Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Christmas 2015 was a busy time!

Hi all!
Can you believe that the new year is just around the corner?  I'm having trouble figuring where the time has gone!

The couple of months leading up to Christmas were busy, busy times for me.  I managed a trip to see Christy and the kids - and to deliver there newly redone dining room table.  While there I repurposed their old dining table and a did a couple other things I thought might be helpful.  They plan to redo their kitchen fairly soon so I didn't worry about whether they'd love what I did, it's no big deal if/when they change it!

So, here's an update on the "musical tables" posting.  

Dining room table:  History: From thrift store to Camper daughter to Logger daughter.  The benches are new.  I cut down a couple of the chairs from their old set, but thank goodness there were six to begin with - I cut one leg of one on the wrong side of the tape.  It was just a big wobbly :-).  I left the rest for Logger SIL to cut or not.

Dining room chairs:  History:  From trash pile passed by on a morning walk to Camping Daughter.  She wanted 4 matching chairs.  There were five in the pile and one was found at a thrift store - it looks the same - from a distance.  It's about 1/4 inch different everywhere!  Can you tell - it's the one on the right...

The chairs took a bit (a lot!!) of work.  Some had to be taken apart and rebuilt in areas.  But, they were sturdy, and matched - and they were free (Except for the ugly cousin chair, that one I had to pay for.)

Here, you can see their "new" round table that I refinished for them.  The chairs are the same color of stain, and are very close in stain color, but they did take the stain a bit darker in places.  Still, there are 4 matching chairs around the table and a couple extra to pull up when I'm invited to dinner!

And, since I was visiting Logger daughter, I delivered the dining room table to them.  When we put it in place, their old table was just sitting there looking forlorn.  While the adults were away, and with some help from the little loggers, we turned that old table into new storage & serving space.  It's a bar now!  

And we moved the old "bar" to the kitchen where it can be used for additional kitchen/pantry storage.
We added the chalkboard to the wall - that's chalkboard painted directly on the wall and framed out with some of the cedar Logger SIL had on hand.  

Bottom line, Christmas gifts for daughters were completed and delivered.  My garage has much more space, but I still need to finish one more table and get that moved out - then I can start on a few more projects for family and friends!  

Happy New Year Everyone!!

Friday, December 4, 2015

Musical tables update, and another update!!


Remember this table?  I found it at a local thrift store and knew it would be perfect for camper daughter and her family.  After refinishing it in a dark espresso stain, it was perfect.  UNTIL, that is, they started looking at other homes and saw several round tables they liked and wanted to try out in their own small kitchen.  

They asked me to be on the lookout for a round table, and so I was - and I did find them one!  
This is still the only picture I have of that table, but it is now refinished in this beautiful espresso/provincial/dark walnut finish, and in their home.

Well, the old, big, expandable table is now going to Logger daughter's house.  I'm traveling there this weekend with the newly refinished table.  It turned out beautifully!  I think so, anyway.:-)

After first sanding- well, after lots and lots of "first sanding".

It was impossible to remove all the dark espresso stain from the grain.

This is the new finish - minwax aged oak, which left it just a bit too gray, so a second coat of minwax early american stain was applied and immediately rubbed off.  Then, over about 3 days, at least 7 coats of minwax rub on polyurethane in a satin finish were applied.  Sanding took place between each coat. 

The base of the table retained the original espresso/dark walnut finish.  I lightly sanded the edges to distress it even more than it was and sprayed on 3 coats of spar urethane for a durable, cleanable finish.

I made an additional bench and enlarged the seat depth on the original bench.  Although the material is different - and the grain and appearance of the wood is different - the color of both the legs and the bench top are a match to the table.

Can't wait to get this table delivered!

Merry Christmas, Logger Family.  I hope you enjoy many happy times around this table (and that it makes a fine bonfire when it's time to chuck it!)

Here are some pictures of the table in it's new home (just overlook that 1970's linoleum floor - it's soon to be replaced with a beautiful hardwood!).

