1. Buy dimensional 3/4″ poplar boards.
2. Plane to uniform thickness.
3. Rip 2″ and 3″ strips on the table saw.
4. Two dado cuts on table saw for 1/4″X 3/8″ panel groove.
5. Run each section on router because table saw is a POS and there is depth variation in all the grooves…
6. Threaten table saw with large iron maul – mean it.
7. Grumble a little.
8. Cut door stiles (sides) to length – Measure opening for stiles, subtract 4″ for stile width and add 3/4″ for double 3/8″ panel slot.
9. Write all measurements down on a non-descript sheet of paper.
10. Put measurements somewhere safe.
11. Take a 2 week to 4 month break because life gets busy.
12. Lose paper with measurements.
13. Tear house and shop apart looking.
14. Give up and re-measure.
15. Cut rails.
16. Lay all parts out and label, check sizing, trim two pieces, and pray a little.
17. Set up horizontal drill press to drill for dowel joints.
18. Screw up at least 4 initial holes.
19. Hit head in shop at least 3 times.
20. Build sweet dowel trimming jig for table saw – let head swell a little.
21. Cut 3/8″ off each dowel (8 per door).
22. Drill 16 holes per door.
23. Sand the cut-off end of dowel.
24. Dry fit first door.
26. Get out every bar clamp, hand clamp, and Quick-clamp that you own and set up clamping station.
27. Find original measurements for doors in the “safe place.”
28. Say dirty words very loudly. Repeat.
29. Add glue to dowels and joints and assemble door.
30. Apply judicious blows from wooden mallet to seat parts.
31. Get glue on hands and in hair.
32. Clamp up.
33. Wipe extra glue on door off with wet rag.
34. Repeat last 6 steps 8 more times.
35. Scrape clue, plane joints, and sand doors with 3 different paper grits.
36. Check and adjust door fit to openings and prime after more planning.
37. Re-prime and paint with two coats of white cabinet paint.
38. Mark, mortise, and install hinges on door.
39. Install red glass pulls.
40. Mark and mortise hinge/door onto cabinet.
41. Check fit and adjust 2 to 9 times.
42. Repeat steps 28 thru 41 eight more times
43. Drink three beers and swear to never build your own kitchen cabinets from scratch ever again!
1. Buy dimensional 3/4″ poplar boards.
Not something I would have thought about other wise…
So… My J-O-B has made us an offer that is very hard to refuse: a two year stint in the south of France and they will fly us home 3 times a year. We get to keep our house and I get to come back to my job in Seattle when that period ends. THE SOUTH OF FRANCE!! Warm weather, amazing wine, spectacular cheese, lavender, honey, the French vacation plan. We would be living outside of Toulouse – the third largest city in France. It sits at the foot of the Pyrenees Mountains, is an hour from the coast, has one of the 10 best Saturday markets in Europe (so says the interwebs), and has more sunshine in 6 weeks of summer than Seattle has all year. We are so freaking doing this!
There is some red tape that we have to cut through, namely a work permit. Since around 27% of the French population under 30 is out of work, getting a permit right now, even in the aerospace field, is tres difficile. Fingers crossed. If this happens, then The Nana will move into La Maison du Talley, pay the utilities, and keep the zombie horde away. Visualize a sweet grandmother rocking away on the front porch with a shotgun across her lap. Add a Marlboro hanging from the corner of her mouth and you will have an accurate picture of The Nana.
I will miss my shop and my yard for those two years, but I will plug the hole in my heart with Cote du Rhone, Comte, a day trip or 6 to the Mediterranean coast, weekends in Paris/Rome, sunshine, and a yearly vacation to Morocco. I will be taking a chest of hand tools and am planning on making some small detailed pieces while there. I also plan on scouring the flea markets over that two year period for planes, chisels, and joinery tools.
Stamps-With-Foot is not concerned about logistics or housing or much of anything other than “How is Brodie going to handle that long flight?!” She feels that we will be taking Brodie back to ancestral homeland and has spent some amount of time talking to the dog about this possibility – trying to get him psyched about the proposition…
I did not have serious time off on my recent trip to China, but I did have an afternoon to visit the markets in Beijing and sample some of the local street food – also not sample some… I picked up a few little somethings in the market stalls for everyone and spent a whopping $50 in doing so. It was one of those experiences that you have to be immersed in as the sights, smells, the crush of people, sounds, Etc…. can’t be accurately described.
