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Building w.s. – Ceiling panels

July 13, 2019

Some 1000 meters of ceilings boards, over 3000 nails, and countless weekends later, I finished the job of covering the ceiling of the workshop just before the start of the summer vacation.

The insides of the dormer windows played a major role in slowing me down. The panels for the insides of the dormer windows need to be cut individually with at least one angle of 21,2 degrees and some of them in addition at an angle of 20,4 degrees. This means a lot of climbing up the ladder and down the ladder to get it right. I guess I don’t need to do any step-master exercises in the gym…

The result is pleasing the eye and satisfying for the mind. Even without corner lists, the ceiling looks almost too nice for a workshop. I’m still wondering whether it would have been easier to just screw on plywood but somehow I’m not sure whether that would have saved that much of time and effort. Anyway, this last large task of the workshop is now done too and only smaller finishing jobs are waiting for me in the summer weeks to come.



July 8, 2019

Lacquered pine furniture was very popular for years and for many it still is. Also many summer cottages have all possible surfaces from floors, walls, ceilings and all types of furniture with the lacquered or plain pine finish.

There’s a time and place for everything, but if I can choose I would no longer want to have a piece of furniture in just pine color. However sometimes there are pieces of furniture that hold special memories or are important for other sentimental reasons, like for me this one:


(you can barely see it as it’s the same color as the walls, which will be remaining pine colored in the workshop!)

A corner cabinet with clear lacquered pine finish. I don’t remember exactly when this particular piece of furniture has been bought, but it has been sitting in some corner of my childhood homes since at least the early 80s (ok, now you can do some math on how old I possibly am…). The cabinet has also sailed twice across the Atlantic ocean (in a shipping container!) and has moved in addition at least 3 times. You know it’s just always been there – I’m sure we all have these type of memories related to something in our childhood homes. Lots of different things have been stored in it during the years and for the past 10+ years it has been standing in the corner of my Mom’s kitchen.

However it is a bit awkward in shape and not very practical. Mom was thinking of selling it, but then I thought why get rid of it? Now that we have the workshop building in the final stretch there would actually be a place for it – I could put it in the corner of my little gardening corner-to-be. So a couple of weeks ago we raided my Mom’s kitchen (while she was traveling of course), took the cabinet home and after having it in our garage for a few weeks took it to the countryside.

However, even if the location is going to be in the workshop the color scheme was just not my taste. I didn’t even need to think very hard of what to do. As I have practically no experience in painting furniture and zero patience for the tedious sanding the lacquered finish would require I knew I wanted to try my hand at chalk paint. Based on what I’ve been reading up on it’s supposed to be super easy, as the old finish needs to be only cleaned and one coat of paint is supposed to be enough.

So off we go:

After cleaning all of the surfaces with soapy water and letting them dry overnight it was time to dissemble all of the moving parts by removing the doors, shelves, hinges, doorknobs and trimming. Next step was spreading them all over the workshop for the painting.

I was a bit dubious when I opened the paint can and it looked like this:

It was supposed to be white, but this looked like… Well, maybe it’s better I don’t say what I think it looked like. However after a good vigorous stir things looked already much better:


I actually thought I did a pretty thorough job of stirring the paint, but it turned out as my painting proceeded that it seemed like still more of the pigment was at the bottom of the can. How do I know this? Well, as I started with painting the lower doors they did not look good after one coat of paint – the yellowed pine was still shining through. However when I continued with painting the upper doors those actually has a very good finish already after one coat of paint.

Leaning for me? You can never mix a paint can enough in the beginning!

So painting itself was quite fun and easy. The paint was great – it was barely dripping and very easy to apply. Here you can see what it looked like after the first coat for the cabinet itself and the lower doors:

As I said earlier, you could still clearly see the wood pattern and some of the orangy color coming through. I decided from the beginning that I will also paint the inside of the cabinet, as it would bum me out to keep staring at the pine every time I opened the doors. However I did not paint the backboards on the outside – come on, that would just be wasted paint as this closet will always sit in a corner and no one sees the backside!

So based on this experience I was expecting the following day when I continued that I need to paint everything twice. However that was not the case – only the cabinet and bottom doors required a second coat and all others were good with just one coat:

As you can see from above, I also painted the inside of the doors. Again the same reason as I painted the inside of the cabinet: I did not want to stare at the pine when I opened the doors!

Initially I was planning to buy new handles for the cabinet, but haven’t really come across any new ones I like so far (and keeping in mind this is for the workshop…), so I thought to just paint the original pine knobs:


Stuck them into some styrofoam for drying, otherwise it would have been impossible to get the paint to dry without some smudges.

So what did it look like after all was said and done? Ta-daa – feast your eyes!


And the inside:


You might notice just a minor difference between the original and new, in addition to the color: the top list was originally a bit too decorative for my taste, so the Other Half cut a new list for me from some left over materials. I like it more like this – simpler.

How long did this project take? Well, you know the saying time flies when you’re having fun, so I wasn’t even looking at the clock. But overall it didn’t take that many hours – maybe around 6 hours all together in 3 batches of two hours each.

I must say I am very pleased with the results. There are at least the the following reasons for my smugness:

  • this familiar piece of furniture has a new life (and can maybe someday pass on further in the family, maybe…)
  • I painted a piece of furniture all on my own – can you believe that?
  • It looks like what I expected – the chalk paint met my expectations with going on smoothly on top of a lacquered finish, did not drip and has a very nice matt finish

Now the only thing I need to think of is what will I put in here?!?

There was just one hick-up in the last stretch of putting everything back together – I spent quite a lot of time trying to “fix” one of the hinges as the door wouldn’t close properly. The Other Half came to help as well and there was quite a simple diagnosis: the guilty hinge was attached the wrong way. Oops!

On a final note, like for any project like this, the mandatory before and after side-by-side:

Clear winners

June 25, 2019

You loose some, you win some. With mother nature you never know what is going to happen – this applies to a lot of things and now it applies to my attempts on the vegetable patch this year.

Even though the seed packets are untouched and you do things just the same way as many earlier years you just don’t know what is going to happen. This year it looks like some seeds just don’t want to grow – even though they’ve had (at least in my opinion) plenty of sunlight, water and love. OK – the love part might be a bit overstated, but at least otherwise there should be no complaints about the conditions. However this is what it looks like now:


Not pretty, right? Well, I haven’t lost all hope yet, but it appears we shall be well supplied in potatoes and salads, but everything else will be a bit of a gamble! Let’s see if there’s any improvement to the situation as the summer proceeds!

Oh one important thing – photo credits must be given when they are due. These images have been shot by the Boy; though I wonder if he should soon be called the Young Man instead considering that he’s already almost as tall as I am.

Building w.s. – Lamps

June 18, 2019

While waiting for more wood panels to cover the ceiling inside the workshop, I attached the lamps that should give enough light when needed. It feels a bit odd to install lamps at a time of the year when the sun barely sets so close to midsummer, but it was one of things I could do while waiting for additional materials to arrive.

Most of the lamps are purchased from IKEA like these ones that brighten up the garage:

I don’t remember anymore where I bought the lamps for the workshop but I do think they are from some offer at Bauhaus few months ago:

The lamps that will serve the small garden tool room also known as the-other-half’s-own-hobby-space (which is to be separated from the garage with a wall at a later point of time) are also from IKEA. We bought them more than 9 months ago on offer because IKEA phased out the silver option (which in my option is still the best one).

During next weekend, the midsummer weekend, I will continue attaching the ceiling panels…

Railing improvement

May 30, 2019

We essentially ran out of material to continue the workshop project. Either we had used up the materials that Kontio had provided (like the pre-painted white boards I used too much of around the dormer windows) or the materials weren’t included in the deal (such as the inside paneling of the ceiling). Hence, I ordered more material from Finland’s biggest Internet shop for building materials:

The ordering process was again smooth as usual and the prices are okay, not cheap but fair enough considering the convenience. The execution of the order however had its challenges: is subcontracting the order to another company that is entirely focussed on the business around wood products called Puumerkki. And Puumerkki again outsources the delivery to one of the big logistic companies in Finland. The end result is that one item from the order (pre-painted boards, 90mm wide) was missing all together and the quantity of another one was wrong (only half of them were delivered). One of the pre-painted boards was broken at the end, but I can live with such issue as they are quite common and I take them into account in my order quantities. I’m currently waiting for to sort out the problem. 3 working days have gone by without resolution…

