Cape Breton's Magazine

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Page 8 - Fr. John Webb Builds Stone Buildings

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1976/12/1 (1966 reads)
 

Fr. John Webb Builds Stone Buildings I went to Frenchvale on October 21, 1959. I went there primarily to set up Talbot House. It was attached to a parish so I served the needs of the parish as well. Talbot House was then just a small bunga? low-shaped house. There was a little mis? sion church and an old hall. They were wood frame structures. Ihe idea of building with stone was a matter of economy. We didn't have a great deal of money and we had all kinds of rocks on the property. Field stones and stones from gravel pits and so on. And we had as we would have in a house of that kind, all kinds of trades, (fe had a couple of men who were stone masons, bricklayers. One elderly gentleman actually started off the work. I did most of the rock work myself with the help of the men. They did most of the heavy work but I placed the stone. Once you get a little experience in this work it's comparatively easy to do. First going off we mixed our own mor? tar and that was all right but it was kind of a slow process. We started get? ting ready-mix. In an effort to conserve labour, we try to arrange it so that the cement truck can drive as close to the construction as possible. Once we get through with the basement area we erect our studding with a playwood back and put an inch of styro- foam against the plywood. Then we put the rock on outside right up against the sty- rofoam • about 12 or 15 inches of rock. This thickness allows us to use fairly large rocks, which cuts down the expense of cement. If we're doing 2 or 3 walls at Cape Breton's Magazine/S Talbot House surrounded in stone, and work on a woodhouse of stone and logs and cement. once, we have the concrete truck drive a- round and pour the cement right in along the wall (in the corner formed by the top of the basement wall and the styrofoam.) Then we'll pull it out and get a layer of cement. You have to put your cement in before you put your rocks on. We lay our rocks on that with about an inch, inch and a half distance between the rocks. Then we go back over it an pull the ce? ment out and in between the rocks. Pack a fair amount of it in between. And that pulling out makes quite a hollow or con? cave area between the rock and the styro? foam, all the way around the building. So the next day ndien the truck comes the ce? ment is hardened and there's this trough where he can run the chute again and fill up that concave. Then we pull that cement out over the rocks that are already there, put on more rocks and so on. And if you have it fairly wide • 18 inches say • and if you have a good footing • that's a good strength and you don't need reinforcing rods. The first stone work was the house itself. We added 10 feet to the side facing the church. Then we added about 40 by 30 in wood in the other direction. And then we built.a sort of lean-to structure of stone all the way around the other three sides. Now the main house is about 50 by 80 or 90. Twenty can live there with ease. ' And now that we have the stonework well- insulated it's very easily heated. We have the kitchen stove which is an Enter? prise Camper • wood-burning stove • and we
Cape Breton's Magazine
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