JENS MALMGREN I create, that is my hobby.

We got our temporary woodstove

This week we figured out that our generator was broken beyond repair, and we got a replacement. The temporary woodstove was installed, and our utility cupboard passed the examination.

Monday 28 September

The problems with the generator have been so bad that I was even dreaming nightmares about it. During the lunch break, I went to the city with failing parts to see what I could get. The gasoline hose had to be replaced, and I found a replacement for it. The starter cord housing was impossible. I had not thought that the spark plug would be any problem, but it was impossible to find a replacement for it, as well.

After work, I was eager to go to the new house and put back all the machine pieces to see if the oil level and the gasoline hose had anything to do with the problem. The starter cord coil was an issue, though. It must be possible to pull the cord to test the machine, but since chips are falling off, that would not work. I had a piece of plexiglass that I could use to mend it. It was just a question of creating a ring and put that on the coil. If that would work, we could buy a new cord pull mechanism online. Either that or I could make a new with my 3D printer, but that would be time-consuming and worthwhile only if the generator would start. I heated the plastic in the oven so that I could cut it with scissors.

I was sitting in front of the oven on the floor in our old house. Waited a moment, then I took out the workpiece and cut a little. Then back again in the oven again, on an on. I find it surreal that I am sitting there doing this to build a house? This machine was a terrible choice. This coil is indented compared to the hole where the cord is leaving the housing. That means the harder you drag, the more pressure you are putting on the sides of the coil. When the machine is in the sun, the UV light is making the plastic more brittle. At some point, the coil starts to lose chips. It is created to break. It is terrible; there are companies making things intentionally to make it break. That is a waste of natural resources for profit only.

I tried to mend the new ring to the coil with double-sided tape, but that would not stick well enough. I had to open the housing and tape more around it. Eventually, it worked well enough to do some tests. I went to the house with my repair kit. It was already dark.

In the light of three torches, I mounted all the items on the machine. I started with the sparkplug. That was easy now when the fuel tank was gone. Then I went on with the cable to the sparkplug. Then it was the cup at the top of the cylinder. Then I mounted one end of the fuel hose; the other end had to wait for the tank. At that moment, it was time to mount the housing around the ventilation of the motor.

On top of that came the coil with the start cord that I had modified, followed by putting back the fuel tank and connect the tank to the new fuel hose. Then I carried out the machine outside the house and started dragging in the start cord. It was no difference with how it was before I did all this work. When dragging the cord, something in the machine starts spinning, and there is no resistance. Usually, a motor likes to huff a little. This machine did that in the beginning. Not this machine, it had huffed its final huff.

I concluded that the mission had failed. The option that I would fix this machine at this moment was not going to happen. I could still make a serious attempt at getting it to run, but that will be a bigger and longer project than one evening in the pitch dark, putting it together at the light of three torches.

With that, I checked the rain gauge, and it had rained 4 millimeters. It is different, walking around at the plot in the dark. I have no issues with darkness, luckily.

I went home, and we talked about the engine, my wife and I. I had made a serious attempt to get it running, but that had failed. We looked over our list of possible options. We discussed option 7 to buy a new generator. If we need it for just five weeks, it is still useful to have a generator. There was a generator we could buy from a Dutch company HBM. The generator was produced by the South Korean company Hyundai. That is different from our current generator produced in China and sold by 12 German companies but only via auction websites and so-called private persons with no support after purchase. I am surprised I could be that naïve to step into that pitfall.

The same evening we ordered the new generator. It was going to be 500 euro and 50 euro for transport. The previous was 200 and 20 for transport.

Tuesday 29 September

We heard nothing from the building company, but today they came by and delivered the beams that we need to finish the house’s exterior, our way. They took with them the fence as well. It must have been a challenge to release the fence from the bitter vetch plants. At some places, it looked like they had combed out the vetch. It was nice to be rid of the fence, about time that happened.

It was a beautiful evening. I removed a couple of vertical beams on the north side. It is easier to remove the full beam. The only issue is the foil behind the beams. We will need to figure out how to do this without damaging the foil too much. There will be inevitable damage, and it comes with this method. We will repair the damage with tape as much as possible. Most of the damage, though, comes from the nails to hold the vertical bars. We cannot reuse the nail holes again.

Wednesday 30 September

Last day of September. I brought my wife to the new house in the morning, and then I went back to our old home for work. The examiner would arrive between 7 AM and 12 PM. She spent an hour in the morning to plaster the holes I left when removing the beams the evening before. But nothing happened for the rest. The examiner did not show up in the morning.

I arrived at the new house at half-past 12 and just before our stove specialist had also arrived. He unloaded a temporary stove that we could use until the building was finished enough to install the design stove. We will install the design stove when the floor is finished.

A few minutes later, the examiner arrived for his second examination of this house. We showed him the adjustments we had made, and he was okay with our adjustments to the utility cupboard. We just made the cupboard with sheets from the hardware store, but he said it was a pity to have beautiful doors while the craftsmen are busy in the house. “They will wreck the beautiful doors” was his opinion. So funny, we put these doors in because the rules say that we need to have the doors in and even possible to lock to get the cupboard accepted by the examiner, and now he is standing here saying, “remove these doors while building, they will get wrecked.” Oh well. Outside he looked into our hole with pipes. He was satisfied. He made notes on a soaking wet iPad. He was also pleased that the fence was removed, although that did not influence the installation’s acceptance.