We had a quiet West Seattle weekend: Friends over on Friday and we all drank no small amount of great Italian wine and ate the last of our French Comte cheese. I worked around the house and in the shop (me and the lathe are friends) Saturday morning while Stamps-With-Foot nursed a touch of a hangover and snuggled with the Brodie – He didn’t complain. Sunday was lazy with Brunch at Meander’s in White Center (Go For the Chicken and Waffles!) and afternoon coffee at C&P. After coffee and reading, there was a trip to Trader Joe’s, home for left-overs, some quality hottub time, and then we finished the evening with glasses of port, sitting in front of a fire.
I hate this guy… That hate is mostly born of jealousy. I wish I had his tools, his shop, his free-time and his skill at making complex wood joints. I still hate him though.
I got to climb on the Great Wall. Well, I didn’t so much climb as walk up and down steep, worn stone steps from rampart to rampart along the Badaling section near Beijing with 20,000 or so Chinese tourists. That aside, check one more item off the old bucket list!
The scribed graffiti was cool to see – it covered almost every brick and I was told that it was a new development. I ate lunch at the top of a tower and made my way back down to the visitor’s center by way of a small trail beside the wall’s base where I got to touch and see parts of the wall that are not in most tourist pictures.
On a recent trip to China we were north of Beijing driving from one city to another for meetings and we passed a sign in English that said “Shaolin Temple X-kilometers.” THE Shaolin Temple. You know, the home of Kung Fu and the setting for all the bad chop-suey martial arts movies that filled the Saturday mornings of my pre-pubescent youth – after cartoons and The Three Stooges aired. My co-workers were shocked that I “knew” about Shaolin (??) and made it a point for us to stop by after the meeting was over the next day so I could take it all in.
It was a huge and sprawling complex with thousands of students and visitors – very cool. Some pictures are below, but my favorite is of one of the tree trunks. The divots are from student’s fingers. They will wake up early each morning and strike the trees to toughen their digits. Some of those trees are over a hundred years old and are peppered in small round pock marks.
Shortly after we moved into La Maison du Talley, we cut 21 trees out of the backyard. There was only one serious tree – a 40′ cedar – and the rest were smaller Bay Laurels and Vine Maples that were blocking any possibility of sunlight reaching the ground. I kept some of the larger, straighter sections of the small trees and put them in the loft of the garage to dry and season, hoping that I would eventually make stuff out of them. That was three and a half years ago and while spring cleaning in the garage/shop this weekend I decided to take a little break and mess stuff up again I pulled a couple of sections down and cut them to manageable size with the chop saw. I knew exactly what to do with pieces.
We have a neighbor who is crazy helpful and has a passion for dahlias. He grows and shares them with the whole street and has helped Stamps-With-Foot litter the edges of the yard and flower beds with them. She loaned him the bulb planter early this spring and he loved it. He had somehow gone through life as a gardener and just never tried one. I decided to make him his own with graduated depth gauge marks and a matching mallet to drive it into the odd patch of hard ground. The planter is made from a section of the vine maple and the mallet is turned from a hickory Little League baseball bat that I bought for $2.00 at Goodwill. The maple was super-dense and I counted 21 very tight growth rings on it. It grew in the shade under larger trees for all that time and that made it an especially hard and nice piece of wood to turn with sharp chisels – the wood shavings and tailings came off in long, thin, lace-like strips. An absolute pleasure to work with.
Since I was making sawdust already, I decided to keep going: The wife and I are planning to make some/most of our Christmas gifts this year. I have already started and added a few mallets for the woodworkers in my life (I am not spoiling the surprise – none of them read this blog…). I also turned a garden mallet for Stamp-With-Foot from a section of Laurel tree (her name-sake). I added the burned striped bands at her request after she saw her’s beside the others and got mallet-envy.
Just before my wife stomped out to the shop and MADE me come in for the night, I took a hunk of red oak that I have had for 10+ years and turned a couple of fancy door-stops. Since we live in a house built in 1928, the doors have a mind of their own and a well placed wedge keeps a person from walking into the edge of a door in the middle of the night. I will add some tung oil and a few coats of satin poly this week to finish them up.
