Thursday, August 28, 2008

More Treasure

Here is my latest acquisition….

These were a bit of an impulse buy. These are sash lifts that are meant to be mounted to the bottom of the lower window sash to help to lift it open. I just love these designs they did back then. In is an interesting combination of both geometric designs and the more traditional filigree, fancy-shmancy stuff.

I got them at a place up in Oregon called Aurora Mills. By West Coast standards, their selection is amazing. In fact, one of the guys that works there told me they regularly make trips Back East for new inventory. The place was really a treat to visit.

Aurora Mills is about 30 miles outside of Portland, OR. It is really a very beautiful part of the country. Very picturesque. I had never been to Portland before, and I must admit, I really liked the city. Portland is a city of about a half million people and the Willamette river cuts right through the middle of it. There is something about a large metro area bordered by a great river that I find very appealing. I can’t say what it is exactly.

Portland has a very nice older section of downtown that is lively and cosmopolitan. Portland State University boarders this older section of downtown so there is a youth and energy that comes with a large student population. If I was drawn to larger cities I could see myself living there. The trip wasn’t well planned, so I didn’t spend much time in the area, but I’m definitely going back.

I also drove through Oregon City. Oregon City is half way between Aurora Mills and Portland. At first glance, Oregon City is not much to look at. The Willamette river passes through the center of it and it has the feel of a gritty industrial town. There are some nice, older neighborhoods in the high bluffs above the river.

The main industry, as far as I could tell, was the Blue Heron Paper Mill. It is a large industrial complex that straddles the river right in the heart of the city. Its not something that you would think would be very attractive, but for some reason I was fascinated by it. There really was a certain beauty to it. I expected to go there and photograph old houses and charming old downtown’s, but I found that I was drawn to this huge industrial complex that almost seemed to be a part of the river. Or maybe the river was a part of it.

As with just about any river, the Willamette river is a half mile wide in some places and then it is forced in to a narrow gorge in other places. This mill and the city are situated at one of these narrow gorges. The mill and the river are one in the same at this spot and then the city spreads up the steep hills on either side. In one spot they have created a sink in the middle of the river to I guess supply water for the mill. I’m not really sure what its purpose was. It really was very interesting.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

That’s a wrap, people!

And with that, the last of the sheetrock has been unceremoniously ripped out of The Petch House. The house is now sheetrock, laminate, and pressboard free. Can I say its 100% organic? I wonder if I can get certification?

Anyway, that white area around the big opening had the last of the sheetrock. I went and picked up plaster yesterday and I hope to bang out this wall next weekend. The rest of the plaster in this room is in excellent shape. I toyed with the idea of just going ahead and skim coating the whole room now, but I really don’t feel like it. It is hard on the shoulder, so breaking it up in to smaller chunks is probably better anyway.

Here is where it sits now. That big gaping hole is 8’3” wide by 8’9” tall. I had the 7 year old neighbor girl come over and do the drawings. I would never do something that crappy {Cough!}. The door on the right leads to the kitchen. That is the 80s Porn Closet door you see closed in the kitchen. The red line represents where the Murphy’s Bed was installed in the 1920s. Notice how it slices right through the dado panels. It sliced through a pair on the other side as well. I refuse to admit how much I spent to have those burl redwood panels reproduced. It’s a dollar amount I’m taking to my grave.

The green lines that the stupid little girl made {Cough!} represent the cabinets I want to rebuild. There will be 3 uppers and 3 lowers with a counter between to display some fine china or a nice tea set. The small square at the back will be a pass-through door. This is the dining room, so the idea is that you would pass dirty dishes to the servants slaving away in the butler’s pantry.

If servants didn’t work fast enough, the butler’s pantry is also a good place to beat them. The woman of the house could loosen the old corset and just go back there and wale away on them for hours. They were servants, so what else are they going to do? It was either wash the dishes and put up with the beatings, or become a prostitute for the loggers in what is now Old Town. Ahhh, it truly was The Golden Age.

Back to reality….

The goal of the cabinets is two fold. First, to make really nice cabinets. Beyond that though, I also want to use as much lumber as is possible. I cleaned out the shop today and I still have piles of lumber. This all salvaged old-growth redwood from the two story addition that I seem to work in to almost every other post. What’s left is, shall we say, less than perfect. The idea is to do more detail with smaller pieces of wood and use up as much as I can. If I’m forced to buy one stick of wood I’ll consider the project a complete failure. I’ll talk about my plans more in the weeks ahead.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Google Maps

The good people at Google – or at least I don’t think they’re evil – have photo-mapped Eureka. I’m sure this sort of thing happening in your city is old news by now. We are easily 3 to 5 years behind the rest of the country in almost every aspect of modern, civilized life.

I read about it in the local paper last week, but only checked it out today. Its pretty freakin’ amazing. I played around with Google Earth, which is amazing in and of itself, but this was a new experience because it was all Three-D and real and you can move around in it.

Naturally, I went to check out my house. I wasn’t sure when they photographed the city so my fear was that I still had the ugly brown paint job. Fortunately the house looks spectacular in its mono-chromatic green paint scheme.

I was also able to determine that they photographed the house sometime around September of 2007. That is when I bought the VW GTI and it was parked out front and still had the paper plates on it from the dealer. Also, the green truck is parked on the side of the house and still didn’t have the shell back on. I could see there was a box of debris in the back of the truck.

There was only a few short weeks from the time I bought the VW until I put the shell back on the truck and moved it in to the garage. They drove down my street during that time. Also, since both of the cars are home that means I’m home. If I hadn’t been home I most likely would see the cats on the front porch since they were both still alive at that time.

One odd thing is that the blinds are open on the big front window. I have opened these blinds only a few times in the last 8 years. Mainly because they are crappy and about to fall down. I’m guessing my infatuation with the new car was still very strong and I was admiring it parked out front. My infatuation would have been short-lived with the car, so I probably only had the blinds open for the first few days after I bought it. I tried to look and see if I could see myself standing in the window, but I couldn't.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Where Does The Money Go?

Here is what I spent half of my yardsale booty on. It was an Ebay find and will go in the kitchen. I’ve been wanting a clock for the kitchen for a few years now, but I either couldn’t find what I liked that was affordable or didn't like what I could afford.

I both liked this one and found it affordable. It is nickel over brass and made by the Waterbury Clock Co. of Connecticut. Other than that I know nothing about it or the company. I no nothing about clocks so I can't say whether it is a good or bad clock or whether I got a good or bad deal. I leave that to the collectors to decided. I don't really care.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Waste of A Day

It was big yard-sale day at the old Petch House. I was out of bed at 7:00 AM and hauling stuff out in to the yard by 7:15. Ninety percent of this junk I was trying to off-load was the last remnants of the things left by the tenant whom I booted out of the garages she rented for 15 years. It was just junk and this was junk that mostly would not be considered treasure by most people. It was plain old, garden variety junk.

I didn’t put price tags on everything, instead I grouped things in the yard by price-point and then had signs like “$5.00 each or 3 for $12”. I don’t think that worked too well because no one took advantage of the volume discount.

I had 4 or 5 good sized boxes of small kitchen items, little inspirational plaques, and tacky little knick-knack items that I was desperate to get rid of. There was nothing really the matter with most of it, it was the shear volume that was the problem. There was just so much of it and because none of it was really broken I felt bad about just dumping it.

I laid out a piece of plywood and dumped everything on top. The sign that accompanied it read “Fifty cents each or 3 for a dollar”. After the first wave of professional yard-sale goers bought less than $2.00 worth I slashed the price to “Twenty-five cents each or 6 for a dollar”. I don’t think I sold more than $3.00 the rest of the day. I have 3 boxes that will go to Goodwill and then another 2 boxes of stuff that I don’t even think they would take. That ended up going to the dump.

I had another large sized milk-crate over-flowing with small, articulated toys. These are kind of the size toys you might get in a Happy Meal or something. There must have been more that 100 of them. I dumped them in a pile with a sign that read, “Ten cents each or 3 for a quarter”. I sold exactly thirty-five cents worth of them in 6 hours. Kids wouldn’t even look at the pile. These will go to Goodwill, if they will take it.

I sold about half of the stereo equipment, even some that was not operational. My highest priced item was $4.00 and I still ended up dumping a half a dozen speakers and 3 boom-boxes. I held on to the 2 vintage reel-to-reel players. There is a shop in town that deals in this sort of thing, so I’ll see if he wants it.

I was able to get rid of some of the large items, which was nice, because they cost more to dump. There was a big, heavy, but rather cheaply made wooden bed frame that I sold for $10. It was basically 2X6 lumber nailed together and stained. I sold 3 large mirrors and some tools, including a belt sander {cough!}.