Our woodstove specialist installed the stove on the chimney. We lit a fire to test the stove, and it worked. To celebrate this event, the three of us had a cup of tea around the fire. Our specialist told us that he would live in the area before us. He had just bought a house here a bit further away.

When he drove home, he turned his large bus on the platform at the end of our driveway, which did not work well. The platform is not made for that size of vehicles. He wrecked the side of the driveway, and I was not pleased. Someone needs to be the first to do that.

I sat in front of the stove and contemplated the situation, the pros, and the cons. This day was a milestone. We passed the examination of our cupboard, and we can warm up the house. It would be good to have access to a stack of firewood, but that is for another day. From here on, the house will get colder as we approach winter. As it looks now, it will take a long time before we get our heating installation installed so that this stove can be handy.

Now we need to talk to our electrician. He is a very busy man, so we will need to be patient. Just as I sat there thinking about that, we were reached by the news that the electricity company will put a temporary generator in one of their houses they built on our street. That will happen in about four weeks. Then it is a question when they will dig a trench to our house. In that trench, they will lay pipes that end up in our cupboard. It is not so that we have electricity just because cables end up in our cupboard. The cables will need to be connected to an electricity meter and fuse box, and from there we can get cables running out to various places in the house. Just because we got the electricity meter and the fuse box does not mean we got electricity. First, we need a contract with a company, and when all these things are sorted, we have electricity. I cannot believe we have all this in 7 weeks. But that is fine; we will be patient.

Thursday 1 October

Today we worked the whole day from home. We heard that the generator would arrive tomorrow, Friday. In the evening, we took a rest from the house. Oh dear, that sounds like the situation a couple of weeks ago when thieves stole our scaffold’s feet. What could happen at the new house today?

Friday 2 October

Yesterday the building company brought their crane to our house. They will finish the gutter of the roof. It is, of course, convenient to use a crane when installing the gutter. The original plan was that the roofers would finish the gutter, but different batches of incompatible material had been delivered to us. Now the idea is that the building company themselves will finish the gutter. They called me and said they would put up the gutter but not the roof tiles. I wonder how this will work out because that means I will see the roofers one more time. They will not be pleased with that.

Our new generator arrived today, but it came two hours early, so we could not receive it personally. It is a heavy machine weighing 80 kilograms, the weight of a full-grown man. Since we were not at the new house, we had to instruct the deliverer where to put it, and we requested him to put it in front of the container’s doors. He found our house and placed the machine at the exact correct position. I conclude that some deliverers are more intelligent than others.

The box was so enormously heavy! We had forgotten to cut the green cord holding the box to the pallet. After we cut that, the box was just ordinarily heavy. It helped that we placed planks to the container’s opening so that we could drag it in.

When that was done, I went to pick up a second-hand bed. I had a half-day off for this excursion. The weather was nice. You can recognize my car by the enormous amount of dirt on it. The dirt road has been incredibly dirty lately with the rain that has fallen and heavy traffic. It is pointless to wash the car because we are driving to the house so often, and then we use the dirt road, and it will stay like this for a long time. I don’t mind because this is part of the charm of this project.

With a bed in the new house, we decided to sleep there again. It took some time to get the bed installed in the complete dark. Our generator is still in a box in the container, so it is not so that we can just turn that on. We plan to turn on the generator only when needed because we are concerned about what CO2 is doing to our climate.

Our new house has a surprisingly lovely climate just by itself. We are in October, and we have no ventilation nor heating systems. The house has kept warm while the temperature outside has dropped to around 10 to 15 degrees Celcius. That will not continue forever. It is necessary to heat the house somehow, and we can do that now with our temporary wood stove. Tonight was the first time we used our stove for real. It feels fantastic to sit in front of the stove and hear the fire’s sounds and see the flames light up the room.

Later in the evening, it became cloudy and behind the clouds was an almost full moon. The net effect was that it became much lighter bluish light in and around the house. We went to bed and slept majestically.

Saturday 3 October

The weather held up in the morning, but we were slow to start. I blogged while sitting in bed, and everything was lovely.

We ate breakfast, and we discussed what we could do or should do today. That resulted in an investigation of how we should mount the red planks and how much of the red planks we have. It takes a surprising amount of time to figure out these things. We are working towards a compromise. Sweden meets the Netherlands. It had been better if we were guided in this by the building company, but they have a product that they deliver, and that is it. We want planks mounted vertically, but they have a house for horizontal planks. We tell them that we want them vertically, and they then turn the lines vertically on the drawing but make no other changes to the underlying construction. If we followed through, the result would be that we cannot open the doors wide open. But we want to be able to do that.

The new generator looked nice!

