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When I drill I drill all the way

January 22, 2017

In order to pull electricity cables inside of the logs, the log manufacturer drills 4 cm wide holes into the logs. One needs to send a drill plan to the log manufacturer few months before the logs for the workshop are being carved out of wood. The instructions on how to communicate to the manufacturer where to drill the holes seem to be pretty much the same comparing Mammuttikoti and Kontio, two of the major log home manufacturers in Finland. I have done the same exercise also for Villa Linnea (

However, Kontio’s instructions seems to have changed: instead of indicating how high (or deep) the holes do need be drilled through the wall, the manufacturer simply stroked out these parts from the guidelines.


It seems that Kontio is now drilling the holes all the way from top to the bottom in the wall. Not that it really matters except that the already low insulation value of wood is not exactly improved by unnecessarily drilling holes. But the workshop is a “cold” building without permanent heating and therefore it doesn’t really matter.


Now, the log drill plan has been made and sent to Kontio. We’ll see what they say…

2017 – The Plan

January 1, 2017

Day 1, 2017. Time to share the plan. The plan of what I intend to get done this year.

This year is easy: there is a foundation with my name on it waiting for me.


But how far do to build the workshop? What is too far and what is too lazy? Well, after all this is a hobby and not a labour camp. But some goals might good to have…

The main goal is that the workshop building is protected for the incoming winter 2017/2018. In order to be protected from the elements, we should have some kind of roof or cover on the building. Also, a first layer of protective paint should be on the logs and the wooden panels.

The foundation is ready. All parts (except the doors) shall be delivered in the second week of May. And during the 4th weekend in May, a long weekend due to a religious holiday, we should have a team of at least 5 to assemble logs. That should be the easy part.

The next part is already a bit more challenging: lifting the roof elements on top of the building and attaching them to the logs and then connecting with each other. The plan is so far to hire a truck with a crane for one day to get that job done during the early summer.


During the summer holidays (and yes, we intend to actually rest also from our daily jobs) I hope to be able to nail the roof boards on and attach the first layer of tar paper which seals the roof.

If I manage to nail the wood panels on the second story, then I’m already on the winning side of things.

The challenge in all of this will be the dormer windows on both sides of the roof.


Building the roof would be otherwise fairly straight-forward, but those will be a challenge. That’s the biggest uncertainty factor in this project. I’m waiting eagerly for the detailed building drawings to figure out how to built the dormer windows. But before the materials can be delivered I need to design still where holes should be drilled in the logs in order to pull the electricity cables. More about that in the next blog post…

This was 2016

December 10, 2016

The year is coming to an end and Finnish winter has put all building works on hold. It’s a good time to reflect on the achievements of the last 12 months…

The indisputable biggest change on our countryside estate was the levelling of the land for the workshop building. We moved literally mountains. This is best illustrated with a before/after comparison.


And this was December 2015…


The whole earthmoving and road building exercise set us back some 15.000 Euro, out of which 5.000 Euro went into blowing up rocks into movable pieces. As a result we have not only gotten a new service road (the main road to the Villa runs through the workshop building) but also a artificial rock wall (on the photo below on the left) that would even block an attack from an Russian tank…


The next most sizeable improvement last year was the landscaping of the North side of the Villa. It turned an abandoned strip of land into a neat stone garden during the summer vacation:

File_005And then there was the project of building a bridge towards the vegetable garden which was completed during the late springbridge-to-vegetable-gardenNaturally, there were things that remained undone. For example, I had planned to place cobblestones in front of the Villa but I was too busy with other things (or actually didn’t feel like moving another few tons of rocks). Well, maybe I get around doing this two years from now… for now it’s time to enjoy the beautiful winter in the countryside.




Workshop foundation: Landscaping

October 23, 2016

With the foundation of the workshop being ready, the last thing is to do the landscaping of the inner courtyard. The landscaping was held up by another massive rock which had to be blown up (see previous blog post) but with that one out of the way, the last task before the winter could be done. The photo below illustrates how things looked before the landscaping. The road about between workshop and villa didn’t exist. The road through the workshop building wasn’t done yet and various piles of gravel and soil blocked the path to the villa.


The target state of the inner courtyard is shown below (at least roughly):


The excavator had plenty to do to clean up the sides around the foundation, level the area for the roundabout, and shift 5 truck loads of gravel. Unfortunately, an excavator is not the perfect tool to actually distribute and level gravel for the roundabout and the road. The shovel of the excavator is simply not wide enough. The whole thing didn’t turn out as even and flat as I had hoped for. I spent hours to work with a rake to smoothen the excavators work but I believe I still need a tractor with a wide shovel to make the road and roundabout even. Doing this manually is like prisoner’s work. Burns calories, but not very meaningful.


The slopes around the workshop are now cleaned up as well and nature can take over again (or will I be able actually to plant something controlled there?).