Oh Seattle… Why can’t you be pretty and green and sort of warm all year? I keep telling myself that Summer and early fall here make the crappy six month of fallwinterspring all worth it, but that is a hard pill to swallow right now. This has been an especially dreary winter: rain, cooler than normal temps, very few sunny days (I remember 4…) and it didn’t really get cold enough to kill the mosquito eggs, so we are looking forward to a buggy spring. Oh Joy. On the bright side of things, the lawn and garden at La Masion du Talley are erupting with jonquils, tulips, cherry blossoms, the begonias and the dahlias are just coming up, there is green on the espalier apples, new raspberry canes are shooting up, my rose bushes in the back are leafing out, I saw a couple of honey bees out foraging, the grass is lush and green, and the first hints of the lavender up front are coming in. I spent the weekend splitting my time between the inside of the house and the yard. In the last two weeks I have been in Tokyo, Orange Co.., CA and Las Vegas, so my part of the household chores had gone unattended to. Here is how it all went down:
Slept late Saturday.
Breakfast and coffee while sitting next to Brodie.
Washed a load of whites and a load of colors.
Thought about going for a run.
Lost two hours of my life to Pinterest instead…
Put dishes away – some of them anyway.
Stamp-With-Foot took Brodie to new vet.
Got dressed and picked up living room and office.
Wife loves new vet. Brodie, not so much…
Finished a couple of small house projects.
Got ready to take Brodie for a walk in Lincoln Park
Canceled trip to the park.
Brodie went back to sleep on the couch.
Went downstairs to work on my Workbench of Doom in the basement.
Heard water running outside… SHIT! Gutters overflowing! Downspout Plugged!! FVCK!!!
Ran outside, put ladder up DURING hail storm, dug pine needles and holly leaves out of gutters on both sides of house.
Water started moving down drainpipe.
While on top of wet, slick ladder – wished I possessed The Force – would kill neighbor’s trees and lift them out of the ground like X-wing fighter…
Said loud dirty words about gutters, pine needles and neighbor’s trees.
Squinted eyes, pursed mouth, and made mental note to buy copper nails, a large auger bit, some Drain-O, and a vile of the poison that coated the blade that Bilbo was stabbed with for that hateful tree.
Climbed down slick ladder with frozen hands prayed for a single bolt of well placed lightning.
Went inside, threw wet hat down and stomped downstairs to plan a crime.
Stamps-With-Foot made me coffee.
Felt better & cleaned the basement a little.
Wife took me out on Movie Date.
Had a nice time.
Came home and sat in the hot tub for a good long while – nice light rain fell.
Wife all for me taking a hit out on the tree.
Fell asleep looking at Pinterest again.
Up at the crack of dawn on Sunday: 9:00am
Coffee and breakfast.
Wrote some e-mails and sent a few pics to Instagram
Wife left for appointment and Brodie and I went to C&P Coffee.
Brodie tried to eat a black lab the looked funny at him while I was ordering coffee.
Being French, he has a Napoleon Complex – Really, really.
I grabbed him in mid air and other dog looked like he wanted to tinkle on the carpet: hid behind owner
Brodie looked hard at that dog whole time we were there.
Stopped by Home Depot on the way home and got moss killer for the roof and yard.
Noticed the moss while unstopping gutters.
Came home, cut the grass and spread some Weed&Feed that will lead to the eventual demise of all the dandelions, clover, and nettles that dare to take root in my yard.
Edged and mowed the front and back yards.
Found a couple of ferociousness dandelion patches.
How had I missed them?!
Got out the instant death weed killer and murdered me some dandelions.
Giggled like Buffalo Bill as he put the lotion in the basket.
Other neighbor walked by told me that I had a beautiful yard.
Beamed with pride and tried not to look like a weed serial killer or that I was hatching a plan to commit arborcide!
Wife came home and helped me spray the roof for moss.
Took off overalls and went with wife and Brodie to Lincoln Park – pretty end to the day!
Went to Trader Joe’s for the week’s worth of groceries.
Stamps-With-Foot made dinner while I worked on some handmade Christmas gifts (starting early)
Looked at Pinterest and Instagram again.
Stole wife’s phone because her pics of Lincoln Park were better than mine.
Heard noise outside.
THE WAS A FVCKING RACCOON ON MY ROOF!!
Thought about getting The Ruminator’s pellet rifle.
Decided I did not want to be on top of ladder and at eye level with mad ‘coon that had just been tagged with a pellet.
Turned the water hose on and ruined his night.
He jumped off roof and into the hated pine tree.
I thought about the pellet rifle again… decided to let the raccoon and tree just have each other.
Came in and wife was asleep and the dog was snoring like a 75 year old alcoholic with sleep apnea.
Wrote a couple blog posts.
Turned off lights, set alarm, and went to snuggle with wife.
