Category Archives: Door

Counters and mortise locks and dish racks and coat racks and porch posts and…

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Oh my. Gad zooks I’ve been a while! Things are doing very well, and I’m at the point when I can almost say my house is done 🙂 It’s not, exactly, but it’s so darn close that most people probably wouldn’t know to look at it. Ideally, I would delve into each section of progress in individual posts, but life is running away with me so I hope this picture laden compilation will do.

Firstly, a bit on the kitchen. The counter is attached (with little, 4 screw angle irons), I’ve gotten all the shelves in, the sink installed and the stove set up nice on top. It’s a denatured alcohol version by Origo where one pours said fuel directly into the unit, and since it doesn’t really need to get cut into my counters to work, I decided that it was fine just as it is. I’m quite please with it actually, because now I can put it elsewhere if I need more counterspace, then bring it back again when I don’t. I could also use it outside or take it camping, or just keep it in my car so I could cook wherever I go 😀 Less likely, but it is good to have options…

The finishing of Flemming’s priceless counters was an annoying puzzlement that spanned many attempts, reattempts and re-reattempts plus that ‘this is never going to work’ feeling that can do a number on one’s perseverance. But work it did, by cracky, after much ado. Essentially, this particular wood took very poorly to water. By poorly, I mean that each time any amount of water got left on the surface for any amount of time, the grain would raise and the wood would turn white, leaving an entirely displeasing trail of bumpy ugliness.

I’m sure this all could have been quickly solved by a layer or however-many of polyurethane-type counter finish, but that would have been too easy. I hate that stuff, probably for no good reason, but I’m an advocate for easily re-doable finishes and was dead set on oiling it. Boy howdy did I oil that thing. I put over 3 pints of oil on it (butcher’s block oil, i.e. mineral oil) thinking that the waterproofness would improve when it was saturated. I was wrong of course, and no amount of oil, different oil, beeswax or anything I thought of could keep this grain from raising.

With the advice of a few clever neighbours and a slow return of some good sense on my part, I finally stopped trying to keep the grain from raising and and started trying to get it to raise. I covered the whole thing in water. I literally poured cups onto it for several days until every little piddly section was grain-raised to the max. After it dried, I sanded everything down and there you go! Simple as that. Grain raising white spots of doom? No longer an issue.  I then oiled it again and now my counter is ready for anything. Well, at least water.

My cats live with me in and out of Little Yellow now, and they are the most delightfully entertaining, boot chewing, and lap warming little jumping beans. They are all curled up innocent-like on my knees right now, purring their tiny hearts out.

I spent the last 2 weeks scouting somewhere to put my house up by San Francisco. I haven’t got anything definite yet, but I have a few thoughts for the short term, and I plan to move by this time next month. It’s terribly exciting. It’s also terribly terrifying, but that’s the path I chose, and if my life didn’t have a reasonable balance of the two, I doubt I’d be very happy 😀

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A ceiling, door trim and a found porch post…

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My ceiling is done! I feel like shouting it, and perhaps I will. My neighbors get that I’m weird. Seriously though, it’s such a thing to look at. The last pieces went up without much of a hitch, and Little Yellow just seems so much more…done. I know she’s not at all, but I feel there’s a lot less to do now. I have a ceiling!

The last run of paneling required the table saw to make them 3″ with the grove-side down. They left a gap at the ridge that ranged from almost nothing to nearly 1/2″ and I was worried that the final pieces wouldn’t cover everything, but I worried needlessly. With 45 degree angles on each side, they worked perfectly and hid all the unevenness.

Goodness I’m glad the overhead insulating is done, it really gets everywhere. Pieces kept falling out as I tried to cover it up yesterday and I came into the big house afterward blinking it out of my eyelashes and looking like a graying, be-chesthaired fellow with a full face 5:00 shadow.

I also finally got some trim around my wee yellow door. Since I’m set on cedar, I tried to use part of the fence boards I put around the bump out windows but they happen to be just a little too short. I left the idea for a while and I’m glad I did because I got the perfect wood for it at the local hardware store. The lovely lumber chaps dug up some old but nice 6″ cedar tongue and groove boards that must have been sitting there for a heck of a time. After a run through the table they were ready to go, and my door is simply and beautifully trimmed.

I took a trampling, sliding trek down a hill with a friend the other day and found a treasure trove of cut up manzanita trees. I don’t know why someone decided to go crackerjacks with a chainsaw on an unoccupied mountainside, but they did. I’m also pretty sure it’s illegal to cut down manzanita…Plies and piles of it, a bit sad really. Buried in a particularly high stack was the only branch of any length and we dug it out, by george.

They’re usually shortish bushy type trees that don’t grow up-the-way with much substance, so this one, being big and tall enough for porch post purposes, is quite the holy grail of branches. I made the drive home feeling rather pleased with the day and a wild, twiggy branch sticking a few good feet out my passenger window. I do love the mountains…

Exterior stained and just about done…

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Seeing as I hate painting with the fire of at least a few suns, I would have thought that staining would be an equally unfavourable task. It was actually quite a lot of fun and I went about applying it with a spring in my step…splattering Super Deck all over my shoes (note, that stuff doesn’t give up lightly).

The stain was a little odd to see all at once, but it’s settling into itself beautifully to a very rich, finished looking colour.  If I do say so myself, Little Yellow looks bloody lovely.

I got to insulating the ceiling over the doorway today and decided to cover it with 1/4″ T&G cedar closet liner which nicely resembles the colour of the redwood porch. There’s also wire sticking out for a light that will eventually reside on the redwood 2×4 alongside the porch window.

It hit me as I stepped back to admire the newly paneled/insulated doorway that that’s basically the exterior done. I have a few little detail type things I’d like to do, but all of the really big scary things are pretty much over with. Looking from the big-house window to my little darling outside I feel so freakin’ relieved, it’s not even funny.

All of the small aspects that bothered me or looked strange for so long have been remedied in one way or another and I barely even notice them anymore. When I see it, it looks like a house. When other people see it it looks like a house. So much so, that a passerby the other day thought I was reworking some kind of prefab existing structure. Hell, I can hardly believe that all the scattered projects have amounted to an entire house, however tiny.

I just went back through old pictures from when Little Yellow consisted of a trailer, a 69 Chevy pick up full of lumber and a general feeling of ‘holy shit, you kind of have to make this now’. I’m a bit overwhelmed with all the choices and decisions that that face me on the interior, but I’ve bumbled my way into this, so I’ll just have to bumble my way out again. One piece of wall paneling at a time…

A little yellow door!!!

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And boy, is it yellow. Primed and painted, my door now shines a vibrant shade of happy that practically leaps out of the entryway every time I look at it. It’s a determined sort of colour; a vehement, fighting yellow you might say.

I hadn’t planned on filling any nail holes or dents in the wood, but it turned out they looked much more normal in an unpainted door than a painted one, so I filled only the glaring gouges and think it’s struck a nice balance. A very yellow balance 🙂

The triangles above the loft windows needed something a bit different to tie in the door colour, so I tested the poor jigsaw’s capabilities and cut 4 half fleur de lis patterns out of a really sturdy 2 x 12. My right hand got a beast of a workout, the jigsaw prevailed and I put them up over painted 1/4″ tongue and groove cedar closet liner on both ends of the house.

It’s so much fun now that I’m able to start thinking about the nifty little details that give the house character. It seems so far away when you’re schlepping plywood around, but if you schlep long enough the good part comes.

I’m often amazed at how darn scratched and bruised you can get with the whole building operation. I’ll swear that half the time I’m not doing much, yet at the end of the day, some limb that seems entirely unrelated to anything I’ve done always manages to hurt. Tonight, for instance, my left leg is all kinds of sore, my right pinky finger is bleeding, and I have no idea why. What is it with this carpentry thing?

Ten windows, a door, porch, and several other things…

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I haven’t kept up on posting very well, but I have kept up on house building and last week has been extremely productive. This has been largely due to the help I had for a few days from a friend visiting from Scotland. This friend happens to be a carpenter (the best friends to have, you know) and I happen to have swindled him into building things for my house. The most exciting of these things is a simply lovely front door, but he also helped put in windows, widened the openings in the loft, and made a porch.

But really, the door. I’ve not much of a clue what kind of work went into the process of making it, but even with my limited time helping it seemed quite complicated so I’m really glad I didn’t have to bumble my own way through this part. And it’s such a nice door, I think my house looks much happier with it and all the windows in.

My neighbor has a bunch of lumber left over from his house and various projects so I bought some great 2×6 tongue-and-groove pine from him to make it with. It was previously used for decking and had a bunch of tar and nail holes but I got all I needed for $20 and it sanded down nicely. He also gave (!) me absolutely perfect hinges which are AMAZING, I wish I’d taken a picture of them before they went in. I’ve been wanting to have the door open out-the-way to save space inside and these let it do just that but, unlike most hinges, they stay on the inside. Very cool little brass buggers.

I also bought synthetic roofing underlayment, ordered my metal roof and the (frighteningly expensive, let me tell you) cedar siding this week so it’s all moving forward very nicely! Today my dad I put up some beautiful redwood boards on the eaves and it’s just about prepared for the roofing process now.

But back to my door. I love it. I love it and its characteristic nail holes. I love it and it’s not even yellow yet. I love my hinges that open outwards but reside inwards so nobody can just waltz up and take my door off. Waltzing door burglars. You just never know…