We Have LIGHTS!!!

HOLY Bejesus… I have Electricity in the F-Bomb Garage!! Only 4 months after permit pulled and 9 months after garage build began. I have lights that are not hooked up to an extension cord, the auto door openers work, there are five 110VAC plugs ready for power tools, and my lift is now working without the aid of a 220VAC extension cord running from the drier plug in the basement of the house.

I just had the bare minimum done to get the panel and transfer switch in place and have the city sign off on the garage. Now, that is not to say that all is well in the electrical department: I am still waiting for final permit sign off for the work already done, which is on hold. Apparently, my electrician screwed up the wire routing in the meter box and SCL cannot install a meter. Thankfully they are letting me keep the lights on until my current electrician can come back and address.

I am now prepping in all the other 110 plugs myself – at 4′ high, putting in 2 additional 220 plugs and a 50amp plug for my welder. There is no way I am going to pay an hourly fee to have romex run, holes drilled, staples put in, and plugs & switches wired in. Nope. I will be paying electrician that my company contracts for industrial work to sign off on my install and run the lines into the panel and install breakers – already arranged and the price isn’t too bad at all. While I can do this in my sleep, I am not licensed and my insurance would not pay a dime is something happened, regardless of fault.

Matt Talley_wiring Garage_2016

Matt Talley_Garage elect panel 1

Matt Talley_Garage Transfer switch_2016





Additionally, My J-O-B was getting rid of a huge organizer bin cabinet: 1/8″ steel, 72″X24″X84″ and 350+ lbs. There was no way I was going to watch that beast go to the recycling center, so I asked if I could have it. Yep, the facilities guy said “load it up” and btw “I have a pallet jack that is wonky if you want it…” Yes, please. Got them both home and the cabinet fits perfectly and will be amazing for climbing, boarding, camping gear organization – keeping all the shop dust and debris off of my gear and making it so I don’t have to dig for small parts ever again.

The pallet jack was low on hydraulic fluid. I filled it up, put a weighted pallet on it overnight and this morning I found the pallet still in the air and no fluid on the floor. Win-win.

Matt talley_Garage locker_2016

Fall has arrived on my street

Outside of the house this weekend there were leaves littering the grass, there was a damp chill, clouds gathered, the sky was a light grey, and the smell of wood smoke was in the air. Fall is my favorite time of year.

Speaking of falling leaves…  Wwe have two paper-bark maple trees (Acer griseum) in our parking strip that I never particularly liked.  For 7 years they have been a little scraggly, are the first to shed the leaves in the fall and the last to leaf-out in the spring. It means that for 6+ months of the year I had dead looking stick trees in front of our house. I have wanted to replace them with ornamental cherries for 6.5 of those seven years, but have been hesitant to cut them because they were healthy and I couldn’t find anyone to take the trees, even after I offered to dig them up, hall them to their new home and assist with re-planting.

Well, it became apparent this spring that one of them is dying. I began plotting and had decided to take them both out this winter and plant cherries this spring. Then something weird happened – the one healthy tree started dropping seed pods – 1st time ever. A lot of them. I am used to seeing the single winged seeds helicoptering to the ground from other trees, but this one drops singles, doubles, triples, and quads. There are very cool and from the top almost look like arrow fetching.

Alright. The healthy one can stay and I have collected seeds to germinate and plant in some property with some oaks, vine maples, plums, pecan, and wall it seedlings I have collected in my travels.

Matt Talley_Fall 2016 (1) Matt Talley_Fall 2016 (2) Matt Talley_Fall 2016 (8) Matt Talley_Fall 2016 (7) Matt Talley_Fall 2016 (4) Matt Talley_Fall 2016 (5) Matt Talley_Fall 2016 (3) Matt Talley_Fall 2016 (6)


F-Bomb Garage Build Update: Mid-September 2016

Still no electricity… long sad story from the electrician: too much work, not enough people, confusion with the city, scheduling snafu… No show at all last week. I have watched an entire house, with a garage, be built and sold 3 streets away since my garage project started…

Fall is here and the rain is coming soon, so I spent an afternoon last week with the Airless Spray Rig and painted the garage doors, bollard post, and man-door Benjamin Moore Heritage red. The door & building trim will be bright white and will go on after work one day next week. Gutters go on after.

Matt Talley_Garage Paint_2016

I did not buy a boat or tools at the 2016 Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival

I went to the Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival this past weekend (the 40th anniversary) and succeeded in staying married to my lovely wife by not buying a sailboat, not buying any crazy expensive (yet stunning!) tools at the Lee Valley Tools booth (the plane hammer and plane irons don’t count), and by not getting shanghaied into debauchery aboard a three-masted sailing ship headed out into the Pacific for points unknown.  Instead, I drove up, saw the sights, talked to a few folks, lusted after a few tools, fell in love with one particular little wooden single-mast pocket yacht, then drove home in time for date night.

Matt Talley_Port Townsend Wooden Boat Fest 2016 (4)

There were so many amazing boats there and I went up specifically to see a couple of the CLCPocketShips, a Scamp build, and to see if I could get on a 19’ West Wight Potter (while not a wooden boat, the Puget Sound Potters Group were in the vicinity…).

