New Columns and Landscape Prep

The headboard project got bumped again as this weekend was spent outdoors. My new columns arrived, so I decided to cut out my flower beds as the plan for the front landscape had been finalized.

I hired Mike Tanner Construction to install the columns. Mike installed my master shower floor. They were scheduled to arrive Saturday morning, but Friday night curiosity got the best of me so I removed the corner columns on each side. I knew the one on the right would give up easy as if you leaned on it, it would move. The left side gave up almost as easy. The decision to go down to four was made as soon as I was told six was not needed to support the structure. That was done for the aesthetic pleasure of the original owners. I always thought six was overkill. Up until I removed the two corner columns the plan was to leave the two in the front. Removing the corners gave me insight as to how it would look with them staggered. I decided the new columns would be installed in this manner.

Mike and his crew (Ray and Bobby), arrived promptly at 9am Saturday with four of the six. Two are on back order, but not needed immediately as they will be used to support the pergola that I’ll build to the left of the door. I won’t install the pergola until after the house is painted. They started by removing the front left. That came out fairly easy also. That left only three columns holding the entire structure. They then tried to remove the front right, but could not, even with a reciprocating saw. The weight of the structure was firmly barring down, so it was decided they should shore up the structure. I ran to Schuloff Tool Rental and rented two adjustable shoring poles. I kinda feel I may have caused the problem by removing the two, but if I hadn’t I would not have considered staggering them. Anyway, I returned with the poles, but the heat was already becoming unbearable. They only got two installed on the left before calling it a day.

I was able to return one of the shoring poles and while doing so rented a sod cutter, so that I could start laying out the design of my flower beds. That tool looks like something straight from Amish country and it worked me for five hours, but the flowerbed footprint is done and very close the the drawing I had laid out. Most of the sod I cut up I placed in an bare spot between my two cluster of trees. This is not the right time to lay sod, but it was free, the spot needed, so hopefully if I keep it watered it will survive.

Starting from the left on the side of the patio will be three Buck Thorn shrubs. These will grow and become a natural privacy fence. In the center of the circle will be a Forest Pansy Redbud. It’s red leaves should stand out since all the other trees around it have green leaves. 3-4 coral bell plants will be placed in front of it. At the corner of the porch and at each side of the front door will be Green Mountain Boxwoods. I’ll have fun keeping its shape over the years. Two Bobo Hydrangeas will be placed directly in front of the porch. On right side of door I’ll have three Green Velvet Boxwoods, one under each dining room window and the third in the gap next to the Green Mountain. In between the dining room window I’ll place a Limelight Hydrangea Tree. It’s blooms are similar to the Bobo. As with the Redbud, I’ll place 3-4 coral bell plants in front of it. Wha-La, my first landscape design. I’ll have color without annuals, which was the primary goal.

Sunday morning Ray and Bobby returned and made quick work of the remaining two columns. They were up in about two hours. Some people will view the old columns as trash. My minds eye sees a new upcycle project. I sprayed the insides with insecticide to get rid of the ants that had taken up residence in a couple of them Before the next rain I will move them to my basement until I can start that project. With the columns up I decided to finally buy plants for a 22″ flower pot that I bought weeks ago. Cassandra Jones, a colleague and friend who makes AWESOME pies and pasta dishes (#sugartinpies) helped me pick the plants. She studies plants to find those low on the pollen spectrum. I got two purple wave pansies, two ornamental peppers, three variegated ivys, and for the center a beautiful Tahiti Wind Hibiscus. The beautiful yellow bloom is a perfect compliment to my yellow door.

Handcrafted, Heirloom Quality Box by Conjure Craft Woodworkers

Several months ago I started working on a headboard project at the Manufactory and one of the members, Kendall Glover, owner of Conjure Craft Woodworkers, was lending his expertise. In my post You Can’t Replicate It, So Save It, I talked about the beauty that comes from old wood. In restoring my 1924 Cape Cod style house I threw away NOTHING. I repurposed wood shelves for my headboard project and Kendall took a piece of scrap wood I had thrown away and created this beautiful design.

