The Mystery of the Vanishing Paint Brushes

Posted by Steve on Tue, 02/06/2007 - 10:59pm

I thought I was suffering from early dementia. Over the several months of this bedroom renovation I've lost a bunch of paint brushes. I'd clean them and stick them... hell, I don't know where. I just couldn't find them again.  But what was even stranger is that several paint brushes that I'd stored in my basement shop two flights down in a large coffee can are also missing.  Just the good ones with the soft bristles.

I found them today, laying on the floor at the rear of my new closet. I know I didn't put them there. With all the construction material I'd stuffed in there, the only life forms that could get back there are my two cats and one of my two dogs. Or maybe a poltergeist screwing with me.

The reason I found them is because my new closet doors arrived from

How to blow $300 in three seconds

Posted by Steve on Sat, 02/03/2007 - 9:01am

Six years ago, I was building the bar for our new restaurant in Brooklyn Heights. The bar was four plywood cabinet carcasses with a laminated mahogany top.

A friend of mine and I stood freezing in the unheated storefront staring at the chop saw, the bar, and a sixteen foot piece of 8" rabbeted mahogany cap moulding we were going to use to trim the edge. The object of our fixation was a ninety degree corner. It's a simple cut except when the moulding costs $18/lf and it's the last last piece that Dykes has. We only had one chance to get it right. Which one of us had the juevos to make that cut?

The Mystery of the Ducts To Nowhere

Posted by Steve on Sat, 01/20/2007 - 12:21pm

(Or "Why A Duct?", with a tip o' the hat to the Marx Bros)

This house has ancient, single-pipe steam heating. From what I've been able to determine from digging in these walls over the past seven years is that it's always had steam heating. Nothing interesting there.

What's baffling is why the house also has ancient metal air ducting buried inside the walls. I discovered this shortly after I moved here when I ripped down the basement ceiling and found three vertical ducts to nowhere. Over the past hundred years, various plumbers and electricians had used them for service pulls. So did I when I ran 3/4" copper to the second floor bath, the central vac piping and various electrical branches from the basement panel.

I moved the renovation activity into the upstairs hall two weeks ago. After ripping off an old baseboard for replacement, you can see one of those ducts here.

Here's a closer look. The ducts are a fairly heavy gauge steel wrapped in another layer of corrugated steel, which functions as plaster lathing. It's real nasty to work with. It takes quite a bit of effort to knock a hole in this stuff. Because the ducts aren't anchored to anything, you can't use a saw on them. They just flap around, loosening the surrounding plaster. And after you succeed with tin snips you're left with metal edges as lethal as a machete blade.

There used to be an old baseboard outlet here. I hate baseboard outlets. They're inconvenient and a trip hazard when anything is plugged into them. My intent was to move that outlet up the wall. But once I removed the baseboard and saw the ducting (which I'd forgotten about) I decided I liked my unlacerated flesh more than I hated baseboard outlets.

Ah been tagged

Posted by Steve on Thu, 01/18/2007 - 12:57am

Chicago 2-Flat tagged me. For those who don't know this Houseblogs game, if you're tagged by another house blogger you're supposed to reveal five things about yourself that most people don't know. Then you tag five other house bloggers.

Because of something I revealed about myself on this blog, I won This Old House Magazine's Stupid Human Trick. So I don't have much of a problem making an idiot of myself for a little attention. The challenge is finding five other house bloggers who haven't been tagged already.


Subscribe to @BrooklynRowHouse RSS