Construction 42: Brick staircase (4) and closing of the basement

05/01/14 | ۩ |

This is the last post about the making of the basement. More than one year passed since I started my project and now it's time to place the vaults and complete the construction of the cellar, the pantry, the guardhouse and any other structure on that level.

Some of the vaults and arches are ready to be permanently assembled. The rest of the ceiling is formed by three separate pieces due to the complexity of its shape. The first step in this stage of the work will be the joining of the vaults in a single piece.
It's not a new operation for the reader of this blog, so I'll not explain it again in full details. The only difference is about the first stone arch, already glued to the pillars. Any adjustment there, will must wait until the placement of the vaults.

The basement of the Domus is essentially organized in two spaces: one, narrow and longer and the other wider and regular. The first one reach the guardhouse from the staircase and the cistern, while the second is covered by six cross vaults placed on two columns and includes both the cellar and the pantry. In a corner of the room, a barrel vaulted gallery leads to a gate, while at the opposite side (above the pantry) a grated window allow a little daylight to reach the interiors.

Another corner is took by the cistern (but it might be an ice house) and by the stairs to the ground floor, both covered by barrel vaults.
The cover of the staircase still needs some adjustment to be finished. Here is a problem to solve: the brick arch over the door, built earlier, doesn't match exactly with the vault. It could not happen in a real construction, where the vault is built directly over the walls, but I built it separately to keep working on the staircase, and bricks were differently shaped.
Once noticed the problem and analyzed any achievable solutions, I decide to take a "poetic licence", joining pieces directly with Das (luckily the master builder was absent).

Before the material completely dry, I remove the vault. The staircase is still unfinished and needs to be polished, grouted and varnished. So the ceiling, although completed, must remain removable for a little while yet.

I can place it again when Das is dry to smooth the inside surface of the arch, removing surplus and restoring its shape.

I cover the steps with a tinfoil to protect the staircase from dust. The basement is getting dirty once again and I'll have to clean it carefully.
When I'll be working on the upper floors it'll be necessary to apply some expedient to avoid dust from entering the cellar, very hard to clean once it's closed.
For now I work it out with my vacuum cleaner, big and noisy but effective.

At the end of cleaning operations, I'm ready to close the first part of the cellar. The fresh-glued vaults will be placed at a later time, after the stairwell is finished.

Where the arches rest on the capitals, a mastic glue will make the structure stronger. I used that glue on concrete structure only till now, because of its solidity. It allowed me to join separate pieces filling empty spaces and giving strenght to the ensemble.
So this time there's no way back. The vaults, once glued, will be permanently settled.

Last touch: a little more white glue to seal the perimeter. And then, at rest for a couple of days under a 4Kg weight (about 8.8lb).


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