One of the things I ordered were replacement boards for the railings around of the villa. The original railings that I built few years ago had a 28mm thick top board. Below is an archive photo:

I was never entirely happy with the looks of these railings and since I anyway changed the configuration of the railings 2 years ago when I built a bridge to the vegetable patch, I used this opportunity when I had wood material delivered to also order replacement boards for the top. The old top boards were quickly removed within 30 minutes:

The new top boards (or should I rather say beams?) are 40 mm thick. It took me half day to cut them to length and attach them. The outcome is more sturdy than before and gives the entire terrace are more solid look.

Building w.s.- The Making of the Concrete Floor

May 19, 2019

There are jobs that I don’t do. Not that I wouldn’t be able to wing it but sometimes I appreciate the quality of a trained craftsman. Equally distributing the concrete for the floor and smoothing is one of those things.

The concrete pump truck showed up Friday morning at 08:00 (they said they would come around 07:30). The “floor man” (a straight translation from the Finnish word “lattiamies”) followed the pump truck in his own van.

Once the floor man had drunken his coffee, which was the second thing he spoke with me about (the first one was the question where he can charge his iPhone), the show got going.

This small floor job is done by two people: the pump truck driver who distributes the concrete holding the remote control for the truck on his side and the floor man who distributes it.

The roughly distributed concrete looks like on the picture below: nothing near of final…

The floor man waited then roughly 2 hours for the concrete to harden enough to carry his weight (mostly sitting in his van playing on his phone) before starting phase 2: the smoothening.

The floor man “hovers” over the floor on his flying saucer while smoothing the floor in concentric movements.

The surface looks already much better after round two:

Having waited until Sunday morning (24 hours are supposed to enough but I rather waited 48 hours to be on the safe side), I was walked on the floor and took down the protective plastic foils from the walls. After 15 minutes of cleaning, the floor looks better than I expected and the project moved another big step forward…

Vegetable patch 2019

May 9, 2019

It’s that time of the year again – snow has melted and the earth is bare, time to start planning and taking action if one wants to enjoy produce from the land later this year!

Honestly considering how much snow there was covering our vegetable patch a couple of weeks ago at Easter I was not at all prepared to do any planting yet. However as the conditions were perfect (=no snow) there was no reason not to proceed!

Last fall after pulling everything out we had already turned the earth, but good to do it again in the spring. Thus that was the first step. I was very lucky to have a trusted and enthusiastic helper for the whole project, as the Girl is quite a keen gardener and helper. Here’s the results of our common efforts of turning the soil and flattening it in preparation for planting the seeds, as well as setting the location of the stepping stones this year:

Next step was to plan what are we planting this year and what should be the order in the vegetable patch. I had some seeds left from last year, as well at had bought a random selection of new seeds earlier in the spring. We decided on:

  • salad (3 different varieties planted now, 2 in about 3-4 weeks)
  • leaf celery
  • spinach
  • kale
  • carrots
  • peas
  • eggplant

Next week we will also plant potatoes, need to first buy the seed potatoes; did not have those on hand as did not expect to plan anything, yet.

Most of the past 3-5 years we’ve also planted beetroot, dill, chives and parsley, but beetroot has only produce a handful to vegetables, and no one really cares for the dill, chives or parsley (except for me), so decided to skip on them this time. Maybe try again next year them next year, let’s see.

This is also the first attempt at peas and eggplant, I’ll be positively surprised if we get any crop for either one. I’m especially doubful about the eggplant, as I did grow the seeds prior to planting on the ground, but as said, let’s see what happens!

But here’s a shot of the vegetable patch preparations for planting the seeds:

And finally once the seeds are in the ground. You really can’t see anything, only the two rows we left open for the salad seeds that we’re planting later so we can enjoy homegrown salad as long as possible:


Now we just need to wait as the weather warms up for all the goodies to grow and show themselves!