JENS MALMGREN I create, that is my hobby.

Working on the exterior this week

We made great progress on the planks of the east wall this week. Gerrit from Killian Water told us we could keep the scaffold while he install the wastewater system, that was great news.

Monday 7 December

Last week Monday I went to the new house alone to paint planks. Tonight both my wife and I went to the new house. She lit a fire in the stove and knitted while I painted the planks. This was nice.

With tonight’s painting, the short planks are finished when they are dry. Tomorrow I can paint the second layer of the long planks and then prepare more planks for painting. I am so happy the short planks are done. That means it is possible to finish the top of the east side.

Tuesday 8 December

Today we heard that the date for the installation of the helophyte will be next Wednesday. Tomorrow this Wednesday, they will come and have a look at the site. It is the owner of the company Gerrit that will come. He called us and talked about the drawing we had provided him. “It was done in millimeters?!” He said he could not dig that precise. My wife talked to him and explained that the CAD program could only produce drawings in millimeters but that we were ok with a difference of several decimeters. I think this was funny.

When he comes tomorrow, he will see what we should do with the scaffold.

Tonight I went to the new house and painted the second layer of the long planks. Then I cut the next set of planks. If we need to put down the scaffold already this weekend, then it is a lost cause to finish the wall before that? It will be very close in any case. We will also receive wood for the woodstove this weekend—three cubic meters. Some of it we will put into the container and some in the house. It will be much better to have this indoor so that it is kept dry.

Let’s say it took two hours to cut the set of planks tonight for the inner layer of the south side of the east wall. Before the east wall is finished, I need to cut the north side of the east wall. These two sets need to be sanded and painted two times with eight hours in between. Then there are two more sets for the outer layer. Before we can cut the outer layer, we will need to measure the planks.

How is all this work ever going to be finished before next Wednesday? Am I stressed? No, not really, but concerned. I am concerned that I will need to work to break down the scaffold and then build it up again.

Wednesday 9 December

We have not got the Internet yet in the new house. The network administrator KPN will need to come to us and install an optic fiber modem, and there is some kind of issue. I called the Internet provider, a subsidiary of KPN called XS4ALL, and they are saying there is a strange issue being worked on, and that is all they know. It sounds so silly. Anyway, there is not much I can do about it right now.

When we arrived at the new house today, there was already a car on our driveway. Usually, when people park on our driveway, they never reach the circular platform at the end. This car was standing on the platform. It was Gerrit that had arrived just minutes before us.

We discussed the activities that will take place next Wednesday from 08:00. “We always start at 7:00 but not in the winter because then it is dark, so we will be here at 08:00 next Wednesday”. Gerrit suggested we would change the design a little bit. The filter should come closer to the driveway so that heavy vehicles can serve it from the driveway. This took away a misunderstanding that we should let the tanks be near the road to be served. He suggested to configure the system so that the filter was next to the driveway and the two tanks next to it, then both tanks and filters would be servable.

Next, he suggested we should not make the filter 4 by 4 meters but 3.5 by 4.5714285714 meters. Just kidding, he did not say that. I think he said 3.5 by four and a half meters, but I am not sure.

We will need electricity for the system and for that we had to talk to our electrician later on.

The next part we discussed is the thing I have been worried so much about; The scaffold. Gerrit said that if we removed the bottom ledger of the scaffold in the section where the sewer’s pipe leaves the building, then his digging machine would reach in on that point so that the entire scaffold could be left standing. That was absolutely fantastic news! We have two water systems:

  • Wastewater
  • Rainwater

The rainwater arrived at the northeast corner of the building. We also got the scaffold there. Gerrit said that if we removed a couple of ledgers from this part of the scaffold, he would be able to reach in with his smaller digging machine.

I was so happy about these messages. Gerrit remarked that my face changed completely. This is so typical; some of my feelings can be read by others without me noticing it. I am not a poker player. I said that he was a man of outstanding solutions!

We agreed that we would be marking up the different places to put this wastewater cleaning system. We will work on this next weekend.

Gerrit went home, and we were so happy that we could relax from the stress of finishing the east wall. Working under stress is not suitable for quality.

So did we stop working on the east wall because we got such great news from Gerrit? No, we mounted the painted planks above the windows and the missing planks in the middle.

Then we went inside. My wife sanded the set I cut yesterday and painted it. The set from yesterday was the south side beside the door. I started cutting the north side next to the windows.

As a coincidence, our electrician came by and asked if there were any questions. We “connected” him with Gerrit to figure out how to do with the electricity for the wastewater cleaning system. They solved it beautifully. Then he continued on other assignments.

In the evening, my sense of time was reset. It was bizarre. After dinner, my brain told me it was Saturday evening and that tomorrow it would be Sunday. Just before going to bed, I was freed from my illusion.

