Thursday, April 28, 2005

New closet door

I have a new closet door! Installed even!!

Guys who do this stuff for a living will buy a special template to use with a router to cut the recesses for hinges on a door and a door frame. Since I don't do it for a living I did mine the old fashioned manual way. I carefully lined up the old and new doors and transferred the hing locations onto the new door. Then I held a hinge leaf in place and traced around it. Carefully, I scribed the lines with a razor knife, then slowly deepened them.

The next step was to chisel out the recess, but only to the correct depth. So, on the old door I set a chisel into the recess and marked the depth on the chisel with masking tape. Using this chisel and a mallet I tapped a "grid" into the wood and pried out all the little pieces...approx 1/16" square pieces. Then using another chisel I smoothed it all and test fit the hinge leaf. When I was satisfied I did the second hinge recess the same way.

Next I marked the door for length using the old door as a guide. MANY guys have messed this step up by marking from the bottom up, then triming the top of the door instead of the bottom. Since I knew of this mistake, I didn't make it. Using a circular saw I trimmed the door. That "exposed" the next little item, which was an opening at the bottom of the door, due to it being a hollow core door. Basically, I had cut off the solid part, which was necessary to make this door look like it's twin, since the closet has a double door opening.

I used scrap wood to fabricate a patch for the bottom, then fastened it in place with nails and a finish air nailer. That leaves little impressions to be filled in. I installed the hinge leaves and hung the door. It looks "pretty good" but can be made a lot better by paring a little more wood from the top hinge recess. 10 minutes work and the door should be great.

If you look closely you can see that the two doors on the closet are different. They are the same style...colonial, raised panel, hollow core doors. But one is over 30 years old and the other is brand new. Apparently the design has changed slightly. With paint and the door handle installed, I don't think anyone will notice. But if it bugs me enough I will change out the other door to have a perfect match.

The room will be finished after I paint this door and do some touch up baseboard work.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Yard work

I cut the grass last night, then used the weed trimmer on the front and side yards. The temperature was wonderful and I never even broke a sweat. Afterward I pulled weeds, weeds, and more weeds, then mulched around a dogwood. A neighbor drove by, stopped, and said that things are looking really nice. I like that!

I went to Lowe's and bought a replacement closet door, a hinge pin doorstop, a baseboard doorstop, and magnetic catches. These are for the office renovation. Tonight there is supposed to be rain, so I can work on the office.

There are two spots on the front yard that need grass seed, so I bought a bale of hay to put over the seed after it is spread. In these spots I once had an apple tree and a wisteria bush. They were nice, but a nuisance when it came to taking care of the front yard, so out they came.

I noticed that the lilac is opening up. In just a few days that will smell fantastic. Next to it is a peony that is also getting ready to bloom. I have a Rose of Sharon bush that is a bit of a nuisance in it's current location and a white hydrangea that is also a nuisance. The hydrangea should be discarded and the Rose of Sharon would be much better in that spot. Don't worry, I have 4 other mature hydrangeas in the yard. I don't know when the heck the rhododendrons are going to bloom. They have had flower buds on them for quite awhile now, but just aren't opening up. Strange!!

Monday, April 25, 2005

Weekend progress, or lack of

On Saturday I watched my son receive his black belt. Each person gives a small acceptance speech. My 10 year old son said 2 things that were pretty funny and shows that he has a good mind for humor (like me, not his mother).

After that, I tested with 4 classmates for second degree black belt (second "dan"). That test went very well and I reviewed the video tape a few times. The rest of the weekend was spent relaxing, recuperating, and unwinding. The preparation and practice for this test took months. The test took just under 3 hours. I was exhausted and slept very well Saturday night.

So now I intend to spend more time working on my projects. Tonight the lawn needs care. This week I want to finish the office/music room remodel and installing edging along the walkway. I will get a new door for the office closet this evening (yep, giving up on the idea of fixing the broken door). I'd like to have the base of my friend's butterfly table disassembled, stripped, and prepped for new dowels.

Tae Kwon Do can take a back seat because it will be 3 more years to prepare for the third dan test.

Friday, April 22, 2005

The weekend ahead

On Saturday I get to watch my 10 year old son receive his black belt in Tae Kwon Do. After that I test for second degee black belt. I have been preparing for a long time and working through pain, fatigue, and lack of motivation. But it will soon be over and I will take about a month off to recover and get my house more in order.

During the day I need to do some office work at home for a little over an hour. Then I'd like to take a nap, mow the lawn, and perhaps do some more weeding, edging, and mulching. The fire has gone out so I should get that going again.

