Friday, December 30, 2011


A lot of stuff happens in December. It's my birthday (Dec 11), Thanksmas (Dec 17), Christmas (Dec 25), and an extended trip of some sort (this year -- Cleveland, Dec 22 to 28).

As far as house news goes, I fixed our table. This hinge had been busted for about 8 months. I was never really sure exactly what was wrong with it, so I wasn't sure how to fix it. The method I used was: take off the matching hinge and bang the offending piece into the "right" shape with a large hammer. After I was done, I lubed it up with some "Liquid Wrench" and put it through the paces. Works like a charm!

Also, I got an air compressor (Porter Cable, 6 gallon, 150 PSI) and a pneumatic nailer (Porter Cable, 16ga finish nailer) for my birthday. I decided building a workbench extension from some spare lumber I had laying around would be a good first project.

The cuts:

The finished product:

I was really surprised at both how quiet and how useful the nailer was. I did use some screws, but the nail gun sped up the framing process substantially. I stole the design from the workbench I inherited from the previous homeowner. Basically, you make a box, put the legs in the corners, and secure the legs with blocking.

I put my new workbench to use already on a project that may be featured soon!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Catching up

I have a lot of catching up to do. I have been watching too much Cardinals baseball (World Series Champs!), so I haven't been doing much else in the evening. Sorry! I was going to attempt to put things in chronological order, but I don't think there's much point. So here's a hodgepodge of things I did today as well as things we have been working on for the past few months.

Lindsay had to work this evening, so I had a chance to knock some things off my "Honey Do" list. The first thing I did was put the side panel on our pantry. That's the last piece of the puzzle as far as cabinets go in the kitchen.

The general idea with these panels is to use wood glue along with finishing nails. The wood glue gets the panel to stick nicely to the side of the cabinet, and the nails hold it there while it dries. I use some C-Clamps to hold it on while I'm working on getting the nails in.

Yes, I left my hammer on top of the pantry and spent half an hour looking for it.

By the way, in the last month or so, I made this round shelf thing and installed it.

I'm not 100% satisfied with the results -- cutting circles is an art I haven't mastered yet. In case you are wondering, the whole thing is made out of MDF. I finished it with a red oak veneer, then painted it. The shelves are glued and screwed. Attaching it to the wall was "fun". I didn't want any exposed screws at all, so I ended up recessing some toggle bolts to attach it to the wall (and normal bolts to attach it to the corner cabinet). In short, I drilled a small hole for the bolt shaft, then drilled a large hole for the bolt head - but only partially through the original hole. After everything was attached, I used wood filler to cover the bolt heads, then sand/prime/paint. Voila! (I took some pictures, but they were on my old phone and I forgot to transfer them before I sold it. Whoops!) EDIT: See a schematic here.

In other news, Lindsay found a microwave for $25 on Craigslist. We made a field trip to get it (about 30 minutes) and got Cracker Barrel on the way home (yum). I had to replace the handle (see: Wife wanted a new handle), so I bought one for $17 off Amazon and put it on. Final Cost: $42 + Cracker Barrel. Not bad.

Finally, we also put in a new ceiling fan. This was definitely a group project.

We had to kill the electricity, then take off the old fan and hang the new one. Unfortunately, I wanted to wait until the game was over (since the fan and the TV are on the same circuit). However, I also had to tutor from 11p to midnight (I tutor Calculus and Physics on!), so we only had about a 45m window. As it turns out, this isn't enough time. So we ended up finishing it at like 12:30 or 1a. Wooooo!

The window behind the sink in the kitchen doesn't have a sill right now, since we ripped it out when we installed the new backsplash. Unfortunately, I have no experience with creating window sills. So I decided to experiment by using some scrap wood I had downstairs. Actually, it was part of the packaging of some furniture we bought like two years ago. I should probably throw some things out ...

Using my trusty jig saw and table saw, I made a template out of plywood scrap, then a 'final product' out of the aforementioned "wood".

I installed it to see if I like the size/shape. I can't decide if it should be flush with the tiles or come out a bit like it does now. Thoughts?

The final task for today was replacing one of the flanges on our outside fence. At some point, it broke. I went to Lowes and found a flange for it and replaced it.

This project was a good excuse to use my new corded hammer drill. (I also used it for installing the microwave. It was originally purchased for mixing tile adhesive / drywall mud.) Again, I bought a quality (read: expensive) drill that had good reviews and it totally was worth it. I installed a third concrete anchor, since previously there were only 2. This drill killed the 2" of concrete I had to drill through -- took about 10 seconds.

My lab is moving, so we are throwing out a lot of old stuff. I took possession of an old drill that didn't work anymore (or at least, the battery doesn't charge anymore). I had been needing a new case for my new drill, so I just ripped all the plastic walls out of it! It fits great!

We recently took a trip to our city's "free mulch pile" and loaded up our car for our new plants. We are always impressed with how much our little car can handle. Check it out!

I usually try to end with a cute picture of my wife, since she is prettier than my tools/projects. Hope you made it all the way to the end of this monster post. Phew.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

In progress

As per usual, I have been terribly lax at updating this blog. Either way, I'm back! We've been doing fairly continuous work, but I haven't been taking a lot of pictures. Some things of note:

* I got a faucet on clearance from Lowes. Being the king of negotiating, I took them from $175 ($285 retail) to ... $20 (with no Lowes card discount). I got the receipt to prove it!

* We bought what we thought was our last cabinet last week (the lazy susan). I finished it up and brought it upstairs to install. Even though the receipt said 36" x 36", it was only 28" x 28". What the heck? Apparently they expect you to build an 8" surround to put between the cabinet and the wall. After pushing it against the wall, we decided that we liked it better with a "stubby" countertop against the short wall. So I built the 8" shelf unit featured next to the pantry in the below images. I don't think I have any images of the construction (lame?), but it was fairly unexciting. I basically just copied the construction of the other cabinets.

So anyway, all the cabinets are screwed into the wall (and each other), just waiting for countertops. We ordered the countertops on 5/29, so they should be in any day!

To do list in the kitchen:
* Countertops
* Finish removing tile behind stove
* Drywall & Plaster
* Backsplash
* Floors
* Kickboard
* New Fan

So quite a bit, but it should go quickly.

* We bought an aboveground pool. It's filling as we speak. More pictures on this later!

* We heinously put our cat in one of the old cabinets.

Monday, January 3, 2011

New Year, New Projects

I have fallen behind on this blog. I blame computer problems (my main computer died and has since been replaced since this blog was updated), but that was really a minor inconvenience rather than a catastrophic blow to my blogability. (As it turns out, it only requires a minor inconvenience to totally incapacitate me. Probably a life lesson in there somewhere...)

Anyway, I wanted to recap what I have finished since this blog was last updated:
* The tile was completely removed from that kitchen wall.
* The outlet on that wall was moved up into the area where the new backsplash will go.
* The missing wall was replaced with drywall and painted.
* We had our bay window replaced. I didn't DIY this one so I wouldn't screw it up :P
* I built a window seat for said new window. Lindsay upholstered it. Skeeter sits on it.
--> This will eventually make it into the blog. Lots of fun pictures and "over-engineering-it" commentary to follow.
* I installed a new programmable thermostat.
--> Discovered that this is the house's 5th thermostat!
* I got a miter saw AND a table saw for my birthday.
--> First project: a work table for my new tools.

Coming up?
* Finish the kitchen
--> More tile removal, more cabinet hanging
* Rewire the basement
--> Subpanel and more electrical fun
* Floors
--> Refinish everything (including the kitchen, again =/)!
* Bathroom
--> Gut? We'll see what the budget allows.