I had a kids bike listed first at $20 and then at $10 and no one even looked at it. There was also a food dehydrator and a newer electric water cooler that supplies hot, chilled, and room temperature water. It was marked at $30. A few people commented on the good price for the item, but no one bought it.

At the end of the day I made about $150, but I spent $24 for another dump run. There is still a pile of stuff which I’ll try and pawn off on Goodwill on Monday. With that I’ll be done with it. My big fear was that the woman whose stuff this was would show up during the sale and make a big scene. She only lives about 3 blocks down the street. I pictured her wallowing around on the plywood scooping all of her little crappy knick-knacks in to a pile while she screamed, “Don’t touch this! Its all mine! Mine!!!”.

She didn’t show up, but after the sale I was at the dump getting rid of those things that I couldn’t give away and that I deemed unworthy for Goodwill. It was really odd that as I was pulling out she was pulling in. This is the first time I’ve seen her since I evicted her. As I drove away I couldn’t help but wonder if she backed in to the same stall I just vacated. If she had she would have seen a big pile of her old stuff that I had just dumped. It was a weird coincidence seeing her there.

I’m glad this whole thing is almost over. I made about $125, but right now, it really doesn't seem worth it. It would have been much better if I never had to deal with it in the first place. I am out of the garage rental business for ever!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Little Things

It is always those little things at the end of a project that seem to drag on. I think I’ve already touched up the paint 4 times since I originally painted. Today when I was touching up puttied nail holes on the crown molding I noticed there were a few forearm smudges on the walls from when I was installing the crown molding. If history repeats itself I will drizzle wall paint on the trim while I’m painting over the forearm smudges. I’ll then need to touch up the trim and while I’m down there I’ll notice that the floor needs a little more finish.

It’s a wonder I ever finish a room, but this one is damn close.

The Money Shot

I woke up early and went and bought shoe molding and quarter round so I could get one coat of paint on. While it dried I trimmed the cabinet so I could get it back in the corner. It was more work than anticipated, but it looks like its always been there now.

If you recall yesterday I showed that the cabinet would not fit behind the door casing. When trimming some off the back of the cabinet I discovered that this was originally part of a larger cabinet. In its infancy there was another set of matching drawers on the left side of the single door.

As I said yesterday it is a salvage piece from the 1920s. It looks to be professionally built but everything is odd dimensions. The carpenter seemed to be under the opinion that larger than normal lumber was better. Of course, a lot of lumber back in the day was full dimensional, but this is beyond that. Instead of one inch thick wood it is inch and 3/8ths. Instead of 1X4 it is 1.5X4.25. 3X3 instead of 2X2. I wonder if maybe this cabinet shop had their on little mill or something and they could do what ever they wanted. What ever the reason, it explains why it is so damn heavy.

Anyway, after the cabinet was trimmed and in the corner I was able to cut and install the last of the trim that I had painted earlier in the day. Now its just a waiting game waiting for the rugs to arrive in a few weeks.

Oh, and I still need to deal with this….

I’m not talking about the mess. After 6 years at least one room in the house always looks like this. No, this is the big opening that I need to fill with custom, High Victorian, redwood cabinets (insert ominous sounding music here). That shot is taken from inside the butler’s pantry looking in to the dining room.

Even if I started working on these cabinets next week, it would probably be more than a month before I drive the first nail.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Ceilings Up!

I installed the last of the tin and put up the crown molding today. I thought maybe the wood crown instead of tin would end up looking like I cheaped out but I really like it. I also got lucky with it. It is a 1X4 hemlock crown molding that comes in 10 foot lengths. For some reason I had it in my head that the room was 10’2” long, but its really only 9’8”. It is also a little over 8’ wide, so that means I was able to use single pieces on each side and didn’t need to do any scarph joints.

I came scary close to running out of tin again. The last picture is the waste left over from the entire ceiling. If I had to do it over I would have purchased mitered corners for that narrow molding piece that separates the field from the boarder. On that element I did go the cheap way. It is not that the mitered corners were difficult to cut, but it did mean that I have a less than eloquent joint in the middle of the two long sides.

The molding pieces are 4-feet long, but you loose several inches when you cut the miter. I’ve cut a zillion outside corners but for some reason I didn’t think of this. With a factory mitered corner the two 4-foot pieces would meet in the middle. As it was, I had a 4 or 5 inch gap that needed to be filled. It doesn’t look really bad – I mean, there are plenty of joints in the ceiling – its just that it could have looked a little better.

Next time….

I also got the cabinet out of the kitchen and in to the room. That sucker is surprisingly heavy. It is a 1920s era salvage piece that came out of an office building locally. Even after taking every thing thing out and removing the door and drawers I couldn’t lift it enough to move it even a little. I ended up flipping it end-over-end from one room in to the other.

Unfortunately, it is not as good a fit as I had hoped. It is 3/8th of an inch too deep and it won’t make it past the door trim to slide back in to the corner. This means that tomorrow I get to trim a little off the back to get it past the casing.

This cabinet was originally built as a corner cabinet to go in to a corner just like that. It originally had no back or side on the left. When I bought it a few years back the guy I got it from added some pieces of that 1/8 mahogany plywood and painted it. The point being, that trimming it may not be as bad as it sounds. I’ve already removed the plywood so I’m only left with a few framing members. Once it is in place I’ll drive some screws through it and permanently attach it to the wall.

I got an email on Friday saying that my carpets have been shipped, which is cool. They originally said 4 to 6 weeks for delivery, but now it seems it will be more like 2 to 3 weeks. The only thing really left to do is the shoe molding where the beadboard meets the floor. I think I’ll pick that up tomorrow. I can put a couple of coats of paint on and then install it mid-week next week.

After that I can stick a fork in this baby and call it done!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Poised For Completion and Odd Events

The last of the pieces have fallen in to place. Baring any unforeseen events, I should be able to complete the butler’s pantry this weekend.

Ten Little Indians

These 10 will go in the butler’s pantry side. Three are for the cabinets at one end of the room. Six for the main cabinets at the other end. Then the last one will be for the little pass-through door that will lead from the butler’s pantry to the dining room. The place I bought these has – or at least I hope they still have – another similar set of 6, only the handles are bronze instead of cast iron. If I get those, they will go on the dining room side.

I’m hesitant to reveal my source until the final deal is done. They have a great selection and good prices, and the name of the place has an indirect connection to The Petch House. The only draw back so far is that they don’t come with matching screws. Shiny brass or steel screws will never do. As soon as I post this I’m heading over to Van Dykes to pay extortion level prices for antiqued wood screws.

And the last of the tin for the tin ceiling arrived today. Unless I screwed up again on the ordering I should get this installed tomorrow, or Saturday at the latest

The cornice has been primered and two top coats applied. I can probably get this up Saturday and touch-up painted on Sunday.

The floor is finished, and I’ve come to the conclusion that I should not be allowed to refinish floors. Either that or the odds are in my favor to get it right the next time. These are way under-sanded. The belt sander just wasn’t enough. Most of the floor will be under cabinets and carpets, so again, this is one of those things that will drive me crazy for the next 6 months until I accept it.

It is really noticeable now because the laundry room – through the open door – was over-sanded. The transition between the rooms is painfully obvious. This will be covered by a runner in a month. Still, it’s a little disappointing. Everything else is coming out so nice.

In other, sort of bad news – no, really its odd news – this bench was stolen on Monday. This is the front porch of the garage building that has the 2, 1-bedroom apartments on the second floor. This is in my backyard.

When I first bought the house the first thing I did was fix up the apartments and rent them out. One of the first things I did at that time was to replace the decking on the porch because it was rotted in places. I bought the bench at a drug store for like $30 or something and it has been there for more than 6 years now. That is, until someone stole in on Monday.

The bench is locked to a bolt which is screwed in to the deck. The lock is a flexible, krypto bike lock and they were able to twist it in to knots while they unscrewed the rather large eye bolt. I’m willing to bet they had to lift up the bench occasionally to un-twist the lock so they could continue to un-screw 4-inch machine threads on the bolt.

It is odd that this weekend I was working out back and I noticed how ratty the bench was starting to get. The cast iron is showing rust and it has lost a lot of paint. The tenants actually use the bench quite a bit. One of them has recently planted the plants that are just in front of the porch and she has had 4 or 5 Bar-BQs this summer with friends. The boyfriend of the other tenant regularly has his morning cigarette while sitting on the bench. I’m not a big fan of smoking, but he’s a nice guy and she’s a good tenant. Better on the porch than in the apartment, and I never see butts lying around.

