Category: finish carpentry

“George is gettin’ frustrated…!”

The saga continues on the stained glass design for the master bedroom bureau. I created two more designs (below) that look nice but seem inappropriate for this piece. I’m beginning to think that stained glass in general is too heavy for this cabinet. I considered using cane instead except my cat would make short work of that. Trixie hops up on the window sill, opens the sock drawer and sleeps in there. Giving her a climbing wall would be a mistake. Then I remembered something I’ve seen in old movies: wire glass. You see it a lot in Hollywood set

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New Stained Glass Projects (building a face frame)

I have several stained glass tasks in the queue here. Some, like the upper cabinet doors in the living room media cabinet, have been on hold since 2003. Others, like the funky stairway skylight, I’ve wanted to replace since the day I first saw the place. While stained glass construction is fairly mechanical and basically just woodworking joinery using glass and lead came, the design, templating and piecing out can be very time consuming. Most of the glass I’ve done here is fairly simple and angular to match the existing stained glass. But I wanted something a bit more ornamental

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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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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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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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Yet another “cool tool” article

I’ve blathered a lot on the blog about the coolness of routers but another tool I use quite a bit is a biscuit joiner. What’s that? Bread glue? It’s a tool I first saw TOH demigod, Norm Abrams, use back in the 80s. Okay, let’s be honest: Norm has a shop full of bizarre, narrow purpose tools. But a biscuit (or plate) joiner is really useful, especially for edge-laminating boards as I’m about to do here. It can also be used to strengthen mitered corners or to insert alignment pins. I did the latter when I installed the heavy mahogany

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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.