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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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.

 

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.

 

 

 

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.

Scotti from Headboard Sketchthe 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.

 

 

The Real Work Started This Weekend

Saturday I took all the aspen (type of wood) boards for the headboard shelves to the WoodShop to have them prepped and ready for Sunday, when the real work on my dining room table would begin.  I am going to work the table and headboard at the same time as when one project is drying from a glue up or epoxy fill I can work on the other.  The board prep was simple; drill my pilot holes and shelve holes.  Drilling the pilot holes was the priority as I knew the WoodShop drill press had a table with fence that would allow me to measure once, set the fence,  and then drill all my boards.  I’m using #6 screws, so needed to drill a 3/32 pilot hole.  From Amazon I ordered a shelf pin drilling jig, so that I can make my side shelves adjustable.  I took it with me and got those holes drilled too.  I intended to stain at least the insides, but didn’t get to it.

I met Kendall at the Manufactory Sunday.  Based on our discussions from last week the goal for the day was to begin the milling process of the boards  and start filling the cracks, holes, divots, with epoxy.  I’m going to love learning from him.  He brought a large piece of cardboard, which he cut at 7 7/8″, the maximum width of the Manufactory joiner.  My desire is to eliminate all the sap edges (white part of slabs), so that the table is all dark brown walnut.  This cardboard template would allow me to mark the boards appropriately and see how much waste I’d have.

While the boards are beautiful they aren’t completely flat and as I’m quickly learning you loose a lot of the thickness in your boards in creating flat surfaces.  The three boards with worst bow or cup or twist we decided it would be best to cut in half and then join them back together after their surfaces were flat.  For cutting we used the band saw.  I was introduced to this piece of equipment in the class I took at the Wood Shop, but haven’t used it much.  I used the cardboard to strike a line in the center of each board.  Kendall gave me tips on safety and for working alone.  He held the cardboard when I struck the first line, but showed me the weights to hold the cardboard if I were working by myself.  Now it was time to cut.  He didn’t cut the first one as an example; he lined me up and said go at it.  I was so nervous.

From our very first meeting Kendall has talked about letting the wood acclimate.  Once cut the boards would move and I did not get what he was saying until I made these first cuts.  He was able to show me how the center of a board I had just cut had already moved/retreated.  The ends touched, but a gap had formed in the center.  This is to be expected and shows the importance of not rushing through your projects.  I’ll be able to fix that later, but it was the perfect example to clarify what he had been stating about wood movement.  I was able to stay on the line fairly well on all three boards, except when I hit a knot in the wood.  I should have taken these areas slower.  I could feel the board fighting me and the saw band made a funny noise when I hit those areas.

I’ve got 6 total boards. The one most severely cupped we had already decided would be used for the skirt.  After splitting the three in half I became concerned that after removing the sap (white) wood I may not have enough to reach my target 42″ width.  The two boards we left whole were 10″ wide and had the least amount of sap, but I would loose 3″ to make them fit the joiner, so Kendall stated it’s a shame they didn’t have a wider joiner.  With that statement I called my former neighbor, Dusty (the person that got me started in woodworking) and asked if he knew anyone.  He connected me to Adam Jacobs, owner of Urban Edge Woodworks, who happened to be working in his shop on a Sunday.  We spoke and he allowed me to bring the two boards to him so he could make a flat surface on one side.  Adam is a graduate of the School for Creative and Performing Arts.  He started building sets and woodworking at age 13 and he’s turned his passion into a 20+ year career.  His shop is a woodworkers dream.  His next commissioned piece will be his largest table to date.  The wood alone to build it cost over $20K.  He showed us (Kendall joined me) the design and OMG!  He said he’d have it complete in less than a month.  I can’t wait to see it posted on his website.

