Comments Off on Hewn!

One of our design elements is making it look like our entire roof is hewn from a single block of birch.

That may not be the truth, and it doesn’t really look like that.

But we’ve long talked about a plan to clad our skylights in wood veneer. When we priced it up though, it was both terrifyingly expensive, and having spent much time looking at forums, no-one seemed to have a good way to stick veneer to drywall. There was much debate, and little conclusion. Also, it was pointed out, the drywall would have to be essentially level 5 before you went around sticking veneer over it. And ours is about a level -50.

But the guys at Hardel suggested that we could instead use 1/8″ ply with birch veneer on it to achieve much the same effect (and it would have the added benefit of hiding some of the sins of our shoddy efforts at skimming the plaster).

So last week I broke out our shiny new roofrack and brought home some very, very floppy plywood.

It was excitingly bendy, hence the sheet looped over the front of the plywood to stop it trying to make a bendy, snappy, get-away.

This was plonked in the house and this weekend, once we’d done errandy stuff, we made up the templates for the first skylight bay, bought ourselves a little battery brad-nailer and a entire factory’s worth of glue, and set to on cutting the ply.

Each piece is cut very carefully, then sanded and then glued with a ridiculous amount of glue, and then held with some little brad nails.

Finicky doesn’t really describe it. None of the edges are perfectly straight, none of the angles are 90 degrees. But the template-and-cut system seems to have worked.


We’ll be putting some thin beads of caulk into the corners because this is not something that is perfectly-perfect – take the two bits of wood and sand them together so they mate and they are fixed together forever. No. This is up-in-the air looks very nice but can have some minor imperfections in the joints.

The end result is rather good, though. We put the wood up in one bay, and finished putting the little dobbles of filler on the brads, so that needs to be sanded down, the caulk in the corners will go on, and the caulk around the edge, between it and the ceiling is to go on. Then we need to seal it (for which we’re thinking about AFM Safecoat Natural Oil Wax, and we need to paint the caulk that meets the ceiling with white ceiling paint. Once that’s done we can do the other skylight bay.

It’s quite exciting, and it’s nice to get that job at least partially out of the way as it’s kind of loomed over us as a complex and hasslesome beast that we weren’t sure how to complete, or how long it would take.

We got back home to find the valve cartridges have arrived for our bathroom sink – which is quite exciting. Also arrived is the replacement for our kitchen task lamp that arrived chipped (also exciting). And our kitchen sink had arrived.


Yes. So that’s going back. I debated whether it was worth trying to unbend it, but it’s a honking-great bend. But in a moderately expensive sink it’ll probably never look exactly right…and it’s the front edge too. It’s irritating, because our experience with open-box stuff here is waaay more patchy than I’m used to. Maybe it’s being in the US. Maybe the world has changed. But it used to be that when we got open box stuff it was actually in good shape. Now a good 2/3rds of the time the open box stuff is damaged in some way or other.

Ah well, we’ll see what the replacement looks like.

In other news, I finally remembered to look inside the guts of our dead Breville kettle. It had smelled pretty hot-componenty, so I was kinda hoping for something obvious when I opened it up. Which is why I wasn’t too bothered about waiting until I’d brought home the multimeter (or, indeed, waiting until we have a garage with a workbench). Unfortunately, there’s nothing that’s obviously got very hot in there… but I note the relay is rated at exactly the alleged current draw for the kettle (which isn’t very generous).


Since they’re only 86ยข each, and shipping is slow, I ordered a replacement while I wait for a day when I have both time and the multimeter in the right place. I’ll give it a quick check over, but it’s my best guess until then. It is a startlingly complex circuit for a kettle (even a multi-temperature one). At least, it is in my head. But there y’go. If this doesn’t prove to be its failure point, there are a few other things I can check, but I think I’m probably going to have to break out the drawing-the-circuit approach. Meh.


Kate's allegedly a human (although increasingly right-wing bigots would say otherwise). She's definitely not a vampire, despite what some other people claim. She's also mostly built out of spite and overcoming oppositional-sexism, racism, and other random bullshit. So she's either a human or a lizard in disguise sent to destroy all of humanity. Either way, she's here to reassure that it's all fine.