The Ruminator will be spending a good bit of his time next summer learning to sail and I may be in the market (grade and behavior dependent) for a little trailer sailor/pocket yacht for us to rebuild together.  The  idea of building or rebuilding a boat with one another interests me a great deal (sweat equity), but the Scamp is too small for us both (he is a big boy and I am tubby) and it is a 1000+ hour build.  The Pocket Ship would work and we could overnight in it like a 2-man tent, but it is a 2,000+ hour build.  The latter translates into 2 years of weekends and all my days off from work.  It would also tie up all of my new shop space for the duration of the build.  That is no está bien…  The “smart” thing is to pick up a Catalina or Columbia 22 and just sail, but the ones I have seen, been aboard, and sailed on have no soul.

I did get a very close look at Opus, a lovely little boat (named after my second favorite Bloom County character) that I have seen battened up at the Center for Wooden Boats a few times.  Her owners were there this weekend with her brass polished, decks scrubbed, and companion way open.  I am in love!  Opus has plenty of soul and personality just sitting dockside.  I got to talk to the owners a good bit about how she sails, her history, and explored her little cabin to my heart’s content.  I want her.  If I were to build a boat someday it would be just like Opus.  She is a Wee Seal MKII, designed by the noted Australian/Scotsman designer Iain Oughtred.

Matt Talley_Port Townsend Wooden Boat Fest 2016 (5) Matt Talley_Port Townsend Wooden Boat Fest 2016 (6) Wee-Seal-1 Wee-Seal-Mk-Ii-Sail-Data_-1








I also got to take a look at the Pygmy boats and kayaks (love their traditional kayak paddles) as well as the offerings from CLC.  Some of the wood, inlay, and detail work on these kayaks is amazing.  I don’t think I could put one in the water after I finished building it.  I would be way too guarded about where it went and where I put it.  CLC also has a little teardrop trailer that seemed to be one of the hits of the show/Festival.

Matt Talley_Port Townsend Wooden Boat Fest 2016 (8) Matt Talley_Port Townsend Wooden Boat Fest 2016 (10) Matt Talley_Port Townsend Wooden Boat Fest 2016 (12) Matt Talley_Port Townsend Wooden Boat Fest 2016 (13) Matt Talley_Port Townsend Wooden Boat Fest 2016 (14)








I finished my tour of the show back at the Lee Valley booth and then walked out onto a long pier to watch all the sail boats playing in the 10 knot winds for a long while, before heading back to Seattle in the Forester by way of Port Gamble.

Matt Talley_Port Townsend Wooden Boat Fest 2016 (3) Matt Talley_Port Townsend Wooden Boat Fest 2016 (7) Matt Talley_Port Townsend Wooden Boat Fest 2016 (11)

Life Lesson – you can’t text message your wife that you have a tumor…

So… I have had a bump on my forehead for a couple of years. I went to a Dr. about it in France and she said it was a bone spur. I sort of ignored it after that, but it still bugged me as a cosmetic thing. Right after we moved back to the US, I let a buddy of mine , who happens to be a Dr., take a look. He felt it was a dermoid cyst, but he couldn’t take it out for me because of location and recommended a plastic surgeon. I finally got an appointment week before last to see a guy and holy crap… Not a bone spur, not a cyst. It was a lipoma – a tumor. He recommended immediate removal. I walked out of his office and sent my wife a text that said:

“Not a cyst. A tumor, probably benign. I will call him Harold. Removal next Tuesday.”

Apparently, one should not text message about a tumor nor make jokes about same. I missed that section in the marriage handbook and my wife called me immediately to freak out a little let me know of the transgression…

I went in the last Tuesday and had Harold removed. It ended up being about the size of a small strawberry that was tenacious and adhered to the bone. The surgeon had to get out the lifter/chisel and the procedure took about 45 minutes, instead of the planed 20 or so. To close it all up, I had 5 interior and 12 exterior stitches. There is lots of swelling, two black eyes, and I can’t feel my forehead, but they said feeling will come back in 3-4 weeks as nerve heals. I also have had an on & off massive headache – feels like I got smacked with a 2×4. I took a couple of days off from work and popped Vicodin while watching movies and looking at Pocket yachts/trailer sailor videos on You Tube – dreaming of weekends sailing on the Puget Sound, camping on a small deserted tree covered island with my wife and bacon – it was a nice way to take my mind off the swelling and recuperate.

It all Looks good though as the Dr. feels Harold was benign. Sent to pathology anyway and I will know for 100% when I have stitches out this Wednesday.

Matt Talley_Garage 2016_004

Matt Talley_Garage 2016_003

Matt Talley_Garage 2016_002

Matt Talley_Garage 2016_001








9-27-2016 Update:
The bump was completely benign. The pathology looked good, all my stitches are now out, and the scaring is minimal. I am very happy and wife is very happy. Best possible outcome.

