January 28, 2017

Adult Coloring

I am experimenting with a piece of trim that I am going to use as a detail piece in the bathroom. In putting in the vanity, I needed to offset it from the backing wall in order to line up water lines and to cover the hole in the sheet rock that the lines run thru. So I installed a filler strip that the vanity backsplash would butt up to. However, it needs something on top so it doesn't look awkward, hence the need for the detail piece.

Joint between vanity and back wall

I got an unfinished trim piece that has leaf/vine pattern

Bath finsh piece raw

I wanted to color the leaves in autumn hues. Of course they don't make stains the colors I would like so I had to figure out something else. Well, as luck would have it, I have a collection of something like 60 markers so I decided to experiment with mixing their colors to achieve the results I wanted. After coloring in the leaves and letting them dry I stained the background with the stain that I custom mixed for the bathroom door trim, which closely matches the cabinetry.

Bath finsh piece 1

Bath finsh piece 2
Bath finsh piece 2

Here is a panorama of the piece. Since I didn't keep the camera level while taking the picture, it makes the wood look very warped. Rest assured, it isn't :)

Bath finish piece panorama

Now I just have to figure out what to do with the "dots". I am pretty sure I will try a very small paint brush to insert the stain, but may try some colors too.

Posted by Bogie on January 28, 2017 at 07:35 PM in House Work | Permalink | Comments (2)

January 14, 2017

Counter Swap

Before Christmas, one of the NH members of a pellet stove forum I belong to was discussing that he needed to install a second stove as his current stove is too small for all of his heating needs. He was also talking about having to wait until he got the funds for exhaust pipe (it is rather expensive and comes in very short sections so you have to buy lots of individual pieces). This is a guy that lives about 15 miles away and I met for the first time when I posted asking for a helping hand to pick up the P43 the spring of 2015. Despite having no knowledge of me (he was a new member to the forum), he volunteered his time and equipment (dolly, straps etc).

I have never forgotten his jumping in to help, so I let him know that I had some pipe left over from my installs. Some new, some used (it came with a used stove), some connections I thought I would need but didn't. He was welcome to it if he wanted it. after all, it gets tiresome moving it around the basement to get it out of my way. Oh, and if he wanted the pipe, he could help me move something while he was here :0

Today he made it over here - and he brought presents (5.5 bags of pellets of different brands - any pellet head will appreciate that!)

Pellets from CleanFire

Then he helped me swap the "old" vanity counter - old being the original 48.5" counter

Hutch on counter - turned

For the longer, 55.5" counter that I decided would go better. If you look at the shadows, you can see a 7" space between the counter and the wall. The new counter spans the entire width - even after I moved the cabinets over towards the door so that the left-hand cabinet door wouldn't bang into the wall that juts out.

Bathroom counter from window-trnd
Bathroom counter from window-trnd

Oh, and Cop Car - please notice I got the door trim up too (I had removed it for when I did the mudding/painting of the ceiling and left it off until the counter was in).

I offered the "old" counter to the forum member. It had never been plumbed in, just used as a base covering, so was still in new condition. He gladly accepted as his wife has been bugging him to put another bathroom in the house (which I knew from forum chats, so the offer wasn't a stab in the dark). I was happy it and the exhaust parts were going to someone in need, who is a good guy - and I'm sure his wife is lovely too, and someone I "know" thru the pellet forum.

So, now I just have to see if the plumber I used for installing the tub is still doing side work so I can get the vanity plumbed in and then make a final decision on flooring to finish the bathroom off. And, bonus, that big honking 65"W x 30"W x 20"T box that held the counter is out of the basement as well as two smaller boxes of pipe is gone.

I'm making progress!

Posted by Bogie on January 14, 2017 at 04:45 PM in House Work | Permalink | Comments (2)

January 07, 2017

Living Room Bay Window Complete

Cop Car and her HH don't know what they got me for Christmas, so now they get to find out :)

After getting the window trim done my "curtains" in the living room bay window looked rather, should I say, Trailer Trash-ish. The previous curtains, that had come with the house were sheer lace, so for a while I had a blanket up there to keep out the sun in summer and cold in winter. Then I had new windows put in in 2014 and I didn't want to put holes in the wall, and having left over foam board from insulating the basement, I used those in that window. I was looking online for a nice curtain rod and ran into a nice traverse set up which I ordered just before Christmas and came in about a week ago. I have also been looking at lined curtains but needed slightly longer than the normal 63-65" that are common, but shorter than the 86" that are common for drapes. I finally found some I liked that came in 72" and they were waiting on my doorstep yesterday when I got home.

So, I got to work and finally got the traverse rod up - I was nervous at getting it in the right place so the curtains dropped to just at the bottom of the bottom of the window trim. But I also didn't want them lower because they would mess up the FHW baseboard heat if that was used.

Living room curtain traverse rod

Then I put up the curtains (yes, they are rather wrinkled). They are a nice, deep navy blue with a satin sheen - almost too upscale for my house

Living room drapes-curtains2

But the cool part is this


Yep, remote controlled. That way I don't have to get behind the furniture to open / close the curtains.

Posted by Bogie on January 7, 2017 at 05:19 PM in House Work | Permalink | Comments (3)

January 01, 2017

Last Two

I got the office windows trimmed today. Took forever because they are side-by-side so I had to figure out how to work with the common side. So here is the finished* product.

Office windows trimmed side-by-side


*Finished as in there is only one piece of trim missing; the left side of the right hand window. Of course I didn't have 51.5" left of on outside corner (at least not the size that worked). That is why that piece of cove is leaning on the window - waiting for its companion piece before it can be installed.

Posted by Bogie on January 1, 2017 at 05:45 PM in House Work | Permalink | Comments (2)

December 31, 2016

Week Off From Work Turns into Work

I have had a week off from my day job, so I decided to tackle a project that has been waiting for over 2 years, installing the interior trim for the windows that I had replaced in the summer of 2014. This is an intimidating project for me because

  • I've never trimmed windows before
  • The windows were installed when there was no sheet rock installed - important because
  • the old sheet rock was 1/4" thick and the sheet rock I had installed was 1/2" thick.
  • and of course the new windows were trued up with the outside trim (they had no choice), so that means all window casings are below the sheet rock
  • I'm not good at visualizing, so figuring out what I needed to make the trim look presentable was daunting
  • Three windows are not like the other windows; two bay windows and the garden window in the bathroom
  • Another two windows are side-by-side, but each with their own casings.
  • Of the 4 windows of roughly the same size and shape, only two are along the same side of the house, so those were the only two that were nominally unsquare the same way.

But with a week off, I figured the only way to get the trim done, was to just freaking start. So I did. And I could bore everyone, including me, by detailing all the steps I took, but let's just suffice to say that since last Saturday, I have spent an entire day shopping, most of a day shopping, and another 2.5 hours shopping (today) - just for parts to put the trim together. If you understand that the closest places to get the stuff I needed was in Concord, 40-45 minutes away, it makes more sense. Plus, one of those "shopping" days I had a dentist appointment (replaced a filling that had cracked) that took a couple of hours and I moved the ton of pellets out of the shed and into the basement. Oh, and then there was the snow storm that kept me hopping with snow blowing and shoveling (the reason I moved the pellets - while I still had easy access to the shed).

These are the first 3 windows I got done; the living room bay window, the small window to the side of the pellet stove in the living room, and the bay window in the bedroom. Why yes, I do have fancy "shades" in the living room (hopefully soon to be rectified).

  Living room bay window trimmed
Living room bay window trimmed
Living room bay window trimmed

These four windows I completed today; the small bedroom window, the craft room side window (it and the small bedroom window were the two I was able to do at the same time since they are on the same wall of the house so were similarly off), the craft room backside window, and the bathroom garden window.

Bedroom small window trim-trd
Bedroom small window trim-trd
Bedroom small window trim-trd
Bedroom small window trim-trd

I also worked my night job, stained wood (necessitating waiting for dry time), and caulked around all the windows (pre-trim) (had to wait at least 8 hours for that to dry). I was not able to use all the trim that I had taken off, sanded down, stained and polyurethaned last year, but I was able to use some of it.

Those are my excuses for not having the side-by-side windows in the office trimmed. Nor have I caulked the trim work that I have completed so far. And, there is at least one window (that I recall anyway) that still needs 2 minor finish pieces placed along the insides. Those are minor issues that aren't readily evident and I can do at anytime I get the ambition.

I am happy with the progress I have made and the windows look so much better than they did just a week ago.

