Category: carpentry

A Prodigal Door Returns

Okay, it’s a lightweight job and it’s not even for my house. But after several months of heads-down work on a software task for my client, The Children’s Health Fund, I’ve got another DIY project. Maybe it will kick me back into gear to finish the cabinet doors and stained glass projects that have been dogging me all summmer. Well, some of it for a lot longer than that. The job is stripping an old interior door and replacing its center panel with some sort of a screen. Karen is a licensed wildlife rescuer and needs this door so her

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My toughest cabinet

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

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More and more sawdust

With a challenging software project winding up, the top floor reno winding down and my tools reunited with their friends in the basement, it was time to turn my attention to the crime scene that used to be my shop. This cleaning has to last several months because it will probably be that long before I’ll be using the tools again. I don’t mind working in a messy environment but I can’t start a new project unless everything is neat and tidy, with every tool in its proper place, the table saw waxed, stationary tools aligned, blades sharpened, etc. This

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Time to buy a bed

I can’t freakin’ believe it. All my tools are back in the shop where they belong, the paint’s up, the room is clean, the nine-month saga of the master bedroom renovation…. so OVER! Okay, there are still a few things left to do: the cabinet drawers and doors, the hallway stained glass windows, the doorknobs. I’ll get around to it unless Home Stretch Complacency strikes me down. Over the last few weeks I’ve been finishing up the hallway, the two closets and my outside plantings. There’s always a sense of closure when I lay that second coat of paint, especially

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At last, that curved baseboard!

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. There are basically four ways to build a curve using solid lumber. One is to steam it and bend it in a jig. Bending 1″ nominal hardwood stock to as shallow a radius as I

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Engineered Flooring HOWTO v2.0

I don’t like drywall. I like plaster. I don’t like composite mouldings. I like hardwood. I don’t even like prefab mouldings. I like to cut my own. So why would I like something as new-fangled and artificial as engineered flooring? Actually, I don’t. Even though I went through bloody hell to lay those herringbone floors in the living room, solid hardwood is still my first choice. But there were reasons why engineered flooring was the better option for the second floor in my house. One is that I didn’t want to add an extra 1.25″ to the height of the

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Mea Culpa

Forgive me, blog, for I have sinned. It’s been a month since my last confession. I’ve been so busy that I haven’t found the time to sit down and write about what I was up to. I should break this update into a few posts. Lemme talk about the bedroom reno first. After I got derailed by Con Ed’s feeder line burning out and putting my 220v Delta table saw temporarily out of commission, I regrouped and decided to start on the finish work. The remaining trim work is mostly shop stuff so I can do it later. Three days!

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I have an “attic”!

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.

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Aaaand… done!

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

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Maybe a roof rack?

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 suburban 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

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    Welcome to Brooklyn Row House

    This blog is about the challenges of renovating an old (1903) Brooklyn, New York row house.

    My last major renovation project was the master bedroom, most of which is about finish carpentry. You’ll find other completed home improvement projects in the Projects submenu at the top of this page.

    I’m not a professional builder and don’t pretend to be. I’m just an experienced amateur raised in a family of committed DIYers. I try to closely follow local and national building codes but don’t mistake anything on this site to be professional or even accurate advice! Your mileage may and definitely will vary.

    This is the third iteration of BrooklynRowHouse.com, from scratch-built to Drupal and now Wordpress. I hope you enjoy your time here.