There is a security light that burned out on Monday at that is what gave the cockroaches the cover of darkness in which to steal the crappy, weathered little bench. There is another light on the porch that has never worked. I decided to fix it before I replaced the bench. I went down to Ace yesterday after work to buy a new fixture and a timer so I could have the light go on and off automatically.

I was in the garage yesterday to work on the fixture when I noticed that the broken fixture is wired in to one of the apartments. The building has 3 panels – one for each apartment, and then a “managers panel” for other things. For some reason this light is wired in to apartment number 1.

Last night I called the tenant in question to tell her that I would need to shut her power off to fix the light. I asked when was a good time and I told her that after the light was working I would buy another bench for the porch. Today at lunch there was a message on the machine from the tenant. In a sort of cautious and slow voice she said something like, “Well, I’ll be at work all day Saturday, but you know, the bench showed back up. This morning it was back on the porch….

She went on with questions about where the bench might have gone, interspersed with her work schedule over the next few days. I stopped listening after, “..the bench showed back up…”. I hurried to the kitchen window and sure enough the bench was back on the porch – lock, bolt and all. The photo above was taken just an hour ago.

I untwisted the lock and screwed the bolt back in to the porch. As I was untwisting the lock I noticed someone had tried to cut through it at some point. I’m not sure if this was done Monday, or maybe this was an earlier attempt to try and steal the bench. Which ever it was, someone, or multiple someones, went through a lot of effort to get – and then return – a crappy, $30 bench that has been sitting outside for more than 6 years. Obviously these people have too much time on their hands.

It kind of makes you wonder. Did they return the bench because they felt guilty? Did they return it because they noticed how ratty looking it was once they saw it in the light of day. Maybe it was easier to return it than to fix it up. The theft was insulting enough. Should I feel more insulted now that it has been returned? Did they just need to borrow it for a few days? It is very odd and there are many, many questions to consider.

One thing is for sure, I don’t think I will be scrapping off the minor rust, nor will I be painting it anytime soon. I think if it looked nicer, I wouldn’t have gotten it back. I’m glad its back. For some reason it feels like a moral victory. If there is a system at work here, then I think we can safely say, the system worked.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Rug Me

I should have thought about rugs a while ago. I just ordered three for the butler’s pantry/laundry room and they won’t arrive for more than a month! The reason I only thought about rugs today is because I’m just finishing up the floor. I think its coming out nice.

There are really just too many rugs to choose from out there. The selection goes on for days. My selection was narrowed a great deal by both price and size. As much as I love a nice Persian wool rug, the laundry room isn’t really the place for one. Size was the next big issue. I wanted 3 rugs for the two rooms. The first would cover most of the space in the butler’s pantry. Next, there would be a runner leading from the butler’s pantry in to the laundry room. Finally, the third one would be in the laundry room in front of the washer and dryer.

Few designs I found would fit all three areas and I didn’t really want to mix and match. I ended up going with the Alessandri Rug in beige from Ballard Design.

This was not my first choice, but I think it is a nice compromise. I got a 3’9”X5’9” for the butler’s pantry. A 2’6”X6’ as the runner. And then a 2’6”X4’ to go in front of the washer and dryer. Now I’ll just sit quietly every evening in a darkened room with my hands folded in my lap until they arrive.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Maybe Next Week

The last of the tin for the ceiling did not arrive this week. It was in Tampa, FL on Tuesday, but didn’t make it here by Friday. Hopefully it will arrive here mid-week and I can get it installed next weekend. I did go and pick up the cornice today. I primed it this afternoon and I want to get two coats on before its installed. After it is up it will just be a matter of doing some touch-up. It was a little irritating that the room is 10’2” long and the cornice comes in 10’ lengths. Oh well.

I finished sanding the floor and got it oiled today. Tomorrow I will start with the top coat. I want to get it finished by Tuesday so it can cure for several days before I start to finish the ceiling. As I was sanding, it dawned on me why there is the discoloration on the left side. It doesn’t show in the picture very well, but the left side is darker and there are numerous dark marks on the floor.

The discoloration and markings are there because that is were the sink was in 1895. Originally, this room had a single window and a sink on the left wall. The red circle shows were there is a wooden plug from where the drain exited. I’m guessing it was there until around 1920 or so.

