September (Autumn Equinox) holidays and laying the permanent floors

In September of 2008, we spent ten continuous days down in Komagane, working on the house. We had a very specific objective this time... to get the all of the permanent flooring down before the end of our stay (we were working to a deadline, as we needed to move out of the old, Hiyama farmhouse before the end of the month).

Because we were on such a tight schedule, we'd asked Ushikoshi-san, our log-house "sensei", to help us for as many of the days he had free while we were there. Luckily, he was able to put in virtually the whole week with us, which meant that we not only got a lot done, but we got a lot done properly (without having to go back and correct our deficiencies, which is what we normally end up doing when "Sensei" only visits once a fortnight or so). Working as a team on the floor, with Ushikoshi-san cutting to fit and me laying, we were able to finish all of the flooring in very good time and then move onto internal walls. We also managed to fit the kitchen unit (which we'd been laboriously moving from place to place as we built in the floors around it) and had a plumber come in to do the piping.

By the end of ten days we had (I think for the first time ever during the build) managed to complete a good deal more work than we'd originally scheduled and, on our final day in Komagane, were able to move what few possesions we had out of the old farm house and into our new-ish, log house.

The log house is still pretty cramped (it's not that big to begin with and we still have all of our tools and almost all of the remaining lumber for the walls stored in there). We don't have any mains water supply, any mains electricity or any usable toilet yet, but things are getting really close. While we were slaving away on the floors, our local builder's men were putting in the septic tank and laying the outlet pipe. The toilet unit itself and the remaining internal doors were all delivered and some of the light fittings arrived (the others are late simply because we couldn't decide which ones we liked, so they didn't get ordered at the same time). We're hoping to have water and a workable toilet by the next time we go down there (we're not doing and of the plumbing ourselves as we didn't want to end up soaking all of that wood we'd spent so much time and effort building). We've also got a few cans of wood stain (pretty much the original colour of the wood) to paint the exterior (and prevent any further U.V. damage to the walls) sometime in the very near future.

It's been almost exactly ten months (to the day, as I write this) since we received the kit and, considering the delays caused by the abnormally hard winter weather and that we were working only on every second weekend for most of the year, we are very happy with the current state of the house. Although this was a "self-build", our inexperience (coupled with the kanji instruction manual) meant we wouldn't have got anywhere near this far without some talented and patient help.

In addition to those people who have put in so much work directly with the house, we also owe many thanks to our "landlord" of the past year and a half, Shimodaira-san. Without the benefit of the Hiyama farm house as a local base, we would have been very hard pressed to put in so much time on our own building. Arigatogozaimashita!

Sleeping Bags ("Live Wool" under-floor insulation)

More insulation, with supporting particle-board

Detail of battens holding particle-board for insulation

Starting to lay the tongue-and-groove flooring

Working backwards, towards the outside wall

One section completed (bedroom) with wedges in place

Under-floor insulation for the "wet" areas

Dalek Attack!

Starting the framework (studding) for the internal walls

The unit bath starts to get walled in

The kitchen unit is fitted

Starting the tongue-and-groove on the internal walls

This page created on 2008-09-28.