Cottage Projects 2018

Spring has started "springing", and I anxiously await my return to my log cabin on Kimball Lake. This year, I have a couple of largish projects in mind, and I can't wait to get started.

Before I start the new projects, I have to finish the kitchen counter. Last year, I replaced the 50 year old kitchen counter with a new counter and wire shelves. Afterwards, Terry suggested that the counter would look more attractive if it had doors to hide the shelves below. So, late last winter, I made up five cabinet doors, which I will install on the first trip up, this spring. And, bar accidents or major changes, that's the last I'll do to the kitchen counter and cabinets for this year.

My first major project for this year will be to complete the deck down at the lake. When I built it, I had envisioned a two-stage deck, with the second stage supporting a lounger, or the canoe. This year, I will build that second stage. This should improve my ability to lounge at the waterfront, beer and book in hand.

The second, and larger, project will be to renovate the cottage porch. Part of the impetus for this comes from the electrical work I will have to do to install solar-powered lighting in the cottage. I need to run wires, and want to hide the vertical runs in the exterior walls of the porch. Besides, some of the porch floorboards have rotted away, and the cedar shingles cladding the outside have slowly fallen away. I want a porch that looks good, is functional, comfortable and inviting, and won't need any work for another twenty or thirty years.

I want to use tongue-and-groove panelling on the interior of the porch to give it a proper finish. The exterior will be a little more "traditional", with cedar trim over painted plywood. (Yes, it doesn't sound attractive, but it will look much better than it sounds). Proper frames for the windows and doors, and a built-in fold-down table will complete the look. I'll patch, sand, and urethane the floor, and the porch will again become the lounge area of the cottage.

All this work will prepare the place for next year's renovations; solar-powered lighting in all the rooms, and new interior walls in the two bedrooms. I've acquired a solar panel, and lot's of LED lighting tape, and have plans to put in some nice, unobtrusive lighting all through the cottage. It won't spoil the look of the cottage, but will reduce the fire hazards considerably. As for the bedroom walls, I'll use more tongue-and-groove panelling there and replace all the dark cedar shingles. I'll whitewash the paneling to brighten up both rooms without sacrificing the rustic feel of the place.

But, that's all for next year. Bring on this year.

See you at the lake.


I do have some smaller projects in mind for this summer, should I need a break from the big ones.

First off, I've acquired an IKEA "PS 2017 Storage unit" wire cabinet, which I will use in the boathouse to hold fuel and tools. I have to remove an old two-drawer cabinet that Mom had used to store nails, etc in, and then pour a concrete pad to support and retain the IKEA storage unit. With that done, I'll assemble the unit and move all the volatiles into it. That project should take a couple of days to complete.

The second project involves the pendant lamp in the cottage. It currently runs on AC from the generator, lighting a 60-Watt-equivalent light (about 800 Lumens) above the dining table. I've sourced some 12V DC LED lighting disks that put out 900 Lumens, and will rewire the pendant lamp for one of these disks, using 12V DC from the converter that now runs the kitchen light. That will take another day or so, and will position a second light for my upcoming solar-power conversion.

The good news is that the cabin survived the winter with no major damage.

  • The severely leaning ancient maple tree behind the outhouse finally fell, missing the outhouse by a couple of metres; at least I'll have more firewood if I want it.
  • I had worried that the fire extinguisher might be one covered in a recall issued late last fall, but that doesn't seem to be the case.
  • The ice is off the lake, but the water level is too high to put the dock out yet.

But, it appears that my project list for 2018 has increased a bit.

  • Despite installing the cupboard doors, the kitchen work remains incomplete - I will have to install latches on each door, as the "self-closing" hinges don't close the doors completely.
  • I will have to craft a new mount for the LED light in the pendant lamp; the one I assembled for this LED conversion is too small.
  • Over the winter, the drainpipe pulled out of the "dry drain". It looks like I'll have to spend some time reinstalling it.
  • One of the windows on the porch door broke over the winter. I'll have to replace it.
  • The anchor rope on the haul-out broke over the winter; I'll have to replace it with stronger rope, or a chain.

Well, I wanted an excuse to visit the cabin more often, and now I have several.

In 2016, I replaced the deck at the base of the stairs. This year, I enhanced them to include a balcony, suitable for a recliner, or the canoe.

Next step, a boardwalk along my (miniscule) beach.

So, I changed my mind about renovating the porch. Originally, I had thought that I would, ultimately, need to route the (upcoming) solar panel wiring through the side wall to the porch, but I've changed my mind. Since I no longer needed to change the porch for my solar panel project, I no longer need to renovate the porch this year. So, I picked a different project, instead.

When I install my solar power system and LED lights, I intend to put lights in both of the bedrooms, as well as the loft. The wiring, which I intend to install next year, will have to run inside the wall that divides the bedrooms from the great room. In order to run that wiring, I'll have to take down (and replace) the cedar shingles that panel the inside of each room, along that wall.

This is a good thing, as that panelling was overly dark, never completed, and insects and mice have made their homes within the walls. That panelling must go. And, to replace it, I intend to repanel both rooms in pine tongue-and-groove, with a lighter, whitewash finish.

This year, I performed a "practice run"; I repanelled both sides of the wall that divides the two bedrooms. I tore the shingles off, replaced the foam insulation in the wall (and insulated parts that weren't insulated before), and put up new panelling. It took some inventiveness to fit the panelling to the logs of the abutting log wall, but I managed it.

And, now, the bedrooms are a bit brighter, better insulated, and look a bit more modern.

And, I know what I must do next year, to complete the work and install the LED lights in both bedrooms.

These past few days, I've closed up the cottage for the 2018 season.
Like other years, I brought in the canoe and the dock, cleaned up any left-over construction materials, and generally prepared the cottage for the coming winter hiatus.

And, like other years, I have a summary of the accomplishments: This year, I

  • a new paper towel roll holder
  • a Dutch oven
  • a new bilge plug for the boat
  • a new dresser for guest bedroom
  • new bumpers for the boat (a gift from Kat and Rob)
Installed or Constructed
  • magnetic mount for glasses case
  • cupboard doors with magnetic latches
  • a new 12DC LED light in pendant lamp
  • a concrete footing in boathouse for new wire-mesh cabinet
  • a wire-mesh storage cabinet on concrete footing in boathouse
  • a new deck balcony and ladder
  • the handrail on shore stairs
  • old cupboard handles on washstand as washcloth holders
  • a new 3-drawer chest in the guest bedroom
  • renovated bedroom dividing wall
  • screen on the master bedroom porch window
  • replaced a broken axe handle on the splitting axe
  • relocated and reburied the drain terminus of the dry drain
  • repaired the valve and replenished hydraulic jack fluid in the hydraulic jack
  • replaced broken window panes in the porch door
  • repaired the broken anchor rope on the haul-out
  • replaced the window screen on the loft window
  • lubricated the window run on the master bedroom porch window
  • secured the slats of the loft bed from moving
  • replaced male and female ends of an extension cord
  • replaced the curtain rods and mounts in the guest bedroom
Disposed of
  • an old iron spring bed
  • an old roll of linoleum
  • 3 trashed easy chairs
  • various rusted nails & screws
  • the old wood-box from the kitchen
  • the old two-drawer cabinet from the boathouse
  • the remaining ballast from crib dock (thanks, Kat and Rob)
  • styrofoam insulation from the bedroom dividing wall
  • some old roofing shingles
  • the old 3-drawer chest of drawers from the guest bedroom

Now, on to 2019, when I install solar powered LED lighting in the bedrooms, and complete the renovation of the bedroom walls.