After that, the sink went away and a second door was added. The wall with the cabinet wasn’t there. The second door would have been just to the right of where that door is in the picture. The left door lead to the rental kitchen and the right door (now gone) lead to the rental bathroom. That is how it was when I bought the place. The rental kitchen and bath were in the now infamous 2 story addition. Now, the addition is long gone and single door leads to the side yard.

In other news, I found a source for antique cabinet latches. I’ve purchased a matching set of 10 so far. These will be for butler’s pantry cabinets. I need 2 for the cabinets in the picture. Then one for the cabinet that goes below that. That cabinet has one door and the 5 drawers. The remaining 7 will be for the yet to be built cabinets at the other end of the room.

I actually found 2 sources that had large, matching sets. This one place that I bought the first 10 from has another set of 6 that are cast iron bodies with bronze bow-tie handles. I’m waiting to make sure the first set of 10 arrives before I make another purchase. This will end up being close to $600 worth of cabinet latches. I figured I should wait and get the first set and make sure I’m happy with them before I give them more of my money.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

When Will It All End?

I’m at that point in the project that I just want it to be over. I only have a few more weeks, but it seems like an eternity. This interminable feeling that this one project evokes acts like a magnifying glass on the entire house. I don’t think I’ll ever finish.

This feeling makes me question why I ever bought this feculent hell-hole in the first place. What was I thinking? Its just too much. How can I be expected to do so much work and ever be finished.

Then I ask myself, what would I have done otherwise. In my pre-Petch House days, it wasn’t like I was achieving world peace or curing AIDS. Who knows, I may have taken up bank robbery to fill my time. I could be in jail right now or on death row. Maybe this house is the best thing that’s ever happened to me.

Thank God I bought this house.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Pretty In Bronze

I scored these beauties on Ebay this week. You can file this under “They don’t make them like they used to”.

These will go on the next project I’m planning. That would be the butler’s pantry/dining room cabinets. These will go on the dining room side, of course. The large ones will be for the uppers and the small ones for the lowers. There is almost enough to do both sides, but I’m short 4 hinges. Does Home Depot carry ornately embossed, cast bronze hinges? Maybe I can pick up what I need there. The little cross looking thing is one half of a clasp of some sort. The guy I bought them off of has no idea where the other half is. I may just use it as a decorative element.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

The Decision Was Made For Me

So, today was the big day when I was planning to sand and finish the floor in the butler’s pantry. The question was, how to go about doing it. The finished area of the floor will be about 8X8 once the cabinets are built in the opening between the dining room and the butler’s pantry. Its not big.

On top of that, it is mostly bare wood. This room originally had linoleum in it. Then, in 1972 it had particle-board underlayment put down with these hideous 12X12 inch fake wood plastic tiles on top of that. In the late 1990s the previous owners put ugly green carpet on top of the fake wood tiles. It was like a seven layer dip of ugliness.

Sometime between when the linoleum came up and underlayment went down some pea-brained moron painted the room with a paint sprayer and over-sprayed on to unfinished wood floor. This same dingus sprayed many rooms and over-sprayed on toilets, tubs, windows, and just about anything else that got in the path of the sprayer. The over-spray went 8 to 10 inches out from the wall on two walls.

Other than the over-spray the floor was basically bare wood. I could use a rented drum sander and that would make quick work of most of it, and then rent the edge sander to finish the edges. That seems over-kill for such a small space, though. I could probably do the whole thing with just the edge sander, but I’ve been-there, done-that, and I did not want to do it again.

No, my mind was made up and I would rent the drum sander. There was just one little problem. One of my tenants is gone for the weekend and she left her car parked in front of the garage where my truck is stored. I can’t really fit a drum sander in the back of the GTI, so no truck means no drum sander.

Because I’m desperate to keep the project moving forward I decided to do the floor with a belt sander and a random orbital sander. The only problem with that plan is that my belt sander is a serious POS. I know I complain about my crappy tools from time to time, but this time it is seriously warranted.

This belt sander is one of my few power tools that predate me owning the Petch House. I bought it when I went to paint my last house. Eight years ago I used it for about an hour and that was the last time I’ve touched until today. It only took an hour to realize how bad it was. I now ask myself why I didn’t return it immediately.

