• 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!