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 hope I’ll be able to 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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What Doesn’t Kill Ya Makes Ya Stronger

I was not in the right mental frame of mind to hang the last door of my house.  I had asked and paid Scotti to do to this door, what he had done for the basement door, but with the holidays and his having family in town he returned to me a door slab and jamb; basically what I gave him in the beginning minus the lock was installed.  That got the project started on the wrong foot because I knew I would not be able to hang by myself without the hinges set to the right place.  Annoyed, but not deterred, I purchased a Milescraft HingeMate kit from Woodcraft and took the door to the WoodShop around 2:30 pm Saturday (one of only two open shop days) because I’ve allowed Scotti to use my router and table.  I also hoped he’d help make sure I had the markings in the right place.

I’ve said it before and will repeat again, I’m not proficient, which means I’m not efficient.  It took me 3 hours to route in the 3 hinges.  I got the first one done and decided to put it back in the jamb with the hinge pin in to make sure the other marks were right.  Well I cut it about 1/8″ to high on jamb, which made for a tight/close fit at the top of the door.  Good thing I did the fit as that made my marks for the remaining hinges off and they appeared to be way off anyway.  It was 4:45 pm at that point and the shop closes at 5 pm.  Scotti helped me make the correct marks and I scrambled to try and finish by 5, hoping now that I had the process it would be fast.

Well with the second hinge, I put my jig on the wrong side of door, which meant the cut was reversed.  I was in tears by this point, so Scotti chiseled out the piece of wood that should have been on the opposite side.  Really not a big deal, but a mistake I was mad I made.  The salvage door turned out to be slightly, 1/4″, smaller in width than the original door as recessing the hinges created too large of a gap at the opening.  This is something Scottie could have corrected when he had the door for three weeks, but fortunately he made the correction now, so I could work on the third hinge.  I left around 5:30.  No pictures from any of that work as I was just frustrated at myself.  The kit worked beautifully, so glad I purchased.  Here’s a company video so you can see what I did.

Once home I ate first (hadn’t eaten anything since breakfast) and then got started hanging.  This was the fourth door in jamb I installed by myself, so I really was expecting this to go quick. Oh so wrong.  My house slopes, so the opening was not level and it created a gap at the top, right side of door that I just could not figure out.  My mind kept saying cut the jamb on the high side, but my inner voice said don’t do it.  I turned the top of the jamb into a pin cushion with so many nail holes from multiple attempts.  I took a chunk out of the top of the door; I crushed my mother’s lamp, damaged the moulding on the closet door, and gauged the wall when I lost grip and it fell inward; and I cracked the drywall which will need to be repaired and painted before I hang the inside moulding.  At 4:12 am I went to bed with more tears, dejected and defeated.

Sunday morning I was awakened at 8a (so four hours of sleep) by a text alert on my phone that turned out to be a you can earn $130 by completing this survey from Amazon scam (I really hate that our text are now being invaded in the same way our emails are with these scams).  Tired, but in clearer mind, I decided to skip church, turn on my Pandora Yolanda Adams station, eat some bacon and toast, and climb back on the bull that had thrown me a few hours earlier.

What I needed most was another set of hands, so I went in my basement and got three pieces of lathe from a pile I kept and screwed them to the jamb.  That gave me something more substantial to hold and kept the door in proper alignment.  It also allowed me to step back, without fear of the door falling inward, and clearly see where my gaps were and their size.

The slope of house created large gaps on the upper right, bottom left and small to no gaps on bottom right, upper left.  The large gaps were too big for normal door shims, so I headed to my basement for the scrap wood pile and proceeded to build out the opening in the areas needed until I could get to a point that normal shims would work.  In just 2 hours and 45 minutes the door was hung.  I had to plane a little off the side of door near top as it rubbed slightly, but the door was in.  I’m not sure if the original door’s knob was in the same place as this one, but I was amazed how the knobs of the closet and door stacked, so they would never hit together; a great turn of events from a door that truly kicked my ass.  I thought hanging this door would be my final post announcing It’s a Wrap, but I have to repair the damage I caused first, before I can hang the inside moulding.

Everything must be done by Friday as I’ve scheduled a Birthday Open House on Saturday, so no rest for the weary.  I tried to send all my local followers an invite, so if I missed you, but you’d like to see her in person, send me a message.

Rent A Heat Gun

I’ll never use stripper again.  I bought a heat gun from Home Depot when I needed to strip the paint off my 1st bathroom door.  It didn’t put a dent in the layers of paint.  The scraping tool that connected to the end of it actually bent.  The paint never came to a blister.  I returned it and bought stripper, hence my post The Battle of the Strippers.  Assuming all heat guns are created equal when it came time to start stripping the office door I found at Columbus Architectural Salvage I immediately planned to buy Citristrip, but I also remembered a conversation I had with Britt Sang, the guy who painted my door when he came out to give me a quote on painting my house.  He said he’d use a heat gun to remove the paint from around the windows.

I decided to try a heat gun again, but this time I was going to rent a professional one.  Unfortunately the door was returned to me too late to rent one last Saturday.  I had already lost 8 days when it was not returned on the 21st as communicated by Scotti at the WoodShop, so instead of doing nothing until Monday when the rental store opened I ran to Lowe’s and bought Citristrip.  It took two gallons of Citristrip and two days to get one side to the state you see in these pictures.  The fine grooves in the two vertical panels still had paint on most of it.

Frustrated by the slow process (I swear it worked better previously) Monday I headed out to Schuloff Tool Rental for a $12/day heat gun.  Before leaving the shop I asked for tips on using.  He said to heat an area, put the gun down and scrap.  He recommended using a 5-in-1 tool, which I wasn’t sure what it was so he sent me to a Beck Paint and Hardware Store 20200106_083406down the road from them.  When I saw the tool I then knew what it was because I had two of them.  I asked the clerk about getting paint out of the grooves and he recommended the Hyde Coutour Scraper.  You get a handle and six different attachments.  I used the one you see pictured.

Heating an area and then scraping did not work.  As fast as it bubbled up, without the heat it cooled down.  Remembering how the attachment from the one I bought worked, I put my scrapper down and held the gun inches above it and once the paint started to blister I pushed the blade..  The paint came up like butter.  I was amazed.  In about 5 hours I had the door completely stripped.  The Hyde tool worked fabulously in the grooves.  I was so focused on that area that I didn’t take any pictures.  As you can see from the pic on the left I singed the door a bit, but wasn’t concerned due to my dark stain.

The bad thing about paint strippers is that they do something to the molecular nature of paint, as when I turned the door over to use the gun to clean up the strip side, the heat just made the residual paint gum up.  When I tried to focus on the grooves I unfortunately held the heat gun to the plastic handle of the scraper and it melted the mechanism that held the attachment rendering it useless.

I decided to just sand the door and then apply the stain.  I knew the next day that I had not sanded enough. I could tell that the lighter areas still had residue of the paint/stripper.  My sanding pad gummed up quick and instead of changing it I used it for the entire door.  Once gummed up sanding pads are not effective.  I decided to sand the lighter areas again, but instead of using my belt sander I used my orbital.  I went through 3, 80 grit pads, which means there was a lot of paint residue on that door.  I used the orbital on the heat gun side too.  In comparison I used one pad and it never gummed up.

I knew after one coat the heat gun side was going to look better, so thankfully that is the side of the door that faces the hall and will be seen the most.  When I thought I would have the door back before Christmas I decided to hold a Birthday Open House, so the eight days I lost stopped me from spending more time cleaning up the detailing.  Perhaps one day when I’m bored and I get another Hyde Contour Scraper handle, I’ll go back and clean up the grooves.  For now it will just have to work.

New MO for Final Four Doors

Happy New Year!  Hard to believe a new year is here and the journey that started in 2017 of restoring my house has carried over into it.   I spent the bulk of the day, including the strike of midnight working on the final four doors, but I did take a short break to join a friend at their family tradition.  On a piece of paper they write down the negative things from 2019 they want to leave in the past and then burn them.  Then they write down the positive things they want to have happen in 2020 and place them in a pot they pour water over to symbolize nourishment to help them grow.  I had one significant one I needed to burn and one prayer I need to see manifest in 2020, so I thought this was worth taking a break.

The floor moulding clean up, specifically scraping to remove all the paint gave me a revelation for cleaning up the three guestroom and hall closet doors.  I had cleaned/restored the previous eight doors using the method outlined in the video How To Restore a Wood Door.  I have followed that video religiously, but one thing I did notice is that during the denatured alcohol stage the finish became slurry and goopy.  I went through several pieces of steel wool with each door and had to work hard to make sure I had a uniform level of clean before applying the Restore-A-Finish.

