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This weekend we “broke ground” on the next house project. The end goal of the project is to swap bedrooms with Will and renovate the guest room into a nursery. And since it is inside, it doesn’t actually involve breaking any ground.
The project is really a series of projects and juggling of rooms. It almost asks to be planned out using Microsoft Project. But I won’t. I’ll just think about it.
The first step was to convince Will to move rooms. He agreed in theory when we discussed it this summer, but didn’t seem too excited about it (until tonight). As part of the sell, I agreed to add a light switch to the room and some outlets (and a light to the closet). The goal for this weekend was for me to finish electrical work and for Susanna to clean out the bedroom closet. And we finished ahead of schedule. We finished by dinner last night. I can’t believe we lived in the room for so many years without a light switch and only one outlet. Sometimes I just need the right incentive to get moving on things.
Today we decided to rearrange our bedroom to the layout that Will wants. He wont’ move in this weekend, but he can see what it would look like. Now he can’t wait to move. We even convinced him to get rid of the couch he currently has in his room. He is getting our bed, and it is large enough for Targa to sleep in the bed with him. I thought it would be difficult to get him to move. It turns out that it will be difficult to get him to wait.
The next step will be to move us into the guest room and Will’s belongings into our room. We will get that done in two weeks. Susanna will move his belongings and I will build bookshelves for his bedroom (they will go in the closet). Once we move him in, the only remaining thing will be to look for a bigger desk for him (eventually).
Once his old room is empty Susanna will paint the room and I will build shelves for the closets. Our plan is to have all that finished by early November, and have our belongings moved into the new bedroom.
Once we finish the room swap, we will gut and refinish the nursery with a goal of being done around Christmas – in plenty of time for Isabella. Anyone interested in helping install drywall?
Why the room swap? Will currently has the largest room in the house – we had the chimney taken out of the room a while ago, so it is now a reasonably useful room. It is also located next to what will be the nursery, so it will be a lot easier if we are near the baby. I also think Will is ready for a room that is a little smaller than his current room. He doesn’t use most of the space in his room, and I think he will be much more comfortable in the new room. And, as of tonight, Will completely agrees.
I’m on a roll. Why not another picture…
This one from Christmas at my mom’s house on Kuhlman Ln, Webster Groves, Missouri. I still have the train set – Will and Ben dug it out this summer to play with. And the clock on the mantle is in my workshop.
This weekend was pretty busy. On Saturday we had Ben’s birthday party at a local park (Sawmill Park). It was a perfect location for a game of capture the flag. And with only 6 kids at the party, there was a lot of running. Even without a large turnout I think it was one of the better birthday parties that we have thrown.
The weather this weekend was perfect, not too hot and a nice breeze.
On Sunday, Susanna took Ben to the Drunken Pallet in New London for an afternoon of paining. Will and I took the afternoon to motor/sail the boat from the mooring on the Niantic River to the boat launch on the Thames River.
The weather was perfect for sailing with a good breeze on Long Island Sound and the tides were with us. The trip took about 4 hours, plus time to retrieve the boat and unstep the mast. We didn’t get much sailing done this year. With a new family member next summer and lots of family visiting we won’t put the boat in the water next season. If things work out we will sell the boat and in a couple of years look for a bigger one. I think having the boat in the water every summer is a bit much right now – I have too many things I like doing in addition to time on the water. Anyway, Ben has a power boat that we need to finish up and try to get in the water one of these summers.
Today we got good news. The baby is looking good and the ultrasound went very well. We could also tell that the baby is no longer an “it” and is now a “she.”
We expect that in mid-February we should have a new member in the family, Isabella Louise Curtis. Will and Ben will get a new baby sister and the dogs will gain a new human to pull ears, tails, and other private body parts. Of course, ultrasounds aren’t 100%, so if “she is a he” (as Ben would say when he was little) then we’ll have to start the name game again.
Overall it has been a busy month and I haven’t found time to write in over a month. The past 5 weeks spanned a trip to Sweden for Sofia’s wedding, the boys returning to school, Susanna returning to work part-time, and a trip to Hawaii (yes, work is tough.) Hopefully as things calm down this fall I can catch up on posts and add pictures from the trips.
I try to get the boys into the workshop a couple of times a year and build some smaller projects. It seems that it is an easier sell for Ben than for Will. However, Will does get into the projects once we get started (he just gets distracted easily – but who doesn’t).
This project was a pair of Japanese toolboxes. The boys picked out lumber earlier this week. Ben picked out a piece of maple, and Will picked out what appears to be pine.
The boxes are constructed with a simple box joint and cut nails. We are finishing them with shellac and wax. We were able to get Ben’s box completed today, and hopefully get Will’s finished tomorrow.
We cut the joints on the table saw. The boys probably could have cut the joints using a hand saw in the pine, but the maple was way too hard to cut by hand. All the pieces were assembled using 2″ cut nails by Tremont Nail Company. I picked up some decorative rose-head nails to add to the character of the box. The battens on the top were nailed and clinched.
The first box turned out pretty nice. Now to find some nice handles to attach to the ends.
This weekend I (quite contrary to my ADHD desires) didn’t start any major projects and instead worked on finishing up some smaller ones. I know. Crazy. Finish projects and not start any. What fun is that? But it keeps the wife happy, so that is worth something.
The boys and I added two more shelves to the lumber rack. We brought all the lumber up that was stored under the barn (and wasn’t already on the lumber rack under the barn). That allowed me to clean out a little under the workshop and get the trailer pushed all the way back in.
It was amazing to watch Will and Ben work together to bring up the lumber from under the workshop. Or rather, fail to work together, so each had to drag boards individually. But, I guess that is what brothers are for. Of course I didn’t take any pictures of the upgrades/cleaning so you will just have to take my word that I actually did the project. Susanna even helped by labeling the now-somewhat-organized stacks of lumber. In English and Swedish.
Last week Will and his friend, Morgan, painted the two bat houses that they had made with me a couple of weeks ago. Morgan didn’t have any exterior paint at her house, so both bat houses were painted with the green trim paint from our house and barn. Yesterday Will and I decided to hang his bat house. Will even helped me drag out the tall ladder and set it up. The bat house is high up on the south face of the garage (above the chicken coop). Now all we can do is wait and see if we get tenants.
Today I decided to make a quick spice rack. We have been keeping our spices on the bottom shelf of one of the kitchen cabinets next to the stove. It was a pain to find spices – they were a disorganized mess and one had to dig around lifting up bottles to find the desired spices. I had a few pieces of good plywood lying around, and all we needed was some steps in the cabinet to allow us to find the spices in the back. It took about an hour to cut the pieces to size and mill some sapele for the front edge of the rack. I couldn’t find my wood glue to attach the front edging, so I attached the front with a pair of screws. Anyway, the steps will be hidden underneath the spice bottles when it is filled in. The only reason I chose sapele was that I had two smaller pieces in the workshop and I didn’t feel like going out and pulling out something less expensive. And sapele isn’t really that expensive anyway.
And tonight, instead of cleaning up the workshop, I decided to write in my blog and push cleaning off for another day.
The last bay of the garage/carriage house is a large, unpaved area. For a long time it just served as an overflow storage area and nesting place for a large group of house sparrows. I had added a gate to the opening so it doubled as a dog pen (in the summer). In the back of the bay I stacked a nice pile of red oak, hickory and maple to air dry. The wood pile wound up being a nice place for Tucker to sit when he got bored staring out the gate and a real pain in the a$$ when I wanted to get a board that was at the bottom of the pile.
A friend of mine is cutting up a large maple tree into slabs and needs a place to air-dry the wood for a couple of months before turning it over to a kiln. We have lots of room, if I just reorganized our stuff a bit. And I just really needed an excuse to build a lumber rack.
I had picked up boards cut from a single oak tree in Ledyard a couple of years ago, and they have been drying in the pile since then. All the other lumber was older and dry. So I could build a proper lumber rack and not worry about keeping the stickers between the rows of boards. Saturday night I headed to the home center and picked up a bunch of construction lumber to build a storage rack.
Sunday I emptied the barn and started building the rack. Of course, I found one of the posts for the barn had rotted, so I had a little project detour to replace that. But it wouldn’t be a good project without a few detours. I had the rack mostly finished by that afternoon.
Yesterday I added the second row of shelving and stacked the remaining lumber from the pile on the shelf. The boys helped me clean and organize the rest of the space. The next step will be to double up some of the 2x4s on the supports and add an additional shelf or two to help keep the lumber organized.
Today the boys helped carry up a few boards that didn’t fit on the lumber rack under the workshop and were just stacked down there. Okay, I have two lumber racks. I have a problem. I know. I have too much lumber. Of course, if you have a good deal… I’m always looking for more. I wouldn’t want to run out in the middle of a project.
But of course I have plans for the lumber. Though I’m sure I’ll never get around to it all:
- Hickory: I have a bunch of heavy 8/4 boards that would make a nice workbench even though hickory is a pain to work with and the beams are heavy and a pain to move around. And I already have a functioning antique workbench. But it seems that making a workbench is sort of rite of passage.
- Red Oak: I have a matched set of boards from a single tree. I was going to make bedroom furniture from it until Susanna said she likes cherry better than oak. So it will be used to make the boys furniture (and I already made night stands for them from some of it). I also have some random non-matched boards floating around. Red oak is way too common here and is usually used just for firewood (it is like it grows on trees almost).
- Cherry: I have a bunch of cherry that Susanna and I picked up on a road trip to Western Massachusetts a couple of years ago. The cherry is for furniture for us and the house. Anyway, cherry is nicer to work with than oak.
- Maple: I have maybe 8 boards left that a friend had gotten cheap on Craigslist before he decided that he had too many hobbies to continue making furniture. It is pretty nice spalted maple. I think the boys are going to claim a couple of boards to make Japanese toolboxes this month.
- White Oak: A bunch of 8/4 and thicker boards. Okay, I don’t really know what I’m going to do with it. But white oak is strong and rot resistant, so it may go to outdoor projects.
- Sapele: A few remaining boards from a stack that had gone to smaller projects and trim on the sailboat.
- Cedar: A bunch of smaller boards that I really have no idea what to do with.
- Some random other species: Mahogany (though the plank I have isn’t really mine, I just store it and look at it), Yellowheart, Fir, and I’m sure a few more. The boys keep taking the smaller pieces of wood and re-purposing them into swords and leaving the swords outside until they are no longer usable and become firewood and they need to make new swords.