My J-O-B occasionally has me fly all over God’s Green Earth with zero to little notice to provide support when something is wrong with an airplane or aircraft system. It never happens on a wednesday at 9:00am. Nope, I usually get the call as I am headed out the door for a 3-4 day holiday weekend with the family. I spent Thanksgiving a couple of years ago in Abu Dhabi, there have been Labor and Memorial Days spent in England/Northern Ireland, and I cannot remember the last MLK weekend that I got to hang out at the house.
This past Friday was one of those days: I got off work and was home just long enough to put on my shop apron, turn on the shop lights, and cut a piece of 47X13.75″ 1/2 plywood for my basement bench before my phone started blowing up. After about 9 calls to and fro, I had tickets booked for the first direct flight out to Tokyo the next morning and a semi-unhappy wife. Stamps-With-Foot has been very gracious about my last minute travel over the past 9 years. She understands that my employer’s ability to have me do these types of trips are part of the reason that we live where we do, have our cute house, and can save for college funds & retirement. That doesn’t mean she doesn’t still get a little miffed – this trip is going to cost me something shinny, I can feel it.
Anyway, I love Japan in general and am here for couple of days. I will have a chance to pick up some ruffled-feather-soothing Japanese gifts for my my wife and mother (The Nana had planned a sunrise Easter Mass/Service as a family outing and was not please that I “bailed”), and there are a couple of things I want to pick up for the kids while I am here, so life shouldn’t be too hard for me when I fly home
I have a neighbor with a rose blossom tree that is the first bloomer of spring. We can see it from our breakfast nook and the kitchen window. The second I see the small red buds starting to show, I know that spring is on its way. Petals are now covering a small patch of ground on my side of the fence and the ornamental cheery trees in the neighborhood blooming. Now is the time to peel myself from my winter sloth and get to the gym, run, and ride my bike. I took my wet-weather commuter-bike down from the rafters in the shop, blew off the sawdust and immediately saw that my head tube was cracked. Son of a…. No idea how it happened. No crashes or huge drops that I know of. It is an aluminum frame, so if cracked it is unrideable. When steel fails it is gradual and you have some warning. When aluminum goes, there is no warning. One just finds him or her self in a bloody and broken pile on the street.
The bike is my Winter/wet-weather commuter, but due to my only laziness, it has only see the road twice since last fall. I have some other bikes, but finding the crack was a a blow to the momentum I was building to finally get off my ass. I took it into a local shop where I know and like the owner and explained the issue. Specialized has a lifetime warranty and he called his rep and I will have a new frame in a few days. I will then spend some time in the basement tearing the old bike down and rebuilding on the new frame. I am sure that I will obsess over some minor detail that will cost me days and some amount of cash.
This weekend was busy with friends, a dinner out, St. Paddy’s Day activities, an outing to the Roller Derby (?!), and the 9th anniversary of the day that my sweet wife and I met was on Sunday. Even with all that, we still got bunches done around the house: Our under-bed dresser finished, bathroom table drawer installed (a little work on that left), wine crate storage boxes made, basement lighting installed, and the basement work bench is moving along.
The drawers for the under-bed dresser and the one for the bathroom all came from a wooden donor-dresser that my father-in-law drug home from a garage sale last summer. He paid $4 for it and it was in pretty bad shape, but it was solid wood and had potential. It was mistakenly left in the weather (plastic cover leaked) for a month before I salvaged the drawers, cut out off the top and used the sides for kitchen cabinet door panels. I re-squared the drawers, added dividers in the fall, and over the Christmas break sealed the insides (The Ruminator helped). After lots of filling and sanding and more sanding, I stained the fronts to match our bedroom furniture, then built ¾” plywood beams to hang the drawers from bed frame and used some scrap oak flooring as drawer guides/runners. The final product really looks good and is super functional. While some husbands bug their wives by filling the house with brought-home junk – I give my wife more and more and more storage and organization space.
On Sunday, I put the final coat of finish on the basement workbench top, let it dry, and then installed the three runs of aluminum t-track. Stamps-With-Foot bucked up and helped me wrestle its 200 pound beech and maple mass onto the steel base. I secured it with screws and covered the top with carpet squares while I finish the upper shelf/cabinet. I installed a outlet power strip under the main body of the topper and removed the old drawer dividers. I will soon add a plywood back with a mirror, a light under, a dedicated air supply line, install the desk drawers under the bench and mount 4 reclaimed letterpress drawers directly under the top as well. Happy with the progress so far.
