Friday, December 29, 2006

Because It Wouldn't Fit In The Chimney

It was left on my front porch. Actually, my chimney's so small that hardly anything fits in it, including liners required by code.

Here's what Santa left for me, a French door to be install. Batteries not included.

The plan is to install it over the weekend where I can get a buddy or two to help. It supposed to be dry (yes, Portland gets dry days from time to time), but it might be windy which in my opinion is the worst weather to work in. Out in the entrance of the gorge, about 10 miles from my house, they were calling for 50 mph winds.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Oak Tree Tile Trim, Part Three

After feeling somewhat successful at the trial trim creations, I decided that production for the trim around the oak tree tile mural was to commence. Here's the first step - smooshing the clay into the jig section. I lined the bottom of it with part of a plastic garbage bag, as wet clay tends to adhere pretty solidly to the wood jig:

Then I smoothed the surface out, ready to be tooled:

Next picture is running the tool over the clay. I had to do this several times to take small layers off each pass. Tonight was a good learning experience in this little craft, in that you can't take too much off in one pass because the clay will "tear" off. I also found out that keeping it fairly wet decrease the chance of reapplication of clay. If it does tear or if I found a blemish, I would just reapply the clay and start over. But that's no fun. I really dislike rework.

The finished product:

Tonight I was able to make about 90" of the trim in a matter of about an hour and a half. Here are the 4 sections place on the floor to dry out. I placed them against the wood studs to keep the straightness. But wouldn't it be funny if one of the studs was bowed? Hysterical.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Oak Tree Tile Trim, Part Two

This is part two of my exploration of making trim for my oak tree mural. I apologize on part one for the huge spaces between the pictures. There are some wierd issues with blogger (or I don't know what I'm doing) but there's only so much time in the day. I can't be using it to mess around with blogger.

After making the tool that will form the trim's profile, I made a jig that will hold the clay in place, as well as form the back corner:

And a picture of the forming tool IN the jig (this should clear up any fog):

The first trial run:

After running the tool over the clay several times, adding water, adding more clay, etc, this is what it looks like:

After letting it dry out a few days, it is firm enough to handle but still slightly wet that modifications can still be easily made. This is same piece on my counter. This practice piece is fairly rough and the final pieces should turn out much smoother as I will put more time into it.

But it works!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Oak Tree Tile Trim, Part One

I hope I don't jinx myself but I'm going to capture a step by step process on how I'm going to make my trim around the oak tree tile mural. It's just that I've never done this before so going public with this prior to completion makes me a little nervous. You know, in case I screw it up or something.

So this is where the situation begins. I made an oak tree tile mural over a time period of 4 months, starting October 2005. It is the protective backing to the wood stove. I have the mural up but I need to place trim around it, and I want it to blend in with the cap for the wainscoting:

This is measuring out the cap (sample piece) to see how far it sticks out. This cap will go around the perimeter of the room, sort of like a tall chair rail. I need to make the trim to the mural match this so it will blend in:

Here are some sketches I made, copying a similar pattern to the cap of the wainscoting:

And transcribing the sketch to 1/2" plywood to make a cutting form:

And the final form sketched out to be cut:

The rough cut, done by a $20 jig saw with a metal cutting blade:

After seeing the rough cut, it looked like a disaster and I thought I'd have to start over but after sanding, I was happy with. This is the tool I'll use to make my clay trim to be installed:

Stay tuned for part two!:

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

A Different View

This weekend I offered to hang my neighbor's Christmas lights for her (actually, really for her 5 year granddaughter). But it was really just a ploy to get on her roof to see a different view of my house.

So here's another little house tour, from the roof of my neighbor:

And a view of the backyard (the waterfall is just to the left of the birch):

Friday, December 08, 2006

Drywall Finishing

This past Wednesday, I had the finishers for the drywall start their work. So far, it looks pretty good. They weren't able to meet the walls to the ceiling because of ceiling being not being neat enough to blend in. Besides, I'll probably end up using a crown moulding of some sort anyway. From what I understand, another coat is due, along with some sanding. Just one step closer...

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Mt. Popcorn

That is my ceiling, on the floor.

On Tuesday evening, in preparation for the drywall finish team, I scraped off the popcorn ceiling in the dining room. This was so they could blend the walls in with the ceiling. Also, since I will be installing a tin ceiling, I needed to make a smooth surface to attach the tin panels.

First, I sprayed the ceiling liberally with water, then took a tape knife and just scraped away. It came off fairly easy. The toughest part was cleaning the entire mess.

And the final outcome, not much to look at.....yet.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

One Thousand Six Hundred and Fifty Lights*

* With the exception of the short section on the small gable that is not lighting up for whatever reason.