As soon as he examined one of the boards, he was able to determine I would loose too much in thickness because it was more severely cupped than we thought.  He asked if I was married to those boards.  Well, yes and no.  Yes, because the story of making my own dining room table out of trees that came from my back yard is so cool.  No, if it meant I’d have to sacrifice size.  He showed me a slab of walnut he thought would work great with mine.  He said he thought it would be perfect as the center of a table; I agreed and bought it.  He ran the second board through his joiner to create the flat surface I needed and then ran it through his sander just so I could see a somewhat clean surface of my board next to the one I bought.  The character in his board is stunning and after seeing the design of his next project I’m rethinking not using the sap wood.

We headed back to the Manufactory where we had approximately two hours left before they closed.  We knew we wouldn’t get to epoxy, but we got the six split boards in the joiner to create a flat surface on one side.  Kendall did the first run through to set the example.  He is awesome at not taking over the project.  This is a real student/teacher learning environment.  I haven’t felt my brain pistons firing like this in years. Old dogs can learn new tricks.

With flat surfaces created we headed to the planer.  I fed in and Kendall handled the out take to help me minimize snipping (weight of board causes end still in machine to rub too log in one spot causing a rut) the ends of the boards.

We’ll start filling with epoxy later this week, but in the meantime Kendall provided me with some great articles to read to help be get ready for future steps in the process.  I haven’t had a magazine subscription in years, but I think I’ll be getting this one.

 

The Manufactory – Where My Ideas Will Take Shape

I need projects.  My house is too quiet, too still, too empty without projects to keep my mind from going negative, so I’ve joined The Manufactory, a 17,000 sq. ft. membership makerspace located on Mosteller Road in the northern burbs of Cincinnati.  This place is the Camp Washington WoodShop on steroids that I stumbled across on the Internet when I was searching for a larger planer to use for my headboard project.  I’ve joined for a month, so I’m on the clock to complete my headboard, make my dining room table, office desk, and master suite beverage station.

I spent a few hours there on MLK Day with the goal of just planing all my oak boards for the headboard shelve and trim.  My plan was to use the Manufactory’s larger Kendall Glovercapacity planer, but build it at the WoodShop.  I got the planing done and was comtemplating over using their joiner or waiting to do that at the WoodShop when another member, Kendall Glover asked if I needed any help.  He may regret ever asking.  Kendall has been a woodworker for 20 years and his woodworking business name is Conjure Craft Woodworkers, but woodworking is not his day job.  This picture is a beautiful dresser he made.  Looks like he could go full-time to me.

After about an hour of conversation my whole plan of building at the Woodshop had been nixed.  What I love about the “creative community” is they are willing to share their knowledge when they come across people that are sincerely interested in learning.  He convinced me to leave my oak slabs for the headboard there vs. lugging them back home.  We discussed at length my dining room table, so before they closed I decided to retrieve my walnut slabs from my storage locker.  He agreed to help me prep my walnut for the dining room table, so he suggested that I allow the wood to acclimate to their space.  So, now on top of my membership I am renting two cubbies to store my wood.  Sista Girl w/ Skills is getting ready to elevate to a whole new level.

The beauty of the Manufactory is they are open 7-days a week.  I would be very hard pressed to get my projects done in a timely manner at the WoodShop when their open shop hours are limited to Wed 3-9p and Sat 12-5p.  I often have work conflicts on Wednesday.  The other thing I love is the community atmosphere.  I met Kendall on Thursday night and he introduced me to other avid woodworkers.  All welcomed me and offered assistance if needed.

I brought with me more wood; the wood I needed for the headboard shelf boxes and before he left, Kendall helped me lay out a revised plan (he gave me some great feedback that I will incorporate) for building them out.  We also discussed the game plan for the dining table, which we’ll start working on Sunday afternoon.  I didn’t have much time to work, Serena was playing at 9p, but I got the top, bottom, and side pieces for the two side shelf units cut.  I did bring them home as I want to stain the insides and drill the holes for the adjustable shelves.

If all goes well I should be gifting myself for Valentine’s Day (give to yourself if you have no other sources) a dining table and headboard.

