Sunday, June 26, 2011

Fit And Trim

    Ed began putting the door knobs on the interior doors this week. With 18 doors, this was a two day job. We are using door knobs that match the exterior door lock sets from Emtek. They are the Old Town glass knobs, with the Arts and Crafts series rosette, in aged bronze.

   Once that was done, he began putting up trim around doors and windows. He started with the upstairs arched windows, but I've been unable to get a decent photo because of the backlight coming in through the window. I'll need to wait until it's dark outside. This time of year, that's around 10 p.m. and I'm sound asleep.

  The door trim looks amazing! The crown molding is going together very easily, thanks to the construction hot glue gun that Ed is using. And the fit is spot on.


The glue gun was recommended by several construction-savvy folks. Dan, our son-in-law and Michael, a friend in Sonora, both said it would take the stress out of putting up wood trim, and they were right. It's a HiPURformer hot glue gun . Ed has been using the ww30 glue, which has a 30 second set time. He glues the crown molding and mitered corner to the head casing while it's on the workbench, then nails it in place as one piece.
   My week was less productive. I spent two days in Astoria looking at granite and one day at the dentist. The granite is a big stressor. It's expensive and a permanent choice so I'd better not mess up. The wood in the cabinets is dark, the floors are lighter but not much. Do I choose a dark granite or something lighter...dramatic grain or understated...2 cm or 3?
   I also began plotting the tile around the fireplace. Tiling the fireplaces is my job and I want to do it without depending on Ed, but I also don't want to mess it up. I drew out the header and keystone pieces on graph paper, then will cut them out of slate 12x12 tiles. It's similar to the technique used for making a stained glass pattern.

   I am also making the head casing for the upstairs family room door. It will be similar to the one in the apartment. I found that carbon paper (Remember carbon paper?) wouldn't leave a mark on finished wood, so I had to get another piece of unfinished hemlock and trace the pattern. Then, using a small router, I cut out the words and figures. I painted the words and the white on the eagles, being very careful to not bleed paint up onto the higher surface of the board. Then I used a dark walnut stain for the birds' bodies, and let it dry. Once it was dry I stained the board to match the rest of the trim. Just before quitting time yesterday, I gave the whole thing a coat of spar varnish. If in five years we decide we don't like it, we can always pop it off and put up a plain piece.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Loggers, Bloggers, and Sloggers

    When we moved to the country, we anticipated the quiet, bucolic landscape. We looked forward to the wildlife, the sound of the wind in the trees, the peace. A year later, the state sold the timber on the land across the road from us, the logging began, and has been intermittent ever since. I know that logging is the life blood of this area, but semis at 0300, road graders and gravel haulers weren't quite what I had in mind. Fortunately they are usually done for the day by 3:00 p.m. and the evenings are less hectic. They  wrap up a project in the fall, just in time for hunting season and the logging road once again turns into a freeway. I wonder who I have to bribe to get a gate on that dirt road?
 I've finished my stint in The Dungeon. I've stained and varnished over a half mile of trim, and 18 door frames and doors. Well..half true. Ed sprayed the urethane on the doors. What a blessing!
  Ed took a few days last week and went to Montana to help a friend with a project. I thought I would be able to finish it all while he was gone. Wrong! There was just too much of it. But it's done now. Yea!

  Tuesday the kitchen and living room cabinets were delivered. I couldn't help myself. We kind of shoved them into place to get a feel for how it would look. We couldn't put the island pieces in the middle because the bottoms still have to be drilled for drains etc. These things are heavy! I admire women who can get through the tough jobs, and I'd like to think I could help Ed get these installed. It's not a realistic goal. Ed will get someone a lot stronger than I am to help.

   The living room cabinets were also delivered. That consists of a bookcase on either side of the fireplace with Craftsman style glass doors, and similar cabinets for the foyer. We took the glass doors off to move the cabinets around, but oh, this is going to look so nice!

Ed has been hanging doors for the last two days. There are 16 regular doors and two sets of bi-fold doors. These are the pantry doors.

We've been keeping an eye on a blog that is chronicling a similar home project,   They may just make it into their house before we do, and that's ok. Ed is a one man band and has been slogging through various stages of this project. First he had to build a barn, so he'd have a place for tools, tractors and furniture storage. Then he had to rip off the roof to the garage and build an apartment so we'd have a place to live during the house project. In the meantime he commuted 800 miles each way to work each week and worked like a madman on the project when he was at home. He's been working on the house for 18 months and is at the point where he just wants it to be done. He wants it to be done right, but we both feel like moving day is a dream. Sometimes I think we need to stop and look at the road that got us here to appreciate the path ahead. So here's to loggers, bloggers, and sloggers. We'll cut it down, build it up, and write it out.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Good News, Bad News

     All the tile is now grouted, with the exception of the powder room. In fact, it doesn't even have tile yet. It seems I made a serious error in calculations, and need two more boxes of the mosaic basketweave tile. Home Depot says the bad news is, they're out of stock. The good news is they expect to have it mid-July..or September, depending on who you talk to. Now the question I wait and trust them to come through or go find a replacement product and move on?
    The foyer was almost the last of the travertine. Because of the size of the tiles and the layout, Ed decided to put a hardwood border around the foyer, then lay the tiles.
  Once the foyer was done, Ed took the last pieces of travertine, definitely not the stellar pieces, and finished the closet in the downstairs guest room. The bad news was,  he was one tile short. The good news was, the porcelain tile for the craft room is in the style of the  travertine, and the same size. I doubt anyone will even be able to pick that piece out.... unless they read this first.

   John from Entek Heating came out this week to put the finishing touches on the heating and air conditioning system. He charged the heat pump, installed the thermostat keypads, set the zones, and a whole bunch of other stuff that I don't get.  Ed was as happy as a pig in mud. He asked a million questions and generally hung out and watched, which is good. None of it made any sense to me and he'll be the one to tinker with it anyway.


     I stalled out on putting finish on all the trim. I was a little overwhelmed with the number of doors that needed a coat of urethane, sanding, and a second coat of urethane. Ed wanted to spray them but the weather hasn't been cooperative. Finally, I found a method posted on the internet which described using metal L brackets to hook the doors together for spraying.  
    Ed says "I don't have L brackets, but that gives me a great idea."
   And it was. He put heavy plastic down on the floor of the basement shop. Then he used wood blocks to put the doors up like a folding screen. Then he got out the airless sprayer and sprayed the doors in short order. The only problem he encountered was that the Helmsman spar urethane was so thick that the compressor had to work overtime to pump it through and began to overheat.  The next day we sanded them with 220 grit sandpaper. After making a few adjustments to the sprayer, Ed gave them a second coat of urethane. What a relief to have them done!

     Ed is going to take a few days for a  well-deserved visit to some friends, while I will be home with cat/dog/chicken duty.  I will be working on getting one coat of urethane on the rest of the wood trim.  When he gets home we'll start hanging doors, trimming out windows and installing baseboards. 
   The good news is, yesterday was glorious weather, blue sky and 84*. It was perfect weather for the Dollars For Scholars Rod And Reel, a car show and sturgeon derby. The bad news is, today we're back to cloudy skies. Will summer ever come?