Thursday 10 December

The days are floating into each other. Some days it is barely real daylight. Today it was Thursday for real, and we worked from home. At some point, the sun could be seen, and that was beautiful.

In the evening, I went to the new house, practicing how to light up the woodstove, and then I painted a second layer on the planks that my wife painted yesterday. It is essential to keep the house warm now when we got water installation in the house. Well, warm is not exactly it. Frost-free is a better word for it.

Our electrician had mounted some E27 fittings in the living room. Perhaps you don’t know what the E is representing? It is the first letter of the surname of Thomas Alva Edison, and the number is the diameter in millimeters. Thomas created this in 1909. He could use Inch, but he chose millimeters. Think about that.

When I finished painting the second layer of the planks my wife painted yesterday, I sanded the set I cut yesterday and painted the first layer. If I come back tomorrow and paint a second layer on these planks, we can put up two sets of planks on Saturday.

Friday 11 December

Friday evening, I was back at the new house. I arrived when the ventilation specialist and plumber were finishing up for the day. They worked the whole day in the house. This was the only day this week they worked on the ventilation. They finished canals to all rooms except the bathroom on the first floor. They also finished canals to all rooms except the hobby room and the ground floor’s washing room. It is looking good. I brought the news that next week the wastewater system will be installed outside the house. From that moment, it is useful to install, for example, a WC. The plumber was ok bringing a new WC and install that at the end of next week.

It will be great to have a WC. There is one little issue that needs some solution because the room does not have so much privacy. I suppose we hang up a cloth or something in front of the door with a sign “in use” or something? It could be appropriate with a light source as well.

I lit a fire in the woodstove to warm the house. It is a little warmer tonight outside. The coldest night that the house has experienced was last night, and since I lit a fire last night, it was not too bad, but the two Mo’s had turned on the electric heaters.

We discussed how the pipes will be arranged in the washing room, and I think it is clear now how I would like it. They had work to do elsewhere at the beginning of next week, so it was excellent to come back at the end of the week.

I painted the second layer on the second set of planks so that tomorrow Saturday, we will have two complete sets of planks to mount on the wall. There will be many other things to do to prepare for the wastewater system, so I wonder if we will manage to get the planks mounted. We will:

  • Put up the inner layers of the left and right side of the east wall.
  • Mark out the location of the wastewater tanks.
  • Mark out the location of the filter.
  • Mark out the location of the water reservoir.
  • Receive wood for the woodstove, three cubic meters.
  • Put as much as possible of the wood in the container.
  • Find another place for the new trailer. Move it to the new place.
  • Build a temporary place for the wood to keep it reasonably dry. We are thinking of using crab 48 scaffold parts for this.
  • Remove ledgers of the scaffold around the house so that it is possible to dig out with a digging machine the pipes going out from the house.
  • Repair the barrier tape along the road that is broken.
  • Buy sandpaper, sticks for the barrier tape, postbox, fire ignition blocks making it easier to light a fire in the woodstove.
  • Paint the kit of the fascia boards.

It is a bit of pity that I always arrive when it is dark. It is much less rewarding to write a story about the house’s progress regarding planks, planks, and planks. I said several times already that the story in this blog is getting monotone like this, but it is indeed monotone to build a house. I am not only writing this story for the reader; I am writing to myself. This story that happens here is our story, and we will wonder many times in the future how it actually was to build this house. Sometimes the decision for how something was made is hidden in how it was when something happened. When I write this story, we can go back and read about it.

We had great flow with the planks like we did this week. We used the time optimally, and that feels like a great win. The Internet has not been able to install, and that is a bummer.

Saturday 12 December

This morning, the alarm clock woke us up at 06:00 in the morning. We had to be that early because our wood was going to be delivered early. Well, I had remembered that it would be delivered at 08:00, but my wife doesn’t remember that. Just to be sure, we decided to arrive early at the new house.

The wood delivery did not happen at 08:00 as I had remembered, he said. We lit a fire in the woodstove with the last couple of chunks we had and ate our breakfast. The first task today was to create a place for the wood to be kept. We decided on a platform based on a crab 48 scaffold. I wanted the wood to be stored a reasonable distance from the ground so that the wind could get around it and below it. We used our garden tiles to make a path to the wood storage. The bottom of our wood storage became two pallets. This was not bad at all. At 10:15, the truck arrived. It was still in the morning, after all.

At first, he drove onto the wrong road. I had to go there and redirect him to our house.

He reversed in to unload the wood on our green tarp.

Then removed the net on top of the wood.

He lifted the truck bed.

The first chunk of wood was still in mid-air when I took this picture.

There was more to come.

More chunks of wood.

This is going well. The part unloaded now is three bags of wood you buy at the hardware shop. Still, the chunks were staying nice and cozy on the truck bed. There is more to come.

From here on, the wood chunks started coming.

This is more like it.

Now only a couple of last chunks.

There it is, a neat heap of wood.

