Saturday, May 9th, 2009
I'm surprised by how quickly all of the vines in our garden are growing -- every day I go outside and I can see the growth since the previous morning. Must have something to do with all the rain we're getting. So: In front of the house are a climatus and a hyacinth, both planted just last year; on the side of the house are a 3-year-old grape vine, a climatus of about the same age, and a vine I don't know the name of. I'm hammering together a new piece of trellis for the side vines this morning. And when I finish that, maybe I'll work some more on a carving project I gave up on a few months ago! Pictures later...
Sunday, March 22nd, 2009
You know that little metal disc in the drain of the bathroom sink, that you lower by means of a lever next to the water faucet to block the drain? Until today I did not know how that disc worked. For the last couple of days the bathroom sink has not been draining properly -- I wanted to open up the drain so I could clear out whatever was blocking it, but that disc was in my way -- tried pushing and twisting at it, figuring there was some kind of threading or catch, to no avail.
Well -- a good idea in this sort of situation is to look behind the visible assembly and see how the functionality is implemented. Turns out that lever by the water faucet is linked to the back of the drain pipe; if you unscrew the nut where it is attached, you can pull the lever out; then it is easy to remove the disc. This nut is much easier to deal with than most plumbing joints as it is not welded in place or anything.
So, I got that out and pulled a gigantic mass of hair out of the drain pipe. (Hair that has been stuck in the drain of the bathroom sink turns out to be one of the most unappealing substances around.) And the sink is working again! Took some figuring out, but not at all difficult of a repair in the end.
Monday, March 17th, 2008
This evening and yesterday evening, I am (amazingly) starting to see progress towards a clean basement -- much of the sawdust is swept or vacuumed up, my bench is clear of tools and I'm reasonably clear on where the tools are located; I found a couple of tools that I've been wondering where they were; I'm just about ready to start work on the repeatedly delayed fence for the front yard. I've built it in my head enough times now, it should be fairly straightforward getting it into physical existence.
Tuesday, January 8th, 2008
Today I drove a bunch of tile over from Barry's house to my own (long, non-interesting story) and carried it inside. I was washing my hands afterwards and had the thought, Frequently, washing my hands seems like a useless bit of ritual, but right now, it is having a clearly visible effect. Which led directly to the thought, maybe the proportion of head work that I'm doing to hand work has grown too high.
Fortunately I had a handy project just waiting to be done, namely fixing the pocket doors between our dining room and music room -- these are sliding wooden doors which it would be nice to use, but they don't slide very well in their tracks. We haven't really done much with them since we moved in, until the other day when I closed them -- the one on the left moved along smoothly but the one on the right had to be sort of wrestled out; and when I had pulled it out all the way I heard something falling down in the cavity it lives in, and then it would not shut.
This evening I took down the stop which is on the ceiling in the middle of the door track, so I could pull the right-hand door all the way out and see what was blocking it. Turns out the cavity was full of debris, fallen bits of plaster, lengths of 2X4 (one of which was blocking the door's return), chips of brick, and a huge amount of plaster dust. I was able to pull most of it out with a long stick, and the door slides much better now. And I had another chance to wash my dirty hands.
Thursday, August 7th, 2003
Geez, lots of stuff going wrong with my house this week -- a short circuit in the basement, water in the basement, a rotten piece of siding, and a broken step in the staircase going down to the basement. Lots of work for this weekend!
Thursday, May 29th, 2003
I'm building a sandbox for Sylvia and I came up with a pretty neat technique for marking the screw holes. The sides of the box are going to be 2X4's screwed together to make a wall 3½" wide and 7½" tall, with a 2X6 on top to provide a wider ledge. Reducing sanding work requires that I get the boards aligned as well as possible when I am screwing them together. There is an offset in the length of the boards so that the walls will interlock at the corners. So:
I made a story stick as long as the length of the walls, excluding the corners. I marked the stick with 6 points, 3 pairs of points about an inch apart and roughly equidistant along the length of the stick. I used my marking gauge to scribe a line down the center of each board and marked the end which will be going into a corner with an "X". Then I transferred the marks from the story stick to each board, working from the end with no "X"; one of each pair I marked "x" and the other "o"; the "x"'s are to be screwed into and the "o"'s are to receive the heads of screws. Each top board got only "o"'s, each bottom board only "x"'s. Now I'm all set to go!
The only worrisome point now is that the through holes, those that receive the head of a screw, need to be quite square to the surface of the board. I was thinking I would use the drill press here but on second thought that does not seem to make sense. I believe I will just try my best with the hand drill.
Saturday, May third, 2003
My hobbies of reading and woodworking have intersected in a nascent new collection, of old (Victorian era) books about carpentry and house-building. So far I have George Ellis' Modern Practical Joinery (1902, by coincidence the year our house was built) and Modern Practical Stairbuilding (1913?), plus Steven Sloan's Victorian Buildings (1850's) and one or two others. Today I found out my friend Janice has passed down from her father two books by Fred Hodgson, one of which, Practical Uses of the Steel Square (1903) I have heard recommended several times on woodworking web sites. She loaned it to me so I will be finding out more about squares in the coming days.
Thursday, May first, 2003
Well tonight I was working in the yard and I noticed, the hose hook I installed last weekend was pulling the siding away from the wall. Oh no! I thought I had screwed through the siding into the stud -- come to find out, when I pulled that siding away, I had screwed through the siding into air -- there is a gap of about ½" between the siding and the stud.
What to do, what to do? I ended up cutting a rabbet in the end of that piece of siding so it would fit over the end of the piece around the corner from it -- that seemed to work ok but now I need to seal it.
Monday, April 28th, 2003
I put up a hook for the garden hose in our front yard today, and Sylvia helped out, assiduously. [? I wasn't sure what that meant but it somehow suggested itself as the appropriate adverb. Looked it up just now in the dictionary and whaddya know, it fits pretty well. I'll let it stand.] Her description of the activity was, "We're doing shoe rack!"
It is up and looks good, though I made a bit of a mistake in the positioning of it. It has two screw holes that are on a vertical axis, and two more that are on a horizontal axis collinear with the lower of the first two; when I was positioning it I was only looking at the lower three holes, didn't realize there was another one, and I put it in a place where that top hole is not near any wood. Oh well -- the three screws should do a fine job of holding it up.
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