I decided to work on the kitchen cabinet doors, cut some plywood sheets down, and tackle a bench top while the sun was shining. I opened the shop, brought out a plastic truck-bed toolbox to cut on (my 4 sawhorses are currently being used elsewhere), pulled 3 full-sized sheets of ¾” and ½” plywood out of the lumber rack and drug it all out into the backyard. After marking the first sheet, adjusting my saw blade depth, lining up my rip fence, and checking for clearance – I started my first cut and immediately ripped a 6” long kerf-cut into the top of the tool box that the sheet was sitting on. Dammit! I cut the rest of the plywood up without incident, but grumbled thinking about the mistake (I will fill and patch it with molten P-Tex plastic at some later point). After stacking all the assorted pieces of ply back into my cluttered shop, I man-handled the 170+ pound beech and maple in-work bench top from the basement and placed it on the now-damaged toolbox – trying very hard not to either herniate a disk in my bask or tear what is left of my shoulder.
My Shop/Garage is pilled deep and high with lumber, hardware, undone winter projects, wood shavings, tools, sawdust, flotsam & jetsam, etc…. I spent an hour trying to set up my router and in all the clutter and mess I couldn’t find a ¼” collet for one router and the other does not have an integrated fence, so using my big monkey brain, I improvised a fence. All I really wanted to do with the top was to route channels for t-track and thoroughly sand it down before taking the beast back into the bowels of the basement to apply stain and a tung oil finish. All was going as planned and my first cut was perfect. The second cut went just the same, but at the very end of the third cut my improvised fence failed and the router wobbled – gouging the top that I had spent a month building. Jesus H. Christ I was pissed! – Mostly at myself, but there was some vitriol left over for the machine in my hands. I said dirty, hateful, vile things while resetting the fence and making an adjusted cut. I moved on to make my last cut in the very front lip of the bench and while the fence held, I stood up mid-way through the pass and the router wobbled, making the bit chew into a section of wood where I did not want it to go. I gritted through the rest of the pass and finished the cut, but the second I was clear of the wood, I wanted to throw the still running router on the ground and beat the electric life out of it with the pruning shears that were leaning against the garage wall. I had to walk away, hand over my mouth, and just breathed deeply with my back to the offending router, my own incompetence, and the damage they had both wrought. My moment of reflection was short lived because just as I turned, I felt the first drop of rain fall from what was minutes ago a blue sky that had ominously darkened while I was focused on my router-rage (I swear it happened just like that – strait out of a hip urban dramedy…). SHIT!! I ran for something to cover the bench top. The only thing I could find was a pink tent fly and a sheet of cardboard. I covered everything and retreated into the shop, right eye twitching with disbelief/confusion/anger. I spent the next hour drinking coffee laced with sawdust and moving piles of crap around in my shop.
When my sweet wife got home she MAY have found me in the shop muttering to myself, pacing, covered in saw dust, contemplating the logistics of building a giant sealed dome over our entire lot. She talked me off the ledge, helped me put the top back into the basement, patted me a little, told me I was pretty and smart and a good boy, put me in some fresh, sawdust free clothes, and took me out to see a movie.
I got up the next morning and after a yummy breakfast of flaky croissants, bacon, eggs and two cups of coffee, I went downstairs and chiseled out the offending screw-ups, then cut and glued maple patches in. After calming down some and after a good night’s sleep, I felt better about the whole thing, but me and that router are still not on speaking terms.
In my on-going project to build the finest glamping/campaign furniture kit in the Pacific Northwest, I have added a custom box for holding all of our cast iron and campfire cooking gear. It all started out with a wooden box I picked up at a garage sale that was full of a cast iron camp set that had been used once. We have added a square fry pan, pot lifters, trivets, stand-off, roasting sticks, a grill, bacon press, a 12″ lid, and corn-shaped bread pan. I had thought about including all of it in my camp kitchen, but it would have made the unit so heavy that I would have needed a winch to get it off and on to my truck bed.
The box that it came with was just a roughly tacked together crate, but it had potential. I spent a couple of hours adding trim, remaking the lid, adding reinforcement, and painting it a deep red. To Finish it off I added brass pipe handles and brass closures. It is still not light, but one person can carry and move it. The “new” box holds all the aforementioned gear, looks snazzy, and doubles as a seat for around the campfire.
