New ceiling 天井のリフォーム

2021-09-27 by David




This winter I plan to add more DIY underfloor heating to the living room upstairs, so my project for this summer is to do some work downstairs. Confused?


Yes, that's understandable. You see, the floor for the upstairs room IS the ceiling for downstairs. Yes, that's right - 12mm of wood planking is all that divides upstairs from downstairs. Apart from hearing every footstep (or Katie's claws) from upstairs, there is absolutely NO heat insulation at all. So even if I were to add underfloor heating to upstairs, the room wouldn't retain much heat.


So the plan is to create a new false ceiling downstairs, about 10cm lower than it currently is. I can stuff heating insulation into the gap, and hopefully that should help sound and heat insulation for all rooms. It's a bit of a pain, but a cheap and easy project - just a bit time-consuming, that's all!

▲ 只今、1階の天井がこんな感じです。天井の雰囲気が結構好きですが、このままだと床暖房を使えないんですね。


This is the current state of the downstairs ceiling. I quite like its woody simplicity, but if I don't change it I won't be able to install heating upstairs. So here goes....

▲ まずは近くのDIY店から2m長さのやすい木材を80本買いました。合計8000円ほどでした。




I bought about 80 cheap strips of 2m-long wood from my local DIY shop, and nailed them onto the support beams at a height roughly 8cm below the current ceiling. You can just about see the new strips of wood in the photo above. This was quite a tedious job, because I have about 50 separate panels to do for the whole room. Oh well....

▲ 次はステップAです:断熱材。10センチ厚みの断熱材をホチキスで書くスペースに張りました。


Step two was rather a messy and hot job, because it involved stapling rolls of fiberglass insulation into each of the panels. So I scared the neighbours by stripping down to shorts and sweated away!

▲ 最後のステップBが新しい天井パネルです。ただし、50枚ほどのパネルを切らないといけないので、時間を節約できる道具を作りました。ロータリーカッターをちゃんとまっすぐ切れるトラックをDIYで作ってみた。このトラックを板に固定するとラクラクきれいにカットできました。


The final stage of the project was to add new ceiling panels to each of the 50 spaces. I really wasn't looking forward to doing this time-consuming part of the build, so I made myself a time-saving tool to help. This is a saw track for my rotary saw. It's simply made from a straight plank, with some straight strips glued on top. A thin panel and corresponding strips are temporarily attached to the circular saw, so it can smoothly slide along the plank and cut perfectly straight lines. Yay! Thank you, YouTube! For maybe $10 in materials, this worked really well!




▲ ステップBのパネルが多かったから結構時間かかりましたが、どうですか?なかなかいいじゃないんですか?






Carefully cutting each panel to size and nailing into place took quite a while, but I like how it turned out.


I haven't quite finished all the panels yet, because I need some access to a few of them in order to relocate the ceiling lights and wiring, but overall I think it looks decent enough - and it even seems to have added a little more light to the room.


I think the next project will be to add the new giant light fixtures - all 18 of them!


3D Printer Box 3Dプリンター棚

2021-09-22 by David





This year's rain never bloody stopped! I arrived in Aso for the summer in August, and it started raining the very next day. It didn't stop for even 30 minutes... for the next 3 WEEKS! So I gave up on my plans to do some major gardening, and instead concentrated on the ground floor hall.


I've decided to perhaps try a little workshop and display/shop space, open to public walk-ins (assuming we ever get tourists back to Aso! Thanks, earthquake + floods + landslides + covid19!). One of the best things about 3D printing is actually watching them work, so I intend to fit 2 printers where people can see them, but first I need to do a little basic DIY...

▲ この棚に置きますが若干小さい過ぎです。後ろの壁が玄関の壁になりますが、プラス10センチほどを大きく切るとフィットします。


This is one of the shelves in the downstairs room, backing on to the genkan (entrance hall). It is almost big enough to house 2 printers, but I needed to extend the back of the cupboard space about 10cm into the dividing wall.

▲ カットした穴を簡単に木材壁を張りました。そして、真ん中に新しいコンセントを作りました。


With the extra space cut, I quickly patched up the holes with spare plywood, and then added a new electrical socket in, too.

▲ 1台目のプリンターがよくフィトしますね!


Test fitting the first printer was quite a relief - it fits!

▲ ただし、ほこりと寒い部屋が苦手なプリンターにはドアが必要です。ネットのほうからカットされたアクリル板を注文して、磁石でつけました。最後に周りにLEDテープライトも張りました。写真は「WHITE」のボタンだけど白ではないと思いますね。ちょっと残念!


However, my work was not done yet. 3D printers are a little susceptible to temperature fluctuations, and that room does get chilly in winter with no heating. So, to keep the heat contained around the printers, and to keep out dust, I fitted this sheet of 3mm acrylic over the front, and secured it in place with magnets.

To finish it off, I bought a cheap strip of LED tape lights, and stuck those around the sides to give it some task lighting and a bit of pop!

▲ その代わりに色のローテーション設定のほうが楽しいでしょう! PINK....


The LED lights have a few fun settings, and my favourite is definitely the rotating rainbow of colours.... from pink to....

▲ .... BLUE....

▲ .... GREEN!

Cheap & fun = best!


Painting the house! 家を自分でペイントした!

2021-07-03 by David


Okay, it's time for a BIG transformation. Most of the interior is now complete, so it's time to finish the outside of my $35,000 house!


