Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Putting the boxes together

I am building four shelves into the wall.  Sort of a modern look.  Originally, I wanted to simply do sheetrock shelves and paint them; but I decided I was better at cutting wood than mudding/taping.

The shelves are simply Birch ply from the lumber yard.  I'm going to pseudo face frame them with oak; so I used a wood conditioner then stained them with and medium color oak stain.  Then a few coats of poly. 

I honestly don't know what I'm doing with stains and polys.  I took to the internet and felt pretty overwhelmed quickly.  All I want are some shelves that look half decent for my working class house.  So, upon recommendation from my friends on the interweb, I went over to the Sherwin Williams store at 10th and Washington to check out their product line.  The dude there was pretty knowledgeable.  The store is small but a lesser evil then homeyD or blowes. 

4' pipe clamps are a bit of an overkill, but I'm working with what I got

Just look at at that grain detail

These things are pretty tall

Pocket screws rule everything around me

Radiator cabinet

Most of this wood will never be seen

Getting taller (so is that pile of empties)
I have never really worked in a production cabinet shop before.  After laying out these cuts, planning my table saw settings, and working to maximize the useful pieces out of the sheets of ply... I can see how people could get into building cabinets.   Once you get in the groove, things can move fast.  I love setting up jigs and standardizing cuts.

These shelves brought to you by Hop Devil an Route 113 IPA.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Begin built-ins

Completed a cut list for all the built ins. Starting conditioning, staining, and poly-ing. Don't forget between all steps: sanding, sanding, and more sanding!

Obligatory site photo

The lumber stack also doubles as an entrance to the house

The downstairs portion of our palace

Most of the house is a lumber yard
Cut list 
Cut birch ply
I made myself a pocket screw jig.  I love it.



As always, I have the plans taped to the wall for easy reference.  Waiting for stain and poly to dry is like, well, watching stain or poly dry.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Adventures in hot water heaters

I like a good plumbers crack joke as much as the next guy.  This weekend, I came home late on a Saturday night and the joke was on me: a crack in the top of our water heater!

Water was coming out at a pretty decent rate.  Luckily, I must have caught it just in time as there was only about a half gallon on the basement floor.  Its a 40-gallon tank, so it could have been a lot worse.  I shut the water off to the tank, and decided to call it an evening.

I woke up the next morning and didn't have much choice other than head into homey d and try to find a replacement.

I thought hot water tanks lasted like 15 years (this one was 20 years old actually).  When you go into the store, you are basically up for a choice of 3, 6 or 9 year tanks.  Sometimes 12 years.  This seems pretty weak.  I opted for a six year tank, based on a combination of price and reviews.  This thing was exactly the same dimensions, so I was looking at a pretty easy install.

I drained the tank, which took basically the better part of an hour (40 gallons is a lot of water).  Then I cut the pipes to the tank and walked it out the way.

The hardest part of this job getting the new tank into my house and down the stairs by myself.  That will be my last time doing that.

New tank installed.

Anyway, to make a long story short.  I soldered everything ok, BUT, saw a bead of water around the cold supply (the threaded part, on the right above) when the job was complete.  I had filled the tank, and there wasn't really a leak, but I wanted to walk away from this job forever, so I cut into the pipe so I could tighten the leaky spot and re-solder a coupling.

When I was cutting, there was a quite a bit of hissing coming out of the pipe.  It was about 10:30 at night after a pretty long day on Sunday.  It did give me a moment of pause, but I decided "fuck it, I'm cutting this thing"

Big mistake.  Water started shooting everywhere!

Dorothy will probably never forget this moment.  As I started screaming and running around the basement like a lunatic trying to turn off every valve in the basement as water shot everywhere.  Nothing was stopping the water!  After what seemed like an eternity (about 30 seconds) the water stopped spraying.

I sat down and sulked for a bit.  I thought to myself 'how could this have happened??'

Well, it turns out that I filled the tank with water.  About 40 gallons of water.   What do you think happened to the 40 gallons of air that was in the tank?  It got compressed.  We must have pretty good faucets throughout the house, because no air was pushed out.  If I would have opened one of the faucets for a moment upstairs before that cut, all of that could have been avoided.  It was a classic "late in the day" mistake.  You learn something new everyday.

I gave up that night (for fear of making more bad decisions) and came home Monday evening from work and re-soldered the pipe with the supervision of a seasoned veteran.  I sweat the pipe like a pro, in about 5 minutes.

I took a hot shower that night.  It was awesome.