Posted by Bogie on December 31, 2016 at 07:26 PM in House Work | Permalink | Comments (3)

December 04, 2016

Bedroom Closet is Usefull Again

Last weekend I got the closet so close to finished that I was able to put my clothes back into it. The only things left are to create a box for the pipes and nail in the floor trim.

Bedroom closet almost done-turned

The bottom two shelves are totally new additions - the pipes run between the two shelves. The clothing rod and upper shelf are new, replacements for what was there previously.

Posted by Bogie on December 4, 2016 at 06:03 AM in House Work | Permalink | Comments (1)

November 12, 2016

In the Closet

Last weekend I started tearing apart the bedroom closet. The closet is on an outside wall, abuts the bathroom, and has the bathroom pipes running thru it. It gets very cold in the winter. That is easy to forget in the warmth of summer, but with cold weather arriving, I found a lot of cold air coming into the bathroom. Since I had pretty much everything I need for a small project like a 2' x 3' closet, I got started.

At the start of the demolition, I took off the crown molding and found a huge air gap between the ceiling and wall sheet rock.

Gap in sheetrock

On tearing out the outside wall, I couldn't believe I had forgotten how the builder had never put plywood in the upper 8-9" of the outside wall, so it directly lets in cold air and wind from the eaves. ARRGGHH - it was in the low 40's and I had to hurry and scab in some plywood!

Hole in plywood


I caulked in around all the studs to stop air filtration and let it cure until Sunday early afternoon (I had a HOG meeting in the morning). I did roll on two layer of paint on the door wall and the back wall since I wasn't tearing those out. That took quite a while as the closet it so small that I ended up using a small 3-4" roller in order to have room for me, it and the step stool.

Hole in plywood

When I got home Sunday, I installed 1" rigid foam insulation along the outside wall and caulked all around it.

Foam insulation in closet - no caulk turned
Foam insulation in closet - no caulk turned

Since it was in fairly good shape, instead of tearing out the ceiling sheet rock I added rigid foam insulation to the inside. It shortens the ceiling, but since it's not like I can crawl up there thru the 18" door, I don't care.

Ceiling foam

 The caulk had to cure, so I was pretty much done until today. This morning I went down into the basement to cut a piece of fiberglass insulation for the wall, and found that the only roll I had left was R19. Great, no, not really, I have to have R13. So I gathered up the trash and did a dump run, then stopped at the local hardware store and found they only had R11 - at $36+ per roll. AMG - that is about twice as much as I can get at HD. Alright then, they just made it worth the drive to Concord (30 miles). On my way, I decided to stop at the next town over and see if their hardware store had anything.

Ahh, lifesavers - they had R13 insulation and for $17/roll. Although a couple $$ more than HD, the drive time and gas would eat up that, so I happily gave them money and was back home shortly. I installed the fiberglass insulation.

Wall fiberglass insulation turned

Then I sheet rocked over the rigid foam on the ceiling.

Ceiling sheet rock

Then I started on the floor, which is over the garage at lets in at least as much cold air as the wall did. I put down a layer of rigid foam insulation, then used that as a template for the plywood to go on top.

Floor foam
Floor foam

Then I pulled the plywood back up and used it as a template for cutting a scrap piece of linoleum. I used double-sided tape to secure the edges, then put the construction down on the floor.

Floor plywood linoleum
Floor plywood linoleum

Lastly, I sheet rocked the outside wall.Yes, that is two different colors of sheet rock. I was making the most efficient use of the drops from other projects and the only difference is the purple is for damp areas (like bathrooms) and the white is for living areas.

Wall sheetrock turned

I still have to tape and mud, then paint and put up the clothing rod and shelving, but I'm happy with the progress I made today.

Posted by Bogie on November 12, 2016 at 07:23 PM in House Work | Permalink | Comments (5)

October 22, 2016

Playing with Propane

When I moved into this house, I inherited the propane company (AG) that the previous residents used. "Inherit" means that AG's tank is on the property and they are the only ones that can fill it. AG also happens to be a way expensive company to use - averaging $1 more per gallon over competitors. NH has very high propane costs anyway because every bit of it is trucked in and we only have one holding depot, which is out on the coast. So while other parts of the country are enjoying very cheap propane, NH's average price is around $2.50/gallon. The year I moved in, we had shortages because of the extreme weather and the price I was paying was $5-6/gallon - a huge expense when my 950 sq/ft (only the main floor has heat run thru it) was using 250-300 gallons per month to keep the temp at 64*. That was the main impetus for me getting pellet stoves.

The winters of 2014 and 2015 I only used propane for the cook stove (rarely used), DHW and to run the boiler a couple time a day during extreme cold to keep the FHW pipes that run thru the garage from freezing. So I've only bought 100-150 gallons of propane a year. I have always had the goal of changing propane companies and this is the year. Just before Thanksgiving, my 500 gallon tank will be changed out for two 125 gallon tanks.

Although this seems unrelated, there is a relationship here, so bear with me. Last spring the boiler's pilot light blew out during extreme winds last spring. I was lucky and it happened shortly before I got up for work, I happened to go into the back corner of the basement, where the boiler is, before leaving for work and smelled the propane coming out of the boiler. If I hadn't gone into that part of the basement, I never would have smelled the gas, and I wouldn't be complaining about the difficulties I've had the last couple of weeks as it is likely the house would have blown up before I got home. I did smell the propane, figured out where it was coming from and turned off the pipe that supplied the boiler.

With cold weather coming in I've been trying to get someone to come out and service the boiler, then relight it. I've called local companies and not had my voice mails returned. I've emailed with no results. I widened my circle to larger companies that clearly show on their website they service my area (within the 25 mile radius they show) and been told they don't come out this far. There was one company that said they could come out in mid December :( . Then I called the big outfits that have TV ads and supposedly service most of the state. Well, not this part.

My desperation to get the boiler going, besides it is always good to have a backup heat source, is because my present propane tank is still at 20% (about 100 gallons). To transport the tank over the road, the company must make sure that it is at 5% or less. If they have to pump out the propane, I get hit with up to $150 charge, so I want to burn as much of the propane off as possible. The only way to do that is to heat the main floor with FHW until the new company brings in their tanks.

After reading the relighting directions on the stove, I decided I would clean it and relight it myself. So I stopped at the local hardware store and got a bottle brush, long matches and a long crevice tool for my shop vac.

Teh bottle brush did a good job of getting gunk, cat hairs and cobwebs of the gas jets, and I was able to vacuum up all the crud that had fallen below. Since I had previously turned off the gas supply at the peipe, I turned it off at the boiler itself and opened up the valve on the pipe. I let it sit for a couple of minutes and then started sniffing around for the smell of gas - there wasn't any, so I was good for the next step.

I turned the boiler dial to Pilot, pressed the red feed button and lit the pilot light with a long match. After holding in the red button for about a minute (per instructions), I let it go, made sure the red button popped up and the pilot light stayed lit, then turned the dial to Run. So far, so good. I then turned the thermostat up so that the boiler would fire, went downstairs to check on progress and Houston, we have ignition!

Boiler lit after I cleaned it

So the P43, that usually heats the main floor has been turned down to 60* so it is the backup system and I am running the FHW for the heat. So far it is still fairly warm outside, so the boiler hasn't fired since I turned the thermostat back down to 70*, but tomorrow will be cold and windy so it will have to start doing some work.

Next summer I need to seriously look into replacing the boiler as its install tag has a 1991 date, but for now it's good!

Posted by Bogie on October 22, 2016 at 04:09 PM in At Home, House Work | Permalink | Comments (4)

October 08, 2016

Microwave Replacement

"Now...on to the microwave, when you can take the time from all of the other chores." Cop Car, 10/2/16.

Little did she know that I was in the middle of that project as she was typing.A little background first; when I bought the house, all the appliances were black, except the microwave. Weird, but I could live with that. I could also live with a beeper so quiet that only bats and owls could hear the thing even standing right next to it. HOwever, sometime last spring the turntable stopped working. Yes, I could still nuke my coffee in the morning, but nuking food was inconvenient as I had to do the quarter-turn thing liek I was back in the 1980's :D. So, I looked on CL until I found an unused GE microwave of the correct size and color, had the amenities I wanted (underneath light and fan for the cook stove underneath), and was at a price I was willing to pay.

I started the project Saturday, late afternoon by taking the old microwave out.

Old white microwave
Old white microwave

Dang it was nasty at the sides. See that area on the right? I thought that was an area that hadn't gotten painted because the microwave was in the way. Not so - and the other side was worse. A little time and elbow grease, and I was ready to put in the new microwave.

Cleaned area for microwave

I was happy to find that the bracket from the old ovenwould work with the new oven, so I didn't have to change that out (happy, happy!). Then, it was on to putting the new microwave in. Well, there was one glitch in that being as I bought it from an individual, who had bought it as a floor model, it didn't quite come with all the parts. Namely, the self aligning machine screws that go thru the cabinet into the top of the microwave. I was hoping the screws that came out of the old microwave would work, but they were the wrong size. So, Sunday I went in search of . . .

Naturally the local hardware place didn't have any screws of the correct size - who knew that 1/4-28 x 3" were so rare? So I headed to the city and stopped at H*me Dep*t. Nope, not there either. tried both the appliance section and the hardware section. Then off to Se*rs - no joy there either. Last shot (other than net order) was Rocky's Hardware. Although they didn't have self-aligning type, they did have the correct size screws - exactly two of them. Well, dang, I needed 3. However they did also have some 2.5" bolts of the correct size, so I got one of those (I didn't technically need 3" screws as the hardware list was for worstcase scenario - that spacing blocks would need to be used also).

Sunday afternoon, there much swearing while trying to align the oven with the wall bracket, in which you really needs eyes on the bottom of the stove to align the nubs with the holes in the oven frame - while at the same time being on a step stool to lift and cant the oven to go over said nubs. Yes, the instructions warn that you should use two people, but being without that option, I just had to do the best I could. Finally, I got the thing lined up, held it up with one hand while trying to manipulate the screws and screw gun, then realizing the electrical cord was in the way (it goes thru the upper cabinet). ARRGGHH!

I did have the foresight to have a support system in place so that I could just drop the front of the oven and thread the cord thru the hole. Then back to manipulating screws/screwgun with one hand. Finally I got the results I was looking for and not only do I have a microwave that works, but it matches the rest of the appliances.

New black microwave installed

Remember kids, don't try this at home :)

Posted by Bogie on October 8, 2016 at 07:44 AM in House Work | Permalink | Comments (2)

October 02, 2016

Bright and Windy

Last weekend I finally got around to putting up the replacement ceiling fan / light in the kitchen. The old ceiling fan / light had given up the ghost; first the fan quite working (no big deal), but then the lights quit working. When I removed the old one, I couldn't see any reason it shouldn't work (ie, all connections were still good), so bought a close out model online and it has patiently waited in its box in the living room. I did put the fan blades together something like 2 months ago (EDIT: I ordered the fan on 7/21 and it arrived within 3 days, so just over 2 months), but then it became less of a priority since I knew that Cop Car and her HH were coming and I had to get the bathroom ready for them to help me with the cabinetry.

Although a fairly easy project, this one made me nervouse (which project doesn't - LOL) because it involved electricity. Fortunately the instructions were straight forward; the bracket went up easily into the existing electrical box

Kitchen fan light bracket

Then the housing and fan blades went on.

Kitchen fan light housing - blades

The last step was to put on the lighting portion. At this point I found that the housing wasn't perfectly centered and when the lighting section was installed, it interfered with the blade rotation. So, I ended up having to take that section out several times and reinstall the housing until everything worked smoothly. All that was more a function of performing the work by a flashlight held between the teeth, than being a difficult task. Then I turned on the breaker, flipped the swithc and pulled the light chanin. ARRGGHH! Of course it didn't work correctly.

Kitchen fan light installed and lit-noreflection

See that back light? It isn't lit. After moving light bulbs around I determined it was the bulb itself. Of course, fan/lights have gone to candelabra bulbs, so I didn't have any replacement bulbs and the local stores wanted $10-12 per bulb! I got online and ordered three LED candelabra bulbs for only twice as much as local stores wanted for one regular bulb. Yesterday I installed the new light bulbs and voila

Ceiling fan with all lights lit

These lights are a bright white instead of the "true light" type, so it is brighter, which although looks kind of strange (being used to true light bulbs in the rest of the main floor), makes reading and seeing much better. Amazing how much I strain to read directions under the other lights - where a lot of times I get a flashlight to be able to see the writing - and under these lights I don't have that issue. So, here is an action shot to prove the fan works too

Ceiling fan rotating

So now, when I want it to be, it can be bright and windy in the kitchen.

Posted by Bogie on October 2, 2016 at 07:50 AM in House Work | Permalink | Comments (4)