I started a little bit of the painting in May, just to see how it looked, but then the early start of rainy season delayed things rather a lot. But during the dry gaps in June, I managed to get cracking and finish this....

▲ ペイントは一回塗り用のペイントですがやはり正面は二回塗ったほうがいいですね。コーキングのところが多かったので、コーキングの上なら2回が必要場合もあるみたいです。まずは下のほうを一回塗りました。マスキングテープいっぱい使いました!


The paint is a thick acrylic crimson-red, with a little latex included to allow for shifting and stretching during hot and cold months. It also covers very well, with one coat usually enough, although I found that on a few areas where I'd gone heavy with the silicon caulking (to fill joint gaps and cover small cracks) it actually benefited from two coats.


I started with the difficult sides of the house, at the back, just to get it out of the way, and then I could actually start to enjoy painting the 'public' sides of the house facing the road.

▲ 次は上のほうでしたが、阿蘇には足場のレンタルはなかったから自分で作ってみました!1.8mの足場を2x4で一応作りました。上のほうに厚いコンパネを置きました。最後に長い梯子を立てましたので、梯子の脚のところに動かないようにフレームを作りました。この木材足場で地面が2メートルほど上がりましたので、梯子を上ったときにほとんどの壁まで届けました。






The top walls of the house at the front and back are pretty darn high above the ground, sadly too high for a ladder! That top window in the photo is actually the loft window, and to get up that high I really needed some scaffolding. Unfortunately, there were no companies locally who rented out metal scaffolding, so I had to get creative.


So instead of going MUCH further afield and renting an entire set of scaffolding (approx $2000 for one month, plus delivery, and I might still be delayed by weather!), I knocked together this wooden box scaffolding together for about $100. It's just a simple wooden frame made from 2x4s, sturdily put together, with a thick plywood top on which the ladder could be placed. I added slots on top, so the ladder would not shift or slide. Even so, it was pretty nerve-wracking sometimes to climb all the way up to the top of that tall ladder!


After much sweating and effort, I managed to finish all the walls, and as a last touch I decided to quickly repaint the small roof over the door, to get ride of a few rust patches and discolourations from the last 30 years!




▲ 梅雨の中ですのでちょっと時間かかりましたが、2週間後にやっと完成できました!




It took a few weeks to fit it into mother nature's rainy schedule, but the house was at long last repainted!


Look at that - it's like a completely different house!!


▲ 会社に頼んだら大体100万円になるんですが、今回DIYでするとたった5万円でできました!







I saved a whole stack of money by painting the house myself. A painting company would probably charge around $10,000 to do the job (erecting scaffolding is a large part of that, of course), but I managed to do it for about $500. The paint was $300, the scaffolding was another $100, and the rest was spent on masking tape, brushes and sheets etc.

▲ 外のライトをつけると綺麗!


I love turning on the deck lights early.

▲ ケイティちゃんはどうでもいいみたいですが(!)、ポーズできました!


Katie seems rather indifferent to the new colour, as always, but she still sat for a posed photo!

▲ 今まで買ってから2年間になっていますが、だいぶ変わりましたね。違う家みたいです。




It's been a long journey to pull this house back over the last 2 years, but it has been worth it. With a new bathroom, new kitchen, new interiors, a massive new deck and a new paint job, it's like a totally different beast now!


Next job will be the garden, I think, and then the house will be pretty much done.


Shoebox 下駄箱作成

2021-07-01 by David



In an effort to make the downstairs hall look a little nicer, I've decided to add a shoe box. Every Japanese home has these in the genkan, and it helps hide all those grotty shoes, but sticking a large cupboard unit in the genkan (entrance) of this house would look terrible, should I ever decided to turn it into a workshop open-to-the-public shop!


▲ 棚に靴をそのまま置いたら嫌ですので、扉を作ります。他の収納はスライド式になっていますが、できるだけ同じように作りたいです。




So I've decided to utilise one of the empty shelf spaces in the storage wall adjoining the genkan, but need to build a cheap and cheerful hinged door to hide the shoe shelf. I started by raiding my pile of junk wood, to find some pieces suitable for a simple door frame.



Once these had been cut and glued together, they were also screwed tightly together too.






The last stage was to grab some leftover flooring pieces (from the upstairs bedroom), and nail/glue those into place. 


▲ 右側は靴箱になります。左側はBBQ用のミニ冷蔵庫。サイズはぴったりですね。


For couple of dollars (for the hinges), and the rest being repurposed wood, this was a cheap and simple project. The door (on the right) matches the other sliding doors closely enough, and the minifridge (for BBQs) fits neatly on the left. Easy!


Designing a chandelier シャンデリアのデザイン

2021-06-19 by David





Rainy season started 2 weeks early this year, so I've accomplished very little since then. Instead, I've turned my attention to the downstairs hall.


Currently the hall has 4 double fluorescent light strips, on two separate switches. While this is nice and bright, it's also a white light, which doesn't gel so well with the image I'm going for. It's a bit too functional.





I've come up with this light design. It's a mix of chandelier (ceiling is a little low for a full chandelier) and track light system (curved designs are stupidly expensive). I'll be 3D printing it in 30cm sections, and lighting it with 18 LED bulbs hanging from industrial-retro brass fittings. The whole thing will be 3m in diameter, and hopefully look awesome, but it will also cut the power consumption from the current 320 watts down to about 100 watts. That's a win, right?