Thursday, November 12, 2015

And then there were chairs!

Look what I found!  

5 matching chairs that are in wonderful condition - except for the grungy seats!  

Camper daughter wanted 4 matching chairs for the new round table that I just refinished for them.  

(oops, looks like I only have a picture of the refinished table top!)

I guess I'll need to get a photo and include it when the chairs are finished!

We've been searching thrift stores for some reasonably priced chairs - and coming up empty-handed.I was out walking the other day and passed a pile of stuff stacked in a driveway. It was obviously on its way to a dump. In that pile of junk were these 5 chairs!!! I knocked on the door of the home and checked to make sure these were destined for the trash, asked kindly if she'd like me to take them off her hands and, voila, 5 sturdy matching chairs. Now the hard work begins. I've already removed the seats and did a first sand. It wasn't enough - I need to sand them even more. Some of the lacquer finish still remains and they aren't taking the stain evenly. I may resort to a gel stain that might go on and cover even with any remaining lacquer.  

I also remembered that I'd seen a chair just like these at one of the thrift stores we'd visited. I made a trip back and found the poor thing - its seat was even grungier than the others, and there were two missing slats in the chair back. I bought it for $5 and figured I'd try to repair it so that I would have 6 chairs to give the kids.  

See the chair in the front with the two light/raw wood slats?  Looks the same, doesn't it?  Well, read further and you'll learn that although it looks like the others, it's really just a "poor cousin" to the other  5 identical chairs.

After sanding all the chairs, I realized that the thrift store chair was not a true sibling of the others - more like a smaller cousin! Everything is about 1/4" smaller! And, I think it was made with a cheaper wood (poor cousin, too). But, finished, I think that it will pass muster unless someone decides to do an in-depth study of all of the chairs!

I hope to have the chairs stained within the next week. We'll see if HOPE and ACTION can come together!  

Oh, and this will be an early Christmas present so don't be talking to camper daughter about these!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Baby Doc

We have a new baby in the family!  I wish I could share a picture here, but just don't know how the Docs would feel about Baby Doc's picture being in what can be such a public space.  So, just trust me, he's adorable.

He was a bit early and the Docs were not quite ready for him.  I was there last Saturday to help Daddy Doc finish up his bedroom.

His room is a tan color with gray furniture.  Accent colors are navy blue and a dash of red in the bedding.  There's a travel theme with airplanes and trains, and darling luggage shelving.

Here's what we added to the wall behind his crib:

I purchased 3/16 plywood, cut it into strips about 8" wide.  I found a Minwax stain called "Worn Navy" - it was perfect to make these new wood strips "old".  They are light weight so we just used the nail gun to shoot 1-3/4 inch nails through the ply, the drywall and grab into the studs.

It looks really nice - better than I anticipated!

Still some things to hang - the luggage shelving and other decorative things, but his bed is made and ready for him, whenever Mom and Dad are ready to move him out of the bassinet!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Oh, those pretty legs!

In a much earlier post I mentioned Osborne Wood Products as the provider of the legs I used to make a coffee table for the Docs.  I need to give them another shout-out for recently custom making the most beautiful furniture legs I've worked with!  And, they provide the most wonderful customer service.  If you ever need special legs or fittings be sure to check them out!  Vanessa and Austin were such a great help to me.   Osborne Wood Products (and, no, I don't get paid to say that!)

I didn't get a picture of the legs before I started working - darn.  But following are some pictures of the project in process and completed, but before final finishing.  My friends/clients are having this painted by a professional finisher - thank God!  You know how much I hate painting/staining and anything I would have put on this piece would not have done it justice.  I can't wait to see it finished and will share pictures when I get them, which should be in a few weeks.

The beautiful legs were for a console table that needed to be a specific size to fit perfectly in the dining area of my friends' condo.

