Wednesday, December 31, 2008


2009 is already upon us. Soon we will be entering the eighth year of our nightmare. This year I resolve to move in to this place. May you all finish your projects before we get to move in if you haven't done so already!!!!!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Where's Santa?

We went out to do bargain shopping. I saw this scary ornament in a craft store.

I didn't catch the news. Did the "Big Guy" get shot down in Borneo?


See how little I know. Shrunken heads come from the Amazon! (Though I suspect that this one says "Made in China.") Maybe Santa crashed near there!

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Big Announcement

If you wonder why I am not posting every other day like I used to it is because I am very busy doing other things besides home improvement. I'm sure that I have mentioned before on this site that I am the president of my neighborhood association and I also chair our local Priority Board which is supposedly recognized as the "official voice" of the residents of our fair city. In between the numerous meetings that I am expected to attend without compensation I am home educating my daughter who is in kindergarten and already 70% through her curriculum for the year and ready to start on first grade material in three subjects. She is reading 2nd grade books and already solving second and third grade math problems. We started early with her learning because it makes our lives easier as she gets older. I guess we plan well ahead and give ourselves ample time to react as needed.

That being said, I am making an early announcement that will explain why things are slower at the "Crack House". I am going to run for Mayor next year and have just slapped together a web site and blog to use in my campaign. I shouldn't have to post to the site very often. It is a tool to allow me to connect with residents of the city. I have added a banner in the right sidebar that links to "Dayton Mayor". There is a petition process that is quite time consuming. I hope to be through with it soon so that I am ready to do more work on the house. Don't worry, this won't become a political blog. I'm really not a politician. Just a mover and a shaker who gets things done.
Now I can say that the worse thing that could happen to me personally is that I get elected, because I would have to do the job and we certainly are facing some challenges here in Dayton. I am willing to face those challenges but I won't be too disappointed if the voters don't think that I am the best person for the job. On the other hand, we are certainly going to have the right house if I can just get things finished!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Fondelling My Volute

Last March at our local Chili Cook-Off event I met someone who was a self described fan of this blog. Sometime in May or June he and his wife got a tour of the "Old Crack House" and he was telling me about his woodworking ability. So I whipped out my volute and handed it to his wife. "Can he match this?" I wondered as she held the thing with both of her hands.

Now before you all start commenting about being a pervert you need to know what a "Volute" is. Raise your hand if you know.....

A volute in our case is the spiral end of the stair rail that sits on top of the newel post. The very tip of which is missing!

The gentleman volunteered to try his best at replicating a volute for us and I must add that he has surpassed all expectations. As a result he needs to be showered in praises. Especially because he offered to do this for us for the sheer pleasure of helping us out and the challenge to try his hand at some carving.

Here is the end result resting in place;

I wasn't worried about the wood matching because there is so much filling of divots and cracks with putty to be done on the original wood that I am going to have to tint the shellac that I apply to this rail so the original cherry is going to be masked anyway.
So, if you are impressed, let his wife know. She has her own blog you can leave comments on.
I don't know for sure but seeing this thing lying on her kitchen counter every day for several months may have something to do with one of her latest announcements ....

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Being Labelled

I made a bunch of labels like the one above this afternoon. If you put clear shellac on them they have that "Old-Timey" look. Let me tell you why I did this.

I think the time has come for many beaten communities to get back to their roots. Dayton has been beaten and stomped on for many years. This city was founded on invention and progressive thinking. I collect old Dayton items. Most say "Made in Dayton, O." on them or have Dayton patents issued on them or were sold as souvenirs of Dayton. We can't find many items any more that say "Made in USA" let alone a city or a state.
My wife attends a stampers club meeting every month where she makes cards. I often tell her that her cards should be stamped "Made in Dayton". The stuff that I toy around with and make for our house like my concrete sink and counter tops, or the funky steam punk air filter that I made, should say "Made in Dayton". People who make crafts locally or grow food locally should label their stuff where it is made or grown. I would buy something made in Dayton over something similar made in another part of Ohio. Then I would buy something made in Ohio over anything similar made anywhere else in the USA. Why are we importing green peppers and salad items from Mexico when we can grow them here?
So I'm labeling stuff I make or do with the above labels because I'm proud of where I live and what I have been able to achieve. In most instances, with no previous knowledge. I think this could be a start to turning local economies around.

Tomorrow, if I can catch her. I'm going to stick one of these on Elizabeth's bottom!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Not Much to Report

I am officially slacking! At least it seems that way to me. In reality I have been doing many small jobs. I made a wood "damper" for the "WEE Rumford". I figured that paying $150 or more for a damper on a fireplace we may use three times a year is foolish at this stage so I made a block that seals the throat of the fireplace and stops the passage of warm air up the chimney. I just have to attach a tag that says "Remove before lighting fire" or we'll have a problem or two. I put proper stove pipe on the wood stove and lit a fire to test it. The fumes that come off the stove pipe from the factory paint are quite nauseating. (cough, cough) I've been patching some areas of wall that took some water damage this year from our leaky slate roof. Drawer slides are installed in the kitchen counter cabinets. I just have to make the shelves to attach them to. The hardest thing I did last week was stack two tons of wood pellets in the basement. 100 trips up and down the stairs with 40# bags is quite a workout. Especially for someone only used to weight lifting 12 oz bottles!

Monday, December 01, 2008

Time Is on My Side, Yes It Is.

We now have a back up to the emergency heating system. This wasn't that hard to do once you figure out where to place the bricks. This is a small fireplace. The opening width is just 18 inches. I'm sure the mantle was made for a gas fireplace or a shallow coal burning fireplace with a built in basket grate. This job was a little hard on the knees though and I almost had a faux pas by forgetting to remove the large piece of cushion foam that I had stuffed up the chimney to keep the warm air in the room. I remembered when I was two thirds of the way done. Otherwise it would have been bricked in would have been a bugger to get out. I already tested whether smoke will draw properly up the chimney by burning some damp paper in a coffee can and it seems to be working fine. I did manage to rid myself of my rubble collection. For several years I have been saving broken bricks, stones, plaster and bits of concrete to fill the space behind the fire bricks so as to build up a smoke shelf. I had buckets of rubble on every floor of the house. I used five and a half joint compound buckets full of rubble in this project leaving me with just half a bucket of cellar dirt which I can dump in the back yard where there is a large pile of rubble waiting to be placed in buckets and brought into the house when I rebuild the main living room firebox sometime in the future. Guess that will make me a "Rubble Rouser" ..... nyuk, nyuk, nyuk, nyuk!