Remembering that scraping the moulding did not lighten the color of the stain, I decided to scrap the surface of the doors before cleaning it with the denatured alcohol.  Scraping just left a pile of dust, which I probably should have worn a mask as I had coughing spells for a few days following.  Scrapping took maybe 15 minutes, far shorter time than trying to clean up the slurry mess I had with the other eight doors.  Once scrapped, I used my shop vac to remove the dust and then cleaned with the alcohol, which seemed to be the first step in resurrecting life into the wood (see bottom right pic).  Using this process I used only two pieces of steel wool for all four doors.

Once the alcohol dried I applied the Restore-A-Finish and here is a new tip, let it dry to a dull haze.  I put the product on some pieces of moulding and had to leave before I wiped it off.  When I returned the pieces had the haze, but like buffing a car that had been waxed, a firm wipe down revealed the shine.  After the doors were hung I rubbed them down with the Howard’s Feed and Wax.

Hanging the doors brought out new stumbling blocks to deal with.  The guestroom closet 1, hall closet, and hall safe doors had jambs that either recessed or extended to far, which would not allow the moulding to sit flush.  I had to cut the jambs out, but that in turn made the doors easier to hang as at that point they became pre-hung doors as I attached the hinges and door before putting it back in place.   The “safe” lock I’ve taken to a locksmith in hopes they can recreate a key for it.  I also got the floor moulding inside the hall closet.  Guestroom closet 1 I’m intentionally not installing the floor moulding as I may need to remove the drywall for a future project.

Closet 1 also needed a hole patched.  I’d love to know what a prior owner was storing in that closet that caused the need for a padlock to be added.  To fix the hole I used a piece of the wooden clothes rod from the original master closet.  I drilled a hole in a scrap piece of wood first, which I clamped over the hole.  I paddle bit, which I knew would jump around if I didn’t have a guide.  I used a 1 3/8″ bit.  I hoped that the old clothes rod was the same diameter as new because their diameter are 1 5/16″, which was just an 1/8″ smaller than my drill bit.  That minimal gap would easily fill with glue and I rubbed saw dust on the excrement and immediately applied stain before the glue set up.  I slightly over cut the plug, making sure the outside was flush by clamping a piece of scrap over it while it dried.  I learned from the WoodShop that glue does not stick to wax paper, so I had no corner with the block sticking to the door.  Not a bad patch if I must say so myself.

The two doors where the jambs were aligning with drywall turned out to be the more difficult doors to install.  Both doors needed to be planed down due to tight fits.  After stain was applied you’d never know they were shaved down.  While I could have left it alone, I also decided to replace a chunk of the jamb for the entry door.  That door had obviously been kicked in as the area for the lock strike plate was really compromised.  I have extra jambs in the basement so I cut out a chunk from one of them and spliced it in.  I removed the damaged area with my JobMax tool.

I am now the outer kitchen door moulding, office entry door and the top landing for upstairs moulding (lost what was originally there, so need to create something) from being complete with all the original scope of work listed in my building permit.  Honestly I’m fearful about having so much time on my hands.

Living and Dining Room Complete – Floor Moulding Close to 100%

My feature image my look like a pile a junk wood (it is), but what you don’t see are two pallets that were set out for trash that once held piles of moulding.  Santa brought me a burst of energy and I am now 3 doors away from a 100% complete interior.

All of the 5″ floor moulding is in place.  The gap moulding (not sure what it is really called, but the thin strip next to the floor) is in everywhere except where a door needs to be installed.  I am so proud to share that every room with unpainted moulding has moulding original to the house.  I thought I would need to buy new moulding for the guest bedroom because my memory from taking it down was that it was not usable due to the fire damage.  So wrong.  I just had to cut out a larger patch where the outlet that caused the fire was located and scrap away some of the charring.

The walls separating the dining from living rooms needed moulding left over from upstairs, so it took the most work because it had to be sanded down and stained to match downstairs.  The only large piece missing was the closet wall in the office and it took a patch of two pieces from upstairs to make it work.

Now I’m no professional finished carpenter, but I can’t label myself an amateur anymore either.  The only areas that gave me trouble were the openings where I had 45 degree miter cuts on both ends.  I mis-cut 4 of the 5.  Thank God for spare moulding.

20191214_234207I said in my I Would Buy Stock in Howard Products post that I wouldn’t write much with the finished moulding post since the process for restoring the wood was covered, so, here are the pics that got me to this point.

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I Would Buy Stock in Howard Products

All the windows are complete.  I finished the last two in my office in time for the final inspection.  I caulked the hell out of the window frames before putting on the moulding.  I know air was seeping in around the edges and through a seam in the middle of the frames.  I could see the curtains blow.  Granted we haven’t had any arctic cold temperatures, but I’m seeing a market difference in temps on the first floor now that all the window moulding is in place.

Upstairs floor moulding was a piece of cake/walk in the park as compared to downstairs.  The top edges are caked with paint, caulk, and tape.  They are extra filthy, smelling of animal urine, caked in roach waste, cracked, or junks missing.  I found the living room pieces first, but once unwrapped I thought no way they were usable.  Howard’s Restor-A-Finish is a miracle product.  The end result, is truly amazing.

The first piece I treated per the instructions from the video that first introduced me to the Restor-A-Finish product.  I washed off the dirt, attempted to clean with the denatured alcohol, before applying the product.  Unfortunately the paint was so thick on the edges that I was scrubbing hard with the steel wool and it wasn’t budging even though it was slurring the stain.  I took a paint scrapper to it.  I noticed that the areas that were still moist from the alcohol did not scrap as well as untouched areas where it seemed to pop off.  I decided to change my game plan, scrape first, even before washing off the dirt.  Scraping removed the top layer of stain, but that turned out to be advantageous as it made the denatured alcohol step faster.

Every piece needs to be fully scrapped and the majority of the pieces also need some type of mending.  The easy mends were gluing pieces that were cracked or completely broken off.  Amazing how many broken pieces I was able to not loose as the piles were jockeyed around.  I pin nailed were I could and clamped until glue dried.

The harder mends were those where the broken off piece was missing.  Only one so far and for that I made a splice out of moulding left over from upstairs.  I had to sand the patch piece down to the wood, to remove the wrong color stain.  I lined it up with the damaged piece and clamped them together along with my straight edge set at the angle I needed to capture all of the broken area.  I used my mini circular saw to make the cut.  I impressed myself with how this mend turned out.  I used the custom colored Zar stain on the patch piece.

The other difficult mend was filling the holes from where the electric outlets were located.  The living room only had two outlets (today’s code I have 8), so I employed some of the technique I learned from the This Old House video I found.  I did not make a jig or use a router since my pieces weren’t attached to the wall.  Instead I used my jig saw and traced the shape of my patch piece onto the piece I was cutting.  I did sand after gluing, so the dust would fill in the slight gaps.  Again I impressed myself although moving forward I will be mindful of the grain of wood used for the patch.  The second one didn’t match as well as the first.

With the pieces mended, cleaned, and restored installing was a breeze.  I used my Walabot stud finder to make sure I was hitting studs and I used 16 gauge, 2″ nails loaded in my nail gun.  Finding studs was key because the pieces were warped and bowed from not being stored flat.  This was corrected by the force of the nail pulling the board into the wall.  Hitting drywall only would not correct this.  The only wall that I had to treat differently was the exposed brick wall.  The moulding originally went into plaster, now it had to attach to brick.  For that I marked the mortar area in 4 spots and drilled a countersink hole in the wood.  I used masonry nails to attach to wall.  With the nails being black they blended perfectly.

I’m about 50% done with the floor moulding that must be restored.  The guest bedroom will be the only room to get new moulding because fire destroyed the original on one wall.  The moulding for the other three walls I’ll need to ensure the other rooms are complete.  In some areas the original pieces will be too short due to doors that were permanently removed or I’ll need to place it where it didn’t previously exist.

Next post will be pictures only when all restored floor moulding is complete.  I have an ambitious goal of having the entire inside complete by my birthday in January, which includes making my dining room table.  If the doors go well it will be completely possible.

Stair Railing Installed, Ready for Final Inspection

With my father in town for Thanksgiving I was able to have him help me install the last element stopping the scheduling of final Building Permit inspection for my occupancy permit; the stair railing leading to upstairs.  The railing I got from Hyde Park Lumber 20191022_195914because I wanted to have the curved ends that meet the wall.  I didn’t know code required this anyway, but I was at the historic General Denver Hotel in Wilmington, OH and I took a picture of their stair rail in hopes I could find something similar.

It came in three parts, the rail and two end pieces.  It would take some precise measuring and drilling to get the ends to align perfectly once attached.  I figured my father would be up for that task.  One end fit perfectly, the other I had to sand a bit, all in all it was a fairly easy project.

Installing window trim allowed me to find the pieces of trim that ran on top of the stair string and also under the bead board short wall surrounding the stairs, so I tackled putting them in place also.  I knew I would have two issues I’d need to work around.  The first was I knew the pieces would run short.  Originally there was a door that closed off upstair and the trim stopped at the jamb.  I had about a 5-6″ shortfall on both sides to contend with.  The style/design of that trim was unlike any other trim in the house.  I didn’t want to risk breaking it by taking it to Hyde Park Lumber to see if they had anything to match, so instead I used a piece of original trim not used on the Master Bath windows.  I put the splice at the top of stairs since my Master oasis is not public space.  Close enough in my opinion.

The second issue was dealing with larger gaps around the bead board and floor moulding created because the drywall was thinner than the plaster in some areas.  On the top of the left side of stairs there was an obvious gap that bothered me every time I went up the stairs.  Thanks to watching Tom install the last of the crown moulding I got the perfect idea to conceal the gap; an end cap which I made from a piece of leftover moulding from upstairs.  The piece was small and all I had to work with was my coping saw as I attempted to cut the shape to match the profile of the floor moulding.  A friend found a used scroll saw for me at Habitat ReStore for $15, all it needs is a blade.  Sure wish I had in operating for this.  All in all not a bad remedy.  The right side was not as intricate as the gap was much longer and wider.  More left trim from the bathroom windows took care of that.

The bottom of the stair string posed a different problem due to the removal of the jamb.  Each side had different lengths.  The left ended approx. 3/4″ from wall, so I decided to just fill the gap with a piece of wood that would allow me to run the floor moulding to the end of string.  The right side had about a 3″ gap, so I cleaned up the edge and decided to wrap the floor moulding around the corner.  Since moulding in that area didn’t exist I sanded down a piece left from upstairs and stained it to match the other first floor moulding and stair risers.

With the fixes in place installing the original trim pieces was a piece of cake.  Clean up was just water and Restore-A-Finish.

Before and After.  What a transformation.

 

Road Trip for the Elusive Office Door

20191123_114730Saturday I made a quick trip up to Columbus, OH to pick up the only missing door in my house; the elusive, 2-panel (vertical), approx 32″x 80″ door for my office.  You cannot restore old houses without having an arsenal of salvage stores to shop.  I found Columbus Architectural Salvage‘s website months ago when started searching for doors for my house.  They have always had the 2-panel vertical style I needed, but not until last week did they have one in the size I needed.  I paid for it in advance to ensure it would be there.

What a super cool store and so well organized, I could spend hours.  It was sensory overload.  The budding up-cylcer in me was roaring to come out and buy, buy, buy for project ideas.  I resisted and came home with just a door, a mortice lock to fit it, and a couple of hinges I will need for my master bedroom refreshment center project, stay tuned for that one.

The door will need to be stripped and stained to match the others in the house, but this won’t be my first stripping rodeo.  It will also need to be reversed as it is currently 20191123_151632oriented to swing in the wrong direction.  I’ve already solicited Scotti, from the Wavepool Wood Shop to tackling getting it fitted for the door jamb.  One day I will learn the process of retro-fitting doors and jambs, but at this stage of the project I’m invoking my old time is money adage.  At my current skill set (which is advanced and getting stronger) I would take days to fit the door and that’s not time I have to give at this stage.

Having that door allows me to truly see the light at the end of the tunnel.  The first floor trim, moulding, and setting of five doors is all that is left from calling the inside of the house complete.  I’ve put myself on the clock to have the inside complete by my birthday in mid January, so no holiday trim the tree gathering again this year.

I Told You She’d Be Beautiful

October 2017, armed with 2 PB&Js, Vitamin Water, and Gatorade I freed this hand-crafted, almost 100 year old built-in from the wall it was encased in.  It was one of the many vintage/cool elements that vandals left relatively untouched that made me fall instantly in love with this house.  I knew before the house was mine it would have a relocated home in my kitchen and today marked the day her restoration was complete.

Picking up where I left off with moving her back to the kitchen I completed restoring the doors.  The two smaller doors at the top were a simple clean with Murphy Oil Soap water to remove the dust, followed by denatured alcohol, outside only with alcohol.  Once dried I applied Howard’s Feed and Wax.  Like the bottom door, I decided to sand the glass doors, apply the Zar’s Early American stain, followed by the Howard’s.

Most of the door hinges were rusted, so over a year ago, I cleaned them up by soaking them in vinegar.  I sprayed them liberally with WD40 and placed them in labeled plastic bags waiting for this moment.

The drawers were missing from the beginning.  When I picked up my bathroom vanity from Homestead Furniture I noticed shelves of drawer boxes, so I asked if this was something I could purchase from them.  The answer was yes, so when I returned home I took measurements and ordered them.  I already had the plan for the drawer fronts in my mind.  The original closet shelves in the attic space were in the same stain/patina as the cabinet.  I just had to cut to size four fronts on my table saw.  The sharp edge from the saw I did not think was fitting of a 100-year old cabinet, so I used my palm sander to round over the edges.  I applied the Zar stain to the edges and sides due to the fresh cut and again applied the Howard’s.

To attach the fronts to the drawer boxes I drilled counter-sink #8 holes in each corner of the drawer boxes, applied wood glue, and screwed 1”, #8 screws through the boxes and into the fronts. The bottom drawer is the only drawer I did not glue as I that drawer may get altered in the future. It is also the only drawer to get drawer slides.   I did have to alter the drawer box to accommodate the slide, but my JobMax tool made easy work of that.

The top three drawers I am operating the way they were built, sliding on the wood frame, although I did add Nylo-Tape to make the slide smoother and to stop further deepening the wear groove. To stop the drawers from being pulled completely out I added plastic drawer stops, both found at Rockler Woodworking.

The  bottom drawer got special treatment because it now my hidden dog feeder.  I saw this idea on many of the HGTV/DIY shows.  I thought it was an awesome idea.  I never measured my dogs, assuming the bottom drawer was low enough.  The height of the drawer box I based off their current bowls.  It is almost too high for them, so I bought new shallower bowls and even though I had the scrap piece of plywood, I purchased a 2’x2’ piece of thinner wood to lower it more.  They took to the new meal location with ease and already stand in front of the drawer when they know its time to eat.

The final touch to the drawers were some vintage pulls I found on Ebay.  I searched vintage/antique built-ins on the Internet and all seemed to have cup pulls.  The wear pattern on these I thought was fitting.   They didn’t come with screws, but I found antique copper specialty screws at Lowes.  The Phillips head is the only thing that speaks modern.

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The shelves were covered in red gingham contact paper.  It was filthy and not fully in tack on all the shelves.  The idea popped in my head to look for blue gingham contact paper on Amazon and I found it.  My motto is Ask Google, Shop Amazon.   I will say it was hard to work with, very difficult to separate the peel off paper.  Luckily one roll was enough as I bought it December 2018.  Blue is no longer available.  I applied it to all the shelves and the top of the dog’s pull out tray.  The bottom stationary shelf I didn’t try to remove the remaining old adhesive and the new did not go on smooth.  For the three adjustable shelves I took a damp dish towel and applied heat from my iron.  The old peeled off in relative ease.

With all the doors, drawers, and shelves installed, all that was left was the counter top. The original was just a piece of thin metal covered with contact paper.  I knew when I freed her I wanted to put on a piece of soapstone.  Nicole Curtis used soapstone in one of her renovation and I it was so cool.  Over a year ago I found a remnant piece at Ohio Valley Solid Surface. I paid for it in full, less than $300, and they have stored it in their yard until I was ready for it.

I picked up a scrap piece because I knew I would need to notch the cabinet in order for it to fit.  I wanted to put stain on the cut areas and have the space completely ready, so all they’d need to do was slide the top in place.

The same men that delivered my kitchen and master bath counters brought the soapstone.  Their first task was remeasuring the cabinet.  They determined that more needed to be shaved off before bringing it into the house.  After shaving it off they cleaned it with alcohol.  That was the first time I saw the huge veins, beautiful, I was giddy with joy.

They carried it into the house, but had to remove a bit more wood from my notch before it would completely slide in.  Once in they applied the first of what will be many coats of mineral oil.  From what I’ve read it will take 5-6 coats before it stays dark.  The edge of the stone is beveled.  I was pleasantly surprised to see that as I assumed it would be rounded like the other counter.  However Emily, my sales person, had in her notes that we discussed a beveled edge would be more fitting given the age of the cabinet.  That was a conversation I did not remember, but glad she did.

It’s absolutely beautiful, everything exactly as I envisioned.