Tag Archives: building

Recycling and carpentry

We bought a few boxes to sort out our recycling, but in this part of the world the sun and the wind make short work of any plastic bin you might leave around outside, so I built a box to sit by our front door. It also doubles a bench of sorts.

Recycling and carpentry

Building a simple frame from reclaimed fence posts

The design evolved from the wood that was available, rather than any master plan. It’s made entirely from scrap or discards from other projects; fence-posts filled with nails, shelves from a broken unit, trim used as temporary support on some previous building work etc. But with a coat of appropriate treatment and a couple of coats of paint, this should last for many years.

The lid was made from bits of an old shelving unit

This particular shade of blue complies fully with the in-laws/landlords brand guidelines. :)

Ready for the great outdoors

Making our car a little bit more French

Fitting left hand drive lights to a right hand drive car

Fitting the LHD lights to our car

In order to register our car in France, and to help it integrate better with the local vehicles, I fitted a set of left hand drive lights yesterday. With the help of my Dad and our trusty Haynes manual we got this done in a relaxed morning’s worth of work.

We know people who’ve paid a 1,000 Euros or more to get this job done which makes it even more satisfying to do the work at home.

The only trouble we had were the fittings for the indicator bulbs not exactly matching the new unit. One had 3 connection points and the other expected 4. But with a Stanley knife and the whittling skills I learned from carving walking sticks it didn’t take long to make these fit.

I found the best price for the headlight units was on eBay, but had to factor in a 5 week lead time for delivery as these came via Germany and were out of stock when I ordered them about 6 weeks ago.

Goal: Building a brick oven

Following my review of Your Brick Oven, I thought I’d write a little on my plans for building an oven once we get to France.

The smallish clay oven I built previously.

The in-laws have already asked me to build a big clay oven in the courtyard of their group gite (holiday home), but I’ll put the idea of the brick oven to them instead on the grounds of its longevity. Clay ovens are best suited to communities with lots of clay, not many bricks and enough skills across the generations to maintain and patch them up year after year. While building with clay is a wonderful (but knackering) process a well built brick oven could last decades rather than years.

There are plans to renovate another of the empty buildings as a sort-of restaurant dining room where big groups can cook and eat together, so that feels like a sensible site for the oven. Though it will be built outside, I’d like an oven door to be accessible from inside the building for baking during the winter. While my previous clay oven worked well enough at Christmas time in the rain, it wasn’t so much fun running in and out the house with the dough.

I’m picturing using the oven in a couple of scenarios.

Here's a crude sketch I did on my phone to illustrate

Firstly, I want a big oven that’s suitable for cooking dinner for a group of twenty or more guests at any one time – good enough for a small restaurant or a big dinner party. This would take a lot of wood to heat up so you once it’s lit you use the heat for cooking a whole load of meals for the week ahead. Basically spending a whole day cooking food and using the changing temperatures of the oven as it slowly cools, like they did in the old days. Pizza, bread, roasts, cakes, drying herbs etc.

I’d also like the option of baking bread during the week without using all the fuel needed to soak (that’s wood oven lingo) the big party sized oven. So I’m thinking of building a double oven. One big and one small right next to each other.