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30 May 2009 – Purlins


It’s Madaraka weekend here. It celebrates a half-way stage in Kenya’s independence. And our building structural independence took a big step when we got all the roof stuff glued together. Here’s the story in brief.

Once the trusses were in place, we welded the purlins to them. Our purlins are long pieces, about 60′ of 38mm x 38mm x 3mm right angle steel that hold the roof structure together and to which the roof material is attached. In our case the material is 26 gauge mbati (metal), with a baked on coating. Its tough and looks nice.


We spaced ours one meter apart and so had seven on each side of the big roof. Peter welded them on to the trusses and it all went pretty much like clockwork, if sometimes cuckoo-clockwork.

For the most part I’m going to let the pictures speak for themselves. They’re all grown up now anyway.






I’ll let you know how we made out with the roof just as soon as I’m able.


Until then, just remember,

“When this old world starts gettin’ you down,

there’s room enough for two…up on the roof.”




  1. Bob says

    So, what class at St. Joe’s was it that you learned all this stuff? No, not The Drifters’ quote, I know which class that was…Bob

  2. Michael Edson says


    It’s not like I have any commercial building experience, but good grief this is a very sound structure. You could park a truck on the roof of the building! Great work!


  3. david says


    Well, I think some of it was Riddlemoser’s Latin class. Somewhere between amo, amas…and agricola, agricolae. And the rest came during my experience as a second generation captain of the Ramblers. Big shoes to fill.

    See you and Patti soon, love,


  4. david says

    Hi Mike,

    So that’s where the truck is!! I couldn’t find it anywhere. Now at least I want have t keep walking everywhere. And your commercial building experience is the same as mine, minus the mother of all invention and the on the job crash training course. Scary, no?

    Love to you and Neena,


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