Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Sometimes I Impress Myself

This is a story about a window. In August 2001 I took this photo because I just knew there was something behind the wall. It made a hollow sound when you knocked on it.

You can see the same window in the background in this picture taken in 2004.

There are two other windows in the room and they got stripped

and eventually finished in 2005.

Last year in December it still looked like this

While the other two looked like this.

I paid a lot of money for those curtains and I don't want the third set to sit around in boxes for years so I decided it was time to restore the woodwork to this window. Getting one inch thick wood is impossible and getting custom cut pine boards was going to cost me $20.00 a linear foot so this one window was looking to cost $480.00 in wood alone. I compromised and bought three standard 2 X 10 pine boards and some 1/4 inch thick lattice. I also bought a small can of gun stock colored wood stain and a quart of amber shellac and did my magic. I experimented with color on the base and corner molding cut from the standard boards. I had to use paint thinner to dilute the wood stain as I applied it to reduce the intensity of the orange color it made the wood. The lattice was added to all the edges to give the illusion that the boards were one inch thick. Total cost was $156.00 for wood and stain but since my palm sander fell apart on me mid project there was an additional cost of $50.00 to replace it!

I was smart enough to realize that things are not always the same length in old houses so I started by putting the top boards in place first. Then the bases.

Turns out this was a smart move because the vertical boards are one inch longer than the other ones around the room. Anyway, after a single coat of diluted stain and five coats of shellac, we have this

The color is near perfect with the rest of the room. Now all I have to do is finish the rest of the window with a few coats of shellac and get those curtains installed. This is how I impressed myself ......

Sunday, March 18, 2012

My New Toy

This post is long overdue. I actually started writing it in January. Guess I have been busy. Anyway, I am so tired of getting ripped off by plumbers. Right before Christmas our sewer line started backing up. I don't have time anymore to run out and rent a drain snake, dismantle it in order to fit it in my car, drive home, assemble it and haul it into the basement. Then spend an hour snaking the drain, cleaning up the mess, haul out to the car, dismantle, drive back to the rental place, reassemble and return. Then hope the job was done properly. So the wife called a plumber that she knows to come in and snake the drain. He shows up and does the job and charges us $120.00. Only thing is, later that day and three days later it was backed up again. He would be willing to come back out but since it is tree roots he won't guarantee the work but will only charge us $95.00 for a redo. He ran 75 feet of cable which upon measuring, takes the snake to the top of our steps and some 20 feet short of the main sewer. Hey, I am no plumber but this was fairly obvious to me. Needless to say, I never asked him to come back.
Tired of being taken advantage of by plumbers, I bought a new toy. It arrived after Christmas

I used it soon after it's arrival. It sits right by the main stack clean out and I can use it when ever I want to. I even bought and installed 100 feet of cable. So if my own snaking ability fails I can just come back the next day and try again and it won't cost me any more money!