On Sunday it will likely be small task day. I can caulk and touch up the baseboard paint in the office. I can clean up the workshop some. Maybe I'll get a new closet door and start preparing that. I can work on my friend's butterfly table. Maybe fix that gate for a tree customer (I broke it months ago).

My neighbor borrowed some plans for building a rolling cart for his tablesaw. He told me that he has the cart built and is working on doors and drawers. So, maybe I'll get to see that too. I gave him the wood from one of my trees, so I'm looking forward to seeing it all cleaned up and milled.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Rio Samba in bloom

I went home after having a little lunch, just to check on the fire and put on some more debris. As I looked around I saw that my new Rio Samba rose bush has a flower almost open and another one starting to open. This bush is my first foray into taking care of a rose in years. Several years ago I made rose beds for my (now) ex. I removed all the hard clay soil and made a mixture of soil to fill in. Then we planted several varieties. She had a brown thumb and pretty much all of them died. Except for the Rio Samba. That rose bush seemed to thrive on neglect. It didn't get regular water, food, or pesticides. It didn't have a problem with black spot or aphids. It was gorgeous! Then, my neighbor had some yokels cut down a tree and they let it drop right into the middle of my Rio Samba and killed it.

This spring, as I was walking around Lowe's I saw 1 (and only 1) Rio Samba, so I snapped it up and put it in the same spot as the old one. It has been in the ground a few weeks and appears to be taking off. Can't wait until it's full like the old one. I took a little time today to water it because it is a hot day, but I do not want to baby it.

Also, I decded that I would like to make a little more conscious effort to do something about the water hoses. I have hose reel carts, but they always seem to be in a spot that is not conducive to USING the hoses and reeling them back in when done. So, today I cut off a section of hose and put repair ends on it, then ran that under my deck. Now I have a hose end in a very convenient spot, and it won't be bothered by lawn mowing. The reel is attached to that short hose section, and I believe that from now on I will take the time to reel the hose in after each use. That takes care of the back yard. In the front it would be nice to have 2 places to hook up the hose reel. To do that right would require running a pipe under a sidewalk, so I'll put that off for awhile and do easier stuff.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Still burning.

That "fire pit" fire is still going, and barring rain I have enough debris to keep it going for probably a couple of months. It's simple work, really, throwing debris onto a fire. But I have to make sure that I don't smother the fire with stuff that's too green. I have been feeding it with some really rotten stuff that has been lying around for years and it is so nice to see a dent being made.

In the office I trimmed the new window shade to length so that is now complete.

I've had a terra cotta water pipe section laying in my weeds for a few years. A fellow I had cut a tree for asked me if I wanted it, and even though it had a broken ragged edge, I saw an interesting use. Last night I cut off the ragged edge with a circular saw and masonry blade. That stuff is tough and I could see it is made with aggregate. I will stand the pipe up and bury a couple feet of it. This will make the pedestal for a one of a kind birdbath. When that is done I will simply pick up a bowl of some kind to place on top to hold the water. Doesn't matter what kind of bowl, but it should sort of look like it goes with the pipe, so maybe a terra cotta bowl that is normally for plants.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Weekend update

One side of the walkway is now completely done. New edgers have been installed, the entire area weeded, and mulched. I bought more edgers for the other side and laid them out. Will start working on installing them shortly. The second side is shorter (less than 40 edgers, compared to 50) and does not have as much area to weed and mulch.

Started weeding and mulching around other trees. Getting my whole landscape in order will take a long time! My shoulders were aching.

I surrounded a stump with granite rocks, filled that with charcoal and lighter fluid, and set it ablaze. As it burned I continued to add yard debris until after dark. I used to do large brush fires, but got annexed into city limits and it is now against the law. I know my neighbors...someone would turn me in if I did it. So, I will just do "fire pit" fires now. Indeed I have already enjoyed that fire with a lawn chair, a beer, and a book. I'm looking into decorative backyard fireplace options now. A chiminea is too small for the amount of debris I want to dispatch. Copper bowls look very nice, but I don't want to lay out a lot of money and then have it stolen. A ring of granite rocks cost me, basically, nothing! I want something that can be moved to different parts of the yard with ease.

Bought and installed a wooden shade for the office. Looks very nice. Still need to caulk and touch up paint, and fix or replace a busted closet door. Then decorate.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

A little progress

Last night I had a little time so I was able to install 8 more concrete "edgers" and weed and mulch appropriately. That leaves 6 more to do on the first side of the sidewalk.

It started to sprinkle a little and I had a school concert to go see. My little boy and his class played recorders ("Hot...Cross...Buns!!!") and they did some skits about the different regions of North Carolina. Several students got up to read some lines. My son seemed to be the only one that didn't have that "robotic reading" voice, which really pleased me and I got to tell him how proud I was of that.

