Category Archives: Carpentry

Could you have done that the first time?

Remember here where I complained about the window framing sticking out from the sheetrock and my frustration with not being able to get the window trim to lay as flat as it should?  The foreman came back today and I told him that his finesse level kinda sucked on that one.

His response?  “Oh, I’ve got an electric planer in the truck.  I could go get it right now and shave it down right quick.  I thought about it when I put it up.”

Ummmm….. no.  Though that would have been helpful TWO WEEKS AGO before we did every other damn thing to put the room back together.


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Filed under Bedroom, Carpentry

Don’t cook in the closet

So, how long have I been talking about having a broom/pantry closet(s) where I can tuck the microwave INTO the pantry closet on a shelf?  Hence having Lola move the electrical outlet to facilitate doing so?  A while.

In separate but VERY related news, I’ve been thinking about the fridge.  I don’t like this fridge.  It is a lemon.  The compressor has gone on it 3 times already.  We ended up having to continue to renew the extended warranty – something we NEVER do – because one day it will finally just give up and die.  And this is a fairly new fridge circa 2005 (I think?).  If we were to get a NEW fridge – only because this one dies – would we get a top freezer again?  No.  I’m tired of bending down to look into the fridge and our little girl is plenty tall enough to reach things in a bottom mounted freezer model.

We originally got the top mounted freezer because of the environment reports saying they are the most energy-efficient of all the styles of fridge – side by sides, the least.  The bottom mounted freezers are somewhere in the middle.  But.  They are all slightly wider than the top mounts – generally 32 inches wide compared to 30 inches wide.

Back to the closet.  I’d miscalculated how much space the fridge required when we laid the floor – I measured a generous 32 inches from the left side of the bottom cabinet.  Which was the one that I accidentally cut 1 1/2 inches from widthwise, forgetting that I couldn’t cut the same amount off its partner top cabinet.  So those two “generous extra inches” were sucked up by the top cabinet to the right of the fridge. Now I’ll need to set the right side of the closet in by another two inches to give me the flexibility of getting the fridge I want down the line.

Which makes the closet at least two inches more narrow.

Remember the IKEA Gorm closet system?  Of course I’m buying it.  If I were to build my own closet interior – it may or may not cost less but will certainly take 15 times as long.  GORM has two widths – 19 and 30.  I’m going to go with the 19 so I can still have a decent amount of broom closet space next to it.

I can’t fit my microwave onto the 19 inch shelf.  The door won’t open.

Yeah, so, it turns out the microwave is staying on the counter as far as the man of the house is concerned.  We go in waves where we use the microwave MANY times a day and then for months never touch the damn thing.  We are in a high microwave usage phase right now.  It sits on the counter above the dishwasher.  It is fine there.  It works there.

This isn’t a problem to solve.  Just keeping you in the loop on the circuitous thought process of this weekend’s project – the closet!


Filed under Cabinets, Carpentry, Closets, Electrician, Floor, Kitchen

Really, I am still working on the kitchen

I’ve been avoiding adding new posts about the kitchen.   Crap on a cracker, this thing is taking forEVER.  We’ve been taking photos of each minor achievement, but I’m thinking no one needs to see the difference between loveliness in the freshly painted interior of the undersink cabinet compared with its pre-painted former self.  Um, ick.  So a quick catch up for you:

  1. Some cabinet doors have been hung.
  2. Of what is hanging, hardware has been added
  3. There was a small piece of veneer on the inside of where the range hood hangs that needed to be removed because I didn’t account for the width of the hood with the veneer.  This has not been repaired yet.
  4. The “wall” between the cabinet next to the sink and its partner to the left was cut to allow for a true blind corner.  This still needs to be trimmed & painted – both for aesthetic reasons and so that no one scrapes themselves on jagged wood.
  5. The cabinet above the dishwasher has been veneered.  It is my best work.  Which saddens me only because the cabinets I’ve already done aren’t.  Fortunately, since the whole “L” bottom cabinet set needs to be veneered, those will be super-nice.  Funny how doing things freehand ends up being better than following directions.
  6. Oh yes, the range hood is up and the ducting is nearly completely done.  Just some aluminum tape and we are golden.
  7. All the cabinet drawer fronts have been cut down to accept the new drawer fronts.  Those are still to be attached though.
  8. A slight bit more build out is needed for the 42 lower.  I need to add a filler piece at the corner else the knob on the adjacent cabinet will hit the drawer.
  9. The lip to set the sink into the plywood has been routed out.  This was no small feat and ended up with me attaching a patio door steel ball bearing to the bottom of the router as a guide to run it along the curve.  It totally worked.  When this is done, I will eventually take a class of some sort on how to work a router.  I have a feeling it would be fun once I get the nuances down.

