Mats Bengtsson Home Improvement and Do It Yourself

List of projects second year after moving in

Mats Bengtsson mib over the years

A colony to supplement the garden

Pernille is very fond of gardening, and wanted more than our garden could support. We managed to find a colony, only 700 meters away from our house, and started on the job of using it.

It had not been used for some time, so it was a lot to do (which is typical for all gardening work). The first hing we had to do was to remove a lot of weed. Second thing was to dig in thr ground to make parts of the soil softer and a lot more attractive for the things to grow in the colony.

Colony 2004 after buying it

This was done by:

  • Pulling weed by hand
  • Digging weed by hand
  • Digging soil by hand
  • Turning soil by hand
  • Removing stones and weed found when turning soil

Basic learning:

  • Gardening is hard work, and even a short break leads to a lot of activities needed to clean up the effects of weeds and crop growing in unwanted directions or ways
  • Colonies are close to common ground and thus less easy to protect. A lot of people not in love with gardening walk straight through the plants
  • If you raise a fence around your colony, it will be torn down by people preferring to walk with their dogs exactly the route leading straight through your colony.

Tools bought:

  • We broke the shaft of our old shovel so we had to buy a new one, with a shaft strong enough to be used by me without fear to break it again. It took two shovels until we found a shovel that actually was strong enough.
  • A pitchfork with a strong shaft

Repainting the kitchen

Cold winter days means that most work need to be done inside. Painting is a very good such job to do. We had already repainted all rooms on the first floor when we movbed in except the kitchen, so now we decided to repaint the kitchen as well.

This was, a simple job without any surprises, except maybe again the feeling we got when we bought a paint which was white with a slight addition of yellow and red and compared it to the existing colour. The old was so strongly cvoloured that the new colour looke plain white. We had learned that the first time though, and knew it would look well when all the old paint was gone.

This was done by:

  • Buying paint, and rollers, and roller trays.
  • Filling scratches in the walls and fodder
  • Grinding the fodder
  • All fodders were masked with tape
  • Painting the roof
  • Painting the walls
  • Painting the fodder

Basic learning:

  • None, painting roof and walls reamined a straight forward job

Replacing one living room radiator

Also this is a repetition of work already done the year before. And like before, the description of the job is in the part dealing with reduced heating costs. I mention it here to keep the record straight, and due to the added learning. The radiator we bought had not been manufactored well enough. Some of the spray painting had found its way inside the radiator, probably from incorrect sealing of the ends during the painting. This ment the radiator was filled with chunks of paint which were lose. IF such paint parts started flowing in the heat system, the circulation pump or other parts might get clogged up, and repairs could becomes both neccessary and costly.

We thus requested a replacement. We got such a replacement without any hesitation from the vendor.

Basic learning:

  • When you buy a radiator, check that it is clean from lose parts inside.
  • When you connect anything to a flowing water system, like a radiator, first clean it so that there is no particles inside it which might get into your system
  • Radiators are heavy and should be mounted with a very decided tilt (allowing air to ge out through the valve in the top back). A good way to do this is to support the radiator with for example boards below it to keep it at right height.

Building a swivel TV cabinet

We had a need to be able to place both our TV and our stereo equipment at the desired place in the house. But this was not easy to solve, since standard size cabinets would not fit in the short space between our porch door and our inner stair to the dining room. Also, the stereo equipment included a very strong 7.1 channel high power HI FI amplifier, increasing the demands on the cabinet through a need of an extra deep cabinet. We thus decided to build our own TV cabinet, tailor made for the size needed. and with a space in the lower back of the cabinett where all cables can be.

TV cabinet after paintingTV cabinett in MDF before painting

This was done by:

  • Doing a drawing of the cabinet
  • Ordering the large parts pre sawn in MDF according to measures
  • Using the router to make rails in the wood for fitting the sliding doors
  • Usign the router to make rounded grooves which function as handles in the doors
  • Buying a cheap swivel platform on IKEA
  • Fitting the inner upper back side of the cabinet a bit in from the backside. This provides seen from the front a visible back inside the cabinet
  • Fitting the outer lower back side of the cabinet almost flush to the back edges. This provides a block for cables which reside inside thew cabinet, between the inner upper back and outer lower back.
  • Gluing it all together
  • Painting all parts
  • Inserting the doors

Basic learning:

  • There is a huge difference in precision even in large expensive proffesional table saws, the tables saws mounted on a wall instead of lying down improves precision by keeping the shop personel experience out of the equation (since they do not have to move the piece being sawn)
  • Even with wall mounted saws, there are many ways a measure can come out wrong, so supervise the measures (we got a smaller distance between back edge and inner upper back side than was on the drawing)
  • It is a lot better to buy large sheets of wood presawn than trying to saw them with precision yourself


Never trade stocks without having tested your system. In fact, most trading systems are not profitable if tested over many stocks. Full story...

Do not invest in heating equipment without having compared the alternatives, not only to current situation, but also to each other. Full story...

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