Back at home, in the home office project, I tried to iron out dents in the chair rail molding from missed hammer blows, then filled all the holes in the chair rail and shoe moldings. At a casual glance the room looks finished now. But I know that there are still a few touch-ups to do.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Gardening season commences.

I spent the weekend working outside, with appropriate naps and book reading.

Leading up to my house from the driveway to the front door is a sidewalk that is about 40 feet long and near the front door it curves 90 degrees. More than 10 years ago I put in plants on both sides of this and appropriate borders to hold mulch within the areas. Every year we added mulch and weeded and it looked really nice and has matured. The borders were little dog-eared pieces of wood strung together with wire and set slightly into the ground. Now I look at it and see it has deteriorated quite a bit.

So, starting on one side of the walkway I worked my way down from the front door to the driveway, removing the wood, pulling weeds, mulching, and installing red colored "scalloped" concrete borders. You know these. People put them in landscapes all the time. Putting in the borders is easy enough and I could have easily done it all in 1 day. But the pulling of weeds and making it all look nice takes a long time. So, I haven't even finished 1 side of the walkway yet. In fact, I am about 2/3rds done with 1 side.

When I step back and look I am very proud of this job. I am not normally into gardening, but this is a job I can do sitting down and at a leisurely pace. It's going to rain for a few days, so next I will go back to inside work for a while.

Also, I did a little beginning of season lawnmower maintenance (riding mower) and cut the grass. This normally takes about 45 minutes. But the first mowing requires a lot of stopping and starting because there are a lot of sticks to pick up. I try to get them all up a week or two ahead, but there always seem to be some missed.

AND, the weather was so nice that I got to drive my "nice weather" Jeep. This is a 1979 CJ7 that only has a bikini top, so it can't keep out cold and rain. It stays in the garage until the weather is nice.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

The progress continues

Last night the shoe molding was installed...completely! I stuck with it. Boring yet easy work which required several trips up and down the stairs (I do all my cutting and coping in the garage). I used 4d finish nails and a 5/64ths is the perfect drill bit (I like to pre-drill where the nails go to help avoid splitting). But about half way through I broke that bit and had to go down to a 1/16th to finish up the job.

So I am getting down to finishing details. Hole filling, caulking, touch up paint. Going to try to use "Great Stuff" and a "Dremel" to fix the broken hollow core/paneled look closet door (which might be a good skill to have...sculpting 101). If I can't do it well, a new door is cheap enough. I need to get a wood blind for the window, maybe an area rug, and some wall decorations. Those can wait a couple of weeks.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Sticking with it.

By now I usually put a project aside from boredom, how long it takes, and having so many projects to do. But with this bedroom redo I have really stuck with it, and intend to finish.

Yesterday I painted the shoe moldings, glued in the wood floor pieces that were going to show under a replacement piece of baseboard, and replaced that damaged piece of baseboard.

Tonight I will attempt to install the shoe molding. Miter and cope cuts on shoe molding are very simple, so I should be able to get it all done and have time to kick back with my book.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Weekend progress

I was able to install the closet baseboard molding. What a pain working in tight, cramped spaces. Now I remember why I put this task off. In the main room (office) I removed a damaged piece of baseboard, and fabricated some very thin pieces of wood floor to go underneath that, where there was a slight gap before. It will look perfect when I put on a new piece of baseboard.

My neighbor asked me to go over and cut the hole in a new countertop for a new sink. Got that done and he was pleased.

Also, I got down some shelf pieces for the closet in the office. They were put up there when I had a roommate and he needed space for clothing. Now they will be used to hold computer software, disks, paper, etc.

So what's left for the office?
1. Paint and install shoe molding, which I have already bought.
2. Fill all nail holes in moldings.
3. Caulk moldings to walls.
4. Touch up paint wherever needed.
5. Fix (going to try) or replace (backup plan) a closet door that has a broken spot on the face.

Then I can move in.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Oh yeah! Recliner fixed!

I bought a new Dremel yesterday. Cordless. New type of rechargeable battery.
It took a couple of hours to charge it up. Then I installed a cutting wheel and cut a slot in the end of that sheared bolt. I carefully coaxed the bolt out of the special T-nut. Whew, success!!!

Then I installed a new bolt and VOILA!, no more chair wobble. Wish I had the Dremel before, when I tried to remove the first broken bolt. It also occured to me that I could have drilled a hole in the bolt and used an "EZ out" or "X-out" bolt extractor. But I don't have any of those either. The Dremel will be so handy and I have been wanting one for years.