Bumpershoot 2016

We have lived in Seattle for almost 8.5 years and 2016 was our first time going to Bumpershoot. When it was announced that Macklemore & Ryan Lewis were headlining – Stamps-With-Foot immediately bought 3-day passes. We saw some really great acts and I very much enjoyed the time I spent with my wife, eating faire-food, and listening to music.

Acts that we saw:

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
Billy Idol
Margo Price
Death Cab for Cutie
Micheal Franti and Spearhead
Tame Impala
Third Eye Blind
Kamasi Washington
Run the Jewels

The Macklemore and Michael Franti shows were our favorite and we are going to see Margo Price at The Tractor Tavern when she comes back to Seattle next month.

Matt Talley_Bumpershoot_2016 (1)

Matt Talley_Bumpershoot_2016 (2)

Matt Talley_Bumpershoot_2016 (3)

Matt Talley_Bumpershoot_2016 (4)

Matt Talley_Bumpershoot_2016 (5)

Matt Talley_Bumpershoot_2016 (6)

Matt Talley_Bumpershoot_2016 (7)

Hand Tool Tuesday – First Post

Last week, I was a little off for two days – a pissed off sort of sad. I thought I had left my hammer out while fence building and it had walked away with someone else. I found it Thursday evening in the garage and I almost did a little jig. This hammer is special to me: I bought it brand new and shinny when I was 12 because my dad said ‘Estwing was the best’ long before they were in Big Box stores and when you had to drive to a particular store in town to buy them. I think it was like $26 and I paid part of the total with rolls of dimes and nickels.

I used it to build my first wall, lay sub-floor, hang countless pictures, install everything from siding to cabinets to trim to roof trusses.  It has fed me and my children.  I have other hammers including a matching 16oz trim hammer and 4 blue elastomer handled Estwings, but this one has been my constant companion for 30 years and will out live me.  Maybe my children or grandchildren will use and appreciate it and think of me when I am gone.

Matt Talley Estwing HaMMER 2016

There was a book written in 1990 called “The Things They Carried” by Tim O’Brien.  It is fictionalized account of one man’s experience in during the war in Vietnam told in part as a discussion about what he and his companions carried with them.  I read it in college and it changed my perception and appreciation for the often mundane things we carry in our pockets, in our bags, and out tool belts.  Those simple objects often come to have powerful associations and meaning for us.  I have decided to start a new weekly post covering the tools and things that I share my day and life with.

House Remodel Status September 2, 2016 – 7.5 months in

Here is the house/garage re-build/build status for the 1st part of September.

  1. The F-Bomb Garage has been painted – at least the outside walls.  I need to paint the trim and doors next.
  2. Repaired some major issues with the trim and siding on garage – real unhappy with my garage builder!
  3. Front yard is still green, but need to clean and re-seed the back yard.
  4. There oar only 2 rooms in the house that are complete and need no work at this point.  Stamps-With-Foot could be happier with me right now…
  5. The mounting brackets for the granite in the basement are done and I will install them this weekend.
  6. Our washing machine went out…  fuck.  The bearings finally gave up the ghost.  need to haul it out and put another in.
  7. No garage power yet.  Huge load of confusion between the City of Seattle and my electrician.  Maybe worked out now, but we will see.
  8. The yard is completely fenced in and the rear gate is installed.  just a couple of tweaks and then power wash and polyurethane coat.
  9. The living room corner cabinets are in place, but not painted or installed.
  10. We have a small roof leak – motherfvcker!!!  it is around the kitchen vent and from where the moss removal team got too eager with the power washer.  I will go up there this weekend and seal it.
  11. Got a huge bill from our plumber for work that they didn’t do before abandoning the job.  wanted to scan my ass into the 3D printer and send them a copy.  Called a lawyer instead.  we have a plan forward.

The yard is now secure for the puppies

I spent my evenings after work this week rebuilding 35’ of fence, connecting it to the corners of the new garage, and installing two gates using reclaimed boards and stringers from the original fence that I carefully tore down back in January.  I reused the screws and most of the hardware, but had to buy 7 new treated posts, 2160 lbs of Sakrete, 4 bolts and two 2x8x10s. Total cost was $160 and 14 hours of labor including the tear down and hole digging.

My neighbor has been INCREDIBLY patient with me, my mess, noise, and building debris.  When I rebuilt the fence on her side of the yard, I tore out some more of the existing, replaced two rotten posts and then leveled the tops of each section to make it look nicer.  There were a couple of solid posts left from the previous fence location – about 2′ from the new garage – that I just couldn’t chop down or pull out so, I leveled them up and built her a simple trellis for honey suckle or wisteria.  I also bought her a $50 Starbucks card as a small ‘Thank you!’.

The back gate and adjoining section is a nice mix of mostly reclaimed and reused hardware, boards, bits mixed with new posts and structural support. I did double up on the facing boards (set on both sides) for some additional privacy as our hot tub is right on the other side.  The gate itself used to be on the opposite side of the yard.  I had to trim it a bit to get it to hang plumb, and move some hardware around a little.  I will be adding an additional hinge in the middle for added support and some face boards on the outside as well, so it gives the same amount of privacy and so it matches the fence.   The whole thing then will get a power washing and a coat of polyurethane in the coming weeks.


