A Few Scrap Wood Projects

September 29, 2018

In our last post I wrote about a very simple scrap wood project:

Yep - just a little board for honing tools.  But that got me to thinking about some of the other things around 173 that were made from scraps.  It's kind of a fun (and frugal) little challenge to myself to find uses for scrap wood after completion of a larger project.  For instance, as goofy as this is, I made a clamp jig for when I'm sharpening the teeth on my handsaws:

I even labeled it so I'd remember what it is (just writing that makes me question my sanity)!

But there's more useful scrap wood projects too, like a stand for the old table-saw-of-death...

Which is now a stand for the miter saw...

And years ago I made a box for my router bits:

And a shelf for the workshop:

Several years ago I also used scrap wood to make an umbrella stand for the back porch...

...and used old bed slats to make a matching shoe rack for the porch too:

Here's a whimsical little scrap wood toolbox - also on the back porch:

Of course the front porch can'r be ignored...this bookcase was built of scrap wood and an old basement window:

Outdoors, there's the potting table...

And a great sitting bench with leftovers from when I put in the back yard fence!

Finally, the telephone stand that sits in the entrance hall:

This is certainly not an exhaustive list, but I wanted to share just a few fun projects, all stemming from a need to create ex nihilo!!

Made at 173: Honing Board

September 17, 2018

Sometimes I post about some pretty minor stuff, then again - most major things are an accumulation of little things...soooo....  During the course of building the Dining Room Built-In, I accumulated a but of wood scraps, although I have gotten much better about what to keep and what to toss.  I always like making things from scrap materials

...and today I made a board to hold sharpening stones so they don't slide around then sharpening chisels, knives and plane irons.  I got the idea from Paul Sellers, a master cabinet maker.  I didn't make an exact copy of Sellers' board, but we have different requirements and resources.  The first step to making this board was cutting the piece of ceramic tile I bought at Lowes for about $3...

Luckily, I still had my tile cutter from back when we laid tile in the laundry room (I sense a legacy post coming on!).  Because I'm not willing to invest in the sharpening stones Paul Sellers uses, I'll use the tile as a flat surface and tacky glue sandpaper on it, then finish off the sharpening on the Smith stone.  Then it was just a matter of outlining the boards and setting the corners with the corner chisel...

Then I had an opportunity to use the router free-hand.  It's amazing, after all these years, this was actually the first time I used it free-hand as opposed to mounted on the router table!

But here's the funny part...I had forgotten that this was the plunge router, and almost completely ruined the board in about 5 seconds!

Fortunately, it didn't go all the way through!  After the insert recesses were cut I added a stop to the underside.  Paul Sellers used a pretty small stop because he mounts the board in a carpenter's vice:

...which I don't have.  So I added a bit larger stop, again using a piece of scrap and pocket screws.

Then a few coats of amber shellac:

And done!  

Now - no excuses not to sharpen my tools!

Legacy Post - New Floor for the Cold Cellar

September 9, 2018

Here's an old project I never got around to posting - putting a new concrete floor in the cold cellar.   The cold cellar is just off the laundry room behind a batten door:

It's one of the neat features here at 173.  It's dark - lit only by a bare bulb, the temperature remains between 50 and 60 degrees year round and the room is full of ample shelving.   Back in 2010 I realized a new floor was in order.

Sorry about the quality of the pictures, back in 2010 I was really just starting to get into the whole smartphone scene!

I had a couple leftover bags of concrete in the workshop and was trying to figure out what to do with them, and the cold cellar came to mind.  It took me maybe an hour to put in the new floor...

I also made some adjustments to the shelving, reinforced the existing shelves, added a shelf and made a wine shelf to boot.  And - just for aesthetics sake, I also stained the new wood to at least kinda look old like the rest of the shelving!

And a couple pictures for posterity!

One more...

I get it - not fancy at all...but one of the things we love about 173!

South Side Foundation Repairs

September 8, 2018

Every time I write the words 'Foundation' and 'Repair' in the same sentence, I get a little anxious.  Even though I know this was is NO WAY a serious job, when I think of fixing the foundation I think of helping dad back in the '70s with taking out sections of my childhood home's concrete foundation and replacing it with cinder blocks.  Dad has some serious skills, and cognitively I'd know how to do it - but dear lord let that never become a necessity!

The fact is, this project was a simple 2-hour job, fixing the parge coat on a section of the foundation.  I did this same job to the north side of the house back in 2015

...so it's really not that scary at all.  This is what happened... a section of the outer coating of the foundation had fallen off.  Pretty impressive when you consider this is the first time on the south side this has happened in at least 21 years!

But, as is always the case with old houses, one never knows how extensive the actual damage is!  15 minutes with a hammer and crowbar and this was the extent:

Not too bad when you consider that there really weren't any significantly deep areas like I ran into when I did the inside basement walls!

I used the same technique as when I did the north wall, Quickcrete Surface Bonding Cement and Quickcrete's Bonding Agent...

I painted the old surface with the Bonding Agent, and even poured some into the cement with the water when I was mixing it - it seemed to work well on the north wall so why not?

There's the rough application (no idea what the pros call it), and then I sponge-brushed it:

A little closer look:

And it's starting to dry... 

You can see in the lower right corner that it looks a little sloppy, the plan is a little later in the spring, when the flowers are gone, I'll finish the rest of the south side.  For now, the large chunk that fell of has been repaired!

Hallways: One "Final" Detail?

September 2, 2018

Back in May I posted about some of the stairway and hall details I was working on, one of which was the corner protector at the foot of the stairs...

There's another outside corner at the top of the stairs that I wanted a protector on also.  The problem was...well, quite frankly - I don't know what the problem was!  Three months later the new protector still hadn't been purchased!  I had four different versions in my Amazon cart...

The one in the lower right corner is the match to the downstairs, and that symmetrical-leaning side of me thought that was the obvious choice.  But then I thought - who says they have to match?  I mean, 173 is a house full of asymmetrics (yeah - sometimes I make up my own adjectives)!  The thought of the two corners not matching appealed to me because there was one in my cart that was different than the others, and I really liked it so...I figured why not?!  The winner was...

The alluring part was that it wasn't round, the two sides were flat, making this one completely different than the protector at the bottom of the stairs!  That's my revisionist story.  The fact is, I did like the end of one pictured above, and I did want it to be different than the one at the bottom of the stairs, but in truth - I had no idea it wasn't round until the protector arrived at 173!  What a happy accident, to quote Bob Ross!

Using the stain formula mix of two stains... 2 parts General Finishes Antique Walnut to 1 part Georgian Cherry that I finally figured out when I stained the dining room built-in baseboards...

And three coats of amber shellac... 

The color-match was uncanny!

Sorry, it's hard to get a good closeup in the space of the stairwell!

But you get the idea!  And here's a distant shot...

Believe it or not, there's still one more decorating piece to do in the upstairs hallway, just haven't figured it out yet!

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