finish carpentry

What will $11 mil get me in Brooklyn?

Posted by Steve on Fri, 05/03/2013 - 2:18pm


It's a question that probably doesn't get asked very often, but here's an answer ready for it: the locally revered landmark "Gingerbread House" at 8820 Narrows Avenue in Bay Ridge, about a mile south of Brooklyn Row House.  Not for nothing but this is a bargain compared to the unanswered 2009 asking price of $12 million.  Nevertheless, it's quite a bit more than the "under $1 milliion" that the current owners paid for it in 1985, which should give an indication of property valuations in this neck of Brooklyn over the past 20 years.

http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/real-estate/piece-brooklyn-storybo...
 


My toughest cabinet

Posted by Steve on Wed, 08/29/2007 - 1:22am


My dogs are killing my floors! They're large and energetic pups who like to use the floor as a skating rink. I decided to look in my photo archives to see what they look like now as opposed to five years ago.

Thankfully, it wasn't as bad as I thought but I'll probably get the floors lightly sanded and refinished when I'm done with the construction here and the dogs are a little older and more sedate. One of the reasons I don't stain floors is so I have the option to screen them if they need refinishing rather than having to do a thorough sanding.

While looking for those old photos I got sidetracked by a few pix of the nearly completed media cabinet I had built for the living room. This project started as an afterthought. Because the living room isn't huge, I had originally planned to stash most of my media hardware in a basement locker. It was a poorly conceived idea.

The location of the cabinet was dictated by the layout of the room. It was going to have to be a corner cabinet. But I piled on a few more requirements. It had to hide all my audio and video gear as well as my favorite 300 or so CDs. Even though I didn't own one yet, it had to support a 38" wide HD monitor. There would be no visible wiring and there would be a hardwired Ethernet connection. It had to blend into the finish trim style of the room, which meant that it had to be a built-in.

At last, that curved baseboard!

Posted by Steve on Thu, 05/03/2007 - 12:02pm


I've been pushing off this little project for a couple of months. The bedroom renovation began with construction of the closet and the curved plaster corner I absolutely had to have (if for no other reason than I'd never done one before). I knew that was going to create problems with the trim later but, hey, later is later. Six months later, later became today.





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.

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.

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.


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.

Another mini-milestone reached

Posted by Steve on Thu, 12/28/2006 - 8:31pm


Just like software development, I like to break big projects down into milestones and mini-milestones.

MilestoneMini milestone
Wall prep (done)
Structural carpentry (done)
Finish woodworking Wainscott east wall + outlets
Window and door trim - large room
Complete wainscott - large room
Window trim and wainscott - ante room
Construct and install dresser and cupboard - ante room

Ahhhh... here were are (check!)



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