Blue tape. Scaffold. Rollers and brushes.

blue tape

Yeah, when you see all that blue tape and plastic sheeting, it can only mean one thing.  Over the course of three weekends we painted the house.  That colorless layer of latex, peeling and flaking off in places, permanently dirt covered in others, was just getting on our nerves.  Pretty sure that was the only layer of paint the house had ever seen before we came along.


Graffiti would have been an improvement, if we had any gangs or crews of taggers on our island.  Which we don’t.

LightWe used an airless paint sprayer, which means we spent about 9 hours taping everything off and then 20 minutes painting, per section.  A sprayer is really good at painting odd shaped objects, such as bat and board siding, but it does go through a lot of paint in a very short amount of time.

wet paintThis is a small house, but for some reason it’s still a bitch to paint.  Go figure.  And yes, I painted the rusty flagpole too.  How do you paint a flagpole?  Get some rustoleum and put it on a 4″ paint roller and put the roller on a telescoping pole.  The roller can reach about 10′ off the ground, or 20′ if you stand on top of a ladder.  My advice is to paint the top part of the flagpole first, so you can hold onto an unpainted section of the flagpole for balance.  Otherwise you just get wet paint all over your hand.

Unsafe scaffold

There’s the scaffold setup for the other side of the house.  Note that part of the scaffold had to rest on the deck.  The other part?  Well, I had to make those footers out of 2×6’s.  Fortunately I have about 900 board feet of 2×6’s leftover from the garage construction.  It was wobbly as hell but the wobbliness came from the two legs seated on the deck.  The footers I made were sturdy enough to support a Mack truck.

Scaffolding is fun.  Remember the jungle gyms we used to have on playgrounds?  (younger readers may not have these; they were probably replaced with something much safer)  Well, those things were training for your future on a scaffold painting your house someday.  When you’re trying to keep your balance on them, you use muscles you didn’t even know you had.  I’m not exactly afraid of heights but I’m not too fond of them either.

all finished


The trim around the windows we left white.  We weren’t terribly happy with it at the time but it’s grown on us.  The five logs adorning the front of our house were painted that same disgusting beige as the rest of the house so I painted them with varying shades of brown to make them look more like real logs.  At first they looked cartoonish, but after some dry brushing they acquired a bit of texture and now they either look really cheesy or they look like real logs.  Or both.  No one’s really had the honesty to tell us yet.

even side looks nice


This is the ugly side of the house.  The side with the electrical connections and disfigured deck and crap.  The side people first see when they approach the house.  Anyway, it looks much better.  And I have plans for it.  Slowly, over time, it will improve to the point that people might actually look at it and say “ooh, nice house.”  We’re about a million miles away from that point (not to mention dollars) but someday it will come.

new lights too

We got some new light fixtures for the side and the rear, and they look much better than the Ace Hardware clearance flood lights that used to be there.  Previously on the side, there were two flood lights set on a motion sensor.  Not a bad idea in theory, if you didn’t mind being blinded every time you walked up to the side door.  Pretty sure they caused brain damage in the short time I tolerated them.  They are now trash.  We don’t miss them.

nice place to relax

The front deck has now become a nice place to relax.  To sit and just stare at the sea.  Do I ever sit in those chairs?  Ha ha ha!  I own a house on Orcas Island.  I have things to do.  Sit in a chair, ha, that’s a good one.

chairPainting the house was a real milestone.  Now that it’s done, we’re a lot less embarrassed when people have to come over or walk up from the road or simply see us out in front of the house working on some chore or another.  It used be like “yeah, we’re just contractors.  Migrant farmers.  Just passing through.  Live here?  Oh, ha.  Who would live in such a dump?  Of course we don’t live here.  Silly tourist.”  But now, finally, the place is starting to look like a nice little house, and we don’t hide our faces when the cars drive by.  Maybe someday I’ll actually sit in one of those chairs and just, well, sit there.

looks nice now

Yeah, it looks much better.  I really do enjoy painting, it’s fun and kind of soothing and there’s a huge sense of accomplishment at the end of it.  But as far as I’m concerned the next person who paints my house can be the executor of my estate.