In 1969 or 1970, my father helped my grandfather build a rental house that my grandparents saw income from for the next 24 years. He came home at the end of the project with a truck bed full of spare/cut lumber and building supplies. Lumber was not wasted in our house. We didn’t go and buy a new 2X4 for a project… We rummaged through the cut-off bin or wood storage shelves for a piece that was the right size or that could be cut, planed, or trimmed to work – Wood was not wasted or thrown away in the Talley house! It is a lesson that I have taken to heart and most of the things I build for my own home are made, at least partially, out of used or recycled materials.
Anyway, Daddy took some of the lumber and built a set of bookshelves that in the next nine years held everything from encyclopedias to technical manuals. Four 12-inch shelves sat on a box base that my father stained and varnished with whatever color he had left over from the rental kitchen cabinet build. It sat in our living room and in the shop. In 1980 we moved back to Houston and somehow my aunt and uncle ended up with the shelves. They put them in their living room, knocked the bottom shelf back, drilled a hole for a cable and sat their 19″ TV on the base. It remained in their home until 2010, when my uncle passed away. My mother asked to have the shelf unit back and brought it to me when she moved to Seattle. It is the only object that I own that my father built with his own hands and I feel so very lucky and proud to have it.
I decided immediately give it an update to make it an everyday part of our home: add a little something here and there to update it and make it that much more useful. Plans are one thing and actually doing the work is quite another – it sat relegated in my overcrowded shop for almost a year before I finally got a chance to work on it. I put the knocked out shelf back, glued all the joints, added reinforcement and screws to hold it all together, and built a base with turned wooden bun feet for it to stand on. The original base box was 12″ X 30″ and I wanted to both maximize the space and add my own signature to the piece. I carefully cut an 8″ X 24″ opening in the front and added rails for a drawer. It was amazing working on the piece. I found my father’s 42 year old pencil marks, a divot from a hammer, saw marks, and I found part of a fingerprint from when it was stained – just on the inside of the bottom. Finding and touching these this tangible proof of my late father brought me more joy than I have words to describe.
I also added a face frame, edge trip, and crown mounding. The piece was sanded down with 120 grit, then all the holes and gaps were filled, sanded with 120 again and then with 220 grip. I then primed with two coats and finished it with 3 coats of white Benjamin Moore ultra-tough cabinet paint.
I think it turned out really nice and I think my dad would be really proud of the work that I did to it. I am taking the original brass corner trim and a piece of original shelving and turning it into a picture frame to hold my favorite picture of my father. I think that he would approve of that as well…
I am an admitted cyber-hoarder. I have gigs and gigs of image files across 5-6 hard drives: Images of furniture, vacations, design details, machines, demotivational posters, LOL cats, etc… that I will someday get around to looking at again or using for some future unnamed and unknown project. The few times I have gone looking for something, it has taken forever to find the wanted file.
I was introduced to Pinterest and I thought that this was the solution to my hoarding problem: a cleared up hard drive, organized files, I would be able to add comments to pictures, etc… Nope. Wrong. Stupid Pinterest solved nothing. Now I save files to my hard drives AND link to Pinterest. I have said many times that I don’t use Facebook because it is the black hole of time management. Now I will “glance” at my Pinterest account and BAM!! it is 2:30 am, I have 2% battery left on my iPad, and I have been repinning pictures for seven hours. This is really cutting into the time I have allocated to plotting my scheme for world domination… Dammit!
I have come to both love and accept my wife’s little quirks. I don’t understand them all and from time to time I have to just shake my head and mutter after finding something odd in the recycling or noticing that kitchen silverware was used to dig in the flower beds for example. I have also discovered that it is best to work within the confines of these quirks instead of confronting them/her with what most people would call reason. That confrontation would lead to a two hour discussion that would, in turn, lead nowhere. I would have to apologize for even bringing it up and then I would have to buy her something shiny for my transgression. In the end, I would be right back where I started – muttering to myself and slowly shaking my head with my lips pursed in an expression of both frustration and amazement.
Stamps-With-Foot is very visual and she has to SEE something for it to be real for her. Visualization of a concept like arranging pictures on the wall, where flowers COULD go in the yard, or where to move a chair in the living room is an exercise in frustration. This normally means that after a week+ of debating where a piece of furniture should go, I will move it 4-9 times before she decides that the original decision was the correct one. This comes up for me because we have been talking about to swapping offices at home. Her sewing/estrogen room will go upstairs to the sunny well-lit wood-floored bedroom at the front of our house and I will move my faux-Edwardian office/man-cave into the basement so that it will be co-located to my tiny hobby machine shop, work bench, and our den: A win/win for us both of us as long as I don’t have to move crap up and down and around for two days.
In the spirit of working with her previously addressed/documented traits, I formulated a plan to have it all work in my favor. I measured and drew a scale model of the room upstairs, showing locations of the doors, windows, and air vents. Then, I made scale cutouts of all the furniture that she could possibly have in the room. I left her with the drawing and cutout so that she could torment and second guess herself in peace while I went into the basement and worked on my new machine shop bench. 24 hours later and after looking at every possible combination at least 6 times, she had determined a location for each and every twig for her sewing nest and taped her choices for furniture location down on the drawing. I have elicited a promise that her decision is a final one and that if there is a change in any of the locations it will be made before the very first piece is picked up and humped upstairs.
Now all that is left for me to do is to bribe/con some friends and neighbors into helping move all the crap, putting it in its designated place and then to disappear in to my basement to plot my plan for world domination…. Mwahahahaha….
I have found that my workshop productivity goes way down in the winter/the six months of Seattle rainy season. My garage shop is small and quickly fills with material, lumber, tools, and projects. To add to the handicap of the small size, the lack of heat means that I can’t do any finish-work because of wood humidity, shrinkage/swell, and moisture. I have made do in the unfinished side of our basement for the past three winters, but I am done my wife is done with the mess and clutter and my bitching about an inadequate work area when the weather turns crappy. I need a little bit of dedicated space that I can work on the small stuff year round that doesn’t require power tools and a little bit of assembly/finish space where I can glue and clamp some projects up, a solder station, a spot to reload ammo, work on my bikes, and a clean/dry/warm space to apply stain or a hand-laid finish coat. Add to this my current want of a small metal lathe and mill and I will have the makings of a nice little hobby shop from which to launch my plans for world domination …er, I mean a spot where I can make small parts, solder, or tinker.
Anyway, instead of buying a crazy expensive cabinet bench or making do with a thin metal and partial board Home Depot bench, I have decided to build the sturdiest all-around hobby bench that I can with the funds and material I have available (~$130.00), add some really nice features (aluminum t-track, lots of drawers, removable vises, power, lights, etc…) and make it into a finished piece of furniture that I will be proud to sit at and show off to friends for the next 30+ years. To start the process off, I found a cheap older thick steel framed 6′ workbench at Second Use that I felt would make a bombproof, rock solid base. I sourced a used IKEA cutting-board counter top that I cut down to the appropriate size and then used the trimmed pieces to add thickness and rigidity (I am still going to add some angle iron). I thought about and sketched 3-9 different ways to add some shelving and some organization to the top and was still tossing around options in my head when a realized that an old buffet that my mom had just might work. I took some measurements and looked into reinforcing here and there and realized that not only would it work, but that its style would set the tone and color for the entire bench build.
I decided that the drawers to be added under the bench top needed to be narrow and at least partially match the newly planned top section, so I looked for an older desk or vanity that I could cut apart. I struck out at Goodwill, the Salvation Army, and Craig’s List, but Second Use came through again and hooked me up with exactly what I needed at a decently fair price, well decent after I haggled a bit…
The current state of the build is that the bench top is 2/3 done, the desk is cut apart, the steel legs are up and in place and I am 1/4 of the way done with reinforcing the buffet/top shelving unit. I will update the build as it is completed and share some more pictures.
Our dog lives a hard life… No one loves this dog… Mistreated he is…
We make him sleep in the bed, nap on the heating pad with a blanket, his food is warmed up, there is a bushel basket full of toys, someone is with him all day and he has a drawer full of vests and sweaters. Treats fill his life and Stamp-With-Foot forces him to snuggle. I am shocked that the neighbors have not called the Department of Animal Welfare on us.
Some friends of ours are downsizing their lives and are planning to quit their jobs and take an extended around the world trip. We were helping them move some of their stuff to a smaller place and I asked the Man-Friend in the relationship what he was going to do the what I assumed was a non-running older 4X4 truck in front of the house. He said I could have it. Ughhhh…. I tried to let him off the hook telling him to think about it and when he kept on saying I could “Have” it, I offered to pay him what he had in it or what he paid for it. Nope. He gave me the truck. I couldn’t say no. I just couldn’t. I love the design and construction of Japanese 4-wheel drives. They are super tough and if maintained, extra dependable. There was no way I was going to just let a free one scoot past me.
