Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Kitchen Tear Out

Kitchen Tear Out, originally uploaded by DictionaryMan.

This picture is from 11/5/05. We just started innocently yanking cabinets out, and before too long we were up late banging away at the soffits and tearing it all down.

M slept through it all. Proving that life can still go on through a remodel!

New Lighting and Pictures of Shelves One and Deux

New Lighting, originally uploaded by DictionaryMan.

This is an older photo, if by older I mean late October. My mother bought the fixture as a gift and it's nice. Classy. So she also got us the matching ceiling fan. That's darn fancy. I'll have to get some better shots of it. Maybe once the kitchen is done. (The fan is in the living room.)

The shelves to the left are the first I made. (see oldest posting.) Despite the photo, they are straight and true. It's the books that are crooked, I reckon. The ones over the radiator (still with the lighting fixture's box draping them) are an ongoing project. They are Shelves Deux to the uninitiated. I think I've spent more time talking about what I'm planning to do with them than what I've actually spent making them. So I'll stop right here and get back to work!

Top of the Pantry

Top of the Pantry, originally uploaded by DictionaryMan.

More of the pantry. Top shelf was for sacks of stuff, potatoes and onions I think was what I was onto...but they work best for chip bags and N's favorite soy crisps.

I've since put in built in shelves to the left of the door as well. It's a pantry hallway now. (The left will get its own posting soon.)

Tearing out the drop ceiling

This is from mid October, when N and I decided to rip up the kitchen. The back door mud room, which became the pantry is the doorway off to the left there in the picture. Since this picture the gas line has been brought up to where the frig stood - the range moved there, and all the cabinets have been torn out and soffits have been removed.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Kintchen new decor

Kintchen new decor, originally uploaded by DictionaryMan.

After a year in residence, we decided in about 3 minutes that it was time to start demolishing the kitchen. After tearing out some cabinets over the course of a few days and moving some things around, we decided at 7:34am one fine morning to tear up the floor. What was revealed under two layers of linoleum was "black crap." But nestled protectedly under said crap, are awesomely handsome maple floorboards. Just like the rest of the first floor. So, off to HD to rent some buffer, and hours later here's what happened. Now we're also nearly done with the plaster ceiling restoration, hence the ceiling goop in tubs on the floor. The rest of the black crap can be seen to the left. We're only 1/2 way done, and we'll need to complete some finish sanding too (20, 60, 80, 120, 220 grit...we've done the 20 so far). Then we cap it with 4 or 5 coats of Velvit.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Weekend's Work

11-13-05_2110.jpg, originally uploaded by DictionaryMan.

Shamelessly large. It can fit the biggest screen. Our TV, used and huge, has got to be the heaviest set I've ever had to heft. Its perch, currently recycled plywood, but soon to be 3/4" birch plywood, is 40 inches off the floor. The Tannoy monitors fit in there with room to grow if need be (I won't need it!) The rack spaces are not all taken. For the party on Friday, the top will be done, the cable holes will be cut and the trim installed. We'll also replace the tv with our turntable, a wood/metal german affair. Cheap thrill.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Lawn vs Leaf

There's no escaping the fact that I think raking prior to every tree being bare is just plain wasted effort. Result? Our lawn, once dirt pools with young newly hatched grass seed islands, is now hopelessly choked with leaves. But the leaves are pretty. Northeast lovely. They even crunch underfoot superbly, much better than I remember as a child. They beg to have a tackle football game played upon them. With cleats. Aerate the soil, or some such. And there's still that fall nip in the air, a few leaves still clinging to the branches of our maples, and there's even one tree in the neighborhood that's still green. When its leaves finally fall. I'll get out the grain shovel, move some snow around and then rake.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Who got beans?


One night it came to me. I got my mind around a project that hadn't previously been on my radar. I'd turn our old cluttered back hallway into a pantry.

Voila! Halfway done. It cost about 150 for the lumber used so far and took about two days. (All weekend.) Simple dado cutting on the radial arm saw, as before, but in pine this time. I shellac'd half of it, but will shellac it all before too long.

The previous weekend I spent refinishing the wood floors in there, after pulling up a tired flat carpet left over from the 1950s or earlier. Twas the same carpet pad I recognized from redoing the floors on the first and second floors.

Work health is stable in these somewhat stormy fall skies.

