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Mystery of the Roof Structure

March 25, 2017

Building the roof of a log house is always one of the more challenging tasks. But what do you do when only 5 out of 35 pages of the building instructions actually apply to your project?

Kontio delivers a decent amount of building instructions with figures and descriptive text for the roof work. However, 30 of the 35 pages are designated for roof structures that assume that sides of the building are also made of massive logs and the roof structure is build from single pre-cut boards. But the workshop, with its mansard-style roof and the dormer windows, is assembled from pre-manufactured roof trusses?

These technical drawings itself are not exactly revealing in regards where to attach the cross-connections between the different roof trusses in order to have the necessary stability. I don’t get it yet, how to read these drawings. I guess I have to study them still more before the summer. The positive surprise with the roof design was that the dormer windows don’t need to be build too much manually but the main structure is also part of the pre-manufactured roof trusses.

The sides of the building are then to be build from long boards that are attached to the roof truss and the logs itself.

Well, I got all summer and the early part of the fall to figure out how to do this. It just needs to be ready before the winter.

The Holy Book is Here!

March 15, 2017

On just another regular Monday, an automated notification was sent. The receiver (me) was delighted! Finally, the Builder’s Folder with the construction details and detailed plans arrived from Kontio and had to be picked up from the post office (which nowadays is attached to the customer service of a shopping market).

The folder contains all the exciting (for the engineers among us) technical drawings, assembly instructions, and delivery part lists. Even that this is not the first log building we are assembling (it actually is number 4), it is still interesting to see how things are ultimately designed. There are new things we never had such as the mansard-style roof, the dormer windows in the roof, and the drive through (which the manufacturer still calls a terrace). Seeing how they are constructed after almost a year is a nice entertainment while waiting for 2 months for the delivery.

Besides the already known floor plans and foundation plans, it included also


  • separate assembly instructions for the logs, the roof, and complimentary products
  • part lists with quantities such as 4102 nails of a certain kind (okay, I made that number up)
  • technical drawings of the roof
  • load calculations for the roof elements
  • detail drawings for all challenging parts such as pillars, windows, the terrace and so on
  • the 3D drawing (not very useful except nice to look at)

  • the technical drawings for the roof and
  • the Log-Building-For-Dummies instruction for the actual log assembly with numbers for each piece (making this easier than a Lego project)

It’s good to see that the holes for the electricity cables are roughly were I drew them and they haven’t been forgotten (I never got confirmation from Kontio that they had received my plans). The drawings also show that the top rows of the workshop are not one single log (which theoretically would be possible because they can do and transport logs up to 12 meters as far as I remember) but they are split into 2/3 and 1/3 length with hidden connections in the joints. Hence, we need to lift a maximum of 7,4 meters long logs. Not bad.

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.