Matt Talley Fence re-build 2016 (3)Matt Talley Fence re-build 2016 (2)Matt Talley Fence re-build 2016 (5) Matt Talley Fence re-build 2016 (6)

Matt Talley Fence re-build 2016 (1)

Painting The F-Bomb Garage

The Garage build is coming along. Still waiting for Seattle City Light to connect the power from the transformer. 5 weeks now…Delay has been just a factor of this build. I would have more patience with City Light if one of their crews hadn’t been sitting at a bikini coffee stand for 30+ minutes on Monday while I was eating a late lunch across the street. I like boobs and bikinis and coffee even more than the average bear, but come on – don’t tell tell everybody how swamped your crews are if they have time to have a philosophical discussion with a nearly naked barista…

(For those of you not in the PacNW – bikini coffee here is a thing and some stands are really open to the definition of what a bikini is – an eye patch and pasties are the rule and some stands.)

I can’t continue with the interior wiring until that connection happens and the electrical inspection is OKed. No insulation or drywall/T1-11 until it get the “OK to Cover” from the electric inspector. I am not one to sit on my butt, so I wheeled out the airless spray rig for the first time in like forever and put two coats of quality Benjamin Moore paint on the outside of the garage – matches the house. I will paint the doors and trim this weekend.

Matt Talley_Garage 2016_087 Matt Talley_Garage 2016_088Matt Talley_Garage_build_2016_78


Building fences and pouring concrete

I need to tie the wooden fence back into the new structure so the dogs can roam in the back yard again. While backing up to unload concrete and posts for the fence, I barely tapped the corner of the garage with my trailer. Not a single scratch or dent or ding, but it made me say DIRTY words. I put my thunkin’ cap on and decided that if I did it once, I would do it again, and someone else would definitely smack the corner. A Bollard was in order. I went by Pacific Metals and picked up a 6’X5″X5/16″ wall hunk of square tubing and 4 sections of 3/8X10′ rebar.

I rented an auger to dig the needed 7 post holes and dropped in 1 more for the bollard. The fence post holes are 18-14″ deep, but the bollard hole is 38″ deep and after chipping away at it with a post hole digger, maybe 14-16″ in diameter with a bell-shaped bottom. I cut 3 of the rebars to 7’ and bent the three pieces into a fishhook shape, wire tying the tops together in 3 places. I then took the off cuts and bent them into a “U.”

I put the rebar in the hole, sitting on plastic rebar chairs and placed the post over them. I splayed out the “hook” sections and wire-tied the U-shaped pieced around the rebar and around the bollard. I then added another hoop around the original section and the tied hoop. Concrete was poured in and vibrated to get all the air and voids out. I filled the bollard with concrete and used a scrap section of rebar to agitate and pack down the concrete in the bollard.

I left 4” of the top of the square tubing free of concrete and dropped in a 6” lag bolt with to 3” sticking out of the wet concrete, but still in the tube. After the concrete dried and while I was setting some fence posts, I went back and finished off the top of the bollard with a bit more concrete. I will paint it red when I paint the doors to the garage. The thing won’t stop a tank, but it might save the corner of my garage from a moment of inattention…
matt talley Bollard detailMatt Talley_Garage 2016_089 Matt Talley_Garage 2016_090Matt Talley_Garage 2016_082Matt Talley_Garage 2016_084Matt Talley_Garage 2016_081 Matt Talley_Garage 2016_083Matt Talley_Garage 2016_085 Matt Talley_Garage 2016_086

Not so short contractor rant

We are so close to being done with the garage and the house (yard is still a disaster, which will have to wait ‘til next year, but the stress of dealing with crappy, disorganized, and/or no show contractors throughout this process has been and is so frustrating.  This is not a post to rail on all contractors or even all of our contractors…

We had same great ones:

  1. Maranatha Hardwood Floors showed up on time for the quote. The owner was personable and the quote was reasonable.  They showed up on time, did a beautiful job, listened to a specific request from my wife, there were no extra charges, cleaned up after themselves, and our floor looks great.
  2. RCS Fire Place was A-1: On time, good pricing, no add-on charges, etc…
  3. After an initial sales rep flub, Greenwood Heating & Air did a nice job on our heat pump. Very professional installers.  No complaints.
  4. Vehicle Equipment Solutions was awesome on the lift order and install. I couldn’t be happier with their work.
  5. Our Drywall guys were top notch.  Very professional, great price, showed up when they were supposed to and finished right on time.
  6. The carpet guys that did our bedroom were fast, professional, and did a nice job.
  7. I had some custom wrought iron brackets made and the blacksmith listen to our wants and delivered a beautiful product.
  8. Pacific RIM equipment rental was great in supplying heavy equipment for the garage tear out and site prep. When there was a breakdown, they delivered a new machine and I wasn’t charged for any gas use for the entire weekend.
  9. Bryan at Squak Box was a rock star when it came time to haul out the debris from the old garage and all the old concrete. On time, no hidden costs, dropped the containers perfectly.  Couldn’t ask for more.

