Tag Archives: woodworking

Pushing Through with the Banister

A quick note: It’s been an exhausting couple of weeks. I should have published this about 2 weeks ago on April 8. I present it to you now as if I had.

It’s been a tedious month. We left off with the banister and the paneling below looking more or less like this.

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The sequence was burn paint off, sand, wood filler, sand, prime, then see everything I missed (and the grain that the primer raised), wood filler again, sand again, prime again, rinse, repeat.  And because I was getting so fed up with this job, I did what any sane person would do and squeezed in the upstairs banister. I was going to focus on the downstairs part and let this go till later. But the job was so bad I thought getting it all done now made more sense.

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So the dirty part was going on upstairs while my OCD got free reign downstairs.

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This work might seem pretty sedate compared to Phase 1, but I’ve also done it on top of working out 5 times a week and cooking myself heaps of meat and vegetables so I stop wanting bread. You see, I’m 30 now and to my great horror, my waistline has grown enough that for the first time in my adult life I’m wearing a pants size that American stores keep in stock.

And today I have a couple dear old high school friends coming for dinner, which was a bit of a problem because I was still working on the banister yesterday and I haven’t done a lick of house cleaning in a month. I just let the place look like this, plus a continuous accumulation of dust and clutter.

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And so, my parents came down yesterday. My dad and I got another round of priming done and my mom cleaned the house. Maybe I should be ashamed that I let that happen but it was her way of helping. So where are we now? Well, just about all of it is primed (except for some difficult spots where the 2 banisters overlap). In this critical corner, there is no sign left of the hatchet job someone did moving the basement stairway door. The paneling has its sticking in place and the sticking matches the door perfectly. The only thing missing is the little piece of ogee trim under the cap above the door. With a compound miter cut that the Irishman said was not easy to do.

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Upstairs I have a little bit more priming to do and then, sadly, there is more sanding to do there. And there are 8 balusters missing from around the volute downstairs, but I don’t want to install those until everything else is painted. Seriously, I don’t know how anyone would fit their hand in there except that they did a really terrible job painting this.

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But anyways, I’m ready for a break again. And the house is spotless, so keeping it that way for a while would be a nice thing to do instead of messy, tedious projects.

Or, maybe not. On the morning of the 8th, a few hours before my company’s supposed to show up, there’s a crazy person cutting high density fiberboard on my sidewalk! Can you guess why?

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Ups and Downs with the Bookcases

So first of all, yes I got them! I took the Suburban up to the seller’s house in Perkasie, and we got all of them except the middle lower unit in. This meant an hour and a half of driving over my usual afternoon commute. The seller is a concrete contractor and was working closer to where I work the next day, so he offered to bring it to his job site so I could get it there. But then he finished early and brought it to me instead. I said before that last week was bad. But then he showed up with this on his trailer. And yes, that’s my bookcase on the truck.

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And here they are in the house! They’re supposed to go on the other side of the room and will get a little cosmetic tweaking – more on that later – but this is a start.

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Sadly, the lowest shelf of the upper shelving units is fixed. won’t house a TV . But if I can choose between practical and solid mahogany… there’s no contest. The middle base unit has a pullout and a carousel for a TV, so that got me thinking that I could just be old fashioned and keep my TV 4 inches off the ground, too. And that way if there are people with bad taste in TV coming around too often, I can install locks on the doors! Should they insist on being allowed to watch, I’ll see if I can rig something up using the boiler as a stand and and throw some lawn chairs in the basement.

And then, remember how the bases are too deep to fit in my house? I plan to cut 5 inches off the backs, then rout out the side panels and reinstall the original backs to make them look like they came that way. This was easy in my mind. We’d run them through the Irishman’s table saw. He left it in my house and we’ve used it plenty.

But my dad wasn’t comfortable with us being able to balance something that big on such a small table. So instead he said we could clamp on a fence and cut them with a circular saw. We took one out to the sidewalk and made the first cut. The result? Wavy. A disaster.

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I’ll need a Plan B. Either going to Philadelphia Woodworks to have a real wood shop and professional guidance – at $70 an hour – or hoping I can do better redoing the cuts with a router. But for now I’ve just thrown the room together to leave this project till later.

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I thought seeing things bit scrunched and the couch off center was going to make me twitch, but I gave it a shrug. It’s fine. Also, I’ve figured out that the couch will be smushed against the bases if I size them to fit the stereo receiver, but because there’s a big gap behind the cabinets above the baseboards, I’m just gonna be lazy and cut a big hole in the backs. Problem solved.