Category Archives: Improvements

Window sills – using scrap wood









My two favourite pieces of scrap wood finally being used

So lots of off -cuts from planks made from our meagre selection of trees that were felled and cut up into pieces primarily for use as beams to carry curtain poles – I never would burn good wood and so after sitting around for 8 years I decided to make window sills that will match with the curtain beams for the 6 upstairs windows.

However it took a few steps to get there as wood was different thickness – so I pack-out with thin ply or scrap wood. Next step was to use dowels to somehow knit planks together – tricky at start but not difficult –  I used the tool below on right

so these dowels I put in to cut down on warping and keep different thickness planks together but it is heavy wood and more dowels would be needed plus glue and clamping which isn’t realistic if you don’t have perfectly created flat sides so next step was

screws to secure now dowelled woods together39142794290_8f99cea1f4_o

But a sill needs to be a sound base as it will have someone either sitting on it or standing on it so the final step once packed out with filler wood is to secure 3/4 inch ply to the underbase


The wood is still very rough – I intend to get the same finish as the beams that match it overhead so one day I will take out the woodplaner and beltsander but the hardest bit is done.

Cost of growing trees used for house project – nil

cost of getting trees cut up   – 80 euros – scraps were about half of total so 40 euros

cost of scrap ply and few screws  – 20 euros tops

cost of labour – that’s arguable as it depends on what else you could be doing

cost if you were to buy 1 sill – many multiples of total sills made cost to me


Bathroom – floor rethink


The new partition wall put in for small bathroom


I didn’t have any bigger piece of paper to size the area and get all its kinks – I used some old computer ream paper I have had in a box for the last 15 years – a good way to use it – however there are another 1000 or so pages to use.

So wood size taken and marked out on plywood sheets.  Next stage out with the old wood and so you get left with this


The finished base,  screwed in place ,ready for sealing and tiling20161029_110418

As can be seen in picture, the partition walls are standing on the old floorboards so I cut as close as possible to the edge.  Of course once the boards were out the joists underneath become a problem as all edges of ply over 6  inches need to be supported so additional bridging had to be installed.

This awkward shaped room came about because I wanted to have 3 bedrooms upstairs; originally judging by remains of plaster gaps where walls existed there may have been 5 rooms upstairs.  Traditionally these would have been walk through to the next one – I have been in an old house with a similar setup and found it interesting but not really practical in modern times – people like their privacy.

I obviously wanted a small bathroom upstairs but compromising another room wasnt on the cards as though 2 good size upstairs rooms are nice with a good size bathroom; however that additional bedroom/office would be more often used per square inch then a bigger bathroom.  So I intend putting the sink over the stairs area and cutting into the other room to accommodate the shower – to me this quirky set up goes with the houses’ character.

These sort of things only dawn on me at a later date – i.e. several years later – never said I was a genius. So explaining why the floorboards had to come up in that area – you cannot successfully tile on planks due to warping.

Stairway to heaven


So after 15 years perhaps I had enough of climbing through the trapdoor  cut in the upstairs floor – this had been done as I thought due to the state of the chimney wall – where the new stairs was to go – I could be crushed if the wall decided to collapse such was its state.  Also the wall was not top of my priorities and a staircase couldn’t be installed as that would hinder fixing the wall – so a real chicken and egg situation.

So I always like to start a new project at the beginning of each january – it has to be challenging yet not go on for too long otherwise I wander off both mentally and physically – so a new stairs it would be. Of course it has to be cheap so I bought 3 sheets of plywood – 3/4 inch and got out my router. The stairs will be scrapped once I get around to getting the house close to completion so it’s a trial run and will let me see what needs tweaking before I do the good one; also it will be abused no doubt so I don’t have to think about being too careful with it.

I have only built one staircase so far and no complaints – it is still standing.


My first attempt at a staircase – off by a few centimetres here and there but it works


The original staircase – sitting in our barn – maybe 200 years old or close to. See all the rusted nails used probably to attach carpet – the runner would have been very narrow as see paint marking boundaries on sides.

If you look really closely you will see the top part of an old boot was used to patch part of it – bizarre. Rot has had its wicked way with it – helped along by woodworm and old age I will store it until it becomes invisible – yes all hoarders reach this spiritual level of denial and blindness.  Just a pity our significant others dont have this super-power !!!


So from the above to the ensuing steps, no pun intended

Image0463From this

Image0599To this

20150202_125605To platform structure, angled turn of step

A satisfying stage


Sizing the steps


Fitting using some gentle persuasion

I just used screws and routed grooves for the threads – these are standard 9″ x 2″.

So all in all it probably cost just over 100 euros – still 2 years of use and counting , still serviceable

Fitting the risers

To this