Thin slices of 100 year old pine shelf from my house

Little did I know Kendall would turn that scrap into this beautiful, heirloom quality box and give it to me as a gift. The other wood for the box was scrap from 100+ year old pine floor joist that was given to me. Kendall made a garden bench from some of it.

Kendall recently had a flood in his basement following a heavy Cincinnati rain where he lost almost everything; family treasures, photos, and some of his wood working tools. Insurance will allow him to recoup replaceable items and he’s going to focus on replacing tools that will allow him focus on creating more of these beautiful boxes for sale. Every box will be unique as the milling/finishing process will be done with hand tools, planers, files, etc. If you’d like to purchase a box you can contact him at 773-358-8000.

My box is #4. He’s entering the first three in a juried art show. Last year Kendall created bird houses and entered them in the 2019 Art of Soul juried art show held at the National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center in Wilberforce, OH. He won 1st place in his category. The houses represent the evolution of his family. Slave shack of his ancestors, to suburban ranch of his childhood, to Chicago townhome where he lived before returning to Cincinnati to care for his now deceased mother.

I am super motivated to finish my headboard, so stay tuned for the next post to see the finished project.

My Vision, But Not My Hands Alone

The romantic notion of building my own dining room table from walnut slabs harvested from my back yard did not become a complete reality. I got the project started (see post: The Real Work Started This Weekend and Covid-19 Is Rocking Everyone’s World), but after hosting another dinner on a folding table I decided to let an experienced shop finish it utilizing my new found stimulus check money. I’ll have to save the romance for my office desk and the mulberry slabs also cut from a tree that was in my backyard. Hopefully I learned enough to pull it off.

So the biggest thing I learned, if I’m ever presented with an opportunity to have slabs cut for me again is to leave them over 2″ thick. Randy Wipert, the gentleman I gave all the walnut logs to in exchange for cutting and drying enough for me to make my table, asked me how thick I wanted them. I really didn’t have a clue, so I told him my finished thickness of an inch. He cut my boards under 2″ thick as a result. With the mistakes I made and the natural warping/twisting of the boards, the shop that finished my table ended up milling my boards down to a finished thickness of just under an inch. My mulberry slabs are also under 2″, so it will be interesting to see if I can pull off that project.

Clearly Randy kept the boards with less knots and less sap (the white areas are the sap wood, the wood closer to the bark of the tree) or since he had more wood to work with he was able to eliminate his sap wood. The shop that finished my table told me that two of my boards were too twisted/warped to use, so if I wanted a minimum of 36″ in width, I’d have to keep the sap. In the beginning of the project I did not want any sap. I really didn’t know what it was and I had never seen a mass produced table with it. You don’t know what you don’t know. Everyone at the Manufactory that saw my boards said I was crazy to eliminate the sap. I guess I better grow to love it since it’s staying. I was able to provide input on board placement before they were glued. I will have just two strips of white.

I was at a friend’s house and the woman next door was being evicted and these vintage cast iron table legs were sitting in her driveway. She was a professed flea market flipper. I offered to buy them, but she gave them to me. This was over a year before I bought my house. When I saw them I immediately thought what an awesome table I could make with them (I was equally fixated on HGTV/DIY’s Fixer Upper and Flea Market Flip at that time). I had a vision before THE vision for my house. With the cast iron wall sconces in my dining room and the gunmetal chairs I bought, I knew I’d want to get the rust removed and returned to the silver color of new cast iron. A & B Deburring Co. in downtown Cincinnati sandblasted them clean for me. The shop finishing the top sprayed them with a sealant that should prevent them from rusting again.

When I dropped off the legs I was able to see my table glued up for the first time. They had just put on the first finishing coat. I must admit I was taken aback when I saw it. I’m still grappling with the sap wood since it was not in the vision I had for the table. The thinness of it and the curved shaped (I fashioned the shape of it after the dining room table I grew up with, which was a mid-century modern design) gives it a refinement, but the knots and sap makes it look rustic. My house isn’t rustic. The movement in the wood is not like anything I’ve ever seen, so one side of my brain thinks it’s super cool. This was growing in my back yard. Those knots are signs the tree was sprouting new limbs to grow and thrive. Those knots can be my symbol to embrace the new career choices Covid-19 is forcing me to make if I expect to continue to grow and thrive. The other side is still stuck on the image of mass produced products. It makes me wonder if an experienced wood craftsman would have ever considered my boards for a table and if the foolish romance of making my own table clouded good judgement. It wouldn’t be the first time “the romance of” has made me make poor decisions.

