New batch of logs

I got access to some logs for firewood recently. Unfortunately, they’ve been sitting outside in a field. For 2 years.

In Scotland.

I’ll split them, and see if they dry out enough.

 

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Interestingly, the wood inside the rotten part is under 20% moisture.

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Coffee Tastes Great from the Stovetop

Coffee from a cafetière / French press has long been my favourite, but I thought I’d try the old Bialetti stovetop coffee maker again. I’ve finally been converted. The espresso it makes is surprisingly good.

Bialetti Moka Express

Last few times I had used it (years ago) the coffee tasted burnt – that was probably because I heated it up on too high a heat (according to the manufacturer). Recently the results have been better. I just add hot water for an americano type coffee (and a splash of milk).

Draught proofing the back door

Wind comes through the back porch (door, roof, walls, window — project for another day), makes its way through the back-door, and blows open the kitchen door. Time for a little draught-proofing.

Draft-proofing back door

Draft-proofing back door

Brushes on the base of the door and seal round the outside of the 3 other edges should do it.

Nope, also found wind blowing behind the catches on the door frame… so a little brown frame sealant on the outside is also required. Job’s a good’un.

Log Store Required

log-storeI’m building a log store with the plan to season my own wood – for next year.

I’ve bought a stack of un-cut logs which I’ll cut and split, plus we have a number of branches which need cut and stacked. I’ll fill this in no time.

 

Rotten Roof Joists

When the rain falls hard, we see water come through a light fitting near the back door. It happens where a single-storey pitched roof meets the side wall of the main house.

We knew the lead needed some attention and I had a fear there was rot to deal with too. Thankfully my brother has a bit of experience with slates and lead work. With a couple of days of good weather he did a good job.

Slates and sarking removed exposing a problem joist:

Rotten joists

New 4x2s screwed into place.

replaced roof joists

New sarking boards down. New lead going on:

New roof lead

Fireplace – Tiling the Hearth

First time tiling… and I’ve got a very visible part of the room to practice on!

We really liked these tiles from Fired Earth – “Umbria Sandstone” – they’re porcelain but manufactured to look like natural stone. This is perfect for our hearth, as we have very rustic rough exposed stone to blend into an otherwise cleaner-cut room.

First problem — they’re too thick to cut with a normal “score and press” tile-cutter, so I purchased a cheapo circular saw type wet-cutter. Second problem, the irregular edge that looks so good on these make it more difficult to line up and measure. Other than that, everything went swimmingly.

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Blocked Drain

drain opened upThis drain is one of at least 3 round the house that have needed unblocking. Technique used was to drill a bunch of 10mm holes in the clay pipe to make one larger opening, then I used drain rods to clear the blockage.

 

Record of Events

A friend who recently helped unblock a drain suggested keeping a record of all the things that have been fixed or changed round this place. That – I think – is the new purpose of this blog.

 

Lining the Chimney

Lining the chimney for the stove is a good idea.

Chimney Liner

Rather than trusting that the 100+ year old mortar is still making a good seal, a new steel chimney liner gives peace of mind. It also gives the flue a nice regular shape to help the smoke and heat rise freely.

We bought 8m of 316 grade steel liner (150mm diameter). A roofer carted it up to the top of the chimney for me, and I helped pull it down from inside the room. We’ll leave it like this until the fire is fitted.