New year, new faces! Throughout the Fall semester, the 5th-year, 3rd-year, and graduate students leant helping hands to the Horseshoe Courtyard Team. Spring semester Neckdown week introduced the team to new 3rd-year students. Check out their blog ( 20k Ophelia’s Home) to meet them all! Tasks for Neckdown week at Horseshoe Courtyard included pouring concrete bench footings, cleaning up the site, expanding the brick pad, and sheathing the porch walls.
Since the weather was so great mid-week, the team was able to break up the pours into different days. The next step for the benches is drilling and installing threaded rods into the concrete. The threaded rod will attach to the steel structure which holds the bench seats.
Less Puzzling, More Sanding
The brick pad keeps growing by the day! It’s reached the grinder pump. This allowed the team to install the grinder pump cover structure and infill around it with sand and custom bricks.
In the last few weeks, the team has been keeping track of how “straight” the bricks are being laid. To do this the team pulls string lines to create grids or guides that ensure the bricks are not way out of square by the time the bricks reach the last corner. This sometimes meant going back and straightening some of the already sanded bricks, and choosing which lines to prioritize since these are beautiful but imperfect bricks.
Sheathing the Porch
During Neckdown, the team and helpers added plywood to the porch stud walls. The plywood will be where the exterior gypsum attaches. There will be a set of doors, and a transom window installed on the East side of the porch ( image on the left). The doors will directly connect the interior of the building with the porch, and bring some natural light into the main hallway of the building.
In preparation for putting up the wall plates, for the walkway, the Horseshoe Courtyard team set up scaffolding on-site, and ground off the old threaded rods on the East facade. These rods used to be part of the structure of the historic balconies, back in the late 1800s.
Testing jig, and ease of temporary attachment to the wall with Tapcons and washers. Initial leveling of tabs done with string attached to the 2×4.
The team also took a day trip back to the shop to cut the 5/8 inch threaded rods that will be used to fasten the walkway pieces, as well as the footing plates to the concrete. And the 1/2 inch rods that will connect the screens to each other.
After months of fabricating at the shop, we are finally back in Hale! Thanks to Mason, and Shane from Stillwater, we were able to take all the pieces from Jim’s shop to Metal Works, and finally to Morrisette.
The last few pieces the team worked on were for the walkway, which were dry-fitted at the shop before delivering everything to the galvanizing plant.
We are incredibly grateful for the opportunity to have spent time at the shop and become empowered with new metalworking, and welding skills!
Luis at the grill
What is a celebration without tacos? After wrapping up fabrication, Luis and Flo made carne asada and al pastor tacos! A huge shoutout for them, not only for teaching us, and making sure we didn’t injure ourselves but for sharing stories and becoming part of our team.
Over the last couple of weeks, the Horseshoe Hub Courtyard team has continued to fabricate the screens in the shop, and are nearly done! After working on the shorter eight-foot screens, the team moved on to working on the nine-foot screens that are above the stage and near the main entrance, as well as 18-foot screens and corners. Thanks to the jigs that were fabricated, a small assembly line was created to facilitate making the screens as equally as possible.
This past week the team finished cutting and perforating all the steel tubes for the footings, walkway strut, and wall plates and started welding the tabs to the wall plates. Also, a huge shoutout to Zane and Cassandra from Blackshop Birmingham for donating the laser-cut plates that make-up most of the walkway, they saved the team weeks worth of work!
In other exciting news, the team took a trip this past Monday to Hunter Trees LLC and tagged the trees for the courtyard! Thirteen beautiful single trunk, Natchez Crepe Myrtles, which will be planted on site shortly after the screens are up.
This week the Horseshoe Hub Courtyard team has been in Birmingham at Turnipseed International working on fabricating the eight-foot screens that will be on the north end of the site. Huge thanks to Jim Turnipseed for his continued generosity and his crew Flo and Luis! They’ve learned so much in a short amount of time.
They’ve cut all of the angles (2″x3″x1/4″) and plates (6’x2″x1/4″), mitered, beveled, perforated, and started to weld the corner of the frames. They began fabricating the shorter screens first to get accustomed to working with the material and tools, and understand what jigs they will need.