So, dimensions are approximately 66" long x 34" tall x 16.5" deep.  It's made with soft maple legs and stretchers.  I used maple boards for everything else but the back and drawer bodies.  For the back I used poplar - it won't be seen, but it still stains or paints well.  The drawers were made with 1/2" plywood and 1/4" ply bottoms.  

This is me making the first cut into the small stretcher.
Custom legs are not cheap - I was really anxious that I not screw up and have to order replacements!
Basic structure complete.
Ready for pick up.

In place at the condo.

Notice the height - it's a few inches higher than the table so once painted, it will not be lost to view.

Plenty of room between the console and chairs - perfect fit thanks to the great design eye of my friend!

Will provide lots of space for small necessities and be perfect for serving or just displaying pretty things!

Check back in a few weeks for pictures of finished table!  
This was the most expensive project I've worked on.  Although lumber is fairly reasonable, those beautiful legs did cost a bit of money.  The thing that put this over the top though was that beautiful stretcher you see above.  Not only did the set-up to create this lovely piece take some special consideration and planning, in order for it to be stable and maintain its structure it had to be made of a hardwood that would be less likely to sag over time - soft maple was the best wood for this project.  Soft maple is actually a very hard wood; the "soft" is more of a category of different maples rather than a description of the wood itself (oh, the things I'm learning!). 

Working with hardwood was really different - and harder - than working with the common lumber types of pine and fir that I usually work with.  Routing bits don't go through this hardwood like it does pine, nails don't shoot in as easily either.  Drilling was even more difficult.  This turned out to be a real learning experience - one that I really enjoyed.  I'm convinced that as long as I'm learning and trying new things, my retirement will be enjoyable and "successful".  It will certainly be colorful - You probably wouldn't have wanted to be around me as I was learning that my router bits were burning my beautiful maple, or when I was pulling out nails that stopped short of burying themselves in the wood.  Unfortunately, I've learned that I can swear like a sailor when I'm frustrated!

Have you learned anything new lately?  Was it frustrating or interesting during the learning process?  

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Happy Fall!

I chuckled when I typed that title "Happy Fall." It's pretty hard to think about it being fall when the temps keep soaring into triple digits!

Today we had a family gathering of about 25 people.  100 degrees !!!  I managed to cram comfortably seat everyone inside and I had the air cranking the entire afternoon.   We were celebrating the "soon-to-be-born" son of the Docs.  Due in November (FALL)
Drapes closed, air cranking, fans spinning - 6 tables of 4 each.  This pic shows my 80 year old Uncle Frank - and the dad-to-to-be standing on the right.  

The Docs asked for no gifts, just a favorite childhood read - and here are a pile of new childhood favorites from the Doc's family.  See what the books are sitting on?  That's an old-fashioned school desk that my sis picked up at a church boutique (i.e., sale of old, donated stuff!).  I sanded everything down and restained the wooden seat and back, painted the metal legs and cubby part, and painted the desk with chalkboard paint.  I'ts pretty darned cute and I'm sure Baby G will spend many hours studying or playing school here. 

 Yes, there are the Docs.  We made them sit and open all the gifts/books-something they later said wasn't tortuous at all!
It wasn't a shower-shower (the Docs didn't want a shower!) - but still, you have to have some games when you're celebrating an impending birth - don't you??  So, we had a couple of games that people could choose to participate in - or not.  I made a couple of fall decorative things for prizes, and surprisingly, most everyone chose to participate.
Here's what they won:
Camper Daughter's MIL, Joan, won the tall 3-piece set of pumpkins (that's what the tag says!).

Aunt Shirley won this cute little pumpkin made from reclaimed 2x material.
You can't see the tag, but it says "Fall" - so good for both Halloween and Thanksgiving!

We had to have some goodies, right??  My granddaughter Miss KK  made up batches of brownies, cookies, and dipped and decorated oreos and pretzels.  Camper Mom brought two pies, too - we do know, in our family, that the most important part of any family meal is the dessert (s)!

We had a great time, and built a wonderful library for the new Mr. G.

