Sunday, December 28, 2008

Everything old is new again

Just in time for the new year, a couple of old pictures from my camera which I apparently never posted.

I picked up this table off of Freecycle, planning on using it in my back room/workroom as just a level surface. Originally it was covered in 30-50 year old contact paper (a lovely star spangled theme if anyone wants it) stapled to the underside of the top. When I pulled the paper I found a) a nicer looking old table than I expected and b) a pretty obvious gap between the boards forming the top.
I was thinking about recovering the table in something, but then I noticed that the nails holding one of the boards were loose. Turns out the table was very poorly repaired sometime decades ago (as well as probably rebuilt - looks like there are three different woods used, plus I'm pretty sure this once had drawer). So I pulled the four nails and tried to reset the board. At this point I discovered that the attempted repair job had involved a heavy coat of glue:

The glue had hardened around the outside edge of the leg, so the board couldn't be pulled back evenly. Twenty minutes with a putty knife and razor blade and the glue was chipped away. Snug the board as close to the other as possible (the boards look like they were a replacement top ages ago - neither is fully square so there's still a much smaller gap between them in the middle), tap the nails back into the same holes, and voila!



Also, and this was months ago, this is how the window on the steps to the basement used to look:

...and here's how it looks now:

These two windows were lying around in the basement and happened to be the perfect width. Together they're a little too tall for the space, but they fit snugly enough with the existing box that a heavy bead of caulk on all three sides seems to have sealed out the wind pretty well. The exterior window (sort of visible in the second photo) is missing a pane though, and I was waiting for the temperatures to come back up before testing out my new glass cutter/glazing points/glazing compound bundle that's now sitting in the back room desiring to be useful. Better pics of both inside and outside once I lay that last pane.

Saturday, December 20, 2008


I missed posting on both Wednesday AND Thursday and now I've forgotten half the things I did, I'm sure. I do know I finally cleared a couple of things in the upstairs shower room and hung two mirrors I'd taken down from elsewhere - I would post pictures, but the room is kind of small and you wouldn't get a real good sense of it. Suffice to say a) there are no longer mirrors cluttering the shower room and b) the mirrors now on the walls give it a more open and inviting feel, which it was definitely lacking before.

Minor stuff here and there. Took measurements on the window holes in the attic to prep for making some custom windows. Marked off cuts on 2x4s to use for shelving in the shed. More Kroil and more blowtorch on the stand pipe (still nothing...). Ummm... other things too, I bet.

Today was a bit of a lost day - later start, sidetracked by other projects, and then a lot of wandering Elyria looking for a plumbing supply place in the hopes of getting a couple of small radiator parts. I did manage to get a couple of floor mats for inside the doorways (note to local merchants - selling out of floor mats in December in Ohio is a good thing, and should prompt you to order MORE floor mats because it's not like everyone in town was smart enough to buy them before now) but they need to be uncreased before I can see if they work with my doors.

Righto. A weekend awaits.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

More small stuff

Raked about half the backyard.

More clearing in back room and living room.

Took a wire brush to the stand pipe cleanout, then gave it another dose of Kroil. Will alternate this with a blowtorch for the next couple of days and see if it gets us anywhere.

Mapped a few electrical circuits in the basement, including finally isolating the dining room light so I can install the switch and unit - and have a dining room again!

Also sorted through most of the papers that had piled up on the coffee table, which isn't really house-related per se, but at least I now have a coffee table again. And now Sarah's calling saying they're at the Feve, so I think that's it for today...

Monday, December 15, 2008

Project Week, the sequel

No work this week, so the plan is (was) to repeat Fall Break where I worked from early to late on the house doing numerous projectsd small and large. Monday got off to a slower start than I'd like, plus this week I do have one responsibility - Street Law at the high school every afternoon helping the students prepare for a moot court in front of the city council on Thursday. But I did manage to get some bits done in the afternoon and evening - more cleaning in the back room, installed the banister in the back staircase, and tackled cleaning the stove. Both Comet and baking soda and vinegar cut through some stuff, but it's been six months of college students and me using that thing, so it'll take more elbow grease to cut the grease.

Still working on the stand pipe cover - more blowtorching planned for tomorrow.

I was hoping that cleaning the stove top might reveal why the oven isn't lighting. When I turn the oven knob, the igniters all spark, but there is no sound of gas flowing as there is when you turn on any of the burners. This unit has a main feed line that runs along the front of the stovetop under the cover, with six ports for the burners and a separaate distribution - two lines (one pilot, one main I assume) for the oven. No visible clogging or grease on that distribution, but I haven't taken a wrench to the two lines to peer inside yet. No idea what to do if there's not an obvious clog though.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Quick update

I had to take half the door latch off the shed and move it over a quarter of an inch (took thirty seconds, just three screws). I think that it was a little tight to start with, and then the weather and the structure settling slightly was all it took so that the two parts would no longer smoothly fit together.

I was in the shed today, despite the rain, continuing to clear stuff from my back room. I've started building more things into the shed - just some crossbars to hang tools right now; soon enough a shelf or three to take advantage of all the space - so it won't become cluttered like the rooms it is decluttering.

Finally, checked the sump pump today and found that the hose had shifted and blocked the float just enough that the pit wasn't draining (it was actually overflowing onto the floor). Moved things around a little and it's draining fine now, but I think this and the frozen hose the other day are signs I should finally go get some PVC pipe and properly build out the pump line.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Hoo boy...

Okay, it's been cold as heck lately plus I've been shutting down at work, so not only have I done less around the house but when I do things I'm usually too cold afterwards to type them up. I have been continuing to tackle the stand pipe. While Draino and other treatments got things flowing a little, I really just want to open up the cleanout and see if my suspicion is correct and there's just a major blockage right there in reachin' distance. So I've started alternating heat (blowtorch!) and more Kroil to see if this gets us anywhere. If you've never used a blowtorch, I highly recommend buying a house so you have justification to get one. A little unnerving at first, but perfectly safe if handled properly (read the instructions, kids) plus it thawed my shed lock in no time!

Also, some water in my sump pump pipe froze; quick fix (unscrew from the pump, shake it out, reattach) but I'm wondering how to keep that from happening for the next three months...

Also, this has nothing to do with the house, but I was in stitches watching most of it: