These beams are monsters, one foot square, and around 15 feet long. They were so heavy my builder and I had to roll them along the ground on short sections of scaffolding pole. When we were lifting them, we could only do so for a few seconds.
These are 200 year-old beams reclaimed from a Dundee jute mill. The beams' cross-sections are more than twice the dimensions they need to be, but the local sawmill found too many nails in them to cut them up - so we had to use them "as is". This is a known risk with reclaimed wood. My builder cut the ends to slip into the pre-existing corbelled stone sockets in the walls, and when the last one fell into its socket, with a final whack from a baton we were so relieved.
We put in the first beam yesterday. The effort require was so enormous, that I almost fainted on numerous occasions, and it genuinely makes you instantly tired - a very weird phenomenon that I am not used to. My builder and I were yawning all over the place! :-)
The pictures show the first beam in place (taken yesterday), and the second beam in place (taken today).
An on a lighter note. :-) Note double pun - I once did a triple pun i.e. four simultaneous encoded meanings that were all applicable! Anyhow, I picked up a wood-burning stove in brilliant condition, found on gumtree, from a lovely chap in Broxburn (outside Edinburgh) on Wednesday.
There was some uncertainty over the make and model, which was a bit concerning because there are many Chinese import looky-likey stoves, with components which will wear out in a couple of years. Anyhow, by some detective work via the original supplier of the stove, I worked out it was the real deal: a "Yeoman Country". Yeoman is an excellent British manufacturer, and the Country is the biggest model they make - just right for a chilly castle.
My builder and I set the stove up in place, to check that it would draw OK - as in the picture. Even without the flue sealed-in to the chimney, the heat output was phenomenal. That room has never been so warm. I have taken out a temporary more industrial looking solid cast iron Norwegian 11kW model, and put in this British 13kW steel model with glass doors so you can see the flames. This befits this "living room to be" more.
My builder and I put the stove at various heights to check the aesthetics within the old curved alcove - a pain with such a heavy object - but definitely worth doing. The right height appears to be around 10" off the ground - easier to insert logs and logs can be stored underneath if we raise the height using small dwarf walls.
The chimney is not central in the alcove sadly, so we has to move the stove slightly to one side for the "test burn". I now need to buy two 45 degree pipe bends to create a dog-leg at the top, so the stove can sit centrally. Off to eBay! :-)
Thanks for all the happy birthday wishes on Facebook!