Construction Starts.

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Hi it’s Lee from the Japanese water gardens. 

This is part 2 in my series of short videos detailing the construction of a quarantine system. 

After clearing out some working space we were keen to make some headway

Over the last couple of weeks we have been busy working on the system. 

The first thing we did was to measure out and decide exactly how big we could make the tanks.

We wanted to make the system as big as possible and make good use of the space that we had.

After some discussion between me and Matthew we found a long straight edge and used it as guide to run the still saw down. 

This made clear mark on the dusty floor that would not of rub off easily. 

The design is for a wedge shape system with four separate bays.

The shape was chosen because it generates progressively larger tanks and is simple to make, requiring the absolute minimum of materials. By having separate bays fish of different sizes can be kept segregated. 

We did some sums and marked out where the tank walls would fall and established centres for the bottom drains. Matthew scored clear marks with an angle grinder. 

We also marked down channels to bring out the bottom drain pipes.  

The old concrete was surprisingly tough considering it had been down for over 40 years. 

Thankfully we had access to a couple of breakers and Stuart was around to help trench out.  

I then started to measure out for the bottom drains.  

The 4” pipes had to be cut to the correct length so that they would turn up off the floor just beloyed the line scored on the ground.  

I cut them out and assembled them to test them in the channels. When I was happy I glued them up with solvent and l and leveled them on some dry mix concrete.

The exact position of the sump was not critical but the pipes end did need to line up for the pipework to be connected later.

When all four of the drains were ready we lined them the pipe ends under a length of timber to check they were all in all the same distance over the line. 

To hold them in place dry concrete mix was packed around them and when i was sure they were all spot on I wet out the concrete and left everything alone overnight to set.

For the timber frame work we are using 4” x 1” thick lengths of pressure treated rough sawn timber. 

This timber is inexpensive and it is very easy to cut with a hand saw. 

This might not seem like it’s going to be strong enough to hold the weight of the water but if it’s used side on as a bracing for plywood you can create a structure that is amazingly strong. 

My original plan was to create an entirely free standing tank system, but when we demolished the old 1980s system we realised that the back wall was actually supporting the internal wall of the building so removing it was not an option.

To get the very most out of the space I alerted the plans and plugged some of the back timbers directly to the wall.  

The 4 by 1 running down the front was levelled on temporary wooded packers and secured to to the timbers running of the wall at either end.

I then measured down the back wall and set the cross pieces at 90° out to the timber running down the front.  

Everything is held with timber screws which are easy to back out and make adjustments if. needed. 

I checked that I was happy with everything and then moved on to the next level of bracing. 

The back corner section was plugged flat against the wall and the section running over the top of the old wall was leveled on packers. 

The packers also served as spacers holding the bracing of the wall plum with the bracing plugged to the wall on the first level of bracing. 

The bracing running down the font was then splitted together by overlapping a 2ft section and several screws.

To support the bracing I attached some scrap timber to form several temporary legs running down the front edge. 

To keep everthy plum and level the spirit level was essential. I kept checking and made adjustments when required. 

When I was sure everything was lined up I secured it with screws. 

The last level of bracing was then added.  The whole structure leveled and plumbed with a combination of packers temporary wooden legs. 

I was glad to get some help from Mathew as this was proving a little tricky. 

The extra pair of hands made the balancing,  packing leveling and plumbing straight forward. 

When finished the whole structure was somewhat flexible and wobbled a fraction. At this stage you might doubt again that it will be strong enough but that will all change as soon as we start the panelling.

I hope you enjoyed watching this video and will subscribe to the channel. Please give the video a thumbs up post questions in the comments below.

Look out for the next installment and to see how things are progressing. 

Its bye for now from Lee at the Japanese Water Gardens.

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