Category Archives: Esk


A friend of mine was in a bit of a pickle, so to speak. They had to fully renovate a property which they had in order to be able to liquidate it if they were to get their money back on their investment. The property was what you would call run down. It was full of junk, long grass, snakes and being eaten by termites to a point.

1.2 Esk house before

1.4 Esk house before

Before back of house 1


The Planning

I will spend a bit of time on this post as there was so much to do on all levels. I got in touch with a local draftsman and arranged a meeting with him and my friend (clients). Options were discussed and it was decided that the existing structure would be used because it was all steel frame being wall and trussess and the slab was in real good condition. It would have been easier to get in a big bulldozer knock it over and start all over again but it was a challenge and I could see the end result in my mind.

The job was a logistical challenge as it was about an hours travel one way from my home. There was no running water or electricity. The only cover we had for ourselves was a two bay shed where we stored drinking and washing water and our supplies. We also had a makeshift shower there.

The renovations were done in my spare time between other jobs. To make best use of time and to get the job done in a reasonable time frame we had to stay on the job site and camp. It is a five acre rural property and thats why it was possible.

Below is a photo of us camping with our outdoor swags. They are really good. Fast to set up and pack. I have a duck feather quilt in mine for winter. As we said we were nice and toasty inside watching the stars. One important tip, condition the canvas before you use it. This means wet it when you buy it and leave it in the sun to dry. The canvas material will shrink and make it more water tight.

jpg 20 esk

I organised the rural fire brigade to do a back burn on the property as a fire preventative measure and also to clean up all the long grass and wood that was scattered all over the property. In order to get a permit I had to make a fire brake around the perimeter of the property. As it is a five acre property that means around 600 yards. That is a lot of area to mow and whipasnip. So the easiest solution  was to make an attachment that I could tow behind the 4×4. Below you will see the photos of what I made up in a few hours.

Yes, you can copy my design.

Tip. As you can see. I welded the square box section on the end of the rake. That is for counter weight because when the grass builds up it will lean forward. The grass will be left behind in a lump and the counter weight will reset the rake on the surface. One more thing, use 4×4 in low gear at first not to put too much strain on the diff.


Fire break rake 2

Fire break rake1

Fire break rake 3

Rural fire bragade

My D Series Ford truck fully loaded up with building materials.



The End Result

The colours of the building are earthen colours which should not date. The building was renovated and built for easy maintenance and also for fire resistance.  The building is quite deceptive. On the outside it looks plain but on the inside it has all the modern creature comforts. Below are the photos of the outside after completion.