Friday, December 7, 2012

Annual updates are kind of pathetic... I'll try to do better. Look, seat slats! SHINY!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Major update, or "Sorry it's been forever!"

So, um, yeah, we bought a house. Almost (yikes!) two years ago now. We spent the first month after we took possession working frantically to get some "de-beigeing" done before we moved in. It was beige, beige, beige... beige carpet, beige wallpaper, beige drapes, beige paint on the trim... beige. (That's a pretty funny looking word when you repeat it enough times, but I think that's true of almost any word.) See the lovely beige music room to the left, and the lovely beige living room to the right.

Once the wallpaper was off, and the carpet was up (revealing nice oak floors), we could see hints of what the house used to look like. We had already chosen the colours for the music room and living room, and were somewhat surprised to see that the original wall colours were quite similar, but reversed. Here are some pictures of the music room and the living room just before the first winter solstice party in the new house. It's a small house, but it's looking pretty good.

We both like to read, and we have a lot of books, so we needed a good set of bookshelves. We decided to make one wall of the dining room all bookshelves, using a design of my own that minimizes materials (and costs) while providing sturdy, custom-sized shelves to fit any space. Here are a couple of shots of the dining room with the bookshelves visible. We also re-covered the floors in the back half of the house, painted the bedrooms and kitchen and dining room, and a bunch of other stuff we don't have pictures of (like new lighting throughout).

The house looks a lot different when the lights are low and it's full of musicians! It's great to have a space just right for good friends, good whisky, good music, and good times. Hooray, Little House In The Ghetto!

I don't have any pictures yet, but the latest job on the house was the front porch. We cleaned it out (maybe the biggest job, as there had been a lot stored in there since we moved), took up the old carpet, cleaned and sanded and painted the floor (a Sedona-style almost-orangey red), built a daybed (Mexican blue), set up a table and chairs, and hung up our Mexican hammock chairs. The last job is some Mexican-themed lighting, but we're not done with that yet.

The next major phase of renovations is the creation of bedroom and entrance closets, together with finally refinishing the hardwood floors in the bedrooms, entrance, music room, and living room. We'll tackle that once the winter holidays are over. In the meantime, I'm back working on the boat. (Remember the boat? There's a blog about the boat...)

Needless to say, the poor neglected boat was a bit dusty when I got 'round to working on it again. I cleaned it out and tackled various chores in and around the cockpit - a pair of lockers forward, which have some complicated and fiddly bits, levelling the bilges and installing a garboard drain and bilge pump (not quite done this yet), fitting two sets of locker lids (one set built from scratch), and putting in floorboards.

I'll leave off this post with a couple of photos from last night showing the floorboards installed; they're removable, which is good, because I still have some work to do underneath. In the picture looking forward you can see the two small lockers on either side of the CP case; I'm almost finished the coaming that keeps water out of the lockers. The angled shot looking aft gives a good view of the hatches allowing access to the under-seat lockers.

So that's about it for now - I'll try to update the blog more often now that I'm working on the boat regularly. It's been a long wait but I'm going to push hard to get as much work done as I can this year. Cheers!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

News update

I wish I had some boat pix to add here, but I don't. Hold on, hold on, there's a good reason for that!

It all started with Tara's birthday. I won't say the number, but it was a big one, and she decided there was no way she was spending her birthday in Winnipeg. We tossed around various options (I figured we could just head out to Wavey Creek and work on the boat, but for some reason she wanted to go somewhere warmer) before settling on Mexico.

So there we were, all set to head off to Playa Del Carmen the next morning, when all of a sudden we bought a house.


Two glorious weeks of sun and sand and warm Mexican hospitality later, we returned to hideous cold and the dawning reality that we had a LOT of work ahead of us. The boat has been sidelined until we are settled in the new place (sorry, Dad! Wait, no I'm not, he's fishing in the Bahamas and doesn't need my sympathy!). Since we took possession we've been removing 100+ years' worth of load-bearing wallpaper/paint/plaster sandwich, patching, sanding, painting, arranging plumbing, electrical, and alarm upgrades, and generally spending waaaaay too much money at Home Despot. Also time... for a while there we were going every day, which is too often even though it's close.

So that's why I haven't updated the boat blog. Come hell, high water, or complete burnout, we'll be moved into the new place by the end of this month (because we have no choice, ha!). We'll need a bit of time to get settled in, but I hope to get back to work on the boat in February. In the meantime, I'd like to welcome new readers and assure you that the blog WILL continue shortly.

Oh yeah, I'll post some pix of the house when we're done painting, too.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Finished guitar cabinet!

Brought all the pieces home and put them together this evening with a bit of help from buddy Mark. First, for Kerry and James and everyone else who was confused about the "hockey sticks", this picture (blurry as it is) should make things a little more clear. You can see the T-bolt at the top - that slides in a mitre track - and you can see the yoke at the bottom, which holds the instrument. The idea was to suspend the instrument directly below the T-bolt and leave room for the biggest peghead of which mere humans can conceive.

