Just back from our 7 day jaunt down the west coast of France. Remember my stupid joke in your 'Ridding Damp from Houses' post in Building Codes, about sheepswool insulation? Pic 1, 0152 shows a community project building on a lake near St Jean d'Angely, Cognac. Oak frame, chestnut shingles, walls will be straw bales rendered with lime mortar, roof insulation will be unwashed sheepswool! This, from what I could translate from the 'foreman' , was a traditional build method in Correze, and the first commercial use of the technique in France. It only stinks for 2 weeks, (he said!) Note the hay crucifix at the ridge- this is to keep witches from putting bad spells on the building- and he was serious! All the guys and girls on the site except for two leaders had learning difficulties/ Downs' syndrome, but were doing a first rate job, lots of happiness and laughter! Got invited in for a tour! It was 90 degees F that day.
And here's how- Underground cables feed up to about 2nd Floor (US) level then run to many buildings in a terrace, clipped direct to the limestone facades, horizontally, as a loom.
At ground level to a 2-3 metre height a metal case protects the rising cables. No 13, unlucky for some? Those are pure zinc rainwater?/greywater?/sewerage? downpipes and cable protectors, directly in contact with the disturbed wiring.
Full Size If you think that's bad- look at this! Some of the off-white cables are telephone lines, others are add-on power feeds, probably to new 'apartments' and student accomodation, (big University up the road). The roof is pure zinc sheet. There were some blue wires showing, always neutral in France. This must be the Pocos 'work', as there are no breakers or meters visible above ground.
La Rochelle. The Old Port. Part of the old WWII U-Boat pens transformed into a beautiful Marina. Note the complete absence of overhead wires in the town. It's cooled off to balmy mid 70's, with some light showers- bliss!
Funny to see european building practices. I was a little surprised on a trip to what was the former east germany back in 97' to see some friends proudly pointing out the "new fangled" drywall they were using in renovating a third floor attic space. Seems that is was something new over there. I told them that it had been common over here in the states since the early 1950's. Roof construction was similar to these pictures too- nail strips of wood and hang concrete tiles from them, all held in place by gravity. Made me a little nervous to see it on such tall buildings as they have got over there, especially coming from earthquake-prone California, but I suppose there is a wisdom in their old ways, since I saw the same technique used in buildings that have been standing longer than the USA has been a country. From the look of those wire looms, French electricians look about as orderly as italian drivers "neat and workmanlike" must have an anglo-saxon etymology, rather than a norman-french or latin one
Re: French Wiring II#121309 07/03/0506:07 PM07/03/0506:07 PM
Its a very old technique, seen all over Europe, a crude version of a proper kingpost roof with better headroom. A queenpost is pinned M&T to a collar with main rafters taken into the posts and reinforced with an angled strut. The short horizontals are temporary and will be sawn flush later. Purlins and angle braces link the bays, just visible under the roof, and 2x3 rafters run ridge board to eaves over them on short spans. All joints are timber pegged M&T. Battens, very light, these are 1x2, run horizontally at centres derived from 1/3 of the tile/shingle/slate length. These can be as light as 1.5" x 5/8"- don't tread on these centre span! Traditionally, NO felt, cover laid straight over- slates are fixed today with wire hooks, but traditionally were centre nailed with copper or lead clouts. Pantiles are only held by gravity- a 2000 year old Roman technique. Pantile pitch 20-25 deg, slate 40-50 deg, and where 50 deg is seen on old buildings, the roof originally had a thatched cover- straw or reed. The shingles are being hand planed by the man on the extreme left, with a long wooden jackplane, just visible. Sad to have to relate but the 'slapdash, couldn't give a darn' had made its way into even this traditional build- they were fixing the shingles with a single top-fix phillips woodscrew, and as any roofer will tell you, the ruddy lot will flap off in a good storm! Alan
Wood work but can't!
Re: French Wiring II#121310 07/04/0505:09 AM07/04/0505:09 AM
There are things to like about France, but some of their wiring and building methods are not among them!
The roof tiles held on battens by nails was/is standard in Britain as well. Other roofing materials have become a little more popular in recent years, but the situation is not helped by our local building departments who often will refuse permits for anything other than what they regard as a "normal" building.
Back to France though..... I once saw a house there (Charente area) where the walls were built entirely from old roofing tiles, stacked horizontally in overlapping fashion cemented together, then rendered over!
It seems the place was built shortly after WWII, so I can only assume that materials were in short supply but somebody had thousands of tiles to spare.
The end wall had an outside meter cabinet which was just barely hanging on to what was left of the crumbling render and mortar. I remember it was the typical 3-ph supply (380Y/220) with the main breaker set at just 15A per phase. Very French!
[This message has been edited by pauluk (edited 07-04-2005).]
Re: French Wiring II#121311 07/04/0508:14 AM07/04/0508:14 AM
Let's try some REAL French, you won't find these in a dictionary!
Work; Le boulot. Workplace; La boite. Workmanlike; Crac! c'est sensas! Unworkmanlike; Un travail de cochon. A mess; La pagaille. Crap work; La foutaise. Lazy; flemmard(e) To fire; Foutre a la porte. My hard-hat; mon bitos. Workboots; les ecrase-merde. Hack electrician; un electricaillon. OK; d'ac. The toilet; le water, les chiottes. Darn it! zut! Nuts, crazy; dingo. Money; le fric Tightwad; un grippe-sous Profit; le benef Americans; les ricains No way!; des prunes! des clous! Its a cinch!; c'est du gateau! Stinkin'; de chien! electricution; la gegene Alan ps. moderators: strong profanities don't really exist as such in French.
[This message has been edited by Alan Belson (edited 07-04-2005).]
Wood work but can't!
Re: French Wiring II#121313 07/05/0508:25 AM07/05/0508:25 AM
Theelectrickid; Ordonne- perfect French. Ouvrier aimez: be carefull with verbs, this could imply something else! I can't get my computer to do graves and acutes on ECN, so you're up on me there. All the words in my list above are patois or local slang, and thus won't appear in a standard dictionary. The 'establishment' frowns on English entering the language, ( water is short for water-closet), and have the same attitude to popular expressions. Paul. As to words describing body products and functions, these are in common use and cause no offence, no more than saying dung or horse-droppings (fumier). Even a 'strong' verb like Foutre, ( to throw, chuck) is only on a par with say 'blooming'. (J'm'en fous!-= I don't give a fling!) If a Frenchman really wants to express something in strong terms he uses body language- the prime example is le bras d'honneur. Right arm stretched out, smack left palm down, just above the elbow, making right arm spring up with a clenched fist. Meaning- "Get lost, get stuffed!" Neat, you can swear at them right behind their backs without them knowing! Alan
[This message has been edited by Alan Belson (edited 07-05-2005).]