Tag Archives: craftsmanship

Apartment Inspection

During the past two weeks I have spent something along the lines of 20 hours making my old apartment ready for inspection by the landlord. My weapons were cleaning agents, a mop, cleaning cloths, scouring pads, assorted solvents, spackling paste and an eraser. I didn’t have to paint the place. Today my hard work was rewarded – the landlord deemed the apartment okay with no annotations. This means that I will get most of my deposit back, which of course is great. My almost empty oil tank looks forward to a supply, and such a supply is relatively expensive 😉

Alongside all my important projects, I have a small project on stands for my Dali Lektor 3 compact speakers. It is an Ikea DIY hack, where I have combined wooden cutting boards, metal table legs, ordinary wooden boards, glue and black stain. The wires haven’t been hidden inside the legs yet, but judge for yourself:

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The boards have been stained three times, giving them a thick, covering layer. I’m quite satisfied with the appearance of the stands, but I can’t help fear the day when pets or children get near them. That will be a problem for future Martin.

Tonight I’m kind of high on the good feeling that results from working in one’s garden. I’ve mowed my lawn and filled a bucket with weeds. Hah! That’s two borderline expressions in one section – getting high on weed(s)… I’m trying to make it a habit to fill a bucket with weeds when I have the time. One bucket at a time I will conquer! Take a look at my freshly mowed lawn from my kitchen:

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\m/

Goodbye, Aalborg Øst

I apologize for not having written anything for quite a while, but I have been – and still are – insanely busy fixing my old apartment, moving stuff and fixing my house. By fixing I generally mean cleaning, painting, etc. Besides moving into my house, I have a long list of projects, which I have listed in an earlier post. I moved into my house on the evening of August 8, which actually means that I have been living there (here 😉 ) for 15 days tonight. I spent the first night in a sleeping bag on a thin, self-inflateable mattress, as I hadn’t moved anything into the house yet.

Even though I haven’t written for a while, I don’t plan on making this a long post. I’m relaxing in my new living room, drinking a cup of coffee and listening to some very stoned beats from Den Sorte Skole. At the moment, most of my days are 7-8 hours of work at Netic, 1.5-2.5 hours of work in the old apartment, 0.5-1 hour of shopping and driving home, and 1-2 hours of house projects. Today was no different, which means I’m pretty wasted.

I have tried being without warm water, because my oil burner and the associated pumps had lost power. The problem took quite a while to debug, and it turned out to be a human error. We had pushed the wrong buttons when debugging my outdoor lightning two days earlier. A few days later I happened to check my hot water tank and was surprised to see a low temperature yet again. This time, however, the entire house had no power. After having played around with fuses for a while in the dark, I looked in my mailbox and found a notice from the power company – they had cut the power due to unpaid bills. Moreover, they wrote that it would cost 900 DKK to get the power re-enabled, that I could only call their customer service hotline on work days between 8 AM and 4 PM, and that, after payment of the unpaid bills and the re-enabling fee, they would pretty much re-enable the power whenever they felt like it. What a shitty evening it turned out to be.

My refrigerator was 15 °C, so I had to throw its contents out. Luckily, my freezer is very well insulated, so it was still approx –10 °C. Making a long story a bit shorter, what followed was a) a trip to the hardware store to get a generator, b) finding out that the generator made way too much noise to be a viable solution, c) a trip to a nearby city for a second-hand bookcase that I had agreed on buying, d) driving around that city for some time to find a gas station, because my car was driving on fumes, and that station was somehow hard to find in the stressful situation, e) driving home with the bookcase and unloading it, f) emptying the contents of my freezer into bags, g) driving to my workplace with the frozen goods and borrowing some space in their freezer, h) driving home while cursing… It turned out to be the power company’s fault. They hadn’t processed the vacating/occupation form from the realtor. They re-enabled the power the next day and told me to ignore the notice regarding the unpaids bills and the fee.

On one of the first days, after becoming a home owner, I rented a carpet cleaner and spent approx four hours cleaning the carpet in my living room. It was definitely worth the time, money and sweat. Now the carpet has a few more years to live. The picture below shows the cleaner in the living room. It is next to a flyswatter, as I had to kill hundreds of flies during the first days.