It’s a Wrap

All repairs to the walls/moulding damaged while trying to install the office door were corrected and the final moulding around the inside of the room was installed.  This marks the completion of the final room in my house.

In addition to completing the office, I was able to take extra door trim to dress the basement exterior (not doing anything to the basement side of basement door) and kitchen exterior doors.  All of the closets have been dressed, except for the kitchen pantry and guest bedroom closet  (intentionally left off) with floor and inside door moulding.  This means the inside restoration is a wrap.

I held a Birthday Open House to celebrate the occasion on Saturday and was amazed by the number of people; colleagues, clients, friends, family, that came to see the work that had been accomplished.  Approximately 40 people braved the torrid rainfall and gusty winds.  It was a proud moment.  I absolutely loved showing her off and I was overwhelmed by the 100% positive feedback I received.  It was humbling, but my inner soul was enjoying the praise.  The flow of people was constant throughout the 3-hour event and I was so busy giving tours that the only picture I have as evidence of the wonderful afternoon is the haul of gifts received.  Also overwhelming; I haven’t had that many gifts to open at one time since undergrad graduation.

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I was asked what is my favorite room in the house.  It is the hallway leading to and including the guest bedroom, all done in tribute to my mother that I so wish were alive to share this moment with me.  She’s been gone almost 20 years and the void her death left is still strong.  I adorned the hallway with pictures of her from childhood through early adult and the guestroom walls are filled with more items in tribute to her.  I am my mother’s only child and because I made the conscious decision to not have children I wanted her pictures and awards to have life.  Once I’m gone I don’t know if anyone else will care.

The furniture was hers, she loved the Victorian style.  I remember her joy when it was delivered.  The quilt on the bed is one she purchased during a trip we made to Gatlinburg, but barely used.  It was on her bed when she came home from the hospital for the last time, but she had me take it off when her meds made her vomit.  She feared ruining it.  I’ve stored it for the last 20 years.  It falls a little short on this modern thick mattress, but I don’t care.  I’ve saved it for this very moment.

The celebration did not end with the Open House.  I had about an hour to clean up for a 6 pm quaint dinner party with five friends that were joining me for the Najee concert at the Ludlow Garage.  Najee was my go to study music in undergraduate school, so when I got the email that he was going to be right up the road I thought that would be a great birthday activity.  His Najee’s Theme LP was one of the first vinyl records I played once I got my sound system set in my master suite, so I took the cover with me to the concert in hopes of getting it signed.  Thanks to Robbie Todd, the promoter that I’ve had the pleasure of knowing since the World Choir Games, it was signed, “To Venus.  Thank You Love Najee”.

Reaching this moment is bittersweet.  I’ve been an emotional wreck all week (damn menopause).  My heart is heavy, the tears have flowed.  This project has consumed my life for two years.  Almost every vision I had for the house from my very first walk through with Joe Gorman, Executive Director of Camp Washington Community Board, have come true.  The two areas that are a disappointment, the kitchen floor and spa-like function of the master shower, are correctable.  I should be elated, but this milestone sadly coincided with being confronted with the reality that a person I held in significance and had envisioned enjoying this house with will never be a part of it.  I’ve restored a beautiful house, but now struggle with figuring out how my house will become a home.  She deserves to be filled with sounds of laughter and joy, not hollow solo footsteps and TV noise.  I hope I’ll be able to replicate January 11 many times moving forward.  It was a special day I’ll cherish for a long time.

I was also asked what is next.  I know I can and will fix the kitchen floor.  I’ll add a steam unit to the master shower.  I will finish my master bed headboard, make my dining room table and office desk.  Hopefully by spring a loan from a bank would have come through and I can enjoy watching a contractor paint the exterior and then start Phase Two of the vision, the detached garage.  With a slight tweak of the Serenity Prayer: God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage, skill, patience, finances, to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.

I was still cleaning up things minutes before the first guest arrived, so I did not have a chance to hang before pictures in each room allowing people to see the transformation.  Enjoy this before and after slideshow.

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