master bedroom

My cute l'il attic

Posted by Steve on Mon, 03/12/2007 - 1:09pm


I built and installed the doors for the "attic" over my new closet. This being a row house and all, it's the closest it will ever come to actually having an attic.

These doors were another scrounge job. It's leftover lumber and red oak plywood from the wainscotting and earlier projects. I'm on a kick now to reduce my lumber scrap bin.

I think I did a pretty fair job of matching the pre-fab closet doors below. But I'm really undecided about whether to leave them like this or if it needs some additional trim element to finish them off. I'm undecided.

Aaaand... done!

Posted by Steve on Sun, 03/04/2007 - 11:23pm


I completed all the woodwork on the bay window unit today. I won't play conquering hero either. With the weird angles and different depths of the windows, the embedded convection steam radiator, and more than a couple of measure-once goofs, I was very lucky to get through this without a major screwup.

This weekend, I completed and installed that removable grill in the center of the windows. This was also a bit of work. There are seven boards and two store-bought but modified red oak grills in that face panel, all of them biscuited together with waterproof glue. I wanted no chance that heat and steam from a leaky air valve would cause problems with that lamination, as it did in the dining room cabinet. I was going to do some router scroll work between the grills. I caught myself just in time. It would have exposed those embedded biscuits.

Maybe a roof rack?

Posted by Steve on Sun, 02/25/2007 - 9:59pm


Not counting the 12 year-old Pontiac wreck I owned for all of four months and on which I managed to put maybe 400 miles before I donated it in disgust to a charity, my 2001 VW Golf is the first car I've owned. I've been a motorcyclist since I was 18. When I lived in Manhattan, it was all I needed, or wanted. But when I moved to a 'burban house with a garage, I had to get four wheels, if only for lumber runs. That's pretty much all I use it for too. I've had the car for six years and it just broke 14k miles on the odometer. I put more miles than that on my last Harley in the first year I owned it.

Ten gallons of sawdust later...

Posted by Steve on Thu, 02/22/2007 - 4:03pm


I finished cutting 208 feet of bolection moulding for the wainscotting in the bedroom reno and guess what? I needed 216 feet to complete the job, dammit! I knew I was cutting it close (literally) but I only had a couple of (expensive) red oak 1x8s left which I need for the wainscotting shelf. I'll dig into my red oak scrap pile and cut the remainder this afternoon.

Anyway, I was right. A bolection moulding a/k/a inset panel cap moulding a/k/a rabbeted panel moulding is just an inverted base cap profile with a rabbet. After my router bit quest, I settled on a $28 base cap bit from Woodside.

Bay window trim (almost) done.

Posted by Steve on Thu, 02/15/2007 - 6:32pm


Sheesh. Another "almost" cop out.

The issue here isn't woodworking but thermodynamics. The steam radiator that Richie from Sessa Plumbing installed is something called an "element". An element works on the convection principle: as hot air rises off the element, it expands and exits through a grill at the top. This creates a low pressure area underneath which pulls in cold air from the floor through a grill at the bottom. An element radiator usually comes in a butt-ugly metal cabinet. It's what that missing panel under the middle window needs to replicate.



I'm gonna give you a private snapshot into how my disturbed mind works, or at least as private as a few hundred hits/day can be. Then maybe you'll understand why this bedroom renovation is taking me forever.

Because I don't have that cabinet enclosure, I don't have a clue if this vent "engineering" involves some rocket science.

It depends on what "almost" means...

Posted by Steve on Mon, 02/12/2007 - 12:31pm


I've been looking forward to this day for months. Almost all the trim, the doors, cabinets, etc are done! What's "almost"?

By "almost" I mean that the center of operations moves downstairs to my shop. The remainder of the trim work -- the cabinet doors and drawers, the panels under the bay window, the stained glass window, the overhead closet doors and even the curved baseboard moulding for the closet corner have to be fabricated. I need my stationary power tools for this stuff.


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 InteriorDoors.com.



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.

As If!

Posted by Steve on Sat, 12/30/2006 - 12:02am


Here's the dubious segue to an on-topic post.

My local dog run is under political attack from some panty waist co-oppers who started a petition this week to close it down because of barking dogs at 8am. Don't these people have frikkin jobs? But I digress.

So we're going to have a summit with the various Owls Head dog run groups: the 7:30-9am "breakfast club" (my dogs' pack), the 10-12 noon "lazily retired", etc., elect a spokesmodel and assert ourselves in The System to save our precious dog run and perhaps convince the Parks Dept to spend a few bucks making some sorely needed repairs. Screw these whiners; we need a new fence!

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