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Building w.s. – Final landscaping

October 12, 2019

With winter closing in, it’s already too late to do some decent landscaping, but I decided to get job done as far as I can. There was plenty to do…

I spent already three weekends digging out, filling it with gardening soil, and planting grass in three smaller areas in front of the workshop. But the area around the well was simply too big to finish this year with simply a shovel and a wheelbarrow…

And I also had to even out the roundabout in between the workshop and the villa for which I ordered I truckload of gravel…

I called in reinforcements in order to get the gravel spread and to speed up the landscaping…

Even that this digger isn’t the biggest in the village it gets the job done for which I need a whole weekend in 30 minutes. Slightly depressing. But ultimately more efficient. In the photo above one can see also the 5 m3 soil I had delivered which the digger spread also in no time. But it’s worth the effort (and the money). I only had to the raking to even out the rough work. Now I’m ready for the winter. The remaining grass seeds I can plant next spring.

Farewell! You served us well!

August 20, 2019

With the workshop building being close to completion (at least when it comes to storing stuff), we decided to get rid of the old garden shed.

I bought this Lillevilla garden shed in 2008 at Bauhaus and transported it in the trailer to the countryside. It was actually building number 2 to be put up (number 1 being the lighthouse toilet). Building the shed from pre-manufactured parts took only one day (since we had no place to seep yet there wasn’t more time to be had anyway). Only attaching the tar shingles was an additional effort much later on when I had leftovers from the guest cottage. The shed has served us well and was hosting in the early days many things including a fridge and tons of drinking water. It was once moved 15 meters to its current location because it has to make space for the new workshop building.

The first step of the removal was to take off the doors and the strengthening support boards I attached at some point. The next step was a bit more dramatic. Firstly, taking out all metal brackets holding the main parts together and then giving it a gentle shove by two people…

This results is pretty much plenty of pieces which can be transported away as such (except the roof which is held together by the tar paper).

The results is one shed less and one parking place more… With the exception of the little pile of roof paper and tar shingles (visible in the back of the photo above) and the metal that went to the recycling, not much was left after the thermal reuse of the wooden parts…

 

Shady business

August 9, 2019
by

When designing the workshop we wanted to have big windows at the front to allow for natural light to flood in, which is especially nice in the summer. Well of course also other times of the year as well, but especially in the summer.

However there are times when you maybe want to work without prying eyes looking at what you’re doing, or maybe just don’t want any one who’s passing by to the able to look in the windows and take stock of what all you have in the workshop.

Initially we thought about some sort of curtains, even blackout curtains, for the large front windows, but came to the conclusion that it would just be unpractical with the curtain rods, and especially on the woodworking side the curtains would gather dust quite quickly. Thus we ended up that blinds would be the most optimal solution, as they are installed between the windows, so they’re protected from the dust, and are easy to pull-up when needed and can be open/closed as desired.

We ordered and received the blinds already in early June, but needed some weeks to gather the inspiration for installing them. The paper instructions that came along with them were quite straightforward, but as for the actual installation process I really can’t comment much, as the Other Half handled that part. I can say it did not take that long and I did not hear much strong language, so let’s presume it went quite smoothly.

Here you can see what it looks like without blinds, with blinds open and with blinds closed:  

So now we’re ready for all those secret projects that need to be protected from prying eyes!

Like peas in a pod

August 2, 2019

Like the famous quote from one of my all time favorite movies, Forrest Gump, “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get”, it applies to life, but also to my vegetable patch!

As I indicated in my earlier post, the vegetable patch was not such a success as I would have expected this year. Potatoes and carrots were fail safe and are thriving, still need to wait for probably at least a month before gathering any harvest, but even the earlier fail safe salads let me down.

But there was a pleasant surprise – peas! On the request of the Girl we this year planted peas for the first time. I looked at several options and specifically selected low-growing ones. The package stated these peas should grow to no higher than 40cm and do not need any support.

Yeah – don’t believe everything you read! After being absent from the country-side for two weeks we went back and the peas had grown and were hanging over both the potatoes as well as the rows of salad seeds. First thing I had to do was to gather up some random pieces of iron rod, some twine and make some sort of frame to lift up the peas from the ground. After this the peas seemed happy and continued to grow.

As of last weekend we were not yet able to gather any of our harvest, but things are looking very good. Some light, water and time should give us a nice amount of self-grown peas. Just need to patiently wait!

Building w.s. – Finishing touches

July 27, 2019

Two weeks of summer vacation were ideal to put the finishing touches on the workshop (besides other things one does during summer vacations such as doing nothing, picking blueberries, playing mini-golf, and visiting various local places for coffee or pizza).

The covering boards around the roof were the first things to be put in place…

The metal sheet covering the garage door was also an easy two hour project since the floor height fits perfectly to the log beams…

Attaching the ventilation hats took a bit more time because of the scaffolding and safety harness, but after a day the two ventilation hats for the roof and the inside of the workshop were attached…

The covering boards under the dormer window roof presented themselves as some challenge because of the lack of proper scaffolding to reach the required places but with the help of some rather creative solutions the job got done…

 

The steps to the doors were the last thing to be completed. This time I reused existing materials and recycled old materials from discontinued projects…

The final thing to do is the landscaping, but I believe that can wait until after the final inspection.

 

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.

Whiteout!

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:

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(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:

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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:

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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!

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And the inside:

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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: