Enter the Porch

As part of our remodel, considerable work was done on the front porch. Unfortunately, that work didn’t include putting up the railings. This weekend has been the weekend for me to replace them. This has involved purchasing 4x6s and 2x4s to create the classic Craftsman heavy look, then assembling them, which has involved tracing the…

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Introduction to Plumbing

Plumbing is my least favorite home improvement task. Today I tried to repair the drain in my mom’s front bathroom. The pop-up wouldn’t go up and down. Based on this and all my previous plumbing experience, I have come up with John’s Rule of Plumbing: All plumbing work takes three trips: Trip 1: Get the…

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Running Toilet

The toilet in the bathroom I was using in my mom’s house was running. Not a "jiggle-the-handle" kind of running — more like an "unstoppable-gallon-an-hour" kind of run. I lived with it for a couple of days, thinking, "If I were back in Seattle I’d go to the hardware store, buy replacement innards, and install…

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Getting Square, Part 2

I just spent two quality hours with my table saw. I’d known for a while that the saw needed tuning, but I’d been putting it off. Yesterday’s frustrating session, however, was the last straw. I’d been checking the saw for true for three years using the blade and a square, but it doesn’t really work…

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Right Angles

One of the projects I’ve taken on for our home remodel was building the downstairs linen cabinet — a built-in set of shelves, drawers, and doors that fit into the space next to the first-floor bathroom. To get this project going last summer, my wife and I purchased several sheets of mahogany plywood — 3/4″,…

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Spar Varnish…

…is like painting with mucus. On the recommendation of a professional painter, my wife and I spent two days this week applying spar varnish to the ceiling of our front porch and the soffit around it. While the end result looks lovely, the actual overhead application of the varnish (using a pair of Shur Line…

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What "Vacation" Means During a Remodel

I took this week off from work. Or I should say, I took this week off from going to the office. So far, in addition to doing quite a bit of email (that’s the right verb, isn’t it — one “does” email?) and attending one teleconference (during which I invoked Bruce Willis and The Fifth…

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Removing the Vestiges of Winter

As my team gets nearer to shipping (fingers crossed) life at home turns back to normal, which means more time spent working on the house and less time spent on email. This weekend saw two milestones: the restored (stripped, sanded, stained, sealed) trim installed in the TV room and the removal of the Christmas lights…

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The Knees Have It

My favorite tool today is… Knee pads. Not just any knee pads, though: CLC’s Gel Kneepads with grooved caps (you can get them at Ace Hardware). I spent about six hours this evening on my knees pulling wire in cramped spaces so that we can restore the original lighting in our living and dining rooms….

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De planer! De planer!

Earlier this week I ordered a 13-inch Grizzly planer-molder. Our initial job for it is to plan several thousand lineal feet of painted molding from our house through it to strip it back to its original finish. After that, some custom molding for the dining room. I can’t wait until it arrives – all 217…

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