And the not so great:

My garage contractor has now quit.  There is little I can do at this point besides shake my head in wonder and disgust.  It has been a bumpy road from almost the start, but I figured that with a little bit of work it would all be OK.  A bit of work turned into a part time job and time spent on the garage was time not spent on the house and that made Stamps-With-Foot grumble.  In addition to the garage tear down and the site preparation that had to be done (40+ hours of my time and ~$3000.  I had to do 4-5 hours of slab/rebar prep when the contractor’s guy messed up, then had to ask for poly burlap to cure the slab, apparently not standard.  I ended up keeping the slab wet for the entire 10-day cure (to limit cracking and allow it to fully harden, then apply the concrete densifier after my normal workday and the end of the cure process.

Installation of fire blocking isn’t required per code in Seattle for a wall less than 10’, but it is the right thing to do.  It was out of scope for the contractor and an additional cost, so The Ruminator and I ended up doing it while he was here on summer vacation.  I had to install two forgotten kicker studs, tighten missed/forgotten anchor bolt nuts, added nails to the hurricane straps, and had to go over punch list items twice before they were addressed.

The windows and door trim were installed incorrectly – I could see daylight in the corners of the windows and I asked that they be re-installed.  When that was being done, my siding got cracked.  I also found that instead of every 16” per code, the siding was nailed every 4’ in some locations.  I called and the foreman came out.  He addressed some issues but caused others.  I then called the owner and he came out.  He agreed with every point I had.  They crew came back and while some items were fixed, others were not and new problems popped up.  I let the owner know and this was his response:

“Unfortunately we’ve succeeded in messing up again.  ____ had no excuse for why he didn’t read my email, about taking the siding out from the bottom of the windows, and what they were thinking with the screws into the bottom of the fascia’s.  If they’d pre-drilled the holes it would have worked and been clean.

I don’t have anyone else in my employee who I could send down to make any corrections, and I don’t think you would trust anyone I sent to do any more work.  What I’d like to offer is to forego our final payment and let  you clean up any items by your self.  I don’t like doing this, I really want to get the job done for  you but we’ve already had three try’s.  I know you might not be as happy as you should be but I want to at least make you satisfied with _____________.”

I am not happy and while I agree that I don’t trust his guys to come back a third time, the keeping of a few hundred bucks does not make it all better.  Now, I either have to find and pay someone else or do it myself.  Frustrating.

I have looked at this.  Am I just an asshole?  Am I too picky or do I expect too much?  I really have looked at this hard and yes, I can be an asshole,  but not in this and not with a single contractor or tradesman on my site.  We provided lunches, Gator-aid, and beer for all the guys working, I talked to every contractor that has been on our property like I would want to be spoken to, If I wanted something different or changed, I addressed it right then by ASKING and wasn’t the least bit of a shit about it.  I cleaned up the job site in the afternoons after I got off work to save them all time and effort.

Is needing someone to stick to a schedule, be on time, and not halfway do something too particular?  I don’t think so.  Is asking that a contractor meet minimum code requirements, pull permits, and do the job they agreed to for the agreed to price crazy?  apparently so.

Other issues:

In addition to the plumbing circus that we had in the spring, we had a carpentry crew that abandoned us for a job where the other customer was screaming louder.  They left tools, work unfinished, material, you name it.   My electrician has been a little flakey – uncashed checks, no shows, showing up unannounced and unscheduled, really hard to get a hold of, etc., but at least this one hasn’t broken into our house while we were gone…  I have had 3 contractors come out for quotes on our basement bathroom tile and never heard from two of them again.  The third guy finally called me back and said the job was just way too small and “not worth the time it would take to set up his wet-saw.”

I get it, all the contractors in Seattle are busier than a puppy with two peckers.  That means that 1. they can be super picky, 2. charge what they want, 3. if they fuck up, no worries, there are three other jobs waiting.







Birthday list – 2016

In about 4 weeks I will celebrate the 14th anniversary of my 29th year.  I want cake (moist yellow cake with chocolate butter-cream frosting), snuggling, two fingers of a great scotch after lunch, lots of tiny cups of coffee all day, a nice glass of wine with a steak for dinner, laughter, and a few well thought out gifts. I will not be working that day and I plan to pamper myself with a haircut and a strait-razor shave.

Below is my birthday wish list for my wife, family and children.
Gifts that Keep giving:

  1. Heifer International:
  2. Doctors Without Borders/MSF
  3. Go give blood and send me a post card
  4. Habitat for Humanity
  5. Diabetes Research

Campaign Furniture by Chris Schwartz
Theodore Roosevelt: A Strenous Life
I could stand a Kindle Paperwhite
A volume on handplanes or a tome on traditional woodworking
Bees of the World by Mitchner
A Lost Art Press volume of The Essential Woodworker
Washington: A Life by Ron Chernow
James Krenov’s Cabinet Maker’s Notebook
Two Classic books on Shaker Furniture: here and here.

Forging class at the Pratt starting in October
Letters from my kids – written on actual paper.
A 3-Day Rally School Course
A bottle of Pre-Shave Oil from The Art of Shaving – Lavender
A couple of thoughtful cards
The iWatch 2. Simple black – the cheapest one
German Wheat Beer is always welcome
Zombie shooting targets
An Ash Pack Basket (Sling-style harness)
Amber 2ga. Plugs (bonus points if they have insect inclusions)
2ga. Dark Jade plugs
The AKcooltools Stainless/bronze Clamptite and the lg roll of stainless .041 wire
24 Provence lavender plants for my front yard
Tiffany blue silk tie and matching pocket square
These new bad-ass cufflinks
A Global Sashimi knife
Classic Cartoon DVDs (Wanrner Bros., Tex Avery, Bugs, Tom&Jerry, Loony Toons, Road Runner, etc…)
Christopher Ward Quartz Trident with black rubber strap

A fine Anejo Tequila
Hakushu 12 Whisky
A bottle of Fronsac or Canon-Fronsac (Château Lafond, Château La Vieille Cure, La Dalphine…)
Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey
Porto (Cálem 2011 Vintage, Ramos Pinto, or a Taylor’s)
Glenfiddich 21

The F-Bomb Garage completion is getting closer!

I was out of town this past week on a work trip to merry ol’ England. I came home to a sweet surprise: I have a new 10,000lb two-post lift installed in the F-Bomb Garage. I got a decent deal on a . Went with the Rotary Revolution RPT10 because there is a local dealer, local support, I got a decent deal on the lift+install, and some experience that some friends and colleagues have had with this and other lifts.

We are getting closer to finally building some stuff inside/voiding warranties/modifying the jeep.  My contractor had a foreman out last week to deal with the framing punch-list items: a couple of anchor bolts, some trim, loose siding, a funky corner, and I had him re-install my three windows with the proper flashing tape – I could see light in all the corners.  A leaky window after I have stressed the importance of proper installation and showed them what I needed twice would throw me into fits.  He also swapped the door trim, but not everything on the list got done and now there is more stuff that needs attention.  I have the contractor stopping by to go over it all tonight.  Very frustrating to spend this sort of cash and to deal with all the little things over and over.

The electrician is 3 weeks out – everyone is building and remodeling in Seattle and contractors are super swamped, so I am going to concentrate on the outside in the mean time: Paint and gutters as soon as the siding issues are dealt with.

Matt Talley_Lift_2

Matt Talley_Garage_build_2016_78

Matt Talley_Garage_build_2016_77

Matt Talley_Garage_build_2016_75

Building a Skin-On-Frame Kayak

Matt Talley_baidarka_kayak_build_2016_03

On my very first trip to Seattle in 2003, I had a day off from work and happened to wonder into The Center for Wooden Boats in the South Lake Union area of the city. I loved it immediately and lingered around the boats and workshop for hours with a smile and a happy heart. At some point, a volunteer let me take out a kayak and paddle the lake. It was not like the plastic and fiberglass beasts that I had paddled or owned previously. It was light and flexible in the right spots, sleek, and fast. It was a skin-on-frame boat, called a Baidarka, that was based on a 4,000+ year old Aleut design. No nails, no glue, no screws. Just wood, nylon (modern replacement for walrus or seal skin…), and LOTS of knots.

I was smitten and just as happenstance, there was a baidarka building class going on that was finishing up under a pavilion on site. I talked to the instructor, Corey Friedman, asking all sorts of questions, until I think he wanted to drown me. Six years later as we were planning our move to the Emerald City, I vowed to take the kayak building class. Finances, life, and vacation available conspired against me until this year, thirteen years after seeing them for the first time (though I did read the Dyson book in college), the stars aligned and I was able to sign up for the class and take the time off. It also happened to coincide with my son’s summer visit, so I got to build an item on my bucket list AND spend serious quality time with my son.

Matt Talley_baidarka_kayak_build_2016_07

Matt Talley_baidarka_kayak_build_2016_20














We started on a cold Saturday morning with three ladies also building boats and 8.5 days later, I brought my hand built and custom sized boat home. The interim was spend learning a GREAT deal, tying 2000+ knots, bending frame ribs, listening to way too much zydeco music (instructor’s favorite), sewing, saying dirty words, removing stitches, resewing, loving the time spent with The Ruminator, and enjoying the ambiance of the Center for Wooden boats.

I have included a full photo documentation of my build as a pictures on my notes. I figure that the more people who document the process, the better chance this boat has of living on for future generations. Here is an additional documentation from another former student that was better at it than me.

Matt Talley_baidarka_kayak_build_2016_40

Matt Talley_baidarka_kayak_build_2016_64

Matt Talley_baidarka_kayak_build_2016_63

Matt Talley_baidarka_kayak_build_2016_62

Matt Talley_baidarka_kayak_build_2016_61

Matt Talley_baidarka_kayak_build_2016_60

Matt Talley_baidarka_kayak_build_2016_59

Matt Talley_baidarka_kayak_build_2016_58

Matt Talley_baidarka_kayak_build_2016_57

Matt Talley_baidarka_kayak_build_2016_56

Matt Talley_baidarka_kayak_build_2016_55

Matt Talley_baidarka_kayak_build_2016_54

Matt Talley_baidarka_kayak_build_2016_50

Matt Talley_baidarka_kayak_build_2016_49

Matt Talley_baidarka_kayak_build_2016_48

Matt Talley_baidarka_kayak_build_2016_47

Matt Talley_baidarka_kayak_build_2016_46

Matt Talley_baidarka_kayak_build_2016_45

Matt Talley_baidarka_kayak_build_2016_44

Matt Talley_baidarka_kayak_build_2016_43

Matt Talley_baidarka_kayak_build_2016_42

Matt Talley_baidarka_kayak_build_2016_41

Matt Talley_baidarka_kayak_build_2016_39

Matt Talley_baidarka_kayak_build_2016_38

Matt Talley_baidarka_kayak_build_2016_37

Matt Talley_baidarka_kayak_build_2016_36

Matt Talley_baidarka_kayak_build_2016_35

Matt Talley_baidarka_kayak_build_2016_34

Matt Talley_baidarka_kayak_build_2016_32

Matt Talley_baidarka_kayak_build_2016_31

Matt Talley_baidarka_kayak_build_2016_30

Matt Talley_baidarka_kayak_build_2016_28

Matt Talley_baidarka_kayak_build_2016_26

Matt Talley_baidarka_kayak_build_2016_24

Matt Talley_baidarka_kayak_build_2016_23

Matt Talley_baidarka_kayak_build_2016_22

Matt Talley_baidarka_kayak_build_2016_21

Matt Talley_baidarka_kayak_build_2016_19

Matt Talley_baidarka_kayak_build_2016_18

Matt Talley_baidarka_kayak_build_2016_17

Matt Talley_baidarka_kayak_build_2016_16

Matt Talley_baidarka_kayak_build_2016_15

Matt Talley_baidarka_kayak_build_2016_14

Matt Talley_baidarka_kayak_build_2016_13

Matt Talley_baidarka_kayak_build_2016_12

Matt Talley_baidarka_kayak_build_2016_11

Matt Talley_baidarka_kayak_build_2016_10

Matt Talley_baidarka_kayak_build_2016_09

Matt Talley_baidarka_kayak_build_2016_08

Matt Talley_baidarka_kayak_build_2016_07

Matt Talley_baidarka_kayak_build_2016_06

Matt Talley_baidarka_kayak_build_2016_05

Matt Talley_baidarka_kayak_build_2016_04

Matt Talley_baidarka_kayak_build_2016_01

Matt Talley_baidarka_kayak_build_2016_20

F-Bomb Garage Build Status – Late June

Well, we are a month+ behind schedule, but the our garage is coming along:

The roof trusses are up and on: Flat trusses on one side and scissors on the other side to accommodate the 2-post car lift. My contractor is not adding the fire block (insert grumpy face).  These both limit the upward spread of a possible fire and add structural rigidity to the wall.  Building code in our area is 10′ of wall height before block is “required” and my walls are 10’… I don’t care to build to the minimum of code, I want it done the right way and fire blocks, regardless of wall height, are the right way, so I cut them all to size myself and have employed child labor (The Ruminator) to install the blocks with a driver and some 3” framing screws. I then snapped a line at 5′ on the outside wall and gave him a hammer and a big box of 8d coated nails so he could attach the sheets to the blocks. Not too many shiners – he did a fine job.

The Tyvek vapor barrier wrap is just installed over the front wall so that the garage doors could be hung. Both are 8’X9′ R12 insulated fiberglass doors with no windows and follow the two different ceiling lines on the inside. I put jack-screw openers to the side of the doors so that the space over the doors would be clear. In the pictures below you can see the tiny attic as well – a pull down ladder goes in next week. Overkill, but I put ¾” T&G up there as floor decking and glued/screwed it in place – just ‘cause…

There is Carlisle WIP300 self-sealing roofing underlayment/membrane installed. #30 roof felt is $25 a roll and WIP is $90, but I only needed 5 rolls (4.2 actually). That $325 difference is serious insurance as the WIP can sit out without shingles on it, in case of wind damage an such, and not leak for 6 months. The roof (as well as wall) decking is all CDX (I HATE OSB) and for the small quantity bought for my garage, it is $4 a sheet in difference. $200ish total for sheathing and decking – well worth the price for peace of mind.  Roofing is 30 year algae-resistant (important in Seattle) 3 tab architectural shingles that are color matched to our house.

The rest of the wrap, windows, the man-door, and  6″ reveal Hardi lap siding goes on next week.

