Monthly Archives: May 2012

A bathroom wall, white paint, table saws and an eclipse…


I’ve put up my bathroom wall! The first partition! It’s actually the only partition in my floorplan, but that makes it even more exciting 😀

I used 1 x 5 tongue and groove pine screwed into horizontal supports at the top and bottom. I’ll need to put some more bracing in there because it’s a mite wobbly the now, maybe some shelving or something to hold things together and make for some extra storage.

I thought about framing the wall with 2×2’s and insulating before adding 1/4″ wall paneling…but I didn’t. I haven’t much of a good reason other than would have taken slightly more space and perhaps been slightly heavier. Also stronger I suppose, but this is what I’ve got so I’m liking it.

As a rule, I don’t use the table saw by myself and it’s ended up as the last thing my stepdad does actively in the build. It hasn’t been an issue in the past because the whole idea freaks me out, but recently, it’s started bugging that waiting for him to run cuts is preventing progress.

So I’ve convinced him it’s less safe for me to not know how to use it properly, and received a pretty terrifying tutorial with his reluctant agreement. That machine scares the pants off of me, but I gathered a bit of courage from wherever it hides down in my shoes somewhere and have been making my own cuts since.

Actually doing it myself now is not as horrid as I’d feared. I’ve spent so much time watching my dad every time he ran the saw that I almost feel like I’ve done it before and it’s a relief to cut what I need to when I need to. How exciting all the things I’ve learned from this house and my dad since September when I was afraid of the nail gun.

2 more things: I’ve painted my wainscoting white and the eclipse last Sunday was incredible. I went hiking with my mom and dad to the top of our mountain, equipped with little rectangles of welding glass to look at the sun without frying our eyeballs. I guess I didn’t take very many pictures of the bathroom wall or what I’ve painted (i.e. the point of this post) so instead, I will give you all lots of pictures from our eclipse hike last weekend. It was pretty cool 🙂


Of long awaited tung oil and many white paints…


I have heard really good things about finishing pine floors with tung oil, and last Tuesday I pranced to the hardware store in search. For those of you who think of a big, reeking pot of tongues (me) or a cow licking the floors (my mom) tung oil comes from the nut of the tung tree, I guess they grow in China. So I found a shiny yellow quart labeled ‘Tung Oil Finish’ by Minwax, which I bought and promptly returned home to get started. I hate waiting.

It surprised me that the label didn’t mention anything specific about the contents or tung oil and after a quick internet search on the product, I was crushed to find that there’s so much thinner and varnish mixed in that very little, if any, tung oil is actually in there. Further research backed the quality of pure tung oil, and the more I read, the more I realized what was coming; I was going to have to order this stuff online, and I was going to have to wait.

It shouldn’t be such a deterrent. I’ve waited for plenty of far off things during the build, but this one hit me right in the middle of my flooring mojo. The reasonable, get-it-right-the-first-time part of me beat the impatient part that figures it’ll probably work out, and I bought a gallon of %100 tung oil for only a little more than two quarts of the other stuff cost.

6 painful days later, it arrived at the door and I was finally able to begin. I ran at that box so fast, can’t imagine why the FedEx guy didn’t seem to share my excitement for a gallon of floor oil 😀 I lightly diluted it with mineral spirits, as indicated by the label, made me up a big ole’ bucket and went on my way. It went down beautifully with a rag and brought out the grain in the most lovely colour. I had nearly planned on staining the floor before oiling, but eventually changed my mind after really looking at it during my week in limbo.

I also painted the wood around the loft triangles. I’ve wanted to make them white for a while now to emphasize light up there, and I love what it did for the space. But holy my goodness there are a lot of variations of white! I went to the store with the intention of buying plain paint and was assaulted with at least 100 different shades. Our hardware store really isn’t even that big.

I am aware, however, that when faced with decisions like this I can take several years to reach a verdict, so I limited my exposure and went with the first thing that caught my eye. It’s a rich, creamy sort of white and 2 coats on primer did the trick, sanding between each. It happens to be called ‘Finer Things’, which makes Little Yellow feel fancy 😀

Pine flooring down…


Little Yellow has a floor! It’s haphazard with no particular order and 2 different kinds of nails from one half to the other (I ran out), but I don’t care. I love it and it’s the most beautiful floor I’ve ever made :D.

My neighbor got me started over the weekend, with galvanized nails and a bucket of sticky floor glue, and before I knew it I was plowing away on my own. Finding the right nails for the big scary gun proved much more difficult than I’d thought, and as I was already a bit concerned about the possibility of splitting the soft pine wood, I went the old fashioned route and hand nailed. It was quite a lot of fun, and I only smashed the shit out of my finger once. Still, after the first board I became instantly grateful for the small stature of my house. I don’t think my will power would have survived anything over 300 square feet.

Picking just the right board for each section took me the most time…I spend way too much thinking about these things. It did get done though, in two afternoons of concerted effort. The process involved spreading thin-ish beads of glue down the back side of each board with a notched putty knife called a dowel (if I recall correctly) before nailing onto my very vacuumed subfloor. I pre-drilled holes in the butted ends at slight angles so as to avoid splitting, which appears to have worked.

There’s something about looking down and seeing a floor, like in a proper house, that is really REALLY exciting. I leaped to sweep it as soon as the last board was down. I swept, and then I took my shoes off and walked across for the first time. I’m not going to lie, there was some skipping/spinning going on over here, and this floor took it brilliantly. Sanding, possibly staining and definitely oiling soon!

Wall paneling done…


Well it’s been an awfully long time since I’ve written! I hope not to be so long in the future 🙂 I am back home and back to house building after a delightful time away, and my return has brought some new determination. My goal at the time being is to try and get Little Yellow done as soon as I possibly can because I’d like to stay at my parent’s for a while to work out any carpenteric kinks while I still have access to my dad’s excellently marvelous collection of tools. (This spell check isn’t buying ‘carpenteric’ as a word. They do suggest ‘carpetbagger’ though) So! That’s the plan.

Today I finished up the last of the wall paneling in the bathroom and changing room at the hitch-end, which means I have walls! 4 of them! And they’re all shiny and paneled 😀 Next I suppose will be window trim and corner moulding. I’m in dire need of some corner moulding… But first I want to get my pine flooring down. It’s had a nice good time to acclimate in there, so the only thing stopping me now are the right nails. I guess I didn’t think much about that part but after some research it seems I need 2″ ringshank nails for the big scary gun. Hopefully my dad will be able to stop by Lowes tomorrow and pick some up so I can get started on Saturday.

Also! It appears that Clyde has had little baby squirrels and they are THE cutest things. There are at least 4 and they were all over the place this morning, wandering around testing out underdeveloped jumping legs. The tiniest one tried to leap from the tree to the porch railing and failed brilliantly. He made the distance but just kept going after he landed and plowed into the side of the house. I guess a 3.5′ rail must be a pretty big thing for a very little squirrel 🙂

Now I think of it, this probably makes Clyde a girl. No matter, we’re not changing the name.