We talked about different solutions and searched for how it is done on Swedish houses and translated that to our situation. Not even after a full day, we had no reliable solution. We missed checking this point on beforehand when the house was still under construction. We missed it, and our builder missed it. We suffer the consequences, but they don’t. They tell us they remove their guarantee on the planks and the blue foil when we use this method. I suppose our positive rating of this builder went from a solid 9 to 4 there and then.

Then we had a visit from future neighbors. We were using our new stove, and they saw this and thought it was a good idea to come and visit us, and worm up near our stove. We talked about this area and our different projects. It was fun and insightful to talk about our different projects.

While the visit still was at our house, our 30-ton jack arrived. It did not arrive at our house because this deliverer could not find our house on his map. He stopped a couple of meters from our house. Reversed and drove to the neighbor area. I had time to walk to the junction and wait for him.

It started raining.

The road at the neighbor’s area has a dead end. He used plenty of time on his bus to register my address as impossible to find. Perhaps he took a coffee break as well, but I could see the bus in the distance, and he did not move.

It rained.

I was delighted that he had no chance to leave the area with another road. For the rest, I was not happy at all.

It rained harder.

He turned his bus and started driving towards me. This situation was going to be interesting. I was standing in the middle of the road. Already from a long distance, he thought he could drive around me. He aimed his bus next to me, but I moved.

Then he started to aim at the other side of me. I moved again.

He came towards me more slowly and stopped the bus, pulled down the window. I politely asked if his mission was to deliver a package to Mr. Malmgren. On that, he did not answer. Instead, he disappeared inside his bus. He was searching, I suppose. I could see the bus shaking. After a while, the back door of the bus opened, and he arrived with a package.

I had my jack, and I was pleased. He was also pleased and explained he could not find my address. Look, I hade that figured out 20 minutes ago.

He drove off, and I walked home with my package. After a while, I got a message that the postal service could not deliver the package and that I could come and pick it up the next day at a pickup point in the city.

He could not Google, I am sorry to say it, but clearly, the deliverer did not pass a basic IQ level. He lives in a world full of surprises. Anyone can lie to him, and if the lie is brought to him with self-confidence, he will believe it is the truth. For example, if someone tells him that it is suitable for nature with 440 parts per million carbon-oxygen molecules, then he will believe it, although it is an absolute and proven lie. He got no ability to find out. The level of self-confidence is the only measurement of which he validates the truth of people’s statements. These were the things I was thinking about when walking back to the house with my new jack.

In the evening, we went to our old home, took a shower, and recharged our freshwater supply. It is lovely with the new house, but it is far from liveable. Still much to do. After this refresh, we went back and went to our new second-hand bed in the new house. It was a full moon.


Sunday 4 October

Also, this morning I blogged. We continued discussing the various ways to do the red planks, and we came to a definitive conclusion. Just finished with that, our next guests arrived. There was no time to work on the planks.

It has been a social weekend with much thinking about figuring out how to do the planks while the weather outside was terrible. I had thought we were able to continue to work if we just had electricity, I was so wrong on that assumption. I had not anticipated hours upon hours of pondering about various methods of doing this.

In the late afternoon, it was still windy, but there was no precipitation. We sawed our first red plank and placed it next to the window in the hobby room on the ground floor.

While climbing the scaffold, I had that feeling one thousand little invisible building nerds sat on my shoulder, screaming, “Oh, you do it like that?! Now the whole building will collapse and rotten within two months, you turd!”. I had it a little with doomsayers and know-it-betters and what-if people. Everything in the building business can be done in 50 different ways, and I start to feel that they can all go and mind their own fair business.

With a beginning, I was poised to get this going. Wind or no wind, let’s do this!

The new generator got an electric starter. That is so much better. There is no pity for turning it off because I might need it again in a moment. That I turn it off as soon as possible is a given regarding the environment. It will be so lovely when we are on the grid, and our twenty-four solar panels are activated.

The first plank is no problem. How about the planks under the window? That is not that easy because that is a little special algorithm for how to calculate that. Take the number of planks that you think looks promising. Calculate the remaining space. Divide the space evenly. The overlap with the next layer of planks is the plank minus the remaining space per plank divided by two. I made this sound simple, but I have been thinking about this.

The second layer is nailed through the plank but next to the bottom layer and into the horizontal beam. It is quite a distance, and the nail was thick. A large chunk of wood broke off, and this was inconvenient.

Under the window comes a metal drip tin edge. Where should it be? Oh, dear, the entire plan fell apart. At that moment, we decided to take a break from this.

I took out the scythe and cut grass in front of the house. We cleaned up all our stuff.

To make the ending of the week more festive, we got french fries and sat in the dark in front of our wood stove and snacked the fries. For this occasion, our son came and ate with us. While eating, I lost a piece of a tooth! After dinner, we went home and slept in our old home.

Well, we had forgotten to bring our pillows.

Is there any moment in this project that we can feel like we are in a good flow?

I was born 1967 in Stockholm, Sweden. I grew up in the small village Vågdalen in north Sweden. 1989 I moved to Umeå to study Computer Science at University of Umeå. 1995 I moved to the Netherlands where I live in Almere not far from Amsterdam.

Here on this site I let you see my creations.

I create, that is my hobby.