The driver checked that all had been delivered.

That was it!


We had agreed with our son to help us move the wood to the wood storage. He did a beautiful job making an excellent staple of the wood. Then we put the wood under a tarp.

I started marking out the water reservoir and the wastewater system. Gerrit had given us a task to change the shape of the filter. It was a little unclear about what we could do. To solve this, we went to neighbors that already have this system delivered by Gerrit. Theirs were even narrower. I concluded that 3.2 meters by 5 are close to what our neighbors had, so then we would be allowed to have that as well. He wanted to have the filter near the road, but we don’t want that near because we need a little space at the road’s side. We put it a little further away. If that is a problem, then we will need to solve that problem.

I did not finish marking out the wastewater cleaning system. That has to finish tomorrow.

After the delivery of the wood, we started working on putting up the planks. We started on the right side. The top part went fine, but at the bottom, something was wrong. The planks were a few centimeters too short. I had measured wrong again, and I just hate it. The idea was to have 5 centimeters overlap with the gray boards at the bottom of the house, but I had remembered it as 5 centimeters from the bottom beam. We discussed solutions to the problem, and I suggested we cut off all planks at this new height. But that is for later. For now, we let it be. After mounting the right side’s inner layer, we measured the outer layer of the right side.

After that, we could just put up the left side and call ourselves heroes. That did not work out at all. I discovered that I made all planks too long. I had measured the planks’ long side, but I thought I had measured the short side when cutting the planks. At that moment it started raining. It was a sad moment right there. We took in the planks again. Cut the ones that were too long, sanded, and painted them. Tomorrow afternoon we can put them up.

The wet, cold weather is challenging for the hands. I used regular working gloves with thin extra gloves within, and it works beautifully until the working gloves get wet. Placed a chair in front of the woodstove to let the gloves dry. Somehow I think it looks nice in a way. Actually, the word nice is not describing my feeling entirely. It is enjoyable cozy and pleasant. Especially when putting on dry, warm gloves, that is so nice.

Sunday 13 December

It is 7:53 in the morning, and I am ready to put on my shoes. The clay has not dried from the day before. My trousers already got inaugurated with clay yesterday, so they are ready for their second term.

My wife had an idea about improving the process of putting up the planks. Our main goal was to make the work possible for the plumber and electrician, but they can do their work now. There is only one ceiling missing isolation in the roof, but the electrician can work around that. For two weeks, we had the goal of getting on with the exterior, and we talked about how long it will take to dress the whole building, and it is an awful lot of weeks if we go on at this pace. We talked about the challenges we have, and one of the things is that we are still cutting the planks with our almost 30-year-old hand saw. It got no guides at all. We might need an upgrade. For this purpose, we went to our neighbors with the yellow house to look at their saw. They came with useful information about it.

Another thing is how we use the workshop on the ground floor. If we can have two sets of planks in the making simultaneously, it is easier to have a steady production of the planks. For this purpose, we moved out some stuff to the container to free up space in the workshop.

When I was fastening the planks with the pneumatict nail gun, I swear this is true, there was a spider that emerged behind a plank holding her ears complaining about the noise I was making. If I hold the nailgun with my left hand my hat will blow off from the exhaust from the gun. Luckily I am double handed so I can hold hand tools with both hands.

Yesterday, when we mounted the planks on the east wall’s right side, we removed one anchor point for the scaffold. Today it was time to put up the planks on the left side, where we also had an anchor point. This one was more important than the anchor of the right side since the corner of the scaffold stabilize the scaffold, and on the left side, it is not. I removed the anchor point, and then we discussed different ways of making the scaffold more stable. The most straightforward solution was to make the base wider. I took away some less critical shorter ledgers and extended the base on both sides. Then additionally, I put an internal diagonal to the third level. I put it up and thought for myself that it will be difficult to remember the new obstacle, and sure enough. Just minutes later, I smacked my head into the new diagonal. I thought it was just a little touch, but it turned out I had a bulge on my forehead. I will need to mark this passage with something bright and soft.

With a stable scaffold, we could finish putting up the inner layer planks on the left side.

We also had a couple of other tasks on our to-do list, such as digging out the drainage pipe that we finished, remove ledgers in the scaffold where the wastewater pipe is located. We found out that the kit of the fascia boards has not yet dried! We put the kit on the boards on 5 December, that is 8 days ago? That to-do item had to be postponed. We moved the new trailer to a spot out of the way for the wastewater system’s activities. We found out we had a stash of sandpaper lying so that to-do item was fixed by itself. Yet there are many things to do, but it is better to make a new list, that is for another time.

This week feels like we made the best of our time and tools. It feels like we started to learn how to do these things. It is awful to work in the cold, but we did that as well. Drips of water hanging on the scaffold have fallen inside my shirt several times this week.

I am excited about getting the wastewater system installed next week.

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.