What New Water Line?

There was still one project left connected with the installation of the steam shower unit; patching the hole in the guestroom closet.  I really don’t like drywall projects.  It’s an art/skill to do it right meaning applying the right amount of mud so you’re not sanding to infinity and beyond.  I don’t have that skill set, but it’s done and now I can thoroughly enjoy the shower.

I kept the hole as small as possible, finding the middle stud with my Walabot Stud finder.  I’ve bragged on this product before and I think it’s a must have for DIYers.  They sell 2′ x 2′ drywall patches at Home Depot and Lowes, which is what I bought for the patch.  I still had 20 and 90 set drywall compound left from the drywallers, so no new purchases for that.  Thanks to Camp Washington Hardware store I was able to by just a handful of drywall screws.  In two nights this patch was a wrap.  My corner actually looks better that the corner the drywall crew did.

Are you curious about my steam shower?  I need more towels, lol.  With the exception of two weeks spent in Shaoxing, China (not a shower, but 100+ temps and massive high 20200222_215804humidity) I don’t think I’ve ever sat in a steam shower.  I’m a sista girl, we don’t get our hair wet on a daily, at least this one didn’t.

The article I shared in my last post from the SteamSauna for your healthy lifestyle blog,  said the temp setting for results is 110 – 115 degrees.  On my first endeavor I stayed on the low end.  I stepped in, wrapped in a towel, and turned on the unit.  The first blast of steam scared me, it came out loud and it stayed loud until the dial reached my setting of 110 degrees.  My first thought was, it’s too loud to call it relaxing.  However once it hits the temp the forceful sound of steam trickles down to a tranquil hiss.  I do stretches and yoga poses while I’m in there.

The article also said that a person new to steam showers should start off with about 10 minutes and build to an optimal level of 20.  The Thermasol dial times out at 45 minutes.  Since I have never been in a steam shower and I was taking this first leap by myself I somehow got it fixed in my mind that I should take my phone in with me.  Not my brightest idea as even though Samsung phones are water proof, the heat must have impacted my MusicCast app as right when it reached the full temp the music went out in my speakers.  I ended up getting out to investigate to no avail (the next morning the speakers worked fine) and missed most of the 45 minutes as it cut off within minutes of my return.  I stayed in to wash my hair and at that moment realized that my hair was already pretty well saturated.  What did this possibly mean for daily use.  That night I slept soundly, relaxed beyond what I had imagined.

I used the unit four nights in a row.  The second and third tries I wrapped my head in a bandanna scarf.  My hair wasn’t saturated, but I had curls going into the second night and I’ve been wearing my hair flat ever since.  After the fourth session I washed my hair again, so I guess I’m now a sista girl that wets her hair on the daily.  In the four sessions I’m now at 114 degrees.  It’s hot.  Since I’m in the shower alone, I keep my legs up on the bench during the hard steam blast as you can feel the heat.  I actually take a hand towel to sit on and use my body towel as a drape when it’s blowing out the steam.  I still don’t care for the forceful, loud sound the unit makes in route to the desire setting, so now I wait to get in until it’s 2 – 3 clicks from full temp before getting in.  The temp drops in that 45 minute session, so the unit kicks in again with the loud sound, but not long.  At that point I’m so relaxed I don’t notice it.  I’m definitely staying in it longer than 20 minutes, perhaps 30-35.  I’ve used all three essential oils and don’t have a favorite.  My friend Patty suggested I buy a fresh twig of eucalyptus and leave it hanging in the shower.  I’m going to try that.

Overall I love having it.  It’s a great place to reflect on my day and life.  It’s a great place to have a cathartic cry, which I’ve been doing a lot lately.  I definitely feel that toxins are exiting my body.  My eyes are bloodshot red when I get out, but with each session they are less red.  I think I’ll close and take another steam.