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I have decided to get rid of the red curtains. They work, are clean and definitely not worn out, but I don’t like them and want a more modern style.

I wanted music for the house cleaning, so my stereo was one of the first things to be connected 🙂

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You cannot be a home owner without a proper ladder. I still think it’s one of my best purchases. It can be morphed into many shapes. I’m curious to find out just how long the locking mechanisms will work…

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One day at work I received a big concrete block, which would be put on top of my chimney, after having resealed it with new mortar. Being an it guy, I of course had to order stuff like that online 🙂 Okay, to be honest, I couldn’t find a suitable chimney top in any of the local hardware stores that I visited.

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It was possible to fit the 30+ kg concrete block, measuring 81×81 cm, in my Aygo. Not easy but possible. I have lifted a lot of heavy stuff during the past two weeks, and my Aygo has transported it without complaining.

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I’m in the process of painting some boards in my garage. They will eventually replace some boards on the ends of the roof of my house. The paint was insanely expensive. To be precise, I’m only in the first phase on the picture – I’m painting them with primer.

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In order to save some money, I bought a second-hand lawn mower. So far I have mowed my lawn twice, and the mower has started on the first attempt every time. What a fine, little mower for only 300 DKK. My goal was to use it this season out, but I see no reason why it shouldn’t be able to cope with the next season as well. In the picture below I’m transporting it from its previous home in Hammel.

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Now I’ve started painting the boards with actual paint. I’ve chosen a dark grey for the wood work on the house and a light grey for the windows and doors. That’s not the entire story, but that’s it for this post.

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The final picture shows a part of my living room. My couches, coffee table, armchair, lamp, stereo and tv have been placed. It’s not the final placement for e.g. the speakers, and the tv isn’t even connected yet. At the time of writing this, it still isn’t connected. I plan on hiding cables etc. in one of the cabinets in the bookcase.

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A huge thank you goes out to my parents and brother for helping me out. They have fixed my chimney, helped move my stuff, helped paint my living room and hallway, helped clean many of my rooms, and they have brought food. They will of course be rewarded.

Also, I want to thank my colleague Jan, with whom I have discussed many details and competed regarding loan fees and move-in date.

Have a nice weekend out there.

My new friend

Mads Chr. Olesen, a close friend of mine and one of the co-authors on my master’s thesis back in 2009, has kindly lent me a bike on so-called long-term basis. He uses his electric bike, and this bike has therefore collected dust for a while.

Before cleaning:

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After:

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The result of two and a half hours of work, three buckets of soapy water, a sponge, two cloths, half a bottle of benzine, a brush, an entire paper towel, some pairs of disposable gloves, a lot of tighening of screws and bolts, some chain oil, some WD40 and some air from a pump.

I took a ride on the bike after the procedure and I’m happy to report that it was all worth it.

House Projects

Besides giving the new owner a huge list of recurrent expenses, buying an old house is also comparable to buying a never-ending project 🙂

The house I’m buying is no different. I have identified a number of upcoming projects, some of which are required and some of which are optional (but highly desired). For me, the projects are not just annoying, inevitable work – I look forward to them. My theory is that you just have to pick the appropriate times of the year for certain tasks. For example, painting outside in winter isn’t fun and will probably yield bad results.

I might translate some of the craftsman terms incorrectly, so I will also write the projects in Danish.

Projects for August, September and October:

  • Indoor housecleaning.
    DK: Hovedrengøring indendøre.
  • Buy a lawn mower, a hedge trimmer, a new refrigerator and other necessities.
    DK: Køb en plæneklipper, en hækkeklipper, et nyt køleskab og andre fornødenheder.
  • Reseal the chimney outside. A new cap might be needed.
    DK: Omfuge skorstenen udenfor. En ny hætte er måske nødvendig.
  • Seal the ends of the house’s wooden beams with metal caps.
    DK: Sætte metalkapper/-kapsler på enden af husets tagremme.
  • Paint windows and doors outside, maybe also the garage’s woodwork.
    DK: Male vinduer og døre udenfor, måske også garagens træværk.
  • Insert new bird-blocker bricks in the roof’s ridge.
    DK: Isætte nye fugleklodser i tagets rygning.
  • Replace the wooden boards on the roof ends.
    DK: Lave nye vindskeder ud af malede, imprægnerede brædder i begge ender af taget/huset.
  • Create a new, strong hatch for the small cellar in the garage.
    DK: Lave en ny, stærk lem til kartoffelkælderen i garagen.