I thought the corners were too sharp, so I did request that they be rounded a bit more. Due to the final thickness they will have to attach a skirt/apron underneath my table to provide structural strength and support. Just three days later my changes were made and the table completed.

My friends Kyle and Bethany helped me pick it up and bring it home and my neighbors Paul and his visiting father helped us carry it in the house. Not 100% by my hands, but it is as seen in my mind’s eye (well almost given the sap wood). I’m grinning ear to ear. Another vision complete.

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.

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My 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.

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.

 

 

 

At 54 Years of Age I’ve Found My Passion….Woodworking

Sister Girl with Skills has figured out that she loves working with her hands.  As if that isn’t evident given the massive restoration of my home I’ve been doing for the last two years.  Early in the project I had a dozen plus trees cleared out of my yard.  There were a few walnut trees that were picked up by Randy Wipert with Woodwrights Portable Saw Mill.  I gave them to him with the agreement he’d cut enough slabs for me to make my dining room table.  There was also a huge mulberry tree in the back corner of my lot.  When it was cut it revealed a cool yellow hue, so I asked the company cutting down the trees to save me a chuck of it also, which Randy also cut in slabs for me.  I thought I’d make my office desk with them.

Two years ago the idea of making my own dining room table and desk was more of a romantic notion.  I have built a couple things with cheap plywood, but nothing with real wood that would be meant for everyday use.  Fast forward two years, if I had known I’d develop such a passion for working with wood I would have kept all the logs and just paid Randy for cutting and drying.

When I picked up my slabs, after a year of drying in his shop, Randy mentioned that one of the mulberry slabs cupped (curved, bowl like, while drying).  He thought it would make a nice charcuterie tray.  I took his recommendation and decided to take that slab to the Wood Shop as a first project.  I cut into four pieces of almost equal length.  The rough cut surface is hard to see in this picture, but the surface felt fuzzy, roughed up.  Getting itsmooth is where the real work begins.  I started with the piece on the far right.

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I started this project in August.  The Wood Shop was having a show of projects made in the shop and my board was going to be my entry.  I didn’t make the show because I had to travel and return my focus on finishing the master bathroom.

My first task was toning down some of the live edge, the bark.  Food will be placed on these when finished, so I didn’t want deep crevices that it could embed in.  For that I went way old school and used a draw knife.  I’ve got earphones around my neck because someone else was working on a piece of equipment that made a lot of noise.

After that the strenuous work began, scrapping the surface until smooth.  There are a lot of motorized tools I could have used at this stage, but I went old school again and used a cabinet scrapper.  This it what was used before sand paper was invented.

That blade would get hot after several scrapes and my thumbs started to ache as those digits applied the most pressure.  There is an almost erotic sensation in working with wood at this stage.  You are scraping, massaging, and with each stroke the wood is coming to life in your hands.  The smell of the fresh wood is like an endorphin to your system.

Once I got the majority of the machine tool (saw blade) marks out with the scrapper I did use an orbital sander for the final smoothing.  I also used an electric planer on the bottom of all four pieces to flatten them out so they wouldn’t rock.  No pics of those steps.  This piece had a natural gap where a branch was starting to form.  I used 2-part epoxy to fill the gap; taping the underside, so the epoxy wouldn’t run out through.  The epoxy is clear, but once dried it turned black in the crevice, absolutely beautiful.  I wasn’t expecting that.

With the orbital sander I started with 80 grit and stepped it up to 120, 140, 320, and ended with 600.  The surface was a smooth as a baby’s bottom.  I put poly-acrylic, 3 coats on the bottom and sides, but on the top I put Watco’s Butcher Block Oil, which is FDA approved oil for food contact.  I applied two coats with a sanding of 400 grit paper in between.

The handles I found on Ebay.  They are cast iron drawer pulls in the shape of a fist holding a stick.  I found the old school screws on Amazon, Rustic Pyramid Head Wood Screws #6 X 5/8″.  No great woodworker creates a project without leaving a mark, so I designed and purchased a branding iron from Gearheart Industry for the finishing touch.  You only get one shot when working with a branding iron and while my practice burns were good, I did not do as well on this first custom piece from Sista Girl w/ Skills.  The feature image up top is my second try on another board.

One of my favorite DIY shows is Salvage Dawgs.  They make stuff out of salvage materials and sell it from their store in Roanoke, VA (I have got to get there to see it in person).  I surf their site for doors and inspiration for my dining room table and I stumbled across their charcuterie boards.  They had one made out of black walnut with handles they were selling for $279, which must have sold out because that page is now gone from their site.  If they can get almost $300, I wonder what I can get for mine?????

I’ve got the second board almost complete, the largest of the four due to its width.  I could not have imagined the beauty that would emerge. The veins and color variations are amazing.  The last two, which are more rectangle in shape approx 2′ x 8″, I won’t work on until after I’ve completed the inside of my house and built my dining room table, unless there is a buyer interested.  As you can see from the ends of the slabs, I will definitely have more wood available.  If you’re interested in one, let me know.

From Pinterest to Reality – Part 1

Some females have wedding books, saving clippings and photos of ideas to create the perfect wedding.  I had an electronic house book, links and photos to things I’d put in my

first house.  The idea to recess a dresser into the eaves space that was once a short closet was born from this picture I saw on Pinterest.   I was starting with nothing in regards to furniture in my master suite.  I really don’t like a lot of furniture, so this was the perfect solution to utilizing the empty space created when I relocated the door to this closet to my master bath linen closet.

It took several months before I found a salvage dresser that would fit in the dimensions, 20190605_205930but I finally did on Nextdoor.com for $50.  A beautiful, five-drawer dresser with dovetail drawers made by the West Michigan Furniture Co. of Holland, MI.  I couldn’t find any before pics, but it was a beautifully made dresser; solid and heavy.

The first thing I needed to do was trim the overhang from the top and bottom sides.  I’ve had this dresser for at least 9 mos, so I made the cuts with my circular saw before I started working with Tom Milfeld and taking classes at the Wood Shop.  I butchered that dresser.  Some areas I cut in too deep, some not far enough.  It’s a good thing the bulk of the dresser would be recessed in the wall.  I could have let it go, but I filled the gaps with wood filler and sanded down the high areas just to get it ready for paint.

This project was all about salvage, recycle, so I did not purchase the primer paint recommended by the Sherwin Williams sales clerk.  I had over a 1/2 quart of their White Synthetic Shellac Primer left from the fire damaged door I bought, so I used it instead.  He told me that would be over kill and he was right, as I discovered.  I’ve always felt spray painting is the best option for painting furniture.  Rolling/brushing creates too thick of layers if you’re not an expect and I am not.  At the end that’s exactly what I got, but I’m jumping ahead.

Once the primer dried my first, bone head amateur mistake was revealed.  I was in such a rush to get this project done, I did the cardinal sin in sanding.  I started with 80 grit and never went higher, so my surface was rough, especially on the drawers.  In hindsight I should have sanded at that step, but my first inclination was more paint would hide it, NOT.

My walls in my master are Sherwin Williams Indigo Batik, so I purchased a quart of their All Surface Enamel (recommended by the clerk) in that color and he recommended a Mohair Blend roller, which I also bought.  I applied two coats of paint and at that stage absolutely hated that I had ruined such a beautiful dresser.  I called my friend Joan who has a relative that paints furniture all the time.  She uses scrap paint and sands lightly between two coats.

Even though I had three coats on already (primer plus two color) I decided to try the sanding in hopes it would get rid of the rough spots that were still visible.  I only sanded the drawers.  It helped and the fourth coat actually looked pretty good.  So good I decided to drain the end of the quart can of Polycrylic.  I had enough for just one coat, but at this point that dresser had five layers on it, which would come back to bite me.

The craftsmen that build that dresser left zero margin in the drawer openings.  My five 20190609_131153layers were thicker than the original stain, so when I went to test a drawer it would not close all the way.  I intentionally painted the top edge of the drawer, but the bottom lip was just overage, so between the drawer edges and the opening overage I had too much build-up.  I used my new chisel set to scrap the bottom of the drawers.  I was hoping it would create a clean edge and it did.  I thought scraping the bottom would be enough, so the next task was getting the dresser from the basement up to flights to my master.

Earlier in the week I had asked my neighbor if he’d be around on the weekend to help and he was willing, but when the day came I had the epic feeling of not wanting to fail with an audience.  I didn’t know for sure if the dresser was going to fit and I didn’t want witnesses, so I tackled getting it upstairs by myself.  I had the full on Jane Fonda burn working in my already too tight calves when I hit the top landing, but it inserted like a glove.

I tried the drawers again and same outcome, still too much paint, so I bought a paint scraper and scraped the paint from the top of the drawers and top/bottom of the opening.  That did the trick, but it looked awful, so I decided take some dark stain (Minwax brand, but color unknown as I had poured the remnants of several different colors in one can) and stain the top edge of the drawers.  That amazingly did the trick.

The next obstacle were the two front legs.  I had to remove all four legs to trim off the bottom overhang.  I reattached them to their original location.  What I discovered was that my opening wasn’t square and the floor not level.  I had used wood glue with the original screws and I needed to push the front legs back about an inch. I used my draw saw to cut through the glue and mini crowbar to left them off.  Amazingly no damage.

That helped with the bottom alignment, but not the top.  For that I removed the original nail-on sliders and installed adjustable, which would allow me to set the heights on each leg differently.  Turned out I needed the entire dresser to tilt forward, so I made the back legs higher than the front.  I also needed the front right side to be lower than the left, which meant the left rear had to be even higher to stop the dresser from rocking.  Sometimes I amaze myself when my mind can sort through fixes like that.

The last step was replacing the original wood knobs with the Amerock Classic Cabinet Knobs Clear/Golden Champagne I found on Amazon.  They are 8-points, just like my glass door knobs on the first floor and the bases were a perfect match to my other brass accents. 

With that part 1 of the project was complete and I could finally empty the last box and bin in my floor.

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As Seen In My Mind’s Eye

I love it when a vision comes to fruition exactly as I saw it in my mind.  I completed the 1st floor bathroom medicine cabinet project, a project that began with a vision when I walked past a $15 salvage cabinet door at Building Value over a year ago.  The original cabinet was missing the door and shelves, paint was peeling off, I thought it was trash, so it was pitched when we demoed down to the studs.  About a month after demo I saw #NicoleCurtis from Rehab Addict restore a cabinet in similar shape and I kicked myself from throwing mine away.  So what was I going to do with the approx. 25″ x 25″ framed out square in my bathroom wall.

20171119_210039.jpgI was looking for doors when I saw a pair of what was once  glass cabinet doors on a built-in.  Building Valu really didn’t want to sell just one, but I talked them into it.  Instantly, I had the plan in my mind.  The cabinet door would be the mirror mounted to barn door track that would slide open to reveal shelves of the medicine cabinet.  I saw the ending, now I just had to get there.

The door had the old school wavy glass in it, which I removed and gave to Architectural Art Glass when they installed my restored stain glass window.  The first thing I had to do was trim the door down.  Hard to tell from picture since I didn’t capture the entire door, but I could tell from where the rollers were inset in the wood the door ran vertical (it’s not a perfect square) instead of horizontal.  Due to space limits I needed to go horizontal, so the thicker side had to be cut down to make all sides uniform.  I didn’t own a table saw and had never heard of WavePool at that time so my former neighbor cut it down for me.  It sat for several months after that first step.

The tile work was finished, I had started taking my shop classes, so now was the time to focus on the medicine cabinet again.  Next step was filling the back of the opening, which was the drywall from the guest bedroom.  I took a thin piece of MDF board I had leftover from the kitchen remodel project I did, covered it with the motivational peel and stick paper I used on the closet shelves, and used construction adhesive to attach it to the drywall.

I purchased melamine shelf components from Home Depot to create my kitchen and 1st floor bath linen closet shelves.  I had a lot of scraps left that I knew would be great pieces to create the frame of the cabinet.  I only needed an approx 4″ width, so I knew I’d need to drill holes on one side for the pegs that would hold the shelf.  The drill press at the Wood Shop made quick work of that.  With the holes drilled I returned home and ripped the four pieces I needed to create the frame.  I bought iron on laminate for the exposed edges and proceeded to nail the four pieces together.  I don’t have pictures of the finished frame as I managed to shoot about a 1/4″ of a nail into my left flipping finger knuckle.  I took a break from the project again until the swelling went down.

The inside frame was not going to be enough.  The opening still look unfinished, so the next step was trimming it out.  For that I took the new pine I had bought for the built-in, but didn’t use and took it to the Wood Shop and planed it down until it was only about a 1/4″ thick.  I then mitered the ends, prime painted it, and nailed it to the box frame.  I filled in the nail holes and then painted it Incredible White to match the walls.  Big thanks to Scotti at the Wood Shop for giving me a quick tutorial on how to measure appropriately to maintain the 1/4″ reveal I wanted around the frame.

Now back to that cabinet door.  First step was getting the original finish off it.  For that I used the Wood Shop’s belt sander.  I then drilled the holes for the barn door hardware and primed it.  I thought I had bought the Tricorn Black (another color from the 2017 HGTV Urban Oasis Giveaway), but I hadn’t so I gave it extra time to dry and turned my focus on the barn door track.  Months prior I had purchased a Smart Standard 5ft mini barn door kit from Amazon without measuring or really knowing how these things worked.  Well it turns out the length of your rail should be twice the length of your door.  I should have ordered a 6 ft length kit, but too much time had passed and I figured it would be close, but workable.

The bigger problem I had was my kit was for hanging a door on furniture.  The holes were pre-drilled and not spaced to hit wall studs, which I needed to do.  I decided to 20190504_134801.jpgsearch Google for tracks that weren’t pre-drilled and I found one on Signature Hardware.  That one track was the same price as the entire kit, but I decided to get it as it also allowed me purchase a slightly longer length.  I measured for the studs and took the track to the Wood Shop to use their drill press to make the holes.

Hanging the track gave me fits.  I used my trusty Walabot (love that gadget) to find the studs and even tested the location.  One would assume a stud would run top to bottom.  The two locations above the opening did not, which I did not discover until I went to drill in the 4″ lag bolts I bought (I didn’t use the bolts that came with the Smart Standard kit as they would not have been long enough).

Turned out I did not give myself enough clearance for the door to roll without hitting the light fixture, so I had to lower the rail.  After patching the four holes I made, I moved it down 1″ and the stud was gone.  I patched again lowered it a bit more.  Once hung I grabbed the primed door to try it out.  The vision was coming to light until I realized the rail stoppers from the kit would not fit on the new rail, it was wider.  I needed to figure out something to stop the mirror from rolling off the end.  The track had two holes covered with plastic plugs that were made for the powder coat process.  I removed one plug, which was in a perfect location and used a leftover spacer from the TV wall mount unit I bought.  Perfect solution.

It was down hill from that point.  I applied two coats of the black paint, let it dry a couple of days and installed the door pull I found on Build.com.  I then took the frame to another local small business in my hood, Southern Ohio Glass, who cut me three glass shelves and filled the frame with a beveled mirror.  It was absolutely beautiful and 100% what I envisioned when I walked past the door over a year ago in the salvage store.

The only glitch I had to fix was the door swung because like the stoppers, the door guides that came with the kit would work with my application.  Back to Google where I searched for door guides and I found on Amazon exactly what I was looking for, a small wall mount barn door guide.  I found the stud, mounted the guide, really showed off, by adding a rubber stopper on the side of door that will hit the wall and with that what was in my mind’s eye was a reality.  My guest bathroom decor is a tribute to all the people in my life that shared their positive spirits and words of encouragement on my journey to restore this very special house.  This is my coolest upcycle/salvage project to date!  All the leftover barn door kit parts will be put to use on my future master bed beverage station.

 

 

Feeling a Little Crafty

Stripping doors is boring, rewarding, but boring, so I decided to take a break and do something on the DIY craft side utilizing the porcelain knob and tubes connectors and insulators that I’ve been pulling from my house.  I wish I had listened to @NicoleCurtisRehabAddict and not thrown these things away when I first started demo.  Turns out there is a market for them and I even found a really cool coat rack project that I decided to try.

The project I saw only made it from the knob and tube (rack on left), but I also made one out of the long skinny insulators (rack on right).  The wood is reclaimed floor boards that I got from my friend Joan.  That color is the true patina of the wood.  I just rubbed the board with denatured alcohol to clean it up and rubbed it with linseed oil to give it a shine.

The knob and tub design utilized the existing nail to adhere them to the board and I used epoxy to force the gap to stay expanded and adhere it to the board.  The nail extruded slightly through the back of the board, so I used the grinder to remove the excess.  For the insulator version I used 5 inch (only needed 4.5 inch, but Home Depot and Lowes did not carry that size) galvanized carriage bolts with a lock washer and nut.  I thought the dullness of the galvanized worked better with the old porcelain.  Warning, if you try this yourself don’t crank hard when tightening the bolts.  I cracked the first one I attached.  I counter-sank the nut in the back with the help of my neighbor’s drill bit machine and cut the excess bolt with my grinder.

The boards were already cut to that length (why I chose them for the project, too short to use for floor repair) and are about 32″ long, give or take.  I used keyhole fasteners on the back and placed them at 16″ on center, so that HOPEFULLY a stud can be hit when it is time to install.  The knob and tube board was longer, so the fasteners are at the end.  On the insulator they are 16″ apart from the center of the board as it is shy of 32″ on length.

I think the insulator tubes would make a great mug rack, but I would need to bore a hole at an angle, so the tube can be attached at an angle.  The process to make that happen is above my skill set and tools.  My neighbor could probably make that happen, but I’m actually trying to ween myself off his help.

I only had to come out-of-pocket about $10 for the bolts and fasteners, as everything else is recycled or should I say up-cycled.  Given the cost overruns on this project I may be cranking out more and selling them to help generate some funds.

This was not my first craft project, just the first one I’ve done since starting the blog.  All my others I posted on my Facebook page or made a video about it.

Here is a link to my first commissioned project.  My friend Vicki asked me to create a frame to go around a mirror in her hall bath:  https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10213184592195787.1073741894.1424896347&type=1&l=bd2215cbbe

My first woodwork project was a flower box for my deck (not counting the deck and gazebo my dad and I built).  It will stay with the house when it sells.  I called myself working with scrap cedar that had been in my garage since the deck project, but I got very carried away on the size and probably spent another $300 on wood and the dirt to fill it: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10209323426469057.1073741888.1424896347&type=1&l=3c63e8b7d8

My second woodwork project was making a monitor riser for my desk.  I called it the Goldilocks Project because I bought and returned two sit to stand desks before making something that was just right.  although it took to tries to get it that way:  Goldilocks Take One and Goldilocks Take Two.

One of my favorite projects came about after watching another one of my favorite DIY shows, Salvage Dawgs.  In each episode they do some up-cycle project, that “you can try at home”.  This one I bit on.  They turned a trunk into a bench, so I took my college trunk and did the same.  This currently sits in my entry foyer.  The Welcome sign never gets seen, but was placed there to hide a crack in the top of the trunk.  It also anchors the top cushion in a way that will allow the fabric to be changed if/when needed.  This was my favorite project and probably the start of accepting I love working with my hands.  I may be selling this as part of my downsizing.  There is a built-in bench in my entry foyer and I haven’t visualized a place for it yet.

The last project I will share is the work bench I made.  With most of the projects above I did not have a proper work surface, unless I was at my neighbor’s garage/shop.  I was using mop buckets, 4′ folding table, and garbage cans as cutting surfaces with power tools.  I had purchased my first large cutter tool (a miter saw) and I was a freak accident waiting to happen, so I decided to make a work bench before pulling it out of the box.  Instead of following the plans I decided to make the bench larger as I had the space in my garage.  Well my future workshop will be the basement of my house, so this puppy is going to have to be deconstructed to get it down there.  This was my first project using my own Kreg Pocket Screw gig and no help from my neighbor, which gave me extra pride.  This called for a video:  Venus’ DIY Workbench