 

Steamin’ Hot

The spa oasis is complete.  The Thermasol SSA 395 steam generator, Microtouch Time/Temp controller, and steam head have finally been installed.  It took some doing.  Mother nature just would not cooperate, so it took a couple of weeks after the unit arrived before Mr. McGhee, my electrician could run the electric.  I didn’t have the heart to ask him work in the extreme cold and rain.  The easiest way to run the line was to run a conduit on the outside from the panel into the location where the unit will be housed.  I was fine with that since I haven’t painted the house yet.  The conduit will be painted and hopefully blend well enough that it really won’t be noticeable.  He tucked it near the window trim, which minimizes it further.  The unit requires a 60 amp breaker and the wire for that was super thick.  Thanks to the larger panel Mr. McGhee installed for me several months ago I had the space.

When he was able to do his work, the plumber didn’t show up.  That marked twice that he no showed me without so much as a call, so my negative streaks with plumbers continued until I called Zins Plumbing.  Zins was able to send a service man, Kevin, out the same day, Thursday.  He was awesome, funny, and efficient.  Their web page (can’t call it a site) states their goal is 100% customer satisfaction.  If you aren’t smiling, we haven’t done our job!  They did their job well, I’m smiling, and I now have a plumber.  I didn’t get any pictures of Kevin while he was curled up in my crawl space, but the end result was spot on.  Even Mr. McGhee, who returned for the final connection after the plumbing work was done, commented on the quality of Kevin’s soldering.

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The one thing Zins would not do is drill the hole in my tile for the steam head.  I was ready for that.  The steam head required a 1 1/8″ hole.  The controller a 1 1/2″ hole.  I got both sizes, Kempton Coated Diamond hole saws, from Amazon.  Keeping the saw steady in one spot until it starts to embed in your tile is a challenge, so I bit on a suggestive sale and purchased a Drilax Drill Bil Hole Saw Guide with suction cup.  It worked like a charm.  Kevin provided me the measurements between studs, so it was easy and accurate project for me.

The only thing I could not accomplish was connecting the pressure valve to a drain.  I called Mitch Altman (owner of Thermasol who gave me his number to call if I had any problems – LOVE THIS GUY) said I should not have any problems and that a drain connection wasn’t necessary.  Just to be safe I did connect a metal tipped pipe on it (like the one on my water heater) which ends over a small bucket.

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There are countless articles on the Internet that tout the benefits of a steam room.  There are actual health benefits that come about due to the humidity generated in a steam shower.  This Healthline article really spells them out well.  My gym pals from the Health Plex use to tease me for my lack of sweat.  Flushing out toxins through sweat is the one thing I’m looking most forward to.  I found a SteamSauna for your healthy lifestyle blog that stated the best temperature for a steam shower is between 110 degrees Fahrenheit or 115 degrees Fahrenheit. At these temperatures, the body’s metabolism rises to the extent where core temperature begins to be regulated. This causes more energy consumption, an increase in circulation, and an increase in heart rate.  I never used the sauna or steam room at the gym.  The Health Plex did a terrible job keeping the locker rooms clean, so I never trusted using theirs.

Time to give my personal, private, steam room a try.  Thank you Mitch Altman.

Thermosol Man

 

No Sweets for this Sweetheart

I didn’t come close to finishing my headboard, so I thought I’d share the progress reached by the end of the Valentine’s Day Weekend.  I got the side boxes stained and coated.  I had planned to use Zar Early American stain, as I did on the upstairs moulding, but 20200208_192240Sherwin Williams no longer carries it.  After trying Minwax’s Early American and General Finish Mahagony, neither were even close on the Aspen wood, I returned to Sherwin Williams to have them match the color of the doors I’ve converted to pull out tables.  They are now selling Minwax Performance Series Tintable Stain.

Per the can’s directions I sanded my surfaces with 120 grit sandpaper and applied one coat of stain, which I let sit for about 10 minutes per the clerks recommendation to get a darker finish.  I let it dry overnight and then applied three coats of Minwax Polycrylic.  I really like the ease of use for this product.  I sanded, lightly by hand, between each coat with 220 grit paper.

