The Old Man

The past few weeks have been a blur. More out of town guests, miscellaneous versions of the contractor’s punch list, pre-school graduation, and various trips to the hardware store. I’ve got pictures to get off the camera and updates for when the time is right. Now is not that time.

Today is Father’s Day. It’s a day I have mostly ignored since my dad passed away in 2006. Before that I hadn’t lived in the same state as him for eight years. Needless to say, I haven’t spent Father’s Day with my dad in a long time. Sure, my wife and girls have done an amazing job making the day special but it’s still not on my radar. My wife had to remind me on Friday that Sunday was Father’s Day.

But today things might’ve changed.

I woke up to my girls running into my bedroom wishing me a Happy Father’s Day. They helped me open a few small gifts and a sweet little card. Then my wife bought me a weekend design class with George Walker. Not a bad way to start the day.

IMG_4217The point where I knew things were really different happened in the afternoon. I got a few minutes to work on the doors for the living room bookcase. I want to remove the louvers since they don’t fit the style we’re going for. I decided to just smash the hell out of them with a chisel.

The Old Man's chisel at work

The Old Man’s chisel at work

It was therapeutic to smash away. After a few slats, I realized I was using my old man’s chisels. They are the classic Stanley’s with plastic handles circa 1970 something. I tuned them up a few years ago and bring them out when I want to do some rough work. I looked up through my basement window and gave the blue sky a teary smile. Then I got back to work.

Thanks dad.

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I haven’t updated things because I’ve been busy staying up late working on the house, popping Advil, and entertaining out of town guests. As of last weekend, the Living Room like like this.

On the contractor side of things, they’ve been busy as well. Counter tops, plumbing, trim work, floors, and backslash are done.

You might have noticed there is no range. Thank you Best Buy for completely sucking on delivery. Seriously…it’s been a nightmare. The punch list is next up for the contractors and hopefully they’ll be gone by the end of next week. I’m up next on the hot seat but at least we’ll be able to go back to some semblance of normal.

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Floors and More

Week 5 concluded with 95% of the floors coming in and about 80% of the paint on the walls.

I spent all of Memorial Day knocking working in the Family Room. By 11 PM the entire room was primed and I was exhausted. Here’s a shout out to my painter who suggested Sherwin Williams’ Pro Block Oil Based spray primer. It was a little messy and quite noxious but I had all the baseboard, bookcase, and window trim primed in about 60 minutes. That’s a lot faster than doing it by hand.

The light at the end of the tunnel is nearing.

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Shameless Plug

My End Grain article is feature in the upcoming issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine as indicated here.

I’m kinda pumped it’s in the same issue as the Traveling Tool Chest.


Carry on…

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Another Weekend of Work

I returned home from work on Friday to find a whole bunch of cabinets installed.


My wife and I also tackled painting in the living room. Remember, we weren’t planning to do anything to this room but we couldn’t resist. After two late nights and several dose of Advil, the fireplace and ceilings are done. Here’s a video showing the process for white washing. The one area of caution is to make sure you do a test sample. My wife wishes she’d thinned out the mixture more. Ce la vie.

My wife rocked it on the white washing

You’ll likely note the sloppy job on the beams. Like most of the trim in the house, they are the ugly shade of brown we hate. Slopping them up helped got me off the ladder a little faster but more importantly, it means I now need a solution. One idea is to take them down and remove the ugliness with my Rotex (planing seems too difficult). I’d likely mimic whatever I decide with the mantel but it’s still TBD. Another idea was from my contractor, who recommended getting some weathered barn boards and then just facing the beams. These beams are 16′ long apiece and I’m not sure if I can score pieces that long – I’m not interested in putting up smaller pieces. Any ideas? Please leave me a note.

Finally, I’ll leave you with the picture below. It was a much needed moment of comic relief late on Saturday night. In the middle of painting the ceiling, I realized I needed to remove the ceiling fan blades. Sigh… But, here’s what I found on the opposite side of the blades.

Really? People used to opt for this?

Really? People used to opt for this?

We’ve toyed around with re-installing them to show this great bit of 70s faux character.

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Week 4 Begins

The drywall was hung and a few coats of mud were put on this this week.

Then the tile went down and was grouted over the weekend.

Plus I was able to get some woodworking incorporated. I removed the mantel and planed it down. Here is where the Festool Rotex came in handy. I don’t use this tool much but it took off years of stain and muck in a few minutes. I’m going to research some methods for putting on a dark stain on pine. I’m not thrilled but it’s “free” at this point. If I don’t like it I’ll probably mount it and then look for something better down the road. If you have any thoughts on staining pine please put let me know in the comments below.

Last up for the weekend was to put a coat of Kilz on the walls where the wallpaper was up. This was based on a request from our drywaller. He’s going to skimcoat some time this week. Let’s hope it works.

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For Jim

I read a blog post from my internet woodworking buddy Jim recently.  It reminded me of the term Gumption Traps from Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. I too suffer from these episodes. Currently, I’m not going through this phase of the journey but I was a few weeks ago. So Jim, this is for you.

I’ve been chopping dovetails for the better part of two months (off and on of course). It’s required me to keep my chisels sharp. My lack of a sharpening station is best described by Dave over at Less Ordinary. I have an idea for the ultimate sharpening station but instead of opining about it or feeling guilty for not chopping dovetails or cutting grooves for the drawer bottoms I whipped this up over the course of three or four hours in the shop.

IMG_9645It’s made from pressure treated pine used to hold up my sister’s college loft during the Reagan administration. The top is what I’ve been carrying around to sharpening my tools for years. It’s sturdy, the right height, ugly, and allows me to keep my sharpening stuff out while working. Of course it needs blah, blah, blah…I’ll save that for my next bought with Head Trash.

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