A truck load of load-bearing gravel was dumped in front of what will the garage for the garden tractor and then levelled again. Now, it is theoretically possible to drive into the workshop. But that’s pretty much it for now. I still need that tractor for the finishing touches before the snow comes, but that has to wait until later. Anyway, the vision of approaching the villa on a straight road through the workshop with the roundabout as turning place is slowly taking shape…


Rocks and Dynamite

October 16, 2016

The master plan for the new building layout around Villa Linnea is to have a roundabout between the villa and the workshop. Unfortunately, we discovered yet another massive rock that is poking out inside of the circle of the roundabout (in the photo below in the lower right corner). Only when doing the final levelling for the roundabout we found that fellow which is only 15 cm too high, but 15 cm is 15 cm too much. Not even the strong excavator was able to dig deep enough to make that rock move even an inch. And therefore, there was only one solution: Explosives!


The guy that blows rocks into small pieces in our neck of woods is a cool guy (maybe you need to be with this job). He showed up pretty much at 07.00 the following day before even there was any daylight. He started immediately to drill four holes into that rock in the dark.


20 minutes after drilling the holes he dropped the explosives (that he transports in a blue plastic bucket) into the holes. The excavator then loaded a 20cm layer of soil on top of the rock to prevent shrapnel to fly about.


And few moments later, I barely managed to get into what I considered a save distance, the rock was split into nice junks, which the digger could then remove. Problem solved. Only 90 minutes after arrival the dynamite man was already gone again.


Spray paint – a little can go a long way

September 29, 2016

If you read our blog semi-regularly you’ve probably already established the division of work between me and the Other Half: he builds and does the things requiring ”heavy lifting”, where as I focus on gardening (not landscaping!), decorating and smaller things like that. I’m not much of a DIY person in terms of bigger building; I can hold a paintbrush and do things that I’m told or instructed to do, but bigger things are outside of my comfort zone. But once in a while I’ll do something small – like what I’m sharing with you today.

We very often on weekend mornings eat breakfast buns – for the lack of a local bakery where I could pick up some fresh ones we buy the vacuum packed semi-ready kind and bake them in the morning. That gives the illusion of fresh buns, which they’re really not. Anyways, in order to bring them to the table we have a basket – a small, red basket to be more precise.


We’ve been using this basked for a couple of years already. During the same time I’ve noticed a spot on the kitchen counter as well as a spot on the dining table (in the middle of it, of course) with a slight red discoloration. I’ve been wondering where these spots came from, as they’re impossible to remove; I actually thought some summer I might have stained the spots with some strawberries. Well, that was not the case – it was the basket! If the bottom became wet or even damp it would discharge color and obviously, as I had not noticed it immediately, the color did not come off from where ever it had rubbed off.

Quite annoying and obviously something had to be done! I like the basket, it is a convenient size for this particular purpose (we actually have the same kind in another, neutral color at home). The Other Half had some spray paint cans laying around, so I thought I could paint it. So from thought to implementation!


I did this already in the late summer, so it was the easiest option to make use of one of the stumps at the edge of the forest as a location, so I didn’t need to protect any walls or anything else for the matter. I decided that I liked the touch of red on the basket, so I only spray painted the outside.

And honestly the can was a bit on the low side already, so I wasn’t sure if there’d be enough to spray it all around. I wanted to play it safe, as what’s worse than running out of supplies in the middle of the project?


I sprayed around three light coats of paint, allowing for about 15 minutes between the layers for drying. In the end I let be basket dry about an hour. And voila! A slightly enhanced basket that will no longer stain my kitchen table nor counters!


This has now been in use for some time already and the spray job seems to be holding up nicely; it’s not chipping or rubbing off. Not that I would have expected it to do this either, as the basket is in quite light use only with the important task of holding the breakfast buns on the weekends.

I must say this was a nice little project, so based on this you might see me spray painting a bit more things in the future 🙂

Workshop: Foundation filling

September 25, 2016

Once the mortar of the concrete blocks has dried, we could fill up the foundation with sand and gravel. Roughly 5 truck loads of some kind of sand and gravel mix were required to fill the 60 cm. Every 15 cm or so we compressed the material to get a solid base for the floor plate. Also the land around the foundation was raised again to roughly 30 cm below the foundation height.


We also had to dig in the foundation drainage pipes which lead the water away whenever there is a heavy rainfall or when the snow melts in the spring. Because the lowest layer of the foundation is significantly lower than most of the land around it (even that the building is sitting on a natural slope) we had to dig a 20 meters long trench to come out on the surface level.


Two layers of 5 cm Styrofoam are placed on top of the gravel which insulate the floor. The iron roster is there only temporarily to stop the Styrofoam from flying away in the next autumn storm.


The only outstanding challenge is the placement of the electricity cabinet. The master plan in my mind was to move it on the short side of the workshop building. However, that plan failed miserably with the power supply cable to the villa being 50 cm too short. Now the electrician and I have to figure out how to solve that issue in style. Well, another time…