Major items still to be done:

  1. Test cut the faucet holes into scrap soapstone.
  2. Cut the faucet holes into the real soapstone.
  3. Pull off sink area counters; detach sink etc…
  4. Pull cabinet away from wall and shim up.
  5. Finish dishwasher side panel to match the shimmed height (will also attach a ledger board to the wall to assist in holding up the soapstone.
  6. Install sink, counters, faucet.
  7. Rebuild soffits.
  8. Build closet.
  9. Back door.
  10. All trim.
  11. Oh yeah – THE BACKSPLASH.

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Filed under Cabinets, Carpentry, Countertop, Faucet, Kitchen, Sink

I hate table saws

I have a reasonable amount of skill with circular saws, jig saws, compound miter saws, tile saws, & most hand saws.  Can’t work a reciprocating saw because my hand isn’t large enough to pull the trigger and set the safety.  I’m improving on my routing skills.  I flippin’ hate table saws.  I just burned one of the oak thresholds.  Yes.  Burned.  Trust me.  The house smells like the inside of a fire pit.  No, I wasn’t sawing inside.  Burned oak smell travels.

It’s my dad.  When I was in high school, he buzzed the top of his right thumb clean off with a table saw at work.   One might argue with the scope of this project that I’m a gal with a overdeveloped sense of confidence in her abilities.  Put me in front of a table saw and all of a sudden I’m a meek little mouse.  When it comes to power tools, meek equals… well, danger, sure, but a shit cut as well.  GAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Have I made progress in the kitchen since my last post?  Yes.  Am I going to talk about it right now?  No.  I’ll be over here pouting for a while.

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Fashioning oak

I had high hopes of banging through every bit of cabinetry & carpentry while the he and she were in Yosemite for a few days.  Alas, I’m too tired.  And kind of lonely.  It is way more – well, fun is a strong word, but we’ll say motivating – to work on the kitchen WITH people.  Much harder to keep going on my own.

Today I cut the oak for the thresholds to the dining room and tiny hallway.  I’m starting with a 6 inch board and will rout and shape it bit by bit until it works for each doorway.  The routing and shaping require a router or a table saw – neither of which is at the house at the moment.  You’ll get the general idea here:

Dining Room doorway

Dining Room doorway

Still needs stain too...

Still needs stain too...

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Filed under Carpentry, Kitchen

Slicing and dicing with fingers intact

Short post just to say that I’ve been cutting apart and repairing the cabinets that we took off the wall.  Power tools have been involved and I still have all my fingers and toes.

Five years ago when I first painted the cabinets – poorly – one of the many flakey moves I made was to not let the paint dry and harden enough before laying shelving paper inside.  Part of this week’s repair includes pulling off shelving paper, which is pulling up some of the layers of paint and wood below.

Tonight, the paint stripper is working its magic and I’m hoping to sand and touch-up paint the interiors tomorrow.

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Filed under Cabinets, Carpentry, Kitchen


It’s tempting to sit and contemplate how I’m going to trim out the kitchen even though that is so completely the last step in this project.  I’ve got some ideas for how I’d like the soffit to look – and we are definitely doing our first crown molding job at the ceiling.  The floor trim will be nice and tall – reflective of how it likely looked when the house was built in 1925.

For the back door and the window above the sink, I’m replacing the trim style with a more classic craftsman (but painted) look instead of the current cheapy “big box” mitered trim.  I should replace the trim on the two other windows, but I spent quite a number of hours caulking the hell out of them to battle back the ant problem we had last summer.  I cringe at having to break through that caulk and redo it.  But it all has to match at the end of the day, so I’ll just leave it until then.

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Filed under Carpentry, Kitchen