Bad Plumbing Idea

So, I have mentioned this before and after seeing and grumbling about it for 6 years now I finally fixed it.  Let me explain. Continue reading

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Master Bedroom Progress

So, the window budget arrived and a gift of some surplus drywall from a neighbour and we are back to working in the master bedroom.

grand house adventure restoring old homes in france

Continue reading

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A Bit about Life

Yes, so back to this site to start posting again.  Thought I would re-start with a bit about our life here.


Elizabeth and I celebrated 25 years together this year (married for 19 of those) and of course we couldn’t do something ordinary. Continue reading

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My Corner Office

I’ve watched enough TV shows and movies in my life involving business, corporate life, lawyers and all that.  There always seems to be an underlying theme of “the corner office”.  Who is in it, who gets it when it becomes vacant, what a view and all that.


I was helping a friend the other day install some windows on his house here in Jugon beside the lake and thinking about a recent show and the arguments over a corner office.  As the sun beamed in my face and I was able to look out over the lake a thought occurred to me Continue reading

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La Rentree – VTT

So, today being September 1 is return to school for all the kids in France – La Rentrée (Ron-tray) as it is called here.  As we don’t start lessons until next week (similar to Canada) we decided to have phys-ed class today instead.


With chicken egg sale Continue reading

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Lost Arts

Technology is a wonderful way to discover lost arts, for example, how to make a thatched shelter, how to make wooden pegs for timber framing and how to make charcoal.  This last one appealed to me particularly as it is now summer and I have an abundance of wood around so why not try and make my own.


So, off to you tube and voila Continue reading

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Matching wits with chickuns


Chickens are crafty birds, they just seem to be always looking for cheeky mischief. Continue reading

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Trim Work

I used to think that with a good mitre saw set at 45 degrees that anyone could do trim work. Continue reading

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Master Bedroom

Believe it or not, despite the size of the house, we are all still sleeping in the same room.  Most other rooms are “in progress”.

our bedroom

For the master bedroom Continue reading

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Make a Box from a Tree

A year ago our leaning chestnut tree fell – prolonged soggy conditions and the roots just couldn’t hold on any more.  See my other posts, death of a tree and still alive.  You can see it here in this picture how much it was growing at an angle.  And then when it fell, sprawled across the river (yes, the actual water of the river is down deep between the two stone walls you see in the picture – call it a moat perhaps).



I have been cutting this tree for future firewood but I did want to do a few special things with it as well.

I have discovered and now follow the work of Tom Fidgen and Peter Follansbee – two very talented wood workers who use only hand tools and older techniques.  Just click their names to see their sites and their very beautiful work.  Honourable mentions go to Chris Tribe, Paul Sellers and Shannon Rogers.

I started with my froe and split up some blanks from a 50 cm long piece of trunk.


I found that the chestnut did not split as cleanly as perhaps oak might, but I managed to find a few pieces that I could work with.  Some draw knife work and some hand planing and I managed to get a few small pieces of flat wood.

You can see in the picture below my “atelier” and the tools I used to get the blanks above and then work them into some side pieces and a thinner bottom piece.


So, I made a box.  This is also my very first experience with dovetails – perhaps I should have practiced on some softer wood first like pine but what the heck, I just kept going until I got it to what you see here.



I haven’t gone the whole nine yards with the hyde glue pot, but purchased a product from tightbond – seemed to work well.  I like the tightbond range of glues but they are hard to come by in this country and rather pricey once you find them.


The end result

Finished Chestnut Box

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