Project Description

The Forest School idea is very potent concept
around a theory that whatever children can do
inside they can also do outside. Ecclesall
woods, the ancient woodland within the city
boundary has an old Sawmill site. The site
has exciting new plans for developing a centre
for innovative use of timber and has a number
of small businesses and enterprises already on
the site. At the moment the Forest School site
has outdoor play area and a teepee. They
would like to develop a “structure” to allow for
some additional facilities – to be decided but
most likely an “outside classroom” and the
aim is to build the project.

Monday, 17 November 2008

the opening event

The opening event had a good crowd and we could see the space being used!

the Classroom is open

So here we are, 7 weeks down the line and the outdoor classroom is finished.
the stepped access into the classroomthe storage/ seating unitthe coat hooksthe classroom at night

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Sunday, 9 November 2008

the classroom grows...

A rainy day brings with it lots of mud but that doesn't stop the outdoor classrooms team, we're on the home straight now....!
On site the team is putting up the composite beams and fixing them in place, meanwhile the team in the workshop start work on the storage/ seating unit.The following day is another very early start and the tiredness is starting to catch up with everyone...
however, the early start doesn't stop work from continuing. Although everyone is working hard, the team do take a quick break to celebrate Tim's birthday.

the roof support structure starts to come together

While Olly & Abbie fix the twigs for cladding, Scott, Chris, Willie & Tim start fixing the bracing panels
While on site everyone is getting quite muddy, the girls working at the sawmill are somewhat "cleaner". Olly decides this needs to be rectified!Once Olly's face is cleaned up, Aditi returns to help Jo start making the frame for the hurdles to cover the roof.
And so the penultimate day before the presentation ends with lots of mud and an almost complete classroom!And so we are at the ultimate day before the live project presentation...the hurdles are started and with a few 3rd year helpers from our whole school event, soon one of the two hurdle panels is close to completion.
...the flooring is laid
...and the step is lowered into place which needed the whole team AND our 3 extra helpers to carry up the slope and put into position

Monday, 3 November 2008

Even God rested on the 7th Day

I'm not going to pretend to know what day it is, but I do know that we have no worked 8 days straight. Our bodies ache, our limps are tired and our minds exhausted. But there's always time for a blog right? I'm putting in a few snippets of the details we've been working on the last couple of days, as it all starts to come together...

The final column, the biggest and heaviest oak was hoisted into position using some serious people power.

Composite beams to add structural rigidity are now being applied and coach screwed into position. This means the temporary bracing is begining to disappear...

Coach screws at height too, as the angled roof timers and positioned.

Profiling of roof beams for canvas roof using a jig-saw.

Eat, sleep & breathe timber

It's official...everyone is tired, and is looking forward to the shelter reaching its completion. But with so much still left to do, it seems time is simply slipping away... However, morale is high with everyone putting in 200% and trying to get the shelter finished by the end of the week. A hard working weekend gave us a good start to the week with the boys starting to secure the columns with bolts and start putting the composite beams into position.
While the boys are busy doing that, the girls are getting on with completing the bracing panels...Aditi and Caitriona prepare for the disaster that is SAWDUST!Chris and Tim have a secret rendezvous, except Chris looks disinterested...The bracing panels near completionOlly and Jo arrive with more free timber......and the girls unload it
The day ends with the composite beams in position in their tapered form. The shelter is starting to come together.

Saturday, 1 November 2008

Structura Erectus

In a way its crazy to think that 48 hours ago, all we had were a few prefabricated components, 12 rough holes in the ground, and a rocky platform on sleepers in the middle of a wet mound of earth. Well, we still have all of those things, but in the last two days, structure has sprung from the ground. One rickety column became two, then four, and by the start of play today we had 12 columns supported by a lot of temporary timber protruding from the ground.

Today’s exercise was one of precision, as we adjusted all of the irregular sycamore and oak columns to line through with each other, and began to attach what will be the composite beams along their lengths. The pictures below show many, many timbers which will be eventually
removed, but the structure itself is really starting to take shape.

One side of irregular timber columns, picture taken from a height.

Beam along the long sides are attached, marking out where the roofline will eventually fall.

Temporary beams are everywhere, but they form a vital purpose.

The structure is beginning to make its presense, with the surrounding trees beautifully intruding through the walls and roof.

As night began to fall, we had begun to lay the concrete pinned foundations, covered here with wet hessian to aid the concrete in gaining strength.