Kitchen Next

See that old 1970s flooring? See those cheapo kitchen cabinets? This kitchen is the next thing to get worked on...and it's gonna be sweet. Nice action photo, eh?

Note to self: I have no idea how long this will take me. A couple of months. Six, or seven weekends? My marriage probably needs less wood cut and more finished kitchen...very soon. Very soon. And then onto the next pj.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Shelves Deux

So I gathered up another $300 in Mahagony boards and warmed up the radial arm saw for another pleasant go-round with wood. This time I built companion shelves to the original shelf project. Now our Dining Room is a favourable library. The two shelves top out at 96", and have plenty of storage. The one I just built is constructed above a steam radiator. The distance of the first shelf above the radiator is nearly a foot and a half, but we'll just have to see how it all turns out. The shelf could be relocated if the heat is too much for books to bear. The radiator will be entirely enclosed within the box of wood, with 20 1" vertical strips covering the front and providing structural strength for the shelves above it.

I still don't have a digital camera. No pictures of me during the process, which makes this weblog about home improvements rather dull and texty, eh?. Eventually I'll take some, I guess. I had hoped to get a new cameraphone, I know cameras in them things really stink!, but that seems to have fallen through. I'm too busy with things to even bother. Ain't that the truth in life anyway?!

So these shelves are done. What's the next project?

Next on the list is a corner "entertainment" rack, to house the electronics behind our Netflix addiction and my neighbor's Xbox affliction. The rack will be nice. I always wanted a house with a nice rack. No, wait. I wanted something else with a nice rack... how did that go?

Monday, June 13, 2005

Lawn - it's a turf war out there!

So I chose a hot humid weekend to take on our lawn. What was once weak soiled and sandy, with ant hills as far as the eye can see is now a dirt pool strewn with staw. Here's how it went down:

1) rented a tiller: $24.63 for 4 hours from Northampton Rentals, on service center road.
2) stayed refreshed: $11.99 for 12 pack of Rolling Rock, ice cold.
3) a nice neighbor: John, born to rake and scatters seed like a sharecropper
4) pizza me! $11 from John helped me afford the $20 double pizza party. This rocked, and I ate all I could fit into my stomach.
5) three bales of staw for strewing $20

John was and always is a great help. I sort of paid him back for his labor by supplying him with our oldest (but still stout) airconditioner. This AC unit requires a pair of vice grips to set the temp, but heck, that's the best kind! John and I, along with pal Uncle Jesse, form a three man work party that meets to get things done for each others' wives. Mostly its a great opportunity to get together and drink beer outside, play with powertools and kavetch. I like the beer part the most.

I'll post some pictures of our new lawn a-growing over the next bunch of weeks. With any luck the grass will take root and the ants will be heading for less green pastures.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Shelves...a vast improvement for books, a slight improvement in mood

So I finally made some shelves. Well, I am actually still technically "making" them. Should be done, trim that is, sometime soon, if all goes according to my wife's plans. That could be the single source of my life's troubles at the moment. Her expectations, versus my lallygagging.

I wanted to make these shelves for a long time, maybe since we moved in. But time was never carved out for the doing. So my wife gradually and logically went more and more stir-crazy at my inactivity. I needed a motivator, but really I needed a cheer leader. One week (after months of keeping her ire under rap) on a Wednesday she got me motivated...and by Saturday morning I was buying $399 worth of Mahagony. Is that how you spell it? Agony!? Geez.We need a dictionary on this thing.

Anyway, I couldn't get it all done in just two days, like she had hoped and I had, um, promised. First, I had to learn how to use the radial arm saw. My own father built practically our whole house with his radial arm saw, but I wasn't ever old enough to work it. He died before I had the chance to buy a house and have him show me how to use it. So, now I own a house and want to get busy (real busy!) building stuff, and I've got to learn my methods the hard way. What's a bummer is my Dad was really great with tools too. A natural. I know, I know, to young boys and girls everywhere, no one swings a hammer like good ole Dad, but my Dad was a step above ordinary. Extraordinary I believe is the word. I kept a chair my Dad used to sit in down in the basement shop where I cut all the wood, just to watch over me.

Secondly, I had to overcome a lot of self doubt about being able to do this project and not 1) cut off an arm or 2) make it look like I was a failure in shop class. Thankfully it came out rather stunning. It's a bookcase on a large scale. The wood and the simplicity make the design work with the house. Besides, the trim should hide the nail gun mistakes.