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Showing posts from November, 2017

The Dining Room Built-In: The fireplace carcass

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I keep thinking I want to wait until the whole project is finished before posting, but quite frankly - it's going to take too long, and sharing the progress is half the fun!  The main reason this is taking so long is because I really don't have much time after work to monkey around with the built-in.  Okay, you're onto me - the real reason it's taking awhile is that I'm not that skilled.  Just putting a few boards together takes an incredibly long time...I measure, do the math, set up clamps, measure, do the math and set up clamps again! 
For example, building the fireplace carcass took two evenings, a part of the project that probably would have taken a professional an hour!  But....it's fun for me, a way to relieve the stress of the day.  Here's the first night's work:
That's right boys n girls!  A whole evening for that!  And the rest of the carcass took the whole of the next evening!
Right now the front is just tacked to the rest of the carcass…

The Dining Room Built-In: Meet St. Bart's

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I think it was in 1998 that the dining room was first painted - and it's been the same color ever since.  I don't know if that's a statement of the quality of paint, the steadfastness of not fixing it if it ain't broke, or  - is it just a flat-out sad statement!  Either way, it's changing! 
Back in '98, the dining room was painted Missoula Blue by Dutch Boy...
It's been a nice color for the room, went well with the woodwork, and lent a very calming (if not cool) feel.  After removing the old bookshelves, the fading showed, but it was remarkably little fade.  I think you may be able to tell in this picture, look around the top two and right at the bottom of the lowest hole patches: Not too shabby!  I always thought Dutch Boy made really good paint, but I'd have to drive 75 miles one way to Springfield, Massachusetts to get it (isn't that where the Simpson's lived?).   Now, with the new built-in going up, it really was time for fresh paint.  Oh t…

The Dining Room Built-In: The Base

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It's real now.  The old bookshelves are gone, and now the base to the built-in has been, well, built!  First, just for posterity, here's the first board all ready to be cut:
When you're working alone, it's always good to have hacks to make the work easier.  Recently I saw a suggestion in Family Handyman magazine to use rigid foam insulation to support the boards when crosscutting.  It worked like a charm!  I used 2x10s for the base, and they're way too awkward to cut on sawhorses by yourself.
One problem I ran into was that the 2x10s were only 8 feet long (96") but I needed 101".  So I married an extra length using pocket screws.  It also gave me an opportunity to use my new Stanley smoothing plane, and my new random orbital sander!  I also had to notch out one end:
One of the things we love about 173 is the woodwork.  It's never been painted (except back in the day in the bathroom), and not trusting my skill level, I thought it better to notch aroun…

The Dining Room Built-In: Away with the Old

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It's weird..the things I find myself getting nostalgic about these days.  For years I looked at the Sauder bookcases in the dining room as just what they were - inexpensive beginner furniture.  But now - I find myself reflecting on all those shelves have seen.  After all, they predated the purchase of 173.  When we got them, they were actually a little more than we could afford.  Having just left the military, entering college, and living in Horseheads (yes, you read that right), NY we were living check-to-check.  But we have always been bibliophiles, and wanted some shelves the lend them a little dignity.  I don't even remember where they were purchased, but they looked better than anything we had.  And you know what?  They really didn't look bad...
They just always looked temporary.  Those bookcases have been around for some 25 years, and in the dining room at 173 for all 20 we've been here!  But no longer.  They are no more.  All that remains are the remnants...
I …

Legacy Project: Bathroom 2002

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Just last month I replaced the drainpipes in the bathroom, and that got me thinking about the remodel we did back in '03.  The sink was replaced as early as  September of 97 (173 was purchased in August of  '97).   That's a page from my old homeowner's journal, the forerunner of this blog.  Anyway, the reason that was one of the very first projects was because the original bathroom sink, while a classic, was a cast iron behemoth, with chipped enamel and rust.  I couldn't find a picture of the 173 original, but here's a pretty fair representation from the web: I would have loved to had that sink re-enameled, but back then I didn't know that could even been done - and of course there was the matter of the affordability!  It was, however,  replaced with another pedestal sink, just to afford a sense of authenticity. That shot was taken after replacing those drainpipes, so the grout was still wet from the leak.  Anyway, that brings us to the great bathroom redu…

The Dining Room Built-In: Trying to Make Decisions

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The last post I announced my intention for the next project here at 173, which turns out to be a builtin fireplace/bookcase.  I have an idea of what I want...
Similar, but not quite...there won't be cabinets in the bottom, just book shelves.  The picture above is merely an inspiration shot that I culled from Retro-Tech Construction's website.  As I go through this planning process, I am already faced with perhaps the biggest decision of the whole project - what will the finish be?
One of the big selling-points here at 173 is that the woodwork has never been painted, and it's gorgeous!
So my initial idea is to finish the builtin so it matches the rest of the wood in the house.  I want it to look original to 173.  But there's a couple hurdles to that idea.  First off, I am FAR from a master carpenter, no matter the amount of planning, I always screw up at least a small piece of a project!  But in this case, the biggest problem is matching the stain.  Of course, to some …