Castle Construction in 2013

The large tamarack brackets to support the tower cone were fabricated and installed now; Forrest Towne and Joe Shelton helped with this work. Joe capped each top member of the brackets with a little copper roof. The balance of the interface window frames was built and we started on the true window frames built from a combination of native (Eastern White) and Spanish cedar.

Castle Construction in 2014

The year began finishing the inner window frames, but this was to be the year of stucco. I had decided to use a lime plaster stucco as opposed to modern stucco. The latter has Portland cement. It is not as environmentally green as the lime plaster, and it also lacks flexibility. With the lime plaster, no metal control joints are required, leaving an unblemished, clean exterior.

Internet searches were frustrating because of conflicting information on types of lime and ratios of ingredients. At the same time, Jessica Goldblatt, owner of Interiors Green (an alternative building products store) suggested taking a tadelakt class at Yestermorrow design/build school in Waitsfield, Vermont. Yestermorrow is a 30+-year-old non-profit that promotes natural and alternative building. Tadelakt is a form of lime plaster, perhaps the ultimate form. Its coats are polished with semi-precious stones to calcify the lime, bringing it back to stone. This creates a fabulous, shiny surface with a wonderful depth. Far too fancy and labor-intensive for a castle’s exterior, but perhaps there will be interior details later. For the present, however, Ryan Chiver, the instructor, took time to supply the method and mixes for our project.

We ordered, gathered, and made weep screed, sand, lime, and lath. By late August, we thought we were ready. We weren’t, not entirely. The first volunteer weekend got off to a shaky start. We had a five-hour power outage to start. But we persevered, lath went on and the first coat of stucco. Over the two volunteer weekends, we got the fifth level covered with lath, screed, and the first coat of stucco. Then started downward on the fourth level.

Progress would have slowed considerably, but Aaron Woodruff, who helped the first year on forming the foundation, returned. He worked all through the autumn until frost. I joined him when I could, as did Jennifer Wallace one weekend. As winter descended, we moved into the woodshop and started to manufacture the casement window sashes.

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