Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Getting there.

We've been doing some trim, painting and decorating for the last couple of days. Still have to fill my nail holes and touch up the paint plus install a few more pieces of trim (like base shoe)... but here's where we are so far...

The foyer looking west...

...and looking south...

the new closet...

Son2's room looking south...

...and looking north...

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Getting the hang of it...

We started in early this morning filling in the floor in son2's room. A thunderstorm came up suddenly, mid morning, and we literally cut the last two boards amidst large raindrops, shoved all the equipment and tools into the shop and ran inside.

Since the rain precluded painting or cutting trim work, we installed the pantry door. I think I'm finally getting the hang of the door thing. This one went very smoothly and the "crack" is pretty even all the way around - best one yet!

When the sun finally came out, the bride started painting woodwork, and as it dried, I cut it, took it in and installed it. Some of my cuts aren't so great, but isn't that why God invented wood filler? And latex caulk? Good stuff if you ask me.

This is peeking in son2's room from the foyer...

And, inside...

My little bride went shopping with her mother, so I guess I get tonight off...

Friday, August 26, 2005

Goin' South

I left work about 10:30 this morning and the little bride had been off all week, so she was back from the yard sales when I got there and ready to make me work.

I told her I was looking for the most bang for the buck we could get and that I wanted to start on son2's room, the ex-living room.

We pried out the plywood overlayment in there which went a lot better than I thought it would. By taking the skillsaw and setting the depth to 3/4", I was able to cut the sheets in half to make it easier to pry them out. The lever that adjusts the depth on my skillsaw stripped out and fell off, so I had to adjust it with pliers. I guess that's what I get for buying a lower priced model. I think I'll go with Delta or Milwaukee next time.

We cut and layed a few courses of floor and then went to lunch at Red Lobster. Special treat, the little bride and I on a date. Having kids for the last 23 years, there just doesn't seem so much time for just us.

We had a summer thundershower about 5:00 which made it where I couldn't cut the boards outside, so we put everything in the garage and hung the new door for son2's bedroom.

By 8:30 tonight, I was pooped. But I think we made pretty good progress...

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Faux Sho'!

My little bride decided a faux finish was in order for Son2's room...

Wednesday, August 24, 2005


My little bride set a goal for me to get completed tonight. Get the pantry floored and the shelving system installed. Since that involved a trip to Lowes, I wasn't sure it could be done on that time schedule. We had to buy the shelving system.

On advice from a friend, we got wire shelving to allow light to pass through whenever possible and help visibility in the back areas of the shelves.

In order to floor into the pantry, we had to floor up to the pantry and then cut some odd boards to fit around the door entrances, etc. Happy to say, it's ten o'clock and we got it done...

Monday, August 22, 2005

We'll Just Have To Move.

The main reason it's taking so long to actually put some floor down, I mean once we started, is because it's so difficult to get the long pieces to line up. They make it look so easy on TV. Just put a block of wood against it and bang it in. I guess they edit out all the times that they bang one end and the other pops back out.

When we opened the first few boxes of wood, they were all full lenghth. We assumed that the whole load was that way. Then about three or four boxes in, we found random length smaller pieces. That turned out to be a godsend.

The subfloor is so uneven down the hallway that we positively could not have forced long pieces of flooring to fit together. So, over the hump, the smaller pieces kept us going. I can only hope that the dining room will go smoother. (and son2's bedroom...)

The Porter Cable floor nailer has worked well. I experienced my first jam after only laying about six planks. It was confusing because I didn't know what was wrong. The nailer "cocked" and acted like it wanted to go on, but refused to do anything other than let out a slight sigh every time I hit it.

I checked to make sure my air pressure was still up to snuff. It was. I checked to see if the nails were in it. They were. I took the nails out and everything seemed fine. I hit it harder. The little bride gasped and said, "don't break it!" Last resort? I checked the owners manual.

It said that several possibilities existed. I didn't lubricate it properly. I had. Use the wrong nails? They always want you to believe that their brand is the only acceptable one, but no the nails were okay. A nail was jammed. I took it apart by the directions and sure enough, there was an errant nail stuck right where it shouldn't be. I popped it out, put it all back together again and it worked fine after that.

It was fairly easy to deal with after I understood the directions, so next time it will be a snap. Though I hope it doesn't happen often because it does take about five minutes or so. But then, maybe I need a break?

