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 Tools
1. Buy dimensional 3/4″ poplar boards.
So… My J-O-B has made us an offer that is very hard to refuse: a two year stint in the south of France and they will fly us home 3 times a year. We get to keep our house and I get to come back to my job in Seattle when that period ends. THE SOUTH OF FRANCE!! Warm weather, amazing wine, spectacular cheese, lavender, honey, the French vacation plan. We would be living outside of Toulouse – the third largest city in France. It sits at the foot of the Pyrenees Mountains, is an hour from the coast, has one of the 10 best Saturday markets in Europe (so says the interwebs), and has more sunshine in 6 weeks of summer than Seattle has all year. We are so freaking doing this!
There is some red tape that we have to cut through, namely a work permit. Since around 27% of the French population under 30 is out of work, getting a permit right now, even in the aerospace field, is tres difficile. Fingers crossed. If this happens, then The Nana will move into La Maison du Talley, pay the utilities, and keep the zombie horde away. Visualize a sweet grandmother rocking away on the front porch with a shotgun across her lap. Add a Marlboro hanging from the corner of her mouth and you will have an accurate picture of The Nana.
I will miss my shop and my yard for those two years, but I will plug the hole in my heart with Cote du Rhone, Comte, a day trip or 6 to the Mediterranean coast, weekends in Paris/Rome, sunshine, and a yearly vacation to Morocco. I will be taking a chest of hand tools and am planning on making some small detailed pieces while there. I also plan on scouring the flea markets over that two year period for planes, chisels, and joinery tools.
Stamps-With-Foot is not concerned about logistics or housing or much of anything other than “How is Brodie going to handle that long flight?!” She feels that we will be taking Brodie back to ancestral homeland and has spent some amount of time talking to the dog about this possibility – trying to get him psyched about the proposition…
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 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 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.
- Looked at hutch for too long and decided to get it done.
- Started with bottom section – doors removed.
- Stripped off all old paint and varnish from outside with “environmentally friendly” orange stripper.
- Scraped and scraped stripper off.
- Cussed “environmentally friendly.”
- Put more stripper on.
- Scrubbed off again.
- Wife helped for 40 minutes, hated it and didn’t touch either section again.
- Shoved a 1″ splinter under one of my fingernails.
- Said the “F” word 5+ times, bled on base & floor and thought about cutting it all up for firewood.
- Washed whole thing with paint thinner to stop the stripper residue from working any more.
- Let dry and sanded whole case with 120 grit.
- Sanded with 220 grit.
- Sanded again with 220 grit.
- Stained with a crazy pricey, but color-matched mahogany tinted oil-based stain.
- Used wife’s special dish gloves.
- The old, old fir had issue with the stain and was a little splotchy in some really key spots.
- Was grumpy for two days.
- Second coat of stain used to blend some areas.
- Put on first coat of wipe-on poly acrylic semi-gloss finish.
- Wife found stain covered dish gloves and I got in trouble.
- Went to store and bought wife new gloves.
- 24 hours later, scuffed finish with white 3M pad and applied finish coat 7 more times.
- Spent HOURS on the final coat.
- Repeated all above steps with the four raised panel doors.
- Installed 100+ year old glass pull-knobs on doors.
- Whole process took two months.
- Moved base into finished side of basement for use as a media cabinet and LCD TV base.
- Went downtown to Chinese-owned granite shop on Seattle’s 1st Ave and haggled over granite for top.
- I am a poor negotiator in Chinese.
- Left and came back with Mandarin speaking co-worker.
- Got GREAT deal on custom top. 1/12th of the price that I was quoted at Home Depot – really!
- Built A-frame jig for back of truck to haul granite.
- Picked up top and hauled home.
- Bribed 4 neighbors to help move it into place.
- Neighbors won’t answer my call anymore…
- Four months from start to finish.
- Two weeks later I started the top section.
- Decided to make top section into a living room “built-in.”
- Built, painted and installed new 8″ base for the top section in our living room to match existing trim.
- Removed the doors, hardware, and hinges.
- Repeated steps above with the exception of splinter under nail and use of wife’s gloves: I learned my lesson the first time.
- Cut hole in back for outlet already on wall.
- Had other, unsuspecting neighbors help me move the top section up.
- New neighbors called me names after it was all done.
- Hole for outlet 1″ off to the left.
- Said hateful words.
- Grumpy again.
- Calmed down and used Dremel tool and coping saw to remove section from one side and glued it to other side.
- Trimmed out outlet hole.
- Stained and finished outlet trim.
- Had wedding and took 30 day break in the rebuild/refinish process.
- Started looking for matching trim and crown molding at reclaimed lumber yards.
- No Luck.
- Had crown custom milled at high cost by a shop in SODO that had 90 year old machines running on their floor (shop closed about a month after I was there last
- Started the process of refinishing the doors.
- Installed crown molding.
- Shot nail through molding and into palm on final piece of crown.
- Bled on top of hutch – no dirty words.
- Installed refinished doors.
- Built two interior shelves out of 80 year old fir floor boards. Stained and finished – look original!
- Smacked the back of my head when installing shelves and almost knocked myself out.
- Sourced and purchased piece of wavy restoration glass to match original broken pane.
- Stained and finished the crown.
- Put final coat of trim paint on the new base.
- Installed the one missing glass pane.
- 5 months after base installed the top is done and looks like it has been in our place since 1928.
My sweet sweet wife has issues with the color green – most shades. While living in Hamburg, we had a tiny bedroom that Stamps-With-Foot wanted to paint “sage green.” She bought the paint at Max Barr (a Teutonic version of Home Depot) brought it home and painted a little swatch on the wall. It was kinda dark, so she painted the whole wall. Still kinda dark. She then painted the whole room. I came home and my bedroom was Olive Drab, Army Green… It took me two coats of primer and three coats of paint to banish the darkness.
Flash forward a few years to Seattle. We have replaced all of our MDF particle board IKEA crap furniture with real wood pieces with the exception of our night stands. I hate them. Hate. I traded my mother a couple bookshelves for a former dressing table/vanity that was deeply scratched in places and had a couple of drawers that wouldn’t budge. It was in two pieces already and I shortened the legs, stripped off some of the old finish and prepped them for paint. Stamps-With-Foot wanted the pieces to match our 1930′s bedroom set, which has a sage green accent color. The plan is to have the bodies painted green, use a soft sunflower yellow for the accent and to completely strip the top and drawer fronts and coat them with a polyurethane so that the natural color and grain would pop. I had primed them, sanded, primed again, and grabbed some color swathes for her to choose from. She chose a fine green and I had it custom mixed at my local Benjamin Moore store (friends don’t let friends buy paint at Home Depot). I had two smooth coats sprayed on before my sweet wife decided they were the wrong color green. I tried in vain to talk her out of making me swap the color. I tried really hard – I even mentioned the Hamburg incident. No dice, the color WOULD be changed.
I showed up at the paint store with a picture frame for them to color-match, ignored their snickers, bought all new paint, went home, sanded, and resprayed both pieces with two coats of the “new” green. I painted the accent color and rubbed the color into the cracks before washing it off the high spots. The tops were polyurathaned, drawers were fixed, dividers installed, fronts refinished, 100+ year old glass knobs bought/installed, and then I carried them up to our Master Suite and my sweet bride gushed over them. Her delight made my heart happy.
In my heart of hearts I know she is still second guessing the 2nd color choice, but I have sworn to myself that if she changes her mind again she will be banned from deciding house/furniture/accent colors for the term of one year and that I will turn the basement into a mountain chalet-themed man cave- which might happen anyway, I am just really looking for an excuse to belay my guilt.
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:
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
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.
A couple of months ago, we were robbed – my shop was cleaned of tools. It is just now that I have calmed down enough to write about it and not rant and want to get up and throw things/commit serious bodily harm to someone. All of my hand tools, small power tools and a rolling large tool box were taken. It was a huge blow, not just in dollars, but in sentiment as well. There were carving chisels that were my grandfathers, most of my father’s wrenches , 80 year old spoke shaves, saws, a brand new – never used – router, and all my air nailers. Cleaned out.
We were in the UK and Ireland for 9 days and a couple days after we got back, I had a miserable day at my J-O-B and just wanted to work in the garage/shop and make a big pile of plane shavings – stress relief. I walked in the door and there was stuff everywhere (more than usual). Boxes off shelves, lumber moved, clamps scattered… I couldn’t comprehend what I was seeing – did my wife move my stuff… No… Wait… Fvck!! I got crazy mad, then wanted to cry. My stomach tied itself in knots and my heart was sick as I made a mental calculation of what all was in my tool boxes. I called the cops.
Police came, took a report, I called in insurance company, and started looking on Craig’s list and in local pawn shops, while taking slow and painful inventory of what was gone. Not one tool, chisel, saw, router, or wrench ever showed up. To add insult to injury, I know who took it all. We had some contractors do some work at the house around Christmas and one of them was a little sketchy. Not weird junky-itch sketchy, he just looked around at everything in the house and yard with an appraising eye and followed me into the shop to get some supplies I had for him to use and he lingered just a little too long. I didn’t really put it all together until weeks later. I won’t go into details because I cannot “prove” anything and an online accusation could lead to court or this guy showing up at my house again and that would lead a different sort of court case… But I KNOW this guy has my stuff. I know, not a hunch, not a feeling, I know. I called the police to tell them what I had found and I was told that unless he was seen on a public street with one of my tools in his hand, that they could do very little. No warrant to search his vehicle, or house, or shop would be forthcoming… Man, it pisses me off that I paid this guy for slow work that I had to finish AND he took my property – tangible links with my father and Grandfather.
I filed a complaint for the workmanship issues and uncompleted work with the BBB, gave him a craptastic review on Yelp, and let the guy who recommended him know what all exactly happened. Maybe I can save someone else’s stuff. Additionally, I cut the plug off of a power planer months before the break-in because it had an electrical short to the metal housing. I hope that he puts a plug on it and the thing shocks the living shit out of him or that one of the carving chisels slips and relieves him of a reproductive organ in the lower abdominal region…
You don’t really own anything you can’t carry on your back at a dead run.
- Daniel Keys Moran
In 2004 there was a Flickr thread entitled “What’s in your bag?” that immediately captured a voyeuristic nerve with the denizens of the Web and since then about a gamillion people have posted pictures of all the crap they carry with them through their daily lives. You can see it all: packs, purses, pencil cases, hello kitty, descriptions, puppies (!?!), the entire Moleskine collection, pens, sunglasses, pistols, retainers, pocket knives, Apple products, and enough bike inner tubes to encircle the earth 12 times. Hours of my life have been lost peeping into other peoples lives through the contents of their purse/messenger bag/pockets. The phenomena has been around long enough now that there are subsets of bags and contents: Camera equipment, writers, hipsters, journalists, students, bike messengers, everyday carry (EDC), diaper bags, etc…
I came in after a recent craptastic day and started emptying my pockets and satchel. It seems I carry what professional organizers call “a lot of shit.” I was amazed to see, all stacked in one spot, how many different individual items I tote around all day. I took a picture and added it to the growing online show & tell/confessional.
2 dollar coins and a quarter
16GB USB with former puppy’s tag attached
Steel LAMY fountain pen – medium nib, brown ink
Moleskine work notebook – filled with sketches and task lists
iPad with case – pic shot from city wall in Essaouira, Morocco
iPhone, no case – pic of driftwood carving found at beach near the house
Truck/car/house keys with old dog tag
Silver bracelets (copies of John Wayne’s – google it)
Wedding ring – milled from and aircraft bearing
Kershaw – Ken Onion pocket knife
Eddie Bauer slim wallet and money clip – that’s right, big money: one WHOLE dollar
Milt Sparks knock-off IWB holster
Magazine loaded with 7 Gold Dots
Para Ordnance Black Watch .45 – some custom work
Ray-Ban birth control glasses
Bag: heavily modified US Army OD green map satchel
I sometimes carry a small flashlight in my satchel, a couple of other Moleskines, a roll of fountain pens, a spare magazine, sunglasses, my ORCA card, a kindle, a cheapo Bic lighter, and a small folding knife on my keychain. I forgot the light this morning and I flew recently and haven’t put the TSA-offending Victorinox back on my keys.
What do you carry with you during your day? Below are a representational photos of the phenomena including mine.
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.
There is craft and there is art and sometimes the two disiplines make sweet love and this is their offspring:
The lines for this one are almost Art Deco. It looks like it would mold into a palm and become and extension of your hand.
Wood and steel and brass and beautiful. In my mind’s eye I can see the curled shavings littering the shop while I work with this beauty:
There is something wrong with you if this mechanical marvel doesn’t make you wonder what you could build that would REQUIRE you to purchase this plane.
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.
I was reading the Seattle Times on my Kindle saturday morning while having my coffee and croissant and what appears before me: “Owners of the Kindle from Amazon will be able to download e-books from 11,000 U.S. libraries later this year, the company said Wednesday.” This is HUGE. The one reason that I ever even give the Nook a passing glance is because I could use it at the library. Living a few houses from my local branch has saved us some cash, but my wife mentioned last week that my e-book shopping is getting spendy. Problem solved! Man, I want to hop up from my bench, drop my oar and dance in the bilge, err I mean push away from my keyboard, leave my perfectly 5S’ed cubicle, and see the sun outside.
I have, for years, prided myself on my ability to make or fix just about anything found in our home or yard. Instead of having to hire a repairman or contractor, I have just done it all myself. That sounds smug, but I don’t mean for it to be – bear with me and you’ll see where this is going…
In the years since I met my wife, I have made: squirrel feeders, two loft beds, cutting tables (sewing), bird houses, 5 cutting boards, bookshelves, 2 hutches, kitchen cabinets, a hall tree, reupholstered chairs, refinished countless pieces of furniture, designed/built drawer organizers, patched walls, made a bat house (?!), hung drywall, sewn dresses, painted countless rooms (one with 5 coats of paint…), unclogged toilets & sinks, said some dirty words, welded a bumper, made a working boomerang for my son, etched glass, rescued old furniture from the burn pile, repaired a ukulele & 2 guitars, built window box planters, installed crown molding and fancy trim, bound books, constructed pellet gun targets, fixed printers/plotters, organized crap, made many of my own hand tools, hung doors, planted a garden, cleaned gutters, reseeded lawns, planted a mini-orchard, baked bread, made 2 yards Ireland-green, hung light fixtures, split firewood, soldered pipes, installed irrigation systems, pulled dents from two fenders, cut down trees, built 2 decks, sharpened countless kitchen knives, BBQed like a spatula wielding God, crafted raised garden boxes, installed 4 wireless home networks, baked turkeys, epoxied stuff back together, framed pictures, made pies, rewired lights & switches, changed automotive oil, installed shocks, brewed beer, hung about a 1000 pictures, replaced an intake manifold gasket, rewired the TV and remote, built-up 8 bikes, re-glazed windows, built PCs, replaced/rekeyed locks, and have been the entire family’s Computer Help Desk – on call 24hrs a day...
While this has saved me a few bucks here and there, it has had a couple of unwanted effects as well. 1: While I CAN fix this stuff, I don’t have the time to work, write, see the kids, snuggle my wife, and walk the dog and still take care of all the crap on my list of stuff to fix or build. 2: My wife knows I can do it all and so she is forever finding new tasks for me AND she breaks shit constantly. Now, the first thing is just one of those parts of married life that one has to just accept. It is like the 9th unwritten wedding vow: Do you, __________, promise to trap mice, carry grocery bags, repair the little things on the coming honey-do list, and put the toilet seat down, so long as you both shall live?
The second issue is more an unconscious development than a malicious attack on our household goods. Some examples:
- A cutting board gets left in a sink of water overnight and warps/splits. “It’s OK, you can fix it right?” She says when I find it in the morning and make the grumpy face…
- Kid who worked at the grocery store puts HUGE dent in car door with a train of shopping carts. No report is made. “Can you smooth that out?”
- First day in our home in Seattle… Me: Don’t use your hair dryer upstairs, the old wiring can’t handle it. Her: OK. After two tripped breakers when she plugged it in anyway the next morning, I found myself at the bottom of the stairs, crumpled in a ball, with a dislocated shoulder after I fell down said stairs trying to turn the breaker back on.
- Me: “Where is my bike lock cable?” Her: “Oh, that… I used it the other day and it fell off my bike somewhere and I didn’t notice.”
It is my fault, I have trained her to be this way – it is a learned behavior. If we had to pay cold hard cash for all the little/huge messes/dents/dings/cracks that seem to follow Stamps-With-Foot she would be more careful. I love my wife. She is amazing in so many ways – in most ways, but I swear the very next thing time I have to fix around the house (caused by her own personal tornado), my lovely/girly/sweet wife is going to get covered in sawdust, mud, paint, goo, putty, primer, glue, stain, and gunk – just because.