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!
Posts Tagged project
1. Buy dimensional 3/4″ poplar boards.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
Seattle has suffered through a weeks of freezing fog, stagnant air, flu season, and intermittent rain. The weather has me longing for long September evenings in our back yard….
2012 was a great year for us outside and in the yard. Stamps-With-Foot had her greening thumb put to work and our garden was crazy plentiful, in part because of her planting of mutant green squash and her nightly wine sipping/watering regimen. She moved dirt, turned the compost, picked berries, planted, harvested, pruned, cut bushes, dug in the dirt, and even removed a slug or two. I was very proud of her!
That hard work and spent energy was put to good use and we traded our bounty of veggies with the neighbors, she froze raspberries and blackberries that we both toiled over and my sweet wife made countless spinach and arugula salads from plants that we grew. To top it all off, she turned some of our tomatoes into chutney that was canned to make Christmas gifts. She is turning into quite the little homesteader.
My son was here for a week+ for the holidays and we did cool stuff as he is the Igor to my Dr. Frankinstein. He left on Friday morning and to keep myself occupied so I wouldn’t mope around all weekend thinking about how much I missed him, I busied myself with a few on-going projects:
Underbed dresser – 95% done
Letterpress drawers made into occasional tables – 50%
The never ending kitchen remodel – 85%
Sofa table rebuild – 20%
Bathroom drawer for wife – 50%
Candle box – 100%
Glass cabinet handle installation – 45%
Hall mirror – 22%
Helping a friend move – 50%
While fitting the final pieces of the under bed dresser (built from an 1980s $4.00 garage sale upright five drawer) for our room and I transposed two numbers and cut something a touch too long. Grumble… Grumble… I went out to the shop, measured for screw clearance and put it on the table saw to rip down just a touch. I missed one screw, but my $56 carbide tipped cabinet blade didn’t. Sparks and bits of carbide flew. I said dirty words and came into the house to drown my sorrows in a Mexican coke, Jack with honey and an old Clint Eastwood western while propped up in bed with my grumpy face on.
We had an eventful, rain soaked weekend. Lots of stuff got done, but it wasn’t the sort of thing that great novelists write thought provoking prose about. Maybe a SNL skit though. Details below.
Home from work and into jammies.
Sent some e-mail and web-surfed.
Yummy pizza for dinner.
Finished watching season 6 of Dexter – Debra KNOWS!!
Heard weird water noise outside of basement window…
SHIT!!! Gutters clogged!
Ran outside, pulled ladder out, said DIRTY WORDS.
Up on rickety old wooden extension ladder after midnight in a rainstorm…
Prayed for the death of my neighbor’s pine tree.
No, really. Prayed for the tree to die or for neighbor to sell me his house so I can have the pleasure of turning it into mulch.
Dried off and apologized to Stamps-With-Foot for snapping at her while 15′ in the air, digging out leaves from the clogged downspout.
Off to bed.
Passed out and dropped Kindle on the floor -still works.
Up at 10:00 – no time for coffee – grrrrrr…
Drove downtown with my mother to see a talk by Clay Jenkinson – a Jefferson and TR scholar – my two favorite presidents.
Coffee and half a cookie for brunch – health food…
Presentation was great – funny and enlightening.
Took Mother to grocery store then home.
Called The Ruminator and chatted about Christmas lists and school and stuff.
Cleaned living room floors and rug.
Cussed the neighbor’s tree again – pine needles everywhere.
HATE that tree.
Took sweet wife to see shiny vampire movie instead of new 007 – we suffer for those we love.
Snuck food and cookie into movie.
Came home and obsessively checked gutters for clogs and basement for water for the next 24 hours.
Cursed tree – shook fist at it like an old man.
Spent some time in the hot tub in the rain relaxing/fantasizing about a chainsaw, limbs on the ground, and wood chips everywhere while laughing maniacally.
Went to look at Pintrest “for a minute” before bed – closed iPad 4 hours later at 3:45am.
Skype/FaceTime call with friends in Germany.
Worked on mid-century modern style bookshelf for bedroom.
Poked 20ish holes in wall looking for a studs. Stud-finder worthless on plaster walls.
Threw stud finder.
Hung shelf in a partial stage of completion. Will paint later.
Worked out Christmas budget with sweet wife.
Re-arranged living room to make room for Christmas tree.
Set iPad on top of built-in hutch to keep it out of the way and “safe.”
Watched helplessly as iPad slipped into crack and fell 5 feet and between hutch and wall.
Stared at wood, disbelieving.
Said foul, vile, hateful things.
Paused to collect myself.
Said foul, vile, hateful things again.
Contemplated getting the sledge hammer and splitting maul out.
Had to walk away before I broke stuff.
Went to Target: mood did not improve.
Shopped for Christmas tree in driving cold rain: mood still poor.
Found a nice, full 7′ tall Noble Fir.
Let tree air dry a bit and put it up in living room.
Worked on Christmas cards with sweet wife.
Wrote some funny stuff on cards to friends and family.
Went out to my little shop and cut two long 1/2″X5/8″ sticks of fir & popular.
Attached L-bracket to the ends.
Fished iPad out using the chopstick technique.
Wife so impressed, she bragged about my big ol’ brain on Facebook.
For just a second, I thought “When McGyver spends alone-time with a bottle of lotion, he is thinking of ME….”
Remembered that I was the dumb-ass that dropped it there in the first place and decided not to let me ego run rampant.
More Christmas cards.
House smells like Christmas.
Taught cat to hop onto edge of tub.
Fought internal demon to keep from teaching her to swim.
Also resisted the urge to splash.
Shower and shave – need new blades
Dog snored like a 70 year old alcoholic man with sleep apnea.
Put him on wife’s side of the bed so they could snuggle.
When looking at the house that we now live in the one room that had us on the fence was the kitchen. it had original cabinets, but it was dark, dated, there were no outlets, and one wall was just a hodge-podge of appliances. I have spent the better part of my very limited free time trying to fix those issues. I have added a dishwasher, a knife rack, lots of paint, cranberry glass handles/pulls, outlets, pullouts, switches, a microwave, under cabinet lighting, build drawer organizers and am in the process of finishing hand made, period and house perfect cabinets for what was the ugly wall. It has been a very long and laborious process. I would never be this detailed in a house I was building for someone else – I would lose money.
Below is a gallery of the progress up until this point:
I sort of inherited/acquired a beat up wood and iron cafe table set this summer. While working on some other projects that I took some time and refinished both the table and chairs: sanding, adding some stain, and finishing it all with three coats of sprayed outdoor spar varnish. I dropped the set off a a local consignment shop and it sold after a couple of weeks. I was able to make about $95 after paying for the supplies that I used and the shop’s fee. I put the money toward a a utility bill that wasn’t ours, but that we ended up responsible for.
In my head, a nice trendy couple will have coffee and croissants every Saturday morning on the porch or patio of their starter home, sitting at that little table for years to come….
As I mentioned in a previous post, there had been parts for Adirondack lawn chairs all over the house and shop for 9+ months waiting on me to gather the will to glue them up and drive some weatherproof screws home. The Ruminator and I put together when he was here this summer – he supervised while waxing poetic about dressing up like a viking – and I spent a combined 12 hours priming and painting them candy apple red.
Since I don’t want to repaint them every spring I used an oil-based exterior paint. Holy crap, it was hard to find! It seems that everyone has switched to latex based paint for homeowner use (ease of use, easy cleanup, better for the environment, etc…) and I had to resort to having gloss deck and concrete paint custom mixed. It went on like glass though and should be impervious to our rainy long winter weather for three or four years. My sweet wife super loves them and could barely wait until they were dry before giving them a proper, reading a book in the sun, test.
Below is a gallery of the whole build process:
It has been roughly eight months since my shop was robbed. It is just now that I have found the will and desire to start building furniture again. I have let projects and repairs pile up and let my garage shop digress into a sawdust filled junk-room. There have been parts for Adirondack lawn chairs in my basement and shop since December. I finally got around to gluing them up and screwing the pieces together when my son was here this summer. That little project led me to start cleaning the shop and find all the stuff that has been waiting on me. I dabbled with a couple of boxes, then started making pieces and organizing tools and supplies to tackle the larger stuff. Below is a list of current projects that are in work:
- Painting the Adirondack chairs
- Re-build of my father’s 1971 bookshelves
- Kitchen cabinet doors
- Misc. Lathe tasks
- Kitchen cabinet pullouts
- Camp Kitchen box build and paint
- Campaign furniture for luxury car camping
- Hall mirror
- Copy of a 12th Century Abby oak door
- Fireplace surround and mantle
- New Kitchen cabinet pulls and knobs
- Garden tool shed
- Christmas gifts
- Garden table
The above are started and in-work. I have plans to also build the below items soon:
- Small basement work bench (reloading and winter projects)
- Rebuild bookcase in master bedroom
- Murphy bed for my home office
- Box ceiling for master bedroom
- Home office bookshelves
- Chicken coop
- Ornamental planter box
- Cookbook shelf in kitchen
- Rebuild my standing desk
- Basement stairs rebuild
Horror of horrors, I did not touch my yard this weekend. My lush, Ireland-green grass (I am a wee bit narcissistic about my grass) was left to grow and stretch toward the sky in the weekend sunshine. I spent all available daylight hours outside and didn’t even attempt to take the mower out, turn the compost, or battle with my creeping nemesis - the dandelions. Stamps-With-Foot did a little weeding on Saturday, but the bulk of our weekend was committed to getting the kitchen cabinets done enough so that we could do a test fit and install.
Success! My wife was a priming and painting machine: taking care of the microwave cabinet, the lowers, and the drawers. The lower cabinets were positioned into place and their rock-maple tops fitted (waiting on the drawer fronts and pulls to be finished). I cut all the frames for the doors, assembled the fridge cabinet, installed it with my wife holding the thing up in the air (hehehe), tacked together the trash/recycling slider, and cut the shelves for the microwave cabinet. When completely done, our cabinet space will increase by more than a third, will include al the latest and coolest amenities (slides, organizers, spice racks, pullouts, etc…), and the new cabinets completely match the original 1928 built-ins, both in construction and style.
I need to finish the fridge top cabinet, install the drawers, add a corner cookbook shelf, tack up cove-crown around all, and one final coat of paint. SOMEDAY, this will all be finished and we will have the most awesomest kitchen a tiny, period appropriate, craftsman house can have!
I added a pic of Brodie lounging in the sunshine, just because.
A list of stuff and things that I want currently – not that I necessarily need, but that i wuold like to have or see done/happen:
1. More time to read, write, build, snuggle, climb, bike, run, laugh…
2. A twin Murphy-bed in my office disguised as a mid-century modern wardrobe so that we have more guest space.
3. For my year-long kitchen project to be finished
4. To remember the password for my old laptop so I can have access to 10+ years of pictures…
5. My very own spending money that I can do with what I wish without submitting to a vote/need analysis
6. To have my FVCKIN’ tools back that some asshat stole…
7. A few new t-shirts for summer and a flat belly to reside under them.
8. For my Mother and Sister to find the perfect place in life
9. For all the dandelions in my yard to cease to exist
10. I would very much like for the really sad, really pregnant girl I say in Seattle yesterday to find someone/something/someplace that makes her warm, happy, and safe.
I have decided to add a weekly (or semi-monthly/quarterly/yearly…) post to my site showcasing both the hands and tools that bring functional art to life. I have a whole horde of videos and podcasts that make me want to put my tools away and take up needle point that I will share. Here you will find weavers, shoe makers, knife smiths, cabinet makers, tool builders, farmers, bike builders, glass blowers, tradesman, luthiers, book binders, leather craftsman, instrument makers, timber frame builders, carvers, shipwrights, potters, blacksmiths, cigar rollers, and others practicing old-world, hands-on, crafts. There will be videos of them at work, shop tours, profiles, interviews, and various bits of my own commentary. It is my hope that videos will increase awareness for the artistry of traditionally crafted tools, art, objects, machines, and transportation.
The inaugural post is from the Made by Hand website and is a profile of a knife smith that makes custom kitchen knives for the chefs of New York City.
I bought my sweet wife a hot tub for our wedding anniversary. We had been looking for a while for just the right used tub, but most that are out there are utter crap or cost almost as much as a new one. We found a machinist who wanted to sell his immaculately maintained soaker so he could put in an outdoor kitchen. It is an older tub, but he had all the maintenance records on it, the interior looked brand new, it worked great and we paid about what it would have taken for him to have it hauled to the dump. I hired three giant Pacific islanders to deliver it – money well spent – then dug the trench for the electric and ran the wiring almost right away. I then made five trips to Home Depot and bought 2,450 pounds of gravel and sand to make a base. My nephew and I moved the tub into place with rollers, planks, a lever, and wedges. It is within 1/2 inch of where I planned it on paper and is dead level.
Due to my homeowner’s insurance restrictions, I am not allowed to wire into my main panel – it voids my fire coverage (yours probably says the same thing…), so I hired three successive electricians to tie it all in (one showed up high, the second was a complete no show, the third finally doing the needed work). While the third and final electrician was there and since I was paying for his time, I had him install a generator transfer switch, an exterior generator plug and a grounded exterior outlet. I reasoned that when the power goes out, I can crank the generator and we will still have the fridge, lights, TV/DVD, and heat as long as we have gas.
Stamps-With-Foot LOVES the tub. Given to her own devices, she will sit in it all day like a Japanese snow monkey. It was great when the snow storm hit us this year in January. We sat in the tub with snow piled all around, reflecting the city lights off its white surface. I will build a deck over our existing concrete pad, from the house to the tub this spring, which will make her doubly happy.
2011 was a hard year for us, like it has been for so many Americans, on a number of levels: I was gone constantly for work – over 100,000 air miles, we had some serious medical bills, there was money spent to help some good people out of a bind, some unexpected home repairs, a layoff, taxes, etc… I also chose 2011 to really work on my weight: putting it on, not taking it off. I just stopped running, biking and lifting for the last half of the year. I blame it on many factors: my work schedule, stress, an injury, laziness, apathy…
As I stand in my birthday suit in front of the mirror, I have done a fine job turning myself into a bald Troll doll. As I had to promise my wife that I would go out without pants anymore (long story), I doubt that anyone will see me in this state, but I KNOW. When dressed for working outside on the weekend, I look remarkably similar to a fvcking garden gnome. I am not happy about this state of affairs! My New Year’s resolution is to rid myself of this baggage by summer. This is also the year that I would like to spend less on shit the I want and truly determine the things that I need before my debit card comes whipping out. I WILL finish all my current cabinet projects, rub my wife’s feet more – it makes her happy. Eat MUCH less sugar, have a prosperous garden and mini-orchard this year. On the literature front, I am planning to put a big dent in the Conan Doyle Sherlock Homes tales, spend some time writing, read all the new crap that I have bought for my Kindle that just sits there and moves farther back in the queue as I keep buying new Kindle crack.
Charleston, SC is one one the places that makes Marta Stewart go all weak in the knees: it is antiques heaven. I had just finished reading a post on the Lost Art Press Blog about a shop there that deals mainly in campaign furniture (a type of furniture made specifically for travel and/or military campaigning and something that makes my inner Martha breathe heavy), when I got the serendipitous news that my J-O-B was sending me there for a few days. Well then… I had one afternoon off and I drug a couple of coworkers to the antiques district downtown and hunted for the shop. My, my, my…. The proprietor had original pieces from the British Raj that he let me fondle and covet. I really wanted some personal alone time with a specific teak and wicker lounger. Me, the chair, some port, candle light, and sweet, sweet love….
I am in the process of building my own campaign-style camp kitchen, chairs, table, and wet bar to take with us on the Lukowski-Gahagan-Talley Glamping trips planed for this spring and summer, where roughing it means the mushrooms are crimini instead of chantarails. I snagged a few ideas from the shop and some additional research that I am incorporating. I will post when somewhat complete, but in the meantime, take a look at some of the pictures I snapped and have included below.
I am sitting in our breakfast nook, drinking coffee and getting mentally prepped for my J-O-B. As I sip my needed and delicious cup o’ joe, I can see the winter sunrise reflecting off the tips of the frost covered grass in the front yard. It has me ruminating on the intensity, goals, minor failures, and harvest from this years garden and yard work.
I spent our very cold spring getting our raised boxes ready for a bumper crop: perfect soil mix, irrigation lines, compost, etc… The tomatoes were planted a little early and they got an early blight that stunted them for a time, but they came back in force and we had more tomatoes than we new what to do with this year. I didn’t get the onions in the ground soon enough or plant garlic at all, so e ultimately gathered 2 medium white onions and I left the rest of the shoots in the ground this fall, planted winter garlic and covered them with straw so the we will have a summer crop next year.
We feel our biggest success was with our greens. Planted spinach, butter lettuce, and chard that fed us all summer. There was an unfortunate incident with the broccoli (bugs, microwave, crunchy dinner…), but on the whole our bed of greens was were most of the bang for our buck came from.
Fall hurt a little. I was away a good bit traveling for work and the garden was neglected. My very first apple was stolen by a squirrel, the slugs went NUTS on the last of the tomato crop. Fvcking slugs… There will be a battle next year and I am planning on a plan of full slug eradication. There was some definite success though: we gathered almost 2 gallons of raspberries, made mint mojitos and mint juleps from the 6 types of mint I have growing in containers. There were probably 3 bushels of tomatoes that came out of one 3×7 raised bed – really. We had our first lemon, first fig, cherries, huckleberries, strawberries (also hurt by the squirrels though), a full cup of blue berries, beets, greens, and lot of knowledge gained through screwing up.
Thoughts for this winter and next year:
Death to all slugs!!
Need more bees early in the season for fruit trees – hang some mason bees in a warm area.
Grow starts in basement and do not plant too early.
Mulch raspberries and roses.
Cut all blackberries out.
Need more drip irrigation hose.
Raise kitchen herb planters up another foot off the ground.
Raise strawberry pots up as well.
Prune tomato flowers so that crop is smaller and fruit larger.
Use apple bags to keep apple pests at bay.
Spray fruit trees early!
Spray roses with anti-rust/fungal early and monthly.
Spend more time in garden.
As per usual, our weekend was jammed with crap to get done before the dreaded Monday morning came calling. Here is how it went:
Up at 7:30
Coffee makes me into a human being. Able to now form whole sentences without grunting
Remove panels from back fence for new hot tub delivery
Smash thumb, say F-word. Say again louder just because
Clear temp spot on patio for said hot tub.
Spend 10 minutes day dreaming about hot tub magic on a cold winter evening – snow falling into the hot water…
Three J-O-B related calls wake me from my hazy never, never land
Get bact to work making room for te most expensive lawn accessory I have ever owned
Put hot house tent on second planter box
I WILL HAVE LOTS OF RED TOMATOES THIS YEAR, DAMNIT!!
Say hateful words about last years green tomatoes
Paint primer on cabinet base
Get primer in beard
Don’t realize about errant primer
Take dog with me to C&P Coffee Shop
Get some weird looks
Wonder if I have a boogie…
Meet wife at home
Wife cleans primer off face
Wrap living room in plastic and cover floor – looks like a scene from Dexter
Wife paints around trim
Work on J-O-B stuff from home
Three huge Somoans deliver hot tub
Do not argue about price
More coffee with nephew at C&P
Pizza and game night at sister’s place
Mom talks smack about she “never” cheats at games
Lighting REALLY wanted to strike….
Dominate in board game after dinner!!
Take that, Mom!!!
Up at 8:oo – wife brought home Starbucks
Super love wife
Researched crazy Seattle building codes for hot tubs and decks
Talked to a couple of friends in Germany using Skype – we miss Germany
Made a plan for deck that will keep me from getting a fine – maybe
Work on kitchen cabinet base in shop
Clean shop a little
Daydream about the day when I have a work space larger than a prison cell
Fondle jointer plane and wood mallet
Move desk for mother
Help tape trim in living room and paint ceiling and help paint walls
Mention that wall color looks like mac&cheese
Receive sustained dirty look from wife
Do not comment about color further
More paint in beard
Notice this time
More working for THE MAN at home
Wife goes to club meeting
Fix drawers on wife’s dresser solely for the brownie points
Lock self out of house
Look at sky and shake head slowly…
Mark pad site for hot tub with paint and mark wiring trench path
Spray paint toe of left shoe
Say the F-word at least twice
Go to sisters house and bum dinner
Sister is a great cook, single, very pretty – just saying in case you know a gent 45 – 55 with taste and a real job… Has to be single and not a dick. Must love really obese dachshunds.
Play the whole locked my self and the dog out of the house thing off like I meant to do it
She doesn’t buy it
Not a word said about Kraft wall color – not even a smirk. Want to sleep inside tonight
Send a flurry of work emails
Curse my work email server to a firery prolonged end
Retype all the email and send again.
Off to bed to snuggle with wife.
My son loves to make, assemble, deconstruct and alter stuff in my shop when he comes out for his summer visits. This year I put his little butt to work on a project that I knew he would like, that would help me out, and would teach him something: organizing my tool and supply bins. I know, I know, it sounds really crappy – like I am forcing my kids to fan me while Stamps-With-Foot feeds me grapes on the divan, but it was great, I swear.
My J-O-B was throwing out a couple sets of large metal card catalog bins and after asking permission, I snatched them out of the bin and took both right home. I immediately filled every drawer with often used crap, but didn’t get around to labeling the fronts. It has been that way for 2 years and I have to pull out 2 or 3 drawers until I find what I am looking for. Every time I have to rifle around looking through each cubby, I swear to myself: “THIS weekend I and going to make labels!” I am glad I waited. Now The Ruminator (my son’s nickname) can tell the difference between a wood biscuit, a deck screw, a blue wire nut, trim screws, roofing nails and finish nails, just to name a few. I have organized shop storage and handmade placards that I will always treasure and smile at every time I see them.