I'm still missing one guitar that should be in there - I have to get it back from a friend - but the second picture shows the cabinet in all its glory, lit up with the internal fluorescent and basically doing its thing. I have to play around with the order of the guitars a bit more, but you certainly get the idea.

I'm really pleased with how this turned out!

(Oh yeah, because I know someone will ask, the instruments from left to right are: 1971 Martin D-28, 2007 Morgan CM, 1980ish Fender dreadnaught, Songbird tenor banjo, Ibanez bass guitar, Godin LG electric, Godin A8 mandolin.)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

This is looking AWESOME!

The guitar cabinet is almost done - just another coat or two of finish and it's good to go. I'll leave the detail pictures for the final post (once I have it home and full of guitars), but here are a couple to show what we've been up to.

First, here is a shot of the laminated ash yoke holders ("hangers" or "hockey sticks") after their second coat of varnish. I really like how they came out, and if they end up being stiff enough, I may not even need retaining rings on the yokes. Oh yeah, that's a boat in behind there... remember the boat? I'll be back working on the boat next week.

The second shot (taken a couple of days earlier) shows the major pieces assembled (sides, base, shelf, top, and doors). After testing the doors and installing the cedar on the top of the shelf, we took the whole thing apart for light installation, hole filling, and a couple other small jobs. Then it was final sanding and first coat of varnish, which is now on.

I'm hoping Dad will throw another coat of varnish on this puppy - it might be the last one, or I might have to put one more on later. Either way, I should have it home and full of guitars by next weekend. W00T!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Introducing: The Moaning Chair!

So I understand that wooden boat builders (and maybe woodworkers in general) have this concept known as the "Moaning Chair". It's where you sit and contemplate your latest really serious screw-up. Sooner or later everyone gets their turn, and mine was today.

See, the top of the cabinet and the shelf across the middle (which forms the bottom of the actual humidifier and guitar display portion) each have a 2x4 running across the front. This provides stiffness and room for lighting and space for the glass doors to run in. The three cross-pieces (the base, the shelf, and the top) were all carefully cut to 54" wide, that being my determination of the optimal width in which to hang eight guitars without having them too close together or making the cabinet really huge. I mean, I still need space for bookshelves on either side, right? (To say nothing of the mini-bar.)

The tricky part, though, is that the 2x4 on the shelf has to have space cut out for the stiffeners on the sides of the cabinet... whereas the 2x4 on the top is supposed to overlap the sides (the stiffeners butt up against the top 2x4). So I carefully calculated the amount of 2x4 that would fit between the stiffeners (this is last Wednesday)... and then cut the whole thing off that length, which is a bit under 53". And then made cutouts for the stiffeners. I did this, you see, because I am dumb.

Now, it wasn't the end of the world; we hadn't assembled the shelf or the top. It was a pretty simple matter to trim the other pieces accordingly, and we were back on track in half an hour or so. I've lost around an eighth of an inch between guitars, which isn't great but should still be OK. Mostly, it's my pride that was injured.

HOWEVER! The rest of the day went well, and we got the shelf and top assembled. Yes, the lengths are all correct now, thank you for asking. We then drilled all the holes for the quick-connect system. There are a lot of them, 72 to be exact, and we got all but one in the right place. I blame Dad, he had the drill and he's not here to dispute whether it was my marking of the hole or his placing of the drill...

Anyway, holes all drilled, we dry-assembled the sides, base, shelf, and top, and by Crom it actually went together! I offer you pictures as proof. It's actually looking like it should. Er, maybe an inch or so narrower than planned.

Somewhere in there we also started laminating the curved hangers that will suspend the yokes (these fit snugly around the neck of each instrument where it swells out to form the headstock) directly below a bolt in a T-track along the inside top. All eight should be laminated by the end of the week.

Next we attach the back, finish the cedar lining, test the doors (which I pick up from the glass place tomorrow), and then disassemble the whole thing for finishing.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Guitar humidifier cabinet begins

A few hours into the guitar cabinet, the sides are assembled and pretty much ready to finish. Here are a couple of views: on the left you can see an inside view of the sides, complete with aromatic cedar lining (it's gonna smell goooooood!).

The front side of the side (if you know what I'm saying) is on the outside of each piece in this photo, so if you rotated the outer edge 90 degrees toward you and the sides faced each other, you'd be looking at the front of the cabinet. The cutouts are for oak 2x4s that will hold the doors and strengthen the shelf and the top.

Oh, and the ugly grey stuff is foam mat, which is easier on the feet than a concrete shop floor. Used as illustrated it doesn't do as much for one's feet, but has the virtue of protecting the outer ply of precious oak veneer, which looks good, but is only slightly thicker than, say, cling-wrap.

The second picture shows the outside of the sides; you can just make out the reinforcement/front edge strip of oak along the inside edges (which are the front edges once assembled, blah blah blah).

Next up: the bottom, the shelf, the top, the legend.