Projects for the winter and the early spring:

  • Paint inside. I do not yet have an overview of this.
    DK: Male indendøre. Jeg har ikke et overblik over opgaven endnu.
  • Put up pictures, shelves, etc. on walls.
    DK: Sæt billeder og hylder op på vægge.
  • Restore/refinish kitchen cabinets.
    DK: Restaurere køkkenskabe/-låger.
  • Put up workbench and shelves in the garage.
    DK: Sæt arbejdsbord og hylder op i garagen.

Projects for the spring:

  • Replace the oil boiler with a wood pellet boiler. I might decide to move the boiler from the house’s utility room to the garage.
    DK: Udskifte oliefyret med et træpillefyr. Jeg vælger måske at flytte fyret fra bryggers til garagen.
  • Replace the water circulation pump with a more energy-efficient model.
    DK: Udskifte cirkulationspumpen med en mere energibesparende model.
  • Have a plumber seal off the oil tank.
    DK: Få en VVS-mand til at sløjfe olietanken.
  • Replace the woodwork on the house’s gables.
    DK: Udskifte træfacaden på husets to gavle.
  • Paint the remaining woodwork outside on the house and garage. This includes fascia boards, eaves and supporting beams on the house. On the garage it is pretty much all the outside woodwork, except the (ordinary) door, but including the garage door.
    DK: Male det resterende træværk udendøre på hus og garage. Dette inkluderer sternbrædder, udhæng og remme på huset. På garagen er der stort set tale om alt det udvendige træværk, eksklusiv døren, men inklusiv garageporten.

I will do my best to avoid too many concurrent projects.

Looking at real estate, hunting, changing tyres

For a few months I have been browsing real estate on my laptop. I’m not in a hurry to buy anything, as I’m not particularly tired of my current rental home. It’s close to work, requires very little maintenance on my part, and the rent is relatively low. I think, however, that it would be nice to have my own place, to have more space, to have a covered place for my car nearby, to be closer to nature, to not have the city busses driving outside my bedroom window, to not have five washing machines spinning next door all day long, to have a larger garden, to have a greenhouse, to have a dedicated room for working out, etc.

I am looking in an area in Jutland contained between the cities Dall, Frejlev, Nibe, Aars, Nørager, Arden, Terndrup, Bælum, Kongerslev, Storvorde, Klarup, Gistrup, Dall:

At the moment I’m considering making an offer on a house in the small village Lyngby, marked with a blue dot on the map above. Without going too much into details, I like the location, but due to the condition of the house it would be more like buying a craftsman project than buying a house. The offer price is relatively low, but the refurbishment will be costly and time consuming. A few pictures:

     

     

Today I’m visiting the house for a second time, this time bringing my parents.

In a totally different category, I’ve been out hunting two times this weekend. It was together with my dad, and it was on a – for us – new piece of hunting ground, in our new, homemade hochsitzes. I observed fallow deer Saturday morning and roe deer Sunday evening. I haven’t fired a single shot, but my dad shot a roe deer buck, which I gutted. Look at the fine weather on a Saturday morning:

On my way out hunting Sunday evening, I was stopped by the police for the first time in my life. It was by two motorcycle cops on a small road in the country side. They wanted to see my driving license, ask me if I had had any alcohol that day, and in general where I was going and why. “Are you in the military?”, the cop asked, to which I replied “no” rather puzzled. “Aahh, you are going hunting?” he then asked. My hunting clothes are from a military surplus stock… 😉

Finally, I have changed the tyres on my car. Now my car is equipped with brand new Michelin Energy E3B summer tyres. It involved a bit more work than I had imagined, as the rear rims had to be loosened with a hammer due to rust. In addition, it took quite a while to polish off the rust, clean the surfaces with gasoline, apply grease to different parts and to do a bit of maintence on the old, winter tyres. Note to myself: A hammer, coarse sandpaper, a wooden block, a vacuum cleaner, a can of gasoline, a tub of grease and wipes are very useful things when changing tyres! I ordered the combined rims and tyres online (dækonline.dk) and had them delivered to my workplace. Here’s a few pictures: