Humpty Dumpty

20170729_161028Stained glass frame was nailed to the wall
Stained glass frame broke into many pieces when removed prior to wrecking ball
All of Venus’ skills and help from Wood Shop Scottie
Helped put stained glass frame back together again.

The picture to the left was taken prior to demo.  I was able to get the stain glass out for repair without removing the frame, but when it came time for drywall I had no choice but to remove it also.  I started with a crowbar and the dried wood started cracking immediately.  I then pulled out my reciprocating saw and didn’t fair much better.  End result about 15 pieces.

Why I waited months after it came down to start putting it together I don’t know, but I didn’t start gluing pieces together until just weeks before my move.  The base of the frame was originally in two pieces; a right and left half to create the oval.  The outer trim was originally in four pieces, a top and bottom to each side, so basically my goal was to get back to 6 pieces and then down to the two halves.  I glued small pieces together first and used my pin nailer to hold them in place.  In the final stages of the project I regretted my over use of nails.  I should have invested in more clamps.  

With relative ease I got all the smaller pieces back together and I felt I was ready for stain, which I did before nailing the trim to the base.  On side the trim stayed in tack with the base except for a section where the base and trim had broken off.  The other side the base basically shattered, but the two pieces of trim stayed whole.  With the shattered half back together I was ready to reattach the trim and the top was a perfect fit.  The bottom trim did not and I assumed the weeks of separation and improper storage caused it to warp.  I did days of online research about bending wood, but ultimately decided to clamp it and slowly tighten.  When the trim met the base I filled it with nails and held my breath when I removed the clamps.  Initially huge success.  I turned my sights to the other half.

It appeared I had lost a small slither of would, so I got the brillant (NOT) idea of using 2-part epoxy to fill most of the void and then used a product called Quickwood, on top in hopes it would blend with the wood.  Quickwood is a putty epoxy that looks like a tootsie roll with the flavor in the center.  You cut off the amount you need, kneed it until the two colors are thoroughly mixed, and then press it into the area of repair. Once it was hard I sanded it down until it was smooth with the original surface.  The experiment worked and I had two halves ready for hanging, but they no longer lined up.  One side was about a half inch longer.  Time to take this project to the Wood Shop and ask Scottie for help.


I had to remove the trim again, which brought into realization that I used way too many nails.  Nails are a detriment to some tools in a wood shop so I had to work to get as many out 20190406_154320as possible.  Of course I broke a perfectly good section of the outer trim in the process.  Also the initial huge success I had with clamping and forcing the trim to bend created a stress crack on the base.  This project was taking many steps backwards.

Scottie decided my best option was to make the base one piece and had me go to Home Depot for mending plates which we screwed and glued to the back of the frame.  We also took a very sharp chisel and removed my epoxy experiment.  Turns out I probably had not lost the piece.  We used the stress crack and the re-separation of my epoxy mend to make sure the two halves met and secured the plate with screws and Gorilla glue at the seam.  He advised that I should let that sit overnight, so this project was going to take another week. 

Turns out at my next wood shop class I was a solo act, so we got to focus on the frame.  With the two sides meeting properly the next tackle was making sure the trim would fit.  Scottie has a great eye and was able to see if we shaved a little bit of one piece with a jigsaw and sand another part with the belt sander that everything would meet.  I did everything he suggested and we used two more mending plates and wood glue to secure my former epoxy spot and the new stress crack I created.  Another overnight drying period, so the finish would need to wait for open shop.

Everything dried and I finally had a complete frame.  I was good to go home and stain, but Scottie saw and knew that I could make it better by using the Quickwood to fill where I had slight separation at some of the mended spots and to fill the original and new nail holes I created.  He showed me the proper way to apply it, so I wouldn’t have to spend as much time sanding.  The trick is moist fingers to help smooth and push it into the crevices you’re trying to fill.  I was fearful of breaking it again, but I took his advice and spent the bulk of open shop fine tuning.

Once back home I added the Quickwood to a few more areas and sanded it more.  After sweeping away the heavy dust, I used a Gerson TACK cloth (my neighbor Bill hooked me onto these) to remove all the fine dust.  I applied a coat of Minwax Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner (mainly because I had it and thought it couldn’t hurt) and then applied the custom Zar color stain, again.   I just stood back in awe, it was beautiful.  I decided to add a couple of coats of Minwax Polycrylic too.  I love working with that product and can’t wait to tackle my built-in.

While that dried it was time for me to deal with the drywall around the window casing.  It protruded beyond the casing, which meant I’d have a gap between the wall and the frame.  This situation is with most of the windows in the house.  Plaster could be spread to fill where it was needed, so some areas were thicker than others.  Drywall doesn’t give you that play, so I have some windows where it protrudes and others where it recesses. 

My favorite handyman, Tom Milfeld, just happened to see me in the yard, so I had him help me trace a line around the areas with the gaps and he suggested I use my Ridgid JobMax tool to remove the drywall and that is exactly what I did.  It actually created the perfect ledge for the frame to rest in, so hanging it by myself was really easy.  After getting the frame up I also put the back boards back around the built-in bench.  I can’t be more pleased with how this turned out.  Humpty Dumpty back together again.

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September 28, 2018 – February 9, 2019

I should have made post as this project went along, so you may want to get some snacks to get through this one.  September 28, 2018 was the first day I started laying tile in the first floor bathroom, with the goal of having one fully functioning bathroom before I moved in.  February 9, 2019 was the day it officially became a fully functioning bathroom.  I still need to hang the doors, finish the medicine cabinet and touch up paint, but I no longer have to chose between the upstairs or downstairs toilet when I’m on the first floor and I no longer have to use the kitchen sink to wash my hands.  Heaven on earth.

With the exception of letting a plumber connect the shower diverter and drain in tub and having tub professionally reglazed everything else you’ll see I did by myself.  It truly is the most ambitious tile project I have ever undertaken and it tested my resolve, patience, and stretched my skills to a whole new level.  Pinterest can get a DIYer in trouble.  The idea to create a rug affect on the bathroom floor came to me via a picture on Pinterest.  I started with a very easy step, applying the RedGard to the floor and walls

The original floor was all white 1″ hexagon.  It was filthy, but otherwise in great shape.  I hated tearing it out, but the floor joist where really compromised from years of water leaks, so I had no choice, but remove.  I got the floor tile from the Tile Shop in Oakley.  I found a great sales person in Cari Branden.  From there I did a dry fit to make sure the black tile was centered and balanced.  I didn’t lay out the entire floor, just enough to

to know I had cut the mosaics to the right lengths and widths.  It was early in the project, so my confidence was high.  I put together my new Ridgid wet saw and got started.  I had the first row of white and the upper black down and at that point had planned to do all the outer white and then all the black, so I could grout the black.  In hindsight I should have used gray grout for entire floor, but I had my vision set on white on white, black on black.  Things weren’t lining up with the thinset as they did with the dry run as I realized the sink wall was not straight.  I abandoned the idea of laying all the black and just started laying rows, backing my way out the room.

Next was the white grout, trying to be careful not get any in the areas meant for the black grout.  It was November 12th when I reached this stage.  I had sold my house and was packing for my November 17th move.  I turned my focus on the walls (still had not done the black grout) as I had Miracle Method scheduled to refinish the tub on November 15 and they said I needed to have the tile work around the tub finished before they could do their part.  I had already rescheduled them twice.

Followers of my blog have read this statement many times.  My goal was not to renovate, but restore.  The orignal bathroom had 4×4 white tile and tile chair rail on all four walls.  Originally it only went up about 4 feet as there was not a shower, just the gorgeous, deep cast iron tub.  I’ve never worked with a chair rail or cove base tile and they don’t make now as they did back then.  All the wall tile came from Lowe’s, American Olean.  Just before I started this project I got to go to a training at French Lick Resort and stay in their West Baden property.  I had heard so many wonderful things about that property and it did not disappoint.  Highly recommend.  The bathroom had the same chair rail and 4 x 4 tile I had purchased.  I asked management and they told me it was American Olean.  I got geeked (did I just age myself).

I was taught to start in the center and work your way to the sides, so that each corner has the same width tile.  With the corner round I had to start on the outer corner.  It amazingly was easier to work with the corner pieces than I thought.  Even the beveled cuts for the chair rail went off without a hitch. Since I added a shower, my tile went up 7′ around the tub and it seemed like the boxes of tiles were multiplying as I was laying them.  After a full 8 hours I hadn’t put a dent in the tub area, but I had done enough to keep the tub refinishing appointment.

Miracle Method reglazed my master tub at my former house.  My friend Joan had used them and was happy with the outcome, so I didn’t shop around.  They did a good job on Inner Circle, so I became a repeat customer.   They started right after I had my bad 20181115_120545experience with Roland Hardwoods where I didn’t speak up when I knew the work wasn’t right.  For the plumbing rough-in I had to put a drain in for the water test.  Since that tub was going to be reglazed I bought a cheap one from Home Depot and it was still in place.  The young man doing the work was adamant he was not allowed to remove the drain, even though I told him it was temporary.  I knew there was rust under it, but he insisted that area didn’t need to be treated and I could remove it later.  I let it go, as I had to leave due to fumes, but when I saw the tub the next day I knew I was

right as could see that once I removed that drain it was going to compromise the edges around the drain.  I called their office and raised a fit and he was instructed to remove the drain and treat the area underneath.  Instead of buffing and finishing in 2 days he had to retreat the area and I held off the final, buffing, until after my move.  SPEAK UP is the important lesson I learned when your gut tells you something is not right.

Several people told me I could have gotten the reglazing done cheaper, they charged $650, but the final product looked awesome and I’m not knowledgeable enough to know if one process is better than another.  I would use them again despite lower pricing elsewhere.

Since I’m through about half the pictures, I will make this a two-parter.  Stay tuned as you haven’t seen the hard part yet.