The doors were a different story. I don't see how anybody can get one to hang straight. I could get the door straight and swinging properly, but the gap around the jamb wouldn't even out to save my life. I gave up after about an hour on each one and pronounced them "Good Enough" in a pontifical sort of way that made a believer out of my little bride. Hey, they open and close and if that's not good enough then we'll just have to move.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Progress at last...

Today we finished up the floor in the foyer and hall and put in the hall closet door and our bedroom door. I think it's all coming together nicely...

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Woke Up This Morning...

and didn't have no Statesboro Blues. So we started in on finishing the demolition necessary to start laying floor. You know, things like removing our bedroom door (we waited until the last minute for obvious reasons...) and the closet doors so we could remove the plywood from under the jambs properly and replace with the pine planks.

And then we layed black paper down for the vapor barrier...

And then we got a lunch invitation from my stepmother who was passing through from Houston Texas. Hmmmm, free lunch/hammer boards? Good company/hammer boards? A couple of hours off/hammer boards?

We went to lunch at the Flying Fish (best catfish in the world, bar none) and then got home to start on the installation (at long last...)

Friday, August 19, 2005

Special Request

Can anyone tell me if it's possible/likely to use an abrasive saw blade in a skill saw to cut cast iron soil pipe? In this application, it's a standing run of plumbing that needs to be cut into, not new materials.

Any ideas or suggestions would be appreciated.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Halls of Marble

Reno 911 interferes greatly with blogging, so if I become incoherent, that's why.

The little bride decided that the foyer and front hall should have marble wainscoting with gold gew-gaws, so she started the faux painting process...

layin' down the base coat...

and sponging the "design"...

Monday, August 15, 2005

Work Slow Down - But Not On Strike...

The book show this weekend slowed me down more than I had hoped. At least that's what I'm going to blame it on. Picked up a few neat things including an early broadside advertising a production of Uncle Tom's Cabin that would look great framed.

Electric is complete in the new pantry and all but two pieces of the drywall are in place.

I want to get at least one coat of mud on it, but the little bride is pressing me to start laying floor.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

The Pantryfication of America

Well, as posted earlier, we cleared the floor for the pantry area

and got the new pantry laid out

and framed in as of tonight.

I borrowed Bill's framing nailer which made quick work of the framing after I got it cut out. He even threw in a beer!

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

A Milestone

We've cleared the underlayment and old hardwood from front to back in a path resembling Sherman's march to the sea. Shock and awe, baby. I estimate that this is about 30 percent of the total floor, but comprises some of the most stubborn and unyielding of the areas (I hope).

This puts me at a point where I can frame in the new pantry and hang drywall. My thoughts were originally to get the mudding all done before laying new floor, but I don't think I'm going to be able to hold myself back. You know, instant gratification of sorts. Even though we're talking about instant gratification over a period of weeks. I want to see some floor down!

I have a table at the Antique Book Show in town this weekend, and I know it doesn't make the little bride happy, but I'm just going to have to redouble my efforts at night. Wouldn't want to miss the book show, now would we? (For those in central Arkansas looking for an excuse to take a break from the house, it will be Saturday and Sunday at the Jacksonville Civic Center).

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Wadda Gal!

I came home from my meeting last night and the little bride had finished sanding the drywall in the new foyer and had primed it and the hallway.

A sight for sore eyes! Thanks, darlin'!

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Inch By Inch

What I did on my summer vacation weekend...

This represents two days of work...

Like Shredded Wheat

The floor removal is turning out to be one of the most physical projects we've taken on so far. 'Tis hard on an old man, I must say.

When we hit the section of dining room that had oak floors, the staples quit coming out with the quarter inch plywood overlay and we had to literally shred the overlay to get it off.

All this just to be able to pry out the oak strip floor. Feelin' kind of stiff and sore today...

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Breaking News...

The bride just informed me that she heard on one of the home and garden channels that granite counter tops add value to the house...

Does this ever end????

Happy Feet

One thing that has plagued me for years is being nearly crippled after spending the day on my feet working on the house. I would limp for days. Then, one day, I was at Wal Mart and stopped to look at the shoes to see if there were some cheap "throwaways" I could use for painting and saw the TredSafe line of shoes.

Made specifically for the food industry, they are designed for comfort during long periods on one's feet on hard floors. And the bonus is that they are slip resistant.

So, at $20, roughly, I bought a pair.

These things are comfortable! They're real leather, have excellent padding and breath well. They fit great and my feet feel fine when I'm done.

I've been wearing them for several months now for my work projects and even wear them mowing the lawn. Yeah, they're a little cheesy only coming in black, but this has been a Godsend for my feet.

My understanding is that they are only available at Wal Mart, but it's worth a trip down there to get a pair.


Well, we've gotten the underlayment pried up to the end of the main hall, and down the hall to my son's room.
You can see my big honkin' pry bar in the picture.

We pulled the myriad patches up between the hall and kitchen and got to the hardwood floor.

My best pard and running buddy, Bill, told me how to do the double crow bar trick to work your way down the runs of hardwood and pry them out. He even loaned me the crow bars.

National Home Center

I want for National Home Center to be a great place to shop, because of the convenience factor if not the fact that it's an Arkansas company. But they're just not going to pull it off. Poor National.

I stopped in this morning because I needed a five gallon bucket of pre-mixed sheetrock mud and they are out. Such a simple thing and they don't have it? Sheesh. I give up!

Friday, August 05, 2005

Lazy Oaf That I Am

Last night I realized that my original plan for tearing out a little floor, putting a little floor down, repeat process, was not very practicable. Which meant that the original plan of having a pile of lumber about halfway through put, well, a pile of lumber right in my way.

So, last night we moved all of the lumber, tools, and extra furniture that blocked progress. When that was done, I had somewhat lost my entusiasm for ripping up floor and suggested, "anybody wanna go to the bookstore?"

The little bride and son2 jumped on that in a New York Minute. And, you know that time goes by quickly in New York...

Hope to have something better to report by this time tomorrow.


No, wait a minute, Monday means I get to come to work and rest...

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Big Honkin' Pry Bar

I guess posting pics from last night would be a moot point since once you've seen one piece of plywood with two-bazillion nails and staples in it, you've really seen them all.

I am finding that crowbars, while quite effective on the first half of a sheet, get a little difficult to deal with on the back side of a sheet of plywood. So I went to the home center and bought what is called (I think) a pinch bar. It's about five feet long, has a flattened pry end and is heavy.

Jamming it under the sheets of plywood and then raising it up and the screeching sound of nails being pulled fills the house.

So, we're down the front hallway and have made the turn into the kitchen.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

This May Take Longer Than I Thought...

We're both impatient to see how the new floor is going to look so we started demolition tonight on the old underlayment. The previous renovators did a great job of making sure their work would be eternal. I don't think I've ever seen so many nails and staples. They laid 3/4" plywood over the tongue and groove plank sub-floor and then put 1/4" plywood over that. Then they glued roll flooring to that.

We started by cutting the underlayment along the walls that it went under (ones they moved and ones I stupidly built my new wall on top of.) This was my first chance to use my new Crain toe-kick saw. This tool really is a one of a kind item and it cuts a perfectly flush cut along the wall to the exact depth desired as you can see in the picture.

It has one nasty tendency, and that is to try and jump out of your hands and skate across the floor if you hit a hidden obstruction like a nail or staple. This is a little scary and creates quite a work-out trying to hold onto the saw on a project like this. It also doesn't get into inside corners very well and I had to finish up with the Sawsall.

Then we pulled up the roll flooring. and started prying up the plywood underneath.

After working about 3 straight hours, we had managed to get about 50 square feet taken up and hauled to the curb. (fifty square feet sounds a lot more impressive than "a five by ten foot area") Chance helped with the clean up.

I guess this is going to take a little longer than we thought...

Monday, August 01, 2005

Wadda Dump!

The little bride commented recently that she always felt bad about wanting to change things in our last house because they were new enough that it was a shame to rip them out and replace them. But, that she feels she can truly make this house her own because everything in it is old and crappy and needs to be replaced.

No, not old like really neat victorian old, or even prairie style/craftsman old. Even having a quality mid-century modern touch here and there would be refreshing. But, no, it's all really crappy old stuff from the 70's.

So, rock on girl, we'll get it all changed eventually. Just do me one favor, okay hon? Let me finish one project and feel good about it before you add any more to the pile...

just sayin', that's all...