The carriage is so flimsy that when you put any weight on the sander the rollers torque enough that the belt slides off. Think of a conveyor belt. If the two rollers at either end are not parallel to each other the belt won’t stay on. There is an adjustment screw on it to adjust the rollers. What I had to do was adjust it so the belt slid all the way to the inside as soon as you turn it on so that you can then put some weight on it and bring it back to the middle. Too much weight and the belt ends up next to the sander. It was a joke.

Despite this, I used it for about an hour today before giving up and going to buy a new belt sander. The new one is a Makita and has the added benefit of a dust collection bag that works surprisingly well. I spent another hour on the floor with the new sander. I was able to get more done in that one hour with the new one than I did in 2 hours with the old one and the random orbitla sander.

Its not nearly enough, though. I got a late start and I had to take care of some other business. I think what I’ll do now is sand it and oil it before next weekend. I’ll then cover it with cardboard and finish the tin ceiling. After that, I’ll put some type of top coat on it.

There is some discoloration on the left that may come out with more sanding. And there are also still many of the tacks from the linoleum in the white strip on the far right near the wall. The two splotches in the middle are from some petroleum based adhesive or something. They gummed up the sand paper and let off a familiar smell when I went over them. I’m not sure what it is but I’m not too concerned with it. Most of this floor will be covered with a rug. That is the plan for most of the floors in the house.

If I could get real linoleum I would do that in a heart beat. You can get linoleum, but its not the same as the old stuff with the nice patterns. The new stuff is head and shoulders above vinyl flooring, but its just not the same as the old stuff with lots of colorful patterns. Sure its linoleum, but that like saying Budweiser is beer. It may be a fermented grain beverage but that doesn’t necessarily make it real beer.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Knot An Issue Anymore

A few months back when I finished the laundry room I pretty much closed the door and haven’t set foot in the room since. There is a laundry room for the rental units next door that I’ve shared with my tenants for 6 years, so it hasn’t been a big deal. Its not like I’m going to the laundry mat or anything. The new laundry room is adjacent to the butler’s pantry, so I closed off the laundry room to try and contain the mess while I worked on the butler’s pantry. I had moderate success.

Anyway, there was one issue in the laundry room that I never dealt with. That was the missing knot in the beadboard. I installed floor to ceiling salvage beadboard in the room. After weeks of abuse from being ripped out of D&D Motors, and then stacked in the garage, and being scraped, sanded, cut, nailed, sanded some more, and finally painted – after all of that, when I was putting on the last coat of paint, one of 2 knots in all of that beadboard fell out and in to the wall.

I was bummed, but today I fixed it, or at least I covered it up. I had purchased an old 3 arm, swinging towel rack for the bathroom I did last year. I ended up not using it because it stuck out too much for such a small room. Well today, I installed it in the laundry room to cover the knot hole. It is about 6 and a half feet up on the wall right next to the dryer. It can be used to hang hangers on or things that need to drip dry.

It would have been nice if nature had centered the knot between two beads, but no matter. I think it’s a great solution. I was happy to be able to finally use this towel rack. It was probably one of the most expensive things I bought for the bathroom and I was bummed when it didn’t work out. I was afraid I would take a loss on it by selling it on Ebay.

I got a lot of little things done today. I hung the ceiling fixture and put on all of the face plates. I cleaned up and put away all of the tools to get ready for sanding the floor tomorrow. I also had some finishing touches on the paint job to take care of. And I installed a screen door handle that I bought on a whim a few years ago.

It is a very nice, almost complete set of cast iron Victorian screen door hardware. I made a low-ball bid on it, not thinking I would get it, and wouldn’t know I was the only bidder. It has two knobs, a locking, spring loaded lockset, and an exterior escution. The only thing it is missing is the catch that goes on the jamb, and I also needed screws. This set me on a journey around the house to all of my little piles of hardware.

Some of it I bought and other items are leftovers. Sometimes a person on Ebay will be selling a collection of things and there may be one or 2 items I think I might need. I make a low-ball bid and sometimes I get it. I have a feeling someday I will be selling my own “collections” on Ebay. I also have a habit of dismantling things and then leaving piles of hardware in various places around the house. Sadly, there was no usable catch in the mess, but I did find all of the screws I needed, and that saved me a trip to the hardware store.

Here’s the room as it sits now. If I can get the floor sanded tomorrow and get the finish on mid-week, and, if the tin arrives next week, I think I can finish this baby up next weekend. That would be great.