After one coat of poly:

After two coats of poly:

After the final coat of poly and letting them sit overnight, I returned with my parts to the Manufactory to put them back together:

With the side boxes finished it was time to tackle the oak top shelve.  I started by taking the pieces for the side to the WoodShop to use their joiner and biscuit cutter.  I brought the pieces back home to glue and clamp.  This was my first glue up and it was spot on!  Several guys at the Manufactory complimented me as the seam of the two pieces is barely noticeable.

Now it was time to tackle the top and bottom.  This headboard is going to be heavy.  The oak wood is dense and in hindsight I should have detoured from the original plans sooner and used 1/2″ plywood instead of 3/4″.  I can bet the designer didn’t think someone would use old wood, which weighs much more than the modern 2×4.  Anyway, to try and reduce a smidgen of the weight the bottom shelve is only 12″ deep.  Once the back piece is in place I’ll have a 10″ deep shelve, perfect for my bible.  The top has to be the same width as the sides, so it’s 17″ deep.  To reach the depth I needed I had to join two slabs together.  My boards weren’t the same thickness, so I had to run them through a planer.

The bottom, per Kendall’s suggestion I routed out a 1/2 groove, because I wanted the sides to cover the top of the side boxes.

I had my mind fixed on a mitered seam at the top and that posed a challenge because my top and sides were too wide for the miter saw.  After setting the back in place, I was able to mark my lines to locate the miter cut and use the table saw to cut the miter in the side panels.  I used my Kreg jig kit to make pocket holes for attaching the back to the bottom, sides, and top

The top was too long for the table saw, so my only option was a circular saw.  I should have called it a day and returned with my own circular saw, which has a much nicer blade, but with Kendall’s help I carried on and got the cuts made.  I’ll need to do a little sanding to smooth out the edges.  I made the first cut, but let Kendall make the second as there was only about an inch of waste.  I beat myself up too much when I fail and I wanted to end the Valentin’e weekend on a high note.  Kendall went for gold and cut right on the line to make it one and done.

The challenge now is how to screw the mitered edges together.  Glue may not be enough to hold the seams perfectly aligned.  In retrospect I should have routed out a groove like I did on the bottom.  A normal beginner woodworker would have taken that easier road.  But like Nicole Curtis from Rehab Addict says, I’m not normal.

 

 

 

Adding a New Water Line

In my post Here They Come to Save the Day…..Maybe  I wrote about adding a steam unit to my shower to compensate for the disappointment I experienced with my Signature Hardware Exira Shower unit.  The owner of Thermasol, Mitch Altman, took a personal interest in this project after reading about all the issues I was having.  Signature Hardware finally started providing the level of customer service I had been accustomed to receiving when dealing with issues with their product and refunded the cost of the shower unit.  That made the purchase of the Thermasol unit possible, but not probable.

The unit needs a constant water source and I did not want to splice into the existing water line to feed the unit.  The two Hansgrohe shower heads that I bought to replace the Signature Hardware heads are working great and I did not want anything to circumvent that.  The beauty of being hands on with the restoration project is I knew exactly how and more importantly where the water lines were run to the shower.  My manifold has three empty slots, so my decision to move forward with the steam unit was depended upon my ability to run a dedicated line.  These pics show the path before the HVAC ducts were installed.

I took these steps:

  1. Cut a whole in the crawl space floor.  I cut the section directly behind where the shower water lines were located.  Turns out holes were drilled in the joist, so the line to the basement were over one joist.  Bottom line I had to remove another section of the floor.
  2. Push a remnant piece of pex through the floor joist until I reached where I could see the existing lines turn down.
  3. Cut a hole in the drywall of guestroom closet.
  4. Blind feel for the piece (found it almost immediately) and pull it through the opening.
  5. Drill a hole into the floor of the closet from the basement near the existing lines
  6. Push new pex line through hole up to the point where I cut hole in drywall.  Since I was working by myself I taped a loop at the end of the line, so I could fish for it in the wall with a hanger..
  7. Tape the two ends together and then return to crawl space and pulled the new line to the shower.
  8. I had to make 5 elbow connections.
  9. Order the the steam unit as mission was accomplished

Mitch, again I have to stress that the owner of Thermasol took a personal interest in my plight, worked with one of his authorized dealers to help me meet my budget requirements.  I am getting their Thermasol SSA 395 unit and Microtouch Time/Temp controller.  I also got their Aromatherapy 100% organic Essential oils; French Lavender to promote calming and relaxing effects, Portuguese Eucalyptus to stimulate, sooth and cool (I plan to mix these two) and Italian Bergamot Citrus to reduce anxiety, depression, and insomnia (every insomnia night moving forward I will turn to my shower vs. tossing and turning until I fall asleep out of exhaustion).  I can’t wait.  Hopefully the weather will be great next week, so Mr. McGhee can run the electric line.

You Can’t Replicate It, So Save It

My featured image is the undeniable proof as to why you salvage old wood.  The top piece is a side view of a piece I cut from a shelf that was in the original upstairs closet; I’m using it for the headboard shelves.  Look at how tight those rings are.  The tree that produced that was probably 75+ years old.  That’s quality slow growth pine.  Conversely the piece at the bottom is a modern pine 2 x 6 that was probably injected with steroids to speed its growth and cut before hitting the legal age of 21.  Kendall took another piece of scrap from my shelve and used a bookend cut it to create this awesome cool pattern.  He’s making heirloom quality wood boxes and can incorporate it into the lid.  More proof for salvaging old lumber.  Look at the natural chevron pattern the rings created.

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I turned my focus onto my headboard this week.  I think having the table and headboard completed by Valentine’s Day is a pipe dream given I can’t work on it full-time. The table alone would be ambitious.  The headboard, given the back is already complete is doable, so I started building the boxes this week with Kendall’s assistance at the Manufactory.  Boxes are simple and in my mind I had all the steps laid out, but Kendall had me slow my roll, which was a good thing.  He’s a numbers to paper guy, I’m a image in my mind gal.  Images waste wood and that is something I can’t afford to do when it comes to the reclaimed wood I’m using on this project.  It can’t be replicated if I run out or mess it up.

Headboard Sketch

Scotti from the Wood Shop gave me the idea to add the side boxes when I told him how I wanted to modify the design I had purchased from Jen Woodhouse.  I don’t like a lot of furniture, so I wanted to add a shelf above the headboard.  Since that shelf would push the bed from the wall, creating dead space, he suggested filling it with side shelves also.  Here is a sketch he did to help me visualize what he was talking about.  Love it, but it meant buying more wood.

I could have purchased birch plywood sheet for the shelve boxes, but I didn’t have a way to haul a full sheet.  Instead I went to Menards and bought, pre-cut Aspen boards in 4′ and 6′ lengths and 12″ and 16″ widths to reduce cuts.  Slightly more expensive, but time savings was worth it.  I took the four pine floor joist I had been given to the Manufactory to get them planed down because I decided I wanted my headboard to be primarily reclaimed wood.  If you remember from my post “From Toilet Surround to Headboard” I had bought oak boards for this project.  The look of the pine aligned with the vision I had for the project, unlike the oak.  I wish my blog had smellavision, so you could enjoy the aroma of pine I smelled as we ran the boards through the planer.

At the end of  that same post I made this statement “So what to do.  Use the oak I purchased or create a fully salvaged headboard and use the pine.  You’ll have to keep checking my blog to see how this project is going to end.  Anyone want to lay bets?”  Betting window is now closed.  It’s going to be the Paxton oak.  Those pine boards are too beautiful to waste on my headboard.  They are true 2x12s and I would need to plane almost half the board to get it to the width I need.  It would break my heart to waste such beauty, so they will sit until I think of another project for them.

Kendall worked with me to build the first box and left me on my own accord to build the second.  I tweaked Scotti’s idea a bit further by adding a pull-out shelf at a height equivalent to a night stand.  There was half of a dutch door that separated the kitchen from the hall in my house when I bought it.  I held onto not knowing what it could be used for.  Now I know, the pull out shelves.  The boxes are just screwed together, my dry run, to make sure everything functions.  I’ll take them home, take them apart, and stain them.  I’m feeling like the headboard will be complete by next weekend.