We started the year with a short hike at Poquetanuck Cove Preserve, just around the corner from our house. It was cold, but nice to get out of the house.
After a crazy year, we were finally able to see family over Thanksgiving. My dad had and recovered from COVID this fall, so was able to travel over Thanksgiving without having to quarantine. We were able to get out and do some hiking, worked on the kitchen, and even replaced the bumper on the truck from the accident Will had the week before Thanksgiving.
I’ve been a little behind on posting to the website. Here are pictures from a photo shoot with the family last month. I had a little fun with Photoshop – something I don’t often play around with.
We pushed hard throughout the summer to get the kitchen back to functional. With Susanna not working, the boys stuck at home, and no family vacation, we were able to move back into the kitchen a few months. Once we were back into the kitchen, things slowed down a lot.
In September, the kids went back to school, Izzy started school, and Susanna started work. And things slowed down. That isn’t to say, I got nothing done. I have installed most of the trim, cabinet toe kick trim.
I have a few things left to finish at this point. We are tiling the backsplash ourselves. This last weekend, I tiled the nook behind the stove (seen open in the picture above). Susanna and I plan on tiling the wall this Saturday.
After we tile the wall, I need to finish the trim around the windows. It has been nearly impossible to remove the window sill trim without breaking it. I’ll need to make new sills and finish trimming the window. The window sills aren’t difficult to make, I just need to take some time in the shop and just build them. I even have an old one pulled out to duplicate.
And then it is just finishing touches. I need to order and install the baseboard trim. Again, and easy project – it just requires measuring the walls.
The final project that needs to be done is to build a radiator cover. But that wall isn’t part of the functional kitchen, so the windows and radiator are last on my list…
I’ll try to get some better pictures tomorrow.
Our plans had been to have a family trip to Europe this summer and renovate the kitchen in 2021. When the craziness of the spring spilled into the summer, we cancelled our tickets to Europe and decided to instead renovate the kitchen.
Susanna and the boys started the demolition in the beginning of July, and then I spent a few weeks updating services and hanging the drywall (with some help from Ben). The boys were stuck at home for the better part of the summer, so we had lots of help during the hard part of the project.
Earlier this month, Susanna spent two weeks finishing the ceiling and walls, from the joint compound, through sanding and finally painting. Then, last weekend, we rented a sander and spent 8+ hours sanding the one hidden gem we found during renovation – a hardwood floor under the linoleum kitchen floor.
The kitchen layout is similar to the old layout, however we did eliminate a window to give us more cabinet space, and moved the fridge. Eventually we will pick up a counter depth fridge to fit with the cabinets. We purchased cabinets from IKEA, and while I don’t really like their furniture, their kitchen cabinets are pretty easy to install and seem to be of reasonable quality. The rail system for hanging the uppers makes lining them up a snap. So no complaints there.
This weekend we hung the cabinets on the wall where the fridge will go. The next week or two will be doing the other two walls and working on trim and other finishing touches. We aren’t too far from having a partially usable kitchen!
Yesterday was a good day to get some work done on the sailboat. The weather was sunny, but not to hot (low 60s) and no rain forecast until later today.
I had been trying to figure out how to replace or repair the toe rails. I was trying to remove them as full pieces, but he bolts were fiberglassed over from the inside, so I couldn’t easily unscrew them. Yesterday I started grinding the bolts/fiberglass cover off from the inside. And it worked! I also learned that the deck is solid fiberglass, vice a cored fiberglass. That will make repairs easier (no repairing rotted core material). I wound up cutting up the toe rail and removing it. I’ll build a new rail out of sapele or teak once I repaint the deck.
The boat has some interesting (and strange) construction characteristics. The backing plates were made from plywood, and in some case enclosed in fiberglass (or at least the were for the railing base and bow pulpit). In most cases water has leaked past the deck fittings and completely rotted the backing material. But those are quick to grind out.
I’ve also added a disk sander to my tool collection. The disk sander is much more aggressive than the random-orbit sander, and excels at removing he old paint/gelcoat/nonskid from the deck. I think my next step will be to remove all the hardware from the bow section of the deck and repaint that section and reattach the appropriate hardware. Though, maybe I should sand and repaint the interior part of the deck before adding the hardware.
After sanding and making a mess, I decided to play around with gelcoat. I don’t have spray equipment for the gelcoat, so will have to decide if it is worth the work to brush on gelcoat or painting is easier. I painted a small section of Will’s boat with gelcoat as well as the top of the companionway hatch. My thought is to sand the gelcoat on Will’s boat down to smooth as a base for the top cover (paint or gelcoat, depending on what he wants). I plan to wet sand the fresh gelcoat on the companionway hatch to see how smooth the painted surface and one layer of gelcoat appears. I’m hoping that the thicker gelcoat acts as a high-build primer. It seems pretty easy to sand smooth, at least for a small area.
Next question. What colors to use on the big boat?
I have had a lot of extra time over the last two months. I have been able to go into work part-time, and have to work from home the rest of the time. For a few weeks I was only able to go into the office for 10-15 hours a week, but am back to 5.5 hours/day in the office and 2.5 hours at home. I set up my telework workspace in my workshop – that allows me to get out of the house and work without too many distractions (at least not limits the 4-year old distractions).
As part of preparing my workspace, I removed my old, small desk from the workshop, and built in a new larger space. That gives me room for two computers (work and personal) without having one on top of the other.
In addition to my desk area, I have been spending a lot of time cleaning and organizing the workshop. I have been spending evenings over the past few weeks cleaning out the closet. I moved my personal computer into the closet, which will hopefully keep the dust down on it. I built a shelf and am in the process of building storage drawers.
The closet is heated, so I can keep paint/glue in it over the winter. I’m trying to keep the resins and glue a little better organized so I can be ready when it is warm enough outside to work on the boat.
Once I finish cleaning up the rest of the space, I’ll add pictures of the (hopefully) organized workshop.
This morning I finished and hung a homemade airborne dust filter in the workshop.
I had a fan blower sitting around from an old above-the-stove microwave thanks to an unnamed household member. The microwave was run for several minutes with no food inside – which didn’t help the microwaving part. But the vent fan was fine. Ben and I took the microwave apart a few years ago, and the fan has been sitting around in my shop waiting for a project.
I had to order a filter, switch and a starting capacitor (since I apparently didn’t save one from the microwave). The plywood was left over from another project. After being distracted way too many times, I finally got the project finished today. It has two speeds wired in, but no labels on the box (yet).
I’ll see how much dust the filter collects, which hopefully reduces the dust my lungs collect.
Getting a boat is always a bad idea. The question will be how bad of an idea this one will be. The first step, moving it from the storage yard to home went without a problem. The trailer needed 4 new tires, but the rest of it is in decent shape. The lights even worked (which was not expected).
I had been keeping my eye out for a new family sailboat. I was looking for something bigger than the O’Day 22 we previously owned. But one small enough to keep on a trailer. I really wanted one with an inboard engine and a proper head (toilet). This had both. Plus was a reasonably shallow draft, which is good for exploring Long Island Sound.
I had looked at the boat a few years ago, but the price was higher than I wanted to pay at the time. The previous owner listed it again this year. He lives in Colorado and was tired of paying for storage. So I decided to go take another look at it.
I initially looked at the boat with a couple of friends from work in late November. It was a mess. I didn’t want it. It had a few inches of water over the cabin deck, and was filled with foam pieces (almost like an animal had been living inside of it). However, a week later, the owner asked if I could pump the water out of it, and would give me the dinghy behind it if I would. I wasn’t interested in the dinghy, but I figured I could spend an hour and pump it out.
Will and I went down to the boat, but the water in the bilge was frozen, so we couldn’t pump it out. However, we cleaned up two garbage bags of trash, and the foam pieces. It was just foam from the hull-liner, and the cushions were in perfect shape (just dirty), so no animal living on the boat.
We went down a few more times and did some more cleaning and looked around. The diesel engine turned over by hand, the rudder and screw turned easily. The biggest problem is that the trailer tires were shot, and the rudder was coming apart and needs to be repaired. The access to the diesel is excellent, so working on the engine won’t be too difficult.
I spend more time talking to the owner. I wasn’t planning on sailing in 2019 and was only looking to pick one up if it was a really good deal. This one wound about as cheap as they get. It was sitting in a storage yard costing the previous owner around $100/month. I initially offered to take the boat at no cost so he didn’t have to keep paying for storage. After some more talking, we finally came to an agreement at a cost of approximately two months of storage fees. So I picked up a new boat for a total of $200 plus four new trailer tires.
I asked a friend to help tow the boat, and he towed it the 10 miles home on Saturday afternoon. Now comes the process of cleaning it up over the next year or so. I’ll probably redo the electrical (because I like doing that sort of thing). The topside and bottom both need to be repainted (at least the bottom below the waterline). The diesel needs to be tuned up and returned to running condition. And the inside needs a good cleaning, some new hull liner, and some paint. The wood is dirty, but mostly in good shape. The rub rail needs to be replaced in sections, but none of the fiberglass is soft.
I will try to start posting here again for 2019 – I pretty much dropped off for the past 5 months.