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Anything that's worth doing is worth feeling guilty about.

R. Hitchcock

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Wednesday, April 14th, 2004

🦋 In the shop

I have not blogged about woodworking for a long time because, well, I have not been doing any of it. But I am hoping to change that. A couple of nights this week I was in the basement, working on Ellen's bookcase -- she has given me a deadline of September to finish it or she buys one, and I believe I can do it. Also I got the garage cleaned out and have made some stabs towards planning the workbenches I want to build in there.

In other home improvement news, Ellen is repainting the sitting room and boy, does it look good! (This is the room where I built in my windowseat, and it has looked funny unpainted ever since.) The color scheme is: sage green walls, bone white trim and doors and ceiling. There is a lot of trim in the room, doing it all took nearly two weeks (of quite intermittent painting). The walls and ceiling are going a lot faster. When she finishes I will put the final bit of molding on the windowseat (a cove between the top of the seat and the wall behind it) and put shades on the windows, and the room will get more use than it had in the past -- our plan is to have that be our general room for congregating in the evenings, instead of our bedroom.

posted evening of April 14th, 2004: Respond
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Thursday, October 23rd, 2003

🦋 Project pix

Developed pictures of the two projects I have finished recently:

The Windowseat

The Stone Path

posted evening of October 23rd, 2003: Respond
➳ More posts about Home improvement

Wednesday, October 8th, 2003

🦋 About molding

More window seat stuff. (The seat is completed and primed; it will not be painted until sometime this coming spring when we repaint the room. Pictures coming soon.) I wrote before about building the baseboard, which came out very well and looks great in the context of the room; the second molding I build, which is an apron under the "sill" at the front of the seat, was less successful, and I want to examine why, and what remedial steps I can take.

First an explanation of what I was going for. Behind the seat are three windows, each with a sill and an apron molding beneath the sill. ("Apron" is the stepped molding which transitions from the sill to the wall.) I wanted to echo this by having the seat top jut out beyond the seat front, and have an apron beneath it. My plan was, to make it jut out by the same amount the window sills project from the wall, and duplicate the measurements of the existing aprons. (Note: this is quite different from the plans I originally posted here back in June.) The dimensions in place (roughly): Window sills come out 2 1/2" from the wall; aprons extend 7" below the sills and come out 1 1/2" from the wall at the top of the apron, 3/4" at the bottom.

What I ended up with below the top of the seat is about the same; but it does not look quite right. The reason it does not, as I realized over the course of the past few days, is that the shadows are wrong. The purpose of the apron molding is to make a visual transition from the window sill to the wall; how this is done is by shadows falling where the apron depth changes. The apron I built is located diffently with respect to the light sources, and the shadows are not right. (Well two of them are.) I am going to leave it be for the time being, but eventually I think this could be corrected by making it deeper -- adding pieces in front of it. If I ever actually get around to this I will lay it out beforehand with a diagram of light sources to see what the shadows would end up looking like, before I start cutting.

posted afternoon of October 8th, 2003: Respond
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Sunday, September 14th, 2003

🦋 I built a baseboard

Yesterday I put the plywood shell onto the window seat and began the process of filling in molding around it. This consists mainly of: the baseboard, the sill, and the apron. I spent this morning working on the baseboard, and it looks pretty nice.

Our house has large moldings; the baseboard around the seat is about 6" tall and is made up of at least 4 separate pieces of wood, which I will refer to as base, head, cap, and toe. (Some of these may actually be made up of more than one piece but I will assume not.) The base is a rectangular piece 1" deep and 4 3/8" tall, with a 1/4" bevel at the top. The head is a rectangular piece 3/4" deep and 7/8" tall which rides on top of the base -- the bevel in the base meets the depth of the head. The cap is a sort of teardrop-shaped piece about an inch tall; and the toe is a 3/4" quarter-round piece which makes the transition from the base to the floor.

The first thing I did was to cut the base. The main work of this was planing the board I had, 1 3/16" thick, to 1" thickness; once I had that I had to figure out how to cope it to get the bevel to meet the bevels of the baseboard around the seat. Basically I did a straight cut 1/4" inside the end of the board that stopped 1/4" from the top, and then chopped an angle from the corner of the board to the end of the cut. It came out pretty well -- the coping is not perfect but it is well within the abilities of caulk and spackle to make it look just right. I attached this to the front of the seat with screws to hold it tight, and then nailed the head piece to it. (The head piece is the simplest, just a straight rectangular piece.)

Next came the toe, which I am quite happy with. I had taken the toe pieces out from behind the seat and used these, which I had to cope to make them meet up properly. The last thing is going to be the cap, which I also took out from behind the seat -- I am a bit nervous about whether it is going to work though, as in the original baseboard the cap is attached to the head with a rabbett, which I mostly broke when I was prying the cap off. I am going to plane the base of the cap pieces off flush and see how it works.

posted evening of September 14th, 2003: Respond

Sunday, September 7th, 2003

🦋 Weekend Update

A very productive weekend... The window seat frame is installed; the seat would be on except I found out home depot does not carry the plywood I am looking for. There is a lumber yard in Union which I will try next Saturday. Mike R. came over Friday to help me with the baseboard and the electrical outlet, which I wanted to move to the front of the seat; but the baseboard proved impossible to remove from the wall. So I left it in place and put the frame in front of it.

The molding has changed a lot; rather than a crown molding I have decided to use a window apron molding, which is more natural in the context and will fit in nicely with the window aprons behind the seat. I will be building it out of 6 pieces of wood and it may not be ready immediately.

We had a really nice jam session this afternoon, playing about 8 songs which is about double what we normally get to, and they were a lot of fun. With Jim, I came up with a new arrangement of House of the Rising Sun which really sounds like a distinctively new sound for that song, riffing on Dylan's version but quite different. Sylvia came (of her own accord) and stayed for about two hours of jamming -- quite breathtaking to me since we were not changing our jam much at all to accomodate her in it. (Before it started, Greg saw a hawk eating a squirrel in the lower branches of a tree on the property 3 doors down from Bob's place, so we went down there to watch it for 15 minutes.) Afterwards we had a cookout, for which Sylvia came back to join us.

posted evening of September 7th, 2003: Respond
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Saturday, August 23rd, 2003

We're back in town -- the week was a flurry of fun activity. I would like to write a long post about it but I don't know whether I will or not -- I have other stuff to do this week like building a path in my yard and finishing the window seat. If you are dying to know about it send me a note and I will give that a higher priority.

posted evening of August 23rd, 2003: Respond
➳ More posts about Patio

Sunday, August 10th, 2003

More progress tonight on the window seat -- it's just inside the bounds of possibility that I will finish it before the end of this month, which would be exciting since we're having a lot of people over on Labor Day, and I would be able to show it off to them. (Assuming it is worthy of being shown off...) Also that would make it a 2-month project from inception to completion, well under my average.

On Saturday my time in the shop was spent replacing a broken step on the staircase to our basement -- I cut it from a good stout piece of oak and rabbetted the ends to fit in the existing stringer. Then I helped Sylvia finish building a bed for her Clifford doll, a project we've been working on for about a week. She helped push the plane and helped turn the brace; we nailed on the legs and it was done. Clifford is sleeping in it now, on the floor nearby Sylvia's bed.

posted evening of August 10th, 2003: Respond

Monday, August 4th, 2003

Motivation is in short supply over here... I eventually got myself down to the basement this evening, looked at the wood and decided I did not want to chop any mortises. It was not such a bad thing though -- I realized I could mark all the joints at one go, which ended up taking about a half hour with all the futzing around I was doing. Tomorrow night I will start chopping.


Also I got some guitar practice in tonight; I worked out what I think will be a pretty convincing picking pattern for "While my Guitar Gently Weeps."

posted evening of August 4th, 2003: Respond
➳ More posts about Guitar

Thursday, July 31st, 2003

🦋 Window Seat

I did some more work on the window seat tonight, finishing off the rear half of the frame. The mortise and tenon joints came out very nice, and without too much effort.

I see from my referral log that a lot of people are coming here looking for window seat plans; while I don't have any plans to offer I can tell you it's pretty straightforward design, all you need is a simple frame with two flat pieces of wood on it -- see my first post for the design process and some rough drawings. And if you have questions about it, send me an e-mail -- I'd be glad to help if I can.

posted evening of July 31st, 2003: Respond

Monday, July 28th, 2003

🦋 Seat height

More work on the window seat tonight, cutting out pieces for the rear half of the frame. I got a little worried when I was cutting the verticals, whether my planned seat height of 16" was adequate. Someone from WoodCentral thought it should be higher; and Bill from CJWA advised me to make the seat level with the window sill -- at 16" it is several inches below the window sill.

I went back upstairs and looked at the space again, and decided to stay with the planned height. Two free-standing chairs that are in the bay window now are 16" high, and it is very comfortable to sit on them. It also simplifies things a great deal not to have to worry about the window sill.

Before dinner, Sylvia was helping me in the wood shop. When I started sawing wood, I offered her to sit on a stool by the bench and watch, but she was not into it. "Can I have a little saw?" caught me a bit off guard -- I generally give her a small, non-dangerous copy of whatever tool I am using; but up till now that has not included tools with sharp edges. Looked around for a bit and then I realized, a mill file is exactly right: it has serrations, makes a rasping noise when you draw it across wood, and is not going to draw blood if you hold it wrong. So I gave it to Sylvia, and she had a good time sawing wood with it until we went up for supper.

posted evening of July 28th, 2003: Respond

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