Not the Plan, But Necessary

I long time family friend has a concrete business, which I know means he has access to the equipment I need to move dirt from my yard to the area around my porch to raise the soil level.  He came out Sunday to access the situation and has agreed to help me.  Last year I started digging to to connect my downspouts on the left side of my house to the original drain in the rear of house.  The left front drain is on the porch and with the relocation of my downspouts my plan, last year, was to trench along the side of my house and connect the front to the rear drain.  I knew I couldn’t do that by hand, so I stopped to find someone that knew how to operate a trencher.  I got no showed three times, it turned cold, project stopped.  Here’s the blessing in my City citation.  It was confirmed, in writing, that I could daylight, allow the gutter water to run into the yard.  I had been told differently previously.  That meant no trenching for the front downspout.  I only needed to re-connect the rear like I had done with the opposite side.

My dirt moving help can come as early as next week, so finishing that connection became priority, otherwise he’d refill a partially dug hole and I’d have even more dirt to move later.  Last year I removed an approximate one foot section of pipe.  I covered the exposed opening with a large rock to prevent things from falling into the hole.  I’ve noticed with some of our recent heavy rains my basement was leaking again, something that hasn’t happened since fixing the gutters.  Well it’s because mud seeped in under my rock and that pipe had become completely blocked, so water was just pooling in that area.  I was going to remove another section anyway, but now it was absolutely necessary.

Once I got that approximate two foot section out I laid on my stomach and used my hand to dig out as much mud from the pipe as I could.  I got down to my elbow and mentally prepared myself for another plumbing bill.  If I couldn’t get it cleared I’d have to call in 20200405_191444Zins Plumbing.  My basement drains were filled with debris when I bought the house and I used my shop vac to clean them out, so I thought I’d give that a try.  No pics of this as I was a hot, muddy, mess by now.  I had a 8′ section of metal conduit and I used that to stir up the mud created when I filled the hole with water.  I sucked up rocks, glass, wood chunks, mud for two hours.  The extensions on my shop vac gave me approximately 4′ reach.  I had reached my capacity when finally water started flowing through instead of backing up.  Plumbing expense SAVED!  My reward for that day’s hard labor……..an Epson Bath Soak.  I soaked through sunset listening to jazz.

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The next day I ran to Home Depot to pick up the appropriate PVC plumbing fittings.  I needed a flexible coupling, two 45 degree fittings and 3″ PVC pipe.  I could see roots at the bottom of the hole, so I added some root kill before I connected the pipes.  I used the short section of clay pipe as my vice to hold the PVC pipe while I cut it with my reciprocating saw.  I had the connection made in about an hour.

When I finished that project I finished the primer coat on the foundation and windows.  The window primer I had tinted Uncertain Gray, so now I am 100% certain that is the right color.   I wish I had gone that route with the foundation primer as I’d have a stronger visual of my final house.  That will have to wait a few days as rain is in the forecast.

My reward for that day’s labor was a 45 minute steam shower where I did a deep conditioner of my hair with the scent of eucalyptus in the air.  I can’t wait for the outside of my house to reach the level of the inside.

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If You Selected Lullaby…..

20190805_174221I’ve been cited by the City of Cincinnati for the outside condition of my house.  Apparently they have been sending me letters for almost a year (they’ve been going to my old house), so their final notification to get my attention was sticking a Not Approved for Occupancy sticker on my front door.  They want any wood or metal surface painted, they don’t care about the asbestos siding as it won’t rust or rot.  Also my front porch is not to code, the side drop is more than 30″ (I guess the 1924 City administration thought differently on heights), so I have to either put a railing on that side of porch or raise the height of the soil.

This is what is prompting the painting of the foundation.  A railing may or may not be part of my future pergola for the porch, but that’s not happening any time soon and I’m not putting up a cheap make-shift railing, so I’m raising the soil level.  I want to paint the foundation before doing so.  The foundation includes the basement windows, so it also allows me to start tackling some of the wood surfaces as the frames around the glass blocks is wood.

I’ve gotten four quotes to paint my house ranging from $5000 to $16,000.  Based on in depth conversations with two of the vendors, the two quotes in the middle $7,000 and $13,000, I know did not include removing all the old paint from the windows; something I feel needs to be done as there is already too much paint on them.  Any definition in the moulding is already barely noticeable.  Both of the companies said they could remove the old paint, but they’d charge by the hour to do so.  One estimated that it would take 6 hours per window, but he said removing paint would also mean he’d have to sand the wood.  I have 34 windows in my house.  I decided to remove the paint from the basement windows to test the theory.  Schuloff Tool Rental let me buy the heat gun I had rented previously for $30.  It took me approximately 30 minutes to remove all paint from one window.   There are ten basement windows.

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Doing so revealed some detail in the wood that was completely lost in the many layers of paint I removed.  It confirmed for me that the windows need to be more than scraped.  I can see why you should sand following, get them completely smooth, but I’m not looking for that level of perfection.  I see more sweat equity in my future.

Thanks to those that provided input on the foundation color for my house.  Before 20200403_163023putting out the ask I was leaning towards Lullaby.  While it was a very close vote Lullaby edged out by two, so I picked up my primer/sealer from Sherwin Williams, Loxon, and had them tint it Lullaby.

Pre-Front Door

When I first bought the house I bought a quart of Sea Serpent to paint the boards that boarded up the broken side-lights from the original door.  I had some left, so I decided to paint a strip of the siding near the foundation, so I could see how the two colors look together.  Lullaby is too light and too blue.  I took pictures right after I painted and throughout the day today.  It looked its best right after painting.

The Loxon does not go very far.  One gallon only covered about 1/3 of house.  I bought two, if I need a third I’m tempted to have it tinted Uncertain Gray.  I wish Sherwin Williams sold sample pints.  I have so many sample quarts in the basement I didn’t want to buy more.  I’m pretty certain Uncertain Gray is the best choice for the final coat.

Color Options

Your Opinion Matters

Anyone else going stir crazy?  My mind is grappling with this unprecedented event that has shaken the entire world.  I still have client work to keep me seated at my desk, but the stay inside order is nerve wracking.  Thank goodness the weather is improving, to allow for legitimate outdoor work.  I’ve already done my first grass cut and now I’m going to tackle painting the cement foundation that my fantastic handy-man Tom repaired last summer.  I was going to pay him to do it last year, but temps dropped before he could get to me.  It’s my project now.

As I’ve shared many times over the two year restoration HGTV provided their professional designers for the color scheme of my first floor and exterior.  I copied everything, but the front door color (couldn’t do pink) from their 2017 Urban Oasis Giveaway home, my favorite house since I became a HGTV junkie.  The exterior of my house will be Sea Serpent with the trim done in Incredible White, both Sherwin William colors.  What I love about Sherwin William’s website is they offer coordinating color suggestions, so I have decided to paint the foundation and I’m torn between Uncertain Gray and Lullaby.

Let me know what you think?  Voting window closes April 2.  Got to catch a no rain window.

 

 

All I Needed Was The Right Jig

A jig‘s primary purpose is to provide repeatability, accuracy, and interchangeability in the manufacturing of products. It is a tool used to control the location and/or motion of parts or other tools.  My father set up jigs throughout the restoration.  We had a jig to cut insulation, I jig for all the wall and outlet switch heights.  Having the right jig will make a task easier and faster to complete.

20200216_163335My vision for the top box of my headboard was a waterfall affect, the top corners joined at 45 degree angles.  Kendall helped me accomplish the cuts, but he didn’t clearly explain the ramifications of that decision.  Given the weight of the wood and the end grain glue up that would be needed, he felt some type of additional anchor support would be needed to hold the two sides together.  Glue alone he felt would not be enough.  What he didn’t provide was the clear cut method on how that would be done.

If he had explained in advance the difficulty of the waterfall I could have altered my vision and allowed the corner to overlap at 90 degrees and used my Kreg jig to create pocket holes that could have been plugged.  I reached out to the Kreg company about this dilemma and they confirmed that their product could not be used.  The angle produced by their jig would be too shallow of an angle not leaving enough wood for the threads of the screws to grab.   I had to figure something out or start this portion of the project over.  I have enough oak to create a new top and the original top could be cut to make the new sides at the lengths that would allow for anchoring at 90 degrees.  Covid-19 isolation gives you time to think, so I pulled another MacGyver and developed my own jig.

First step was finding the angle that would allow the screw to enter the thickest part of the angle.  That was accomplished with my angle tool.  I transferred the angle to my miter saw and cut the block of wood that was my outlet jig.  I thought about buying the Kreg micro drill bit, but for practice purpose used my existing 3/8″ Kreg bit.  I drilled a small pilot hole, just deep enough for the tip of the Kreg bit to fit in.  I took the depth collar off the Kreg bit and laid it flat against the angled side of the piece of wood I cut and carefully drilled a hole through the block of wood.  The end result was a “jig” drilled to the angle I needed.  From there it was trial and error as to where to place the block on the board being drilled and where to set the collar on the Kreg bit so that only the tip broke through the top piece of wood.  I realized quickly I needed to clamp my jig in place, so I flattened out the top on my miter saw.  Once I got a combination that worked I took a piece of 3/8″ oak dowel rod and practiced plugging the hole. That worked like a charm.  The large Kreg bit also worked fine, so I decided to forgo buying the micro bit.

Now it was time to go live.  Kendall felt that I only needed screws in the front because the insert for the back of the box would support the back angle.  However now that I’m working solo I’m not building the box in the same order we did the dry run.  The insert will be the last piece I install as I will do it as part of the final assembly in my bedroom.  I need to keep the pieces as light as possible if I have any hope of carrying them upstairs by myself. For that reason I drilled four evenly dispersed holes on each side.  Everything was working as practiced until I got to the last hole and the collar on the Kreg bit loosened and I drilled completely through the board, which meant there wouldn’t be a shelf for screw head to rest on.  Not to be deterred I moved my jig over a bit, re-tightened the collar and drilled another hole.

Now I was ready to glue and screw the angles together.  When I was trying to find an example on how to attach mitered corners I stumbled across a video from the Woodworkers Guild of America that showed how to make strong mitered corners by using a process called sizing.  I followed the video precisely, diluting my Titebond III glue 50/50 with water.  I brushed it on, let it dry 2-3 minutes as instructed.

Once dried enough I applied the full strength glue and inserted my biscuits, which were there just to help with alignment.  Months ago I had bought Bessey angle clamps.  I used one to hold the top corner together and then proceeded to put in the screws working my way up from the bottom.  I used 3/4″ Kreg screws for hardwood.  I was going to call it a day, let that side dry before tackling the opposite end, but it went so well that I did the other side immediately.

Once I had let it set a bit, I smeared glue in the holes, put more at the end of the piece of dowell and inserted them in each hole.  I came back about an hour later and cut off the excess.

At that point I should have called it a day and let the glue up set over night, but I was on a roll and the bright light at the end of this project tunnel was starting to creep in so I decided to insert the bottom shelf.  During the dry run, Kendall had me connect the bottom to the sides first, followed by the back, and then the top.  It went in easily, so easily I forgot to snap a pic.  I was going to let it go for the day, but at about 10 pm I returned to the basement and proceeded to sand and stain it.  I am elated with how this is turning out.  Having the box completed made me realize that I like the look of the polycrylic bottom shelf better than the sides and underside of the top that I treated with Danish oil, so I’ll now apply the polycrylic to the entire piece.  I’m being optimistic that I can actually have the piece finished by the end of the weekend.

 

 

Helping a Friend

A very good friend of mine had a few floor tiles missing in their kitchen that their landlord had not gotten to, so they decided to make the repair themselves. I was oh so eager to lend a helping hand.  They purchased this really cool tile.  This project was done in two evenings, after she got home from work.

Step one was removing the tile and smoothing out the subfloor.  For that I used a rasp, an attachment for my JobMax tool that I had never used.  I actually didn’t know what it was and had to Google to make sure it was the appropriate device.   10 tiles were missing and I removed 6 more to accomplish the pattern.  Years past someone repaired that same area, but they used an adhesive that obviously did not adhere to the tile, since they came up, but firmly attached to the subfloor.  What I thought would take a couple of hours to lay the tile took about four because the areas with adhesive put up a strong fight.  We actually had to send her nephew and son to Lowe’s to buy a second one.  In the area where I removed tile the rasp worked great as thinset was used in that area.  It was like grinding cement.  DIYer lesson number one:  use the right product.  If you’re not sure, ask.  I had thinset left from my master bath tile project, so I was happy to make it available.

Once we got the area relatively flat and cleaned up all the dust we laid the tile.  I troweled the floor and my friend back buttered the tile.  Honestly I don’t know if back buttering your tile is necessary, but all the shows I watch do it.  I like to let my tile flop to the floor (I lay one side and let it drop).  I believe that motion and the back buttering creates a strong suction.  I think press the tile with my float to try and make sure their even.  The floor had huge grout lines, so we eye balled the alignment instead of using spacers.

Tonight I went back and showed her how to apply the grout.  I also had black grout left over from my 1st floor bath tile project.  Black is a very messy grout, which I’d be reluctant to use on any future projects, so I was happy get it cleared out of my basement.  I had just enough for them to use on theirs.  This was done in less than two hours and I believe any other color grout, for an area that small, would have taken even less time.  There is a lot of extra wiping involved with black.  This little project didn’t involve cuts, so truly an easy DIY project.  I was happy to lend a hand and share my little knowledge on the subject.  Now they have a pretty area to stand while washing dishes.

Covid-19 Is Rocking Everyone’s World

No, I have not been infected nor am I paranoid to the extent that I’m wearing mask in public.  However it did make me to remember to use my mask when I’m sanding, something I generally forget to do.  I haven’t made a post in awhile, so this will be an update on the two projects I’ve been working on, my dining room table and headboard.

Filling the holes/cracks in my walnut boards of my dining room table is my new skill set.  The first step was taping the underside anywhere epoxy to could seep through. 

20200301_141537I used TotalBoat 5:1 Epoxy Resin, Slow Hardener.  This was a very easy product to use.  I bought the quart size that came with metered pumps.  One pump of resin dispensed the five parts to the one pump of hardener, 1 part.  Mix for at least two minutes and then you have about 20 minutes to work with it.  I was amazed how much epoxy went into small cracks or holes.  I made three trips to the Manufactory before all the holes were filled.  I definitely will have some clean up to do as I applied too much in some areas.  I’ll do better on my next project.  

The only other thing I accomplished on the table was rejoining a set of the boards I split when I first started this project.  The center of the table will be the board I bought from Urban Edge Wood Works, but I wanted a wide board to rest on each side of it.  Only one of my boards was left uncut, so I needed to rejoin at least one. I chose the one on the left.

No pics of the glue up process, but it didn’t come out very well.  The board is barely over an inch thick and I’ll have to plane it more as the seam didn’t line up through the entire length.  I’m hoping I won’t lose the board altogether as my target width of 38″ is dependent upon using it. The joined board has the tape measure next to it in the picture on the left. Shown there is approximately 50″ in width of boards.  I don’t want sap (white of boards) in the center of the table, so once that is cut away I have about 42″ in width.  The picture on the right were the worst of all my boards and still in their original state.  Hopefully they will make the skirt for the table.

The Governor of Ohio has locked down the state, so today was the last day until April 6th to work at the Manufactory.  Just as well as it relates to the table as according to Kendall I’ve taken it as far as I can with him and the Manufactory.  I’ve brought my boards home where they will stay in my living room until Covid-19 has passed. I’m hopeful I can work with Adam at Urban Edge Woodworks to complete the project.  I need access to equipment he has to complete the project.

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Most of the headboard project has been in my basement waiting for me to do the staining, so with the dining room table on hiatus the headboard has my full focus.  My workbench was my first 100% solo build and it will be the perfect surface to assemble the top of the headboard.  The Manufactory let me borrow their biscuit joiner, the only piece of equipment I didn’t have at home, but needed to complete the project.

With my slots made I turned to sanding the inside of all the pieces, so I could finally tackle the stain, hence the mask.  I applied the same custom stain I used on the side shelves.  The color looks perfect against my beadboard section.

I’ve decided to apply polycrylic to the bottom of the top shelf since it will be a surface that items will set on it, three coats.

The rest of the oak pieces will have Danish oil.  I’ll let it rest overnight and the tomorrow I’ll tackle building the box, which brings me closer to the finish line of this project.

 

This Sista Girl Was Not Supposed To Live the American Dream

Five years ago when I decided to walk away from a paycheck, health insurance, life insurance to pursue self-employment I never considered the ramifications as it related to banks and loans.  I have been able to maintain the lifestyle I had while traditionally employed.  I’ve paid my taxes.  Paid my bills.  I understood the debt to income ratio when I still had a mortgage, but I’m mortgage free now and if my car hadn’t died I’d have less than $10k in total debt.  I understood the lack of collateral in the house before I spent 2 years restoring it, but I don’t understand what is happening now.  I’ve been turned down again on a loan for the following as sent by email from the loan officer:

Venus, thanks for these (I sent him my 2019 1099s). Underwriting took a look at what you had previously sent, and still denied the loan. I had resubmitted it, and it was reviewed again by another underwriter. For reasons beyond my pay grade or understanding, the loan has been denied a second time. When I asked why, I was told  the 1099 income is considered inconsistent. I was given no other explanation. If you’d like to speak to someone about this, Rick Burkhardt is our Bank President, at 513-842-8900. I’m sorry I couldn’t make this work for you. I have a lot of respect for you and the job you’ve done on your house, and I have no doubt that you will get a loan in the future. I’m just sorry it wasn’t with us.”  F%*k Guardian Savings Bank.

For the first time I truly regret buying this house.  Prior to looking at houses in the City of Cincinnati I was looking to get the hell out of here.  I should have stayed on that course of action.

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.