Projects

Shoe Bench Build

This was a tricky one for me.

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It seemed that every board I used was from the weakest

Shoe bench made for a friend to replace flat pack failure.

part of the tree and split.  Or the cuts I made didn’t make sense even if I was using the wrong measurement systems or any other myriad of things that could go wrong.

But I finished it.

And it looks good.

And it’s solid.

My #1 rule of woodworking is to build something that will outlast me.  The #2 rule is that is has to look good.  This piece nails both of those rules.

A few months ago (far too many) a friend of mine asked me to take a look at a piece of flat pack furniture they bought that didn’t go together right and promptly broke.  They lived with a shoddy piece of furniture for 3 years at that point and finally called for help.

The flat pack was beyond help.  Everywhere the screws were supposed to pull joints together were broken, the laminate sheets were already failing and the drawers were a rough-housing away from disintegrating.  I had to be the doctor and declare the piece DOD…Dead on Design.

Flat pack either goes right or it doesn’t.  When it goes right, it’ll last maybe 5 years before it needs to be replaced, which is just perfect for our trendy culture.  When it goes wrong, it falls apart as you assemble it and you have to spend hours boxing it back up, returning it and re-assembling the new one and that is the biggest travesty.  The time wasted.

Instead, I spent a few hours and made Janie a replica of what she bought that will last beyond her lifetime…something that is lost on our current society.  Lifetime furniture.  I didn’t invent a new gadget, I didn’t find some killer app that will let Janie waste away her days mindlessly tapping at a screen but I hope I gave her something her kids and grand-kids will fight over.

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Remodeling

Bathroom Remodeling on a Whim: Part 2

Maker:0x4c,Date:2017-11-28,Ver:4,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar01,E-veThe reason I started doing handyman work and woodworking in Waukee was because I hate sitting behind a computer. The reason I’m slow to update my blog is because I hate sitting behind a computer. Notice a trend? The bathroom has been complete for almost a month and I still haven’t gotten around to Part 2. Check out Part 1, where I impulsively dove into this remodel.

Here goes.

For the remodel once I started getting, the Lady Friend came home and we picked out (read she picked out) the new fixtures. The only thing not getting replaced was the toilet. (seriously though, unless it’s a gaudy style, those things should last a century or more)

Once we got back from the store, it was decided some relaxation was in order after patching nail holes and starting the texture on the walls.

For those of you who don’t know what texture is, it’s the bumps or random patterns on your walls. If you have scratches on the wall, poor painting or drywall work but the purpose of the texture is to provide some depth and hide defects in the walls. Even the best done walls will have waves or bits were the installers weren’t perfect so the texture gracefully hides those imperfections. Maybe I’ll do some more research into it and do an article on it. Also, I’ll have more on texturing when I get around to writing up my recent painting.  Here is an example of a wall without and a wall with texture:

After a good night’s sleep and a delicious breakfast, demolition continued with the sink, vanity top and cabinet removal. That left me with nothing but the toilet and lineolium floor. I left them both because I wasn’t sure if I wanted to mess with them or not. I’d later rue my hesitency.

Painting of this beautiful light blue began. We chose Dutch Boy semi-gloss mostly because it was on sale and I love their twist off lids and easy pour can.

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After paint I moved onto flooring. For that, we chose laminate because of price and ease of installation. I’ve done tile before and without an actual tile saw, it becomes a bigger hassle than it is worth (and I don’t feel like spending a few hundred bucks for a nice wet saw). Oftentimes, when going over linoleum floor, it is easier and just as durable to go directly over the floor rather than removing the linoleum since often linoleum is glued down to the substrate everywhere.

The builders left a cutout where the old vanity was and upon inspection, there was some extra plywood the linoleum was glued to so off it all went which meant the toilet had to go as well. This is the moment where I figured out, I should have just done it to begin with. Would have made painting and texturing and working in a small space a hundred times easier. Well, something to be learned on each job.

Under the toilet was gross as hell. The wax ring had hardened slightly and years of kids missing the toilet left it smelling of piss. But I went to Menards over in Clive and got a new ring (this one made of foam, we’ll see how it holds up (but it is far cleaner to install)) for the toilet.

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Called it a night at that point. It was 10:00 at night and I was tuckered but only the vanity, mirror and lights were left to install. Sunday’s installs will be in another post.

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That odd shaped spot is behind the water closet. It’s invisible when the toilet is in and gives a neat history of the paint done. Next time, just remove the toilet right away.
Remodeling

Bathroom Remodeling on a Whim

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Last summer, I purchased a home in a local suburb with the idea of getting an out-

of-date house, doing some work over the years and selling it when the kids got older for more than what I put into it.  What I didn’t realize, was how many rooms of the same house could smell like piss when doing renovation and not have a general piss smell throughout the whole house.

The Lady Friend and I have been discussing doing some extra work around the home instead of solely working in my dungeon workshop. I redid the floor in a couple of the closets last fall, the deck last summer and the living room prior to Thanksgiving (minus flooring).  This time, the bathroom was next up on the docket for remodeling, even if neither her nor I knew it last Thursday.

The bathroom wasn’t bad, it just screamed builder-grade, late-90’s (even though the house was built in 2004), and a desperate home-owner that hadn’t done a thing to a house in 11 years trying to salvage some resale value through sloppy updates (side note: it didn’t work).

Thankfully, they didn’t touch the bathrooms much outside of hurried paint jobs.  This is good as everything else I have fixed in the house has all been their work (my god, how do you manage to screw up laminate floor).  Unfortunately, I’ve been forced to live with a God-awful pee-yellow bathroom since June 2017.  Last weekend, that all changed.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be detailing out my process on remodeling the bathroom, including what I did, why I did it and how much stuff I messed up (not a ton (spoiler: it’s mostly that I didn’t take enough before pictures), but it’s only a 30 square foot room).

Next up will be the extensive planning that I didn’t do.

 

Deep Thoughts

The Urge to Create

There are times where I’ll finish a project and have to think of the next one or have other projects to complete around the house and it takes me a few days to get back into the shop. These times always find me itching to get back into the shop to create something, even if I don’t have a clue what to create or the funds to get the lumber.

So I’ll putter into the shop and grab a scrap piece of wood and, usually, a chisel and start going to town just screwing around with it just to see if I can make a certain shape or a mortise or who knows what. Ultimately, I go to bed unsatisfied and longing for more time in the shop.

Thankfully, recently I got some extra money and purchased some supplies for shop projects to fill this time. I always need another drawer for tools or to start on a tool cabinet and now, after I finish The Ugly Box (post to come on this one), I’ll have more than enough lumber to get me through until I need to get my next project going.

Hopefully one that makes me some money.

Deep Thoughts

In the beginning…

The first post of a new blog is intimidating. You don’t have a routine down, you don’t have old articles to build off and you feel the pressing need to do better than Shakespeare.

Kinda like building stuff.

Hell, I’m 20-odd projects into what I hope is a long career and I still get paralyzed with fear before starting a new project. “Can’t screw up”, “other people will have better ideas than me”, “I can’t possibly make anything interesting and unique.”

Well, you know what: I can and that’s ok, they will and that’s ok, and I’m dead wrong.

Since I started woodworking about 18 months ago I’ve made tons of things that, while I can see where’s I do it differently, they’re all still interesting to me. From my first coffee table held together using pocket screws to the tv Stand I just built using no glue or screws, each piece is some small part of where I was at in my career then.

So I’ll be here, sharing what I can so that you can stop saying: “nah, I could never do that because………”