn't like the look of it.)

1995-11 The point of the brickwork was to allow for the steps.

1995-11 finished side

1995-12

1996-01 Mario, Bruno and Ken

1996-01 - setting up the round corners

. 1996-01 1996-02 - Tiling. (Tiles form the edge of the face hardplaster)

1996-02

1996-02

1996-06 - Slab poured

1996-06 - whitewashed photo

. Hardplaster done 1996-11 - second storey started. Curved centering