That's what I did all weekend. In the cold east wind. Slightly hungover from the irish session the night before. Wearing no gloves.

This is the first Christmas season to hang icicle lights from the gables. I have always wanted to, especially after getting the attic remodel completed. I think a farmhouse looks particularly good with the icicle lights. Unfortunately, I ran out so I wasn't able to get the north gable (or balcony) section completed. Later I was able to find some more lights, though cheaper, I think they'll do the trick. Now, I just have to find the time and the energy - preferably at the same moment.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

A Tight Fit

This past Sunday, I attached the finish layer panels to the panel wainscoting. Now, it's ready for the stiles and cap molding and baseboards to be attached. Though it's not much to see, here's a picture of the north wall of the dining room so far:

This biggest challenge to applying the finish panel is locating the openings for the outlets and switches in the panels. The challenge is that there isn't much room for error. Particularly the switches because since they are dimmers, the front face is nearly the size of the cover plates. I knew there'd be no way to cut the openings that precise, so I opted to disconnect them, and feed them through openings which were sized smaller for the electrical box to fit through. Here's a series of photos, in case I lost you:

Monday, November 27, 2006

All Insulation Covered

Although Simpson Door screwed up and pushed the delivery time of the french door out another 6 weeks, making a total of a 12 week lead time, I decided just to go ahead and finish the drywall in the bay window. I don't think installing the door should have much effect on it and besides: Progress. Must. Continue.

I'm so glad I don't have to look at the insulation anymore. I'm also starting to feel the dining room remodel come together with having completed this.


I don't know if it's noticable in the picture but due to the framing, there are some huge gaps in the drywall seams. The next step this week is to hire out for the drywall finish. Hopefully, whomever I hire can work some magic with my horrific drywall hanging.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Pneumatic Nail Gun

With the start of the panel wainscoting, I have ventured into a new realm of remodeling - the pneumatic nail gun. It is really amazing how much it moves the work along. I figured it would and thought that this stage of the dining room remodel would justify buying one, but my expectations have been exceeded. Having said that, the tool is also pretty intimidating. Something about turning the compressor on and watching the gage climb up to 150 psi. That is a lot of pressure. I don't think that I'm so worried about backfire from the nail gun. But then again, maybe I am because everytime the compressor kicks on, I sort of jump.

Here's a picture of me within the first 15 minutes of using it. If I look relaxed, it's because the picture's totally staged.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

The Panel Wainscoting Has Begun

I've taken advantage of this 4-day weekend by getting a good jump start on the panel wainscoting. So far, I've just placed the first layer of plywood up to serve as "nail anywhere" surface for the actual panels. Since my studs have odd centers, I wanted to be able to hide any seams or nails with the stiles.



Wednesday, November 22, 2006

To The New Owners in 2156

May they be enlighted with the fact that the best beer crafted by humans during this time of remodel was.......Full Sail Amber.

I also stuffed lots of newspaper articles in various spots in the wall for their future discovery, as well as a one dollar bill that I nearly had to reclaim in desparation for a quick cup of coffee at Bipartisan. Fortunately, I had my Bipartisan punch card full so I was due for a free cup.

One of the articles I stuffed in the wall was in regards to Mt St Helens and how the dome is growing so rapidly. Since I had been up there a month earlier, I decided to attach a picture of myself on the rim of St Helens, along with my name, date, etc. It's interesting to think of what the status of that volcano will be upon the time of discovering that article.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

I've Graduated From Lathes

Last Sunday I completed the final touches to the stove pipe install, which consisted of a proper connection to the stove itself with an adapter, and stuffing some fire resistant insulation between the brick chimney and floor. It was now time to make real fire.

I started with some lathes and everything was going great until I had about 6 or 7 lathes really blazing. All of a sudden, smoke started pouring out of the top as if there wasn't enough draft. But how could that be when I had started it slowly? Regardless, I threw a couple of cups of water on it to control it and started over slowly. Very slowly.

Last night, I got the courage to put some real logs (big boy wood) on after warming up the chimney with some simple lathe burnage. It went well for the most part, but there was a moment when it really got going and the whole smoke leakage started up again. This time I was able to control it with the front dampers. With the odd smell of the smoke, I'm wondering if it's just a 'break-in' smell, like of paint burning, and not a draft problem. Time will tell.

Regardless, I'm really having a blast with this new stove. Adjusting the dampers and watching the fire react is really cool.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Fall View From The Balcony

Not much to say, just a picture of a japanese maple "on fire" from the view off the balcony in the back. This only happens for about 72 hours a year.

I like the deep orange color against the gray, purplish sky.