I built something new for myself, too!  
Just to remind all of us that FALL may actually be heading our way!  

Friday, August 21, 2015

Another garage update

After installing the latest monster project, I set about cleaning up my garage.  I took a look at my workbench top and realized it was horrible - paint stained, dried glue and resin creating rough, high spots, gouges from drilling and hammering into it.  It really was awful and needed to be replaced.

Simple job - or so I thought.  Unfortunately, when I built my bench, I built it to last.  I ended up cutting through the top to get to screws that were attaching it to the apron.  And, as I removed the top, it just collapsed.  And, so it turned into

Falling apart - Darn, I guess I have to build a new bigger and better bench!

So, my last bench was about 6 feet long.  I kept my saw about 2' back from it so that I could rip an 8' sheet of plywood.  This new bench is 9' long and I built a table for my saw to sit on.  I won't be able to move it, but I will be able to contain the sawdust a bit better!  Sawdust is the bane of  my existence. Now, most of the dust will fall into the open space below the saw, and I'll be able to just remove the container/drawer to get rid of all that sawdust.  At least that is the plan!

Large plywood top - not the greatest material for a workbench, but my last one lasted several years.  This has really thick plys so I'm hopeful I'll get another few years out of it!  I put a couple coats of polycrylic on it to help protect it from spills.  
This is a table I'd built from scrap lumber - trash lumber, and it showed!  But, I got it to work as an outfeed table for the saw.  Now, I think I'll put it on casters and store my drill press on the bottom shelf.  I can move the table wherever it is most useful - or just out of the way.  And, when I need to use the drill press this will be a perfect work surface.
This is my new miter saw station.  I love it.  the cabinets on either side support the material being cut, and provide so much storage.  My compressor and kreg jigs are on mobile bases under one side, and the other side has a large drawer and storage for cut off materials.  Under the saw itself is my shop vac - something I hope to utilize more in another effort to cut back on saw dust.  So far though I've had a hard time finding fittings to match the vac and the each piece of equipment.
But, another plan.

This wall will have a shelf above the work station, and under that a board with pegs to store jigs and sleds.  I've framed out the niche where all my  telephone and cable connections are and have made a door.  I need Lawyer doc to come move just one connection, then I can finally cover up that mess!

The garage is clean and I'm ready to start the next job - just as soon as I receive CAD drawings from Osborne on the custom legs their making for the beautiful console table I'll be building for my beach friends!  

But, first - Hawaii, 5 days of rest and relaxation on the beautiful beaches in Ko 'Olina.  

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Storage-a dilemma and a challenge

7/6/15 - 19One of my goals in early retirement was to build a bunch of storage sheds under the eaves on the side of the house that is only about 7 feet wide.  It's barely a walk-through from the front yard to the back.  I keep the gate locked so it's really useless space.  Don had a large industrial shelving unit out there, and I've been using it for some things, but really, it was just holding junk!  

I wanted to move all my personal things that I have stored in the garage into this "to-be-built" storage so that my garage would be just for building things!  Well, as it came time to start this big build I chickened out.  That's what it was - plain and simple!  I'd never built a shed and I wasn't sure I could do it.  So, I rationalized my plan away...  I just moved the storage racks that were in the garage out alongside the industrial shelving thing.  Then, I covered it with a plastic tarp - which is what prompted Camper daughter to make the comment about it looking a bit trashy.

I thought I was okay with this new plan, but as days went by and I worked to transform my garage into a workshop, I realized that I was really disappointed in myself for not taking on the challenge of doing something I'd never done before.  So, on a bright and sunny Saturday (i.e., hotter than hell) I hopped in the truck and headed for home depot.  I loaded up with enough 2x's to frame in one 8x2 shed, siding to enclose it, and treated 2x4s for the foundation.  There - I was stuck!  I had to start and finish this one shed!   I leveled and prepped the area for the foundation, and put it together.  Oh, I was so proud - that had been pretty simple!  I went to bed that night feeling pretty damned sure that I could whip this out in no time at all!