Matt Talley_F-Bomb_Garage_Framing_08

Matt Talley_F-Bomb_Garage_Framing_19

Matt Talley_F-Bomb_Garage_Framing_18

Matt Talley_F-Bomb_Garage_Framing_17

Matt Talley_F-Bomb_Garage_Framing_16

Matt Talley_F-Bomb_Garage_Framing_15

Matt Talley_F-Bomb_Garage_Framing_14

Matt Talley_F-Bomb_Garage_Framing_13

Matt Talley_F-Bomb_Garage_Framing_12

Matt Talley_F-Bomb_Garage_Framing_11

Matt Talley_F-Bomb_Garage_Framing_10

Matt Talley_F-Bomb_Garage_Framing_09

Matt Talley_F-Bomb_Garage_Framing_07

Matt Talley_F-Bomb_Garage_Framing_02

Matt Talley_F-Bomb_Garage_Framing_06

Matt Talley_F-Bomb_Garage_Framing_05

Matt Talley_F-Bomb_Garage_Framing_04



So, I was left without adult supervision last night while my wife was at a hair appointment and decided to ride my skateboard around the neighborhood and to the lot where the local cool kids hang out with their board.  All was fine until on the way home, full of hubris and ego, I had to stop suddenly – there was a rock. I didn’t go down, no road rash, but tweaked my heal and ankle a little.  I said the f-word a couple of times and rode home.  I was fine-ish when I went to bed, but woke up this morning to pain and swelling. I had to crawl up the basement stairs – true story.   All Hubris and ego suddenly left me.

I called my boss this morning and fessed up to the nature of the reason for me taking a rare sick day – my skateboard.  I think he is still laughing at me. One of my engineers, sent me the Murtaugh quote from Lethal Weapon…  I am not too old!!   You can pry my skateboard and bikes out of my dead cold hands when I am 90.

Matt Talley_skateboard_01

Garage and House Build/Remodel Update – 6/14/16


  1. My slab is cured and the densifyer has been applied.  really happy with the results – a big thank you to Mr. Mark Flood!!
  2. The ground around my garage slab is all level.  I rented a Skid-Steer this past weekend and played in the dirt.  Hauled 2 yards of excess over to the neighbors yard to fill some voids and I used the skid-steer to pull out 7 small stumps for her.
  3. Got a call from the builder yesterday and the lumber will be onsite today, Framing starts Wednesday, and trusses are delivered on Friday.
  4. Was asked to move the Honey-bucket so that the lumber would have enough room.  Odd, request for my builder to make of the homeowner/customer, but I did it just so there would be no issues with the lumber delivery.
  5. If schedule holds, windows and siding start next Wednesday, and we will be fully in the dry by next Friday.
  6. It looks like I will be installing the windows as I am more particular than the builder about such things.
  7. My son, The Ruminator, will be here for a few weeks and I will get him help me run wire in the garage shell.
  8. My 2-post car lift will be installed by the end of the month

Matt Talley_Garagfe Slab prep_02

Matt Talley_Garagfe Slab prep_03

Matt Talley_Garagfe Slab prep_07






  1. We are finishing up the paint on the main level.
  2. I need to start putting the 1/4 round trim back down.
  3. Bathroom: there is tile work to finish and a mirror to be hung.
  4. Basement remodel is stalled.  We had the head manager for the plumbing company out on Saturday after we found even more problems with the work that was done and we have told them: “…in light of the previous and continuing issues, incomplete work, existing damage caused by your subcontractors that we will have to have repaired, and that the basement portion of our remodel has been brought a complete stop,  my wife and I do not want a____________ employee, or anyone from a subsidiary company back in our home.  We do not wish to continue dealing with _______.”  We can’t really touch anything until they agree to this.  If they do not, then we can’t do anything as the matter will have to be settled via remediation.

What I Want Thursday – June 9th, 2016

Below are the things that I really want and that are present for me today:

For my interior painting to be 100% done in our house.
For my Garage to be 100% built and finished.
More time with my children and family.
Summer BBQs and cold rosé in the yard.
I want to stick to my diet and workout schedule and not fall off the wagon and back into the cookie/café Mocha/lethargic/big-belly/back-hurting abyss.
For the Attic and basement (mostly the bathroom) to be done.
Letters – written on actual paper – from my kids, friends and family.
8″ joiner/planer, 15″ Bandsaw, New Dust collection system for garage
Christopher Ward Quartz Trident with black rubber strap
For the US Political system not to be dysfunctional and a little/lot less crazy

New Garage Slab Has Been Poured!

The slab is down and the curing has begun. It is not laser flat – 1/8″ – 1/4″ variance in couple spots in the field, but the pad is smooth. I had the apron poured extra thick (8-9″) brush finished and control joints troweled in. I had a sprinkler on it for the 1st 24 hours and soaker hoses and a poly/burlap wrap was applied just after the slab control joints are cut yesterday morning.

I will let is cure for another 5 days and then apply a densifyer (Ashford) on top. Framing will start next Thursday or Friday. I am so exited that I feel like a pimply teen who just scored a playmate as a prom date!



Matt Talley_Garage slab cure 2016Matt Talley_Garage Slab_2016_03Matt Talley_Garage Slab_2016_02Matt Talley_Garage Slab_2016_01

Matt Talley_Garage Slab_2016_04