Turns out that the truck both runs and has a clear title. It is a blue 1989 Dodge Ram 50, single cab – that is what the title says anyways. In reality it is a Mitsubishi MightyMax that Dodge imported, did not touch, and slapped their name on. the ’89 model was the 1st year of the 2nd generation of the truck and had a 2.6 liter, I4 forklift engine in it. If serviced, they will run for 400K+ miles. Our new steed has 183K on it and needs a ring and valve job – smokes on start up and won’t pass smog. It needs some tires, shocks, tranny service, hub locks, and some electrical work, but it was FREE!
I need another project in my life like I need a meteor hole in my roof, but I think after a little work it will make both a commuter for my mom and a dependable truck to troop over to the grocery store, Home Depot, drive into the mountains, or to haul the occasional thrift store treasure.
I haven’t thought of a name just yet – we haven’t had enough time together: No share hardships endured. We haven’t moved together in the pouring rain. Zero late night beer runs through a dry-county. No women have been wooed. No mountains climbed…. A name will come in time.
- Looked at hutch for too long and decided to get it done.
- Started with bottom section – doors removed.
- Stripped off all old paint and varnish from outside with “environmentally friendly” orange stripper.
- Scraped and scraped stripper off.
- Cussed “environmentally friendly.”
- Put more stripper on.
- Scrubbed off again.
- Wife helped for 40 minutes, hated it and didn’t touch either section again.
- Shoved a 1″ splinter under one of my fingernails.
- Said the “F” word 5+ times, bled on base & floor and thought about cutting it all up for firewood.
- Washed whole thing with paint thinner to stop the stripper residue from working any more.
- Let dry and sanded whole case with 120 grit.
- Sanded with 220 grit.
- Sanded again with 220 grit.
- Stained with a crazy pricey, but color-matched mahogany tinted oil-based stain.
- Used wife’s special dish gloves.
- The old, old fir had issue with the stain and was a little splotchy in some really key spots.
- Was grumpy for two days.
- Second coat of stain used to blend some areas.
- Put on first coat of wipe-on poly acrylic semi-gloss finish.
- Wife found stain covered dish gloves and I got in trouble.
- Went to store and bought wife new gloves.
- 24 hours later, scuffed finish with white 3M pad and applied finish coat 7 more times.
- Spent HOURS on the final coat.
- Repeated all above steps with the four raised panel doors.
- Installed 100+ year old glass pull-knobs on doors.
- Whole process took two months.
- Moved base into finished side of basement for use as a media cabinet and LCD TV base.
- Went downtown to Chinese-owned granite shop on Seattle’s 1st Ave and haggled over granite for top.
- I am a poor negotiator in Chinese.
- Left and came back with Mandarin speaking co-worker.
- Got GREAT deal on custom top. 1/12th of the price that I was quoted at Home Depot – really!
- Built A-frame jig for back of truck to haul granite.
- Picked up top and hauled home.
- Bribed 4 neighbors to help move it into place.
- Neighbors won’t answer my call anymore…
- Four months from start to finish.
- Two weeks later I started the top section.
- Decided to make top section into a living room “built-in.”
- Built, painted and installed new 8″ base for the top section in our living room to match existing trim.
- Removed the doors, hardware, and hinges.
- Repeated steps above with the exception of splinter under nail and use of wife’s gloves: I learned my lesson the first time.
- Cut hole in back for outlet already on wall.
- Had other, unsuspecting neighbors help me move the top section up.
- New neighbors called me names after it was all done.
- Hole for outlet 1″ off to the left.
- Said hateful words.
- Grumpy again.
- Calmed down and used Dremel tool and coping saw to remove section from one side and glued it to other side.
- Trimmed out outlet hole.
- Stained and finished outlet trim.
- Had wedding and took 30 day break in the rebuild/refinish process.
- Started looking for matching trim and crown molding at reclaimed lumber yards.
- No Luck.
- Had crown custom milled at high cost by a shop in SODO that had 90 year old machines running on their floor (shop closed about a month after I was there last
- Started the process of refinishing the doors.
- Installed crown molding.
- Shot nail through molding and into palm on final piece of crown.
- Bled on top of hutch – no dirty words.
- Installed refinished doors.
- Built two interior shelves out of 80 year old fir floor boards. Stained and finished – look original!
- Smacked the back of my head when installing shelves and almost knocked myself out.
- Sourced and purchased piece of wavy restoration glass to match original broken pane.
- Stained and finished the crown.
- Put final coat of trim paint on the new base.
- Installed the one missing glass pane.
- 5 months after base installed the top is done and looks like it has been in our place since 1928.