Sunday morning I was up early and ready to get that sucker built.  Late Sunday night, however, I was sure I'd probably not stand up straight ever again!
Let me just say that it was probably over 100 degrees that day - and I was dragging most of the day.  But, I did get the back wall built and siding attached.  This shed was going to be up against the house so I couldn't put the walls up and then attach the siding - there would be no room!  And, it was too heavy to build away from the house and then move into position.  I had to build that wall first.  My sis, Mari, is a great help when I just can't handle things on my own.  Together, we lifted and hauled that wall into place.  She held it upright while I secured it to the floor.  I was ready for a good soak in the hot tub, but knew I needed to get the side walls up to help stabilize the back wall.  So, I put those together and got them screwed in and together.  Ahhhh, the hot tub - finally!

Although this fits under the eaves of the house, there are about 6 inches that extend beyond the eaves.  So, it needed a good roof if it was going to keep water out.  After adding an angled framing piece and trimming the sides of the siding, I built the roof. 
Yep, another piece that had to be pre-built because there wouldn't be room to add to it once it was up.  So, I measured and framed the roof, applied plywood and then roofing paper, drip guard, then shingles.  When it was done it weighed a ton - well, it seemed like it!  Again, I called on Mari for help.  As we lifted this we both wondered it we'd be able to lift it high enough to get it on the roof!  But, somehow we managed to get it up and screwed into place! -Mari hasn't said anything about unsightly bruises, but I acquired quite a few!

If  you're looking at this and thinking, I don't think that's to code - you'd be right.  I did mention I wanted to use materials I had - I had lots of 2x4 and 2x6 material.  This is a shed, for goodness sake, it didn't need to be "to code".  And, if you're thinking "shouldn't the siding be on lengthwise" - maybe, but I liked the "planked" look so put it on horizontally.  This also helped with the amount of material I had to buy.  I was able to get by with just 3 pieces of siding by doing it the way I did.  So, the walls are up and the roof is on!  Now for doors.
I should also say that, as usual, I didn't want to spend a bunch of money on this shed.  I wanted it to look decent, but whenever I could use what I had, or buy material that was functional but not necessarily pretty, that's what I did.  So, once I had the back and side built I had to figure out my doors.  I didn't want to buy two more sheets of plywood, but that's what it would take to cover that wide opening.  So, I built out the opening with 2x4 and 2x6s and added a 1x6 frame to each of the two doors.  This was perfect - as I've said, the space in that area is not very wide.  Each of these doors is about 32" wide - any wider and it would have difficult to open them!  

Here's the final project - painted and ready to fill!
Oh, darn.  This shows my really messy side yard!  I've since cleaned it up, but no photos yet.  
And, now that it's done - and I lived through the building process - let me just say I will not build another!  Remarkably, my things all fit into this shed.  I even have some room to grow!  I took apart the industrial shelving, moved all my storage shelving out to the side of the house and will use that for storing things that aren't personal, things I'll use for gardening, building, etc.  My personal things will be kept out of the sun, enclosed and safe from the weather.  I can lock the doors if necessary.  I'm happy with how it turned out - now if my bruises would just hurry up and heal I might be able to wear short sleeved tops again!  

Thanks, Mari, for all your help!

Did it cost less to make it?  At about $360 (materials + tax) it was cheaper to make it.  Add in the labor and I'd opt to buy one in a heartbeat!  This kicked my butt!

3 sheets siding (49.00)
20 2x3s  (42.00)
4 2x4s (12.00)
6 1x6s (36.00)
1 2x6s  (5.00)
1 sheet plywood, (21.00)
2 2x4s, 10' treated (18.0)
2 2x4s, 8' treated (10.00)
1 package shingles (26.00)
1 roll paper (21.00)
1 box roofing nails (9.00)
1 box 2-1/2" screws (9.00)
1 gal "oops" paint (9.00)
1 gal flat paint (21)