Table Saw Restoration (part 3)

It is finishedAt long last, this beast is done.  Well, as done as it’s going to be for now.  There’s a few modifications I’ll eventually make to it – I’d like to button up the dust collection a little tighter and install a splitter or riving knife and get some kind of kickback preventer thing attached but for right now it works and it works great.

scratch and dentYeah, that’s the legendary Incra LS32-TS high precision fence attached to it.  Yes, I’m well aware that’s like putting a BMW steering wheel in a Plymouth Duster.  I can explain.  You see, my old table saw, also a Craftsman, came with this crappy, wobbly, tilted table saw fence.  Craftsman makes great tools, but their table saw fences are awful.  The thing never got the same distance twice.  It was never parallel to the blade.  It was not at a 90 degree angle to the table top.  It was a piece of crap and I hated it and lived with it for years.  With its help, I made dozens of lopsided pieces.  Every cabinet, every fireplace surround, every desk and table has at least ten flaws thanks to that effing thing.  I told myself this time I was going to treat myself to a nice fence, and my dart landed on that one.

I haven’t used the LS32-TS enough to write an informed opinion on it, but I am very pleased with it, even though I think they over-engineered the thing quite a bit.  And it is very difficult to calibrate.  Nonetheless, I look forward to many years of swearing at it enjoying its use.

miter gaugeAnd here’s a pic of the Incra miter gauge I had from my last table saw.  It sat disused in a corner until the thing rusted out on me, and I had to sand it down and paint it and restore it to usefulness once again.  That took me about two days but it’s better than spending the cash for a new one.  When you live on an island, you really go to great lengths to not waste anything.

nice bucketYou can laugh at my dust collection system all you want, but that 5 gallon bucket will catch a lot of sawdust that would normally just collect inside the thing.  I’ve tried putting a hose and a vacuum on my saw before but it was about as effective as a one legged man in a butt kicking contest.  The bucket is tightly sealed (by means of four bent nails; really high tech stuff!) to a cut piece of 1/4″ laminate on the bottom so there’s no gaps for the dust to get through.  The inside of the saw housing is sealed with enough duck tape to make Red Green proud.  Sawdust can still come out the back end and until I make a housing for it that will continue to happen.  But that bucket catches a surprising amount of debris, and it’s a handy container too.

motor rotation

Yeah, here in this pic you can see the bucket and maybe even some duck tape if you look closely enough.  I had a lot of fun painting and restoring the parts.  Even if the final product looks like a frankenstein saw (yes, it does, I won’t be offended if you say it) it was cool making everything fresh and new.

I put Kreg dual locking casters on the bottom so it can roll around.  Attached directly to the stand, the weight of this beast bent the metal legs (yes, I was very sad and frustrated when I saw it) and made it a little crooked, so I put a sheet of plywood down on the base and damn is that thing sturdy now.  Doesn’t budge at all when I lock all four casters and make cuts.  That thing rolls so smoothly that I just push it around the shop and ride on top of it shouting “Whee!” the whole way.

In the end, this was not unlike restoring an old car.  In fact, my knuckles are about as badly beat up from this project as they ever were from a ’72 beetle.  But unlike an old car, it’s not for show.  This workhorse is going to make a lot of sawdust over the next few years.  I have cabinets to make, and tables, and shelves, and wardrobes, and boxes and drawers and doors and even tools.  It’s been over a year since I’ve had access to a table saw in my wood shop, and I am anxious to crank out some projects.

cadillac of table saws



If you want a good place to watch every fireworks show in northwestern Washington state, look no further than our front porch.

Ooo!  Ahh.

The Canadians, who copy everything we do except our units of measurement, have their fireworks on July 1st, or Canada Day.  So we got tons of fireworks on the 4th and kilograms of fireworks on the 1st.