New Face On The Block

Finally getting some curb appeal around here! New cedar trim, new shingles, new light fixture, new electrical outlet, new paint around the window flashing, new security lights to see the ninjas with, new door mat, lots of improvements here.

I still hate those logs, but the time to get rid of them has come and gone. Twelve years gone. They’re part of the house. I can’t even imagine now all the things that would need to be undone to get rid of them.

The Hard Part Was Actually First

After demo (which went easy, for some reason), one of the first things I had to do was cut a straight line into each log. This way, a straight trim piece can be installed on either side of the log and my cedar shingle sides will but up to a flat surface, as opposed to a log surface. I really, really, really, really, really wanted to just remove the logs and replace them with normal house parts, but that would have been a lot like surgically removing dinosaur bones. They’re part of the house. Just leave them be. I guess.

I cut each line with the Festool rail saw, affixing the rail to the house as flat and I could, and tried not to cut my hand off while I ran the saw along the length of the log. From there, the remaining wood had to be cleaned out with hand saws and chisels. Do this on both sides of five logs, and you’ll know what a pain in the ass is.

Scrap Wood Project No. 217

I’m really starting to enjoy projects where I just throw something together.  No planning, nothing’s perfect, no fancy pants joinery, just some boards and fasteners.  I made those sawhorses some 15 years ago.  They’ve been dismantled and remantled at least twice, and have been outside in the elements for about five years. Still holding up well.  Today I put some boards on top of it and made a little outdoor work table.

It’ll come in handy when I’m breaking down logs into firewood.  I know I can just buy firewood, but it’s a lot more fun when I get to make it myself.

The Log Conundrum

Is the house finished if we still have these big freaking logs set in the walls as corner posts?  I don’t really feel like it’s my house while these logs are still here, providing living space to more insects than you’d find on the set of Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom.  But like most islanders, we have to share our space with nature, at least a little bit.

There’s one in the corner in the picture above.  You may not see it, for your eyes are probably drawn to that ridiculous old lamp and whatever gang graffiti was scrawled on its side.  But once you see it, you can’t unsee it.  There are huge logs in the corners of my house.

They roll down stairs, alone or in pairs.  They’re big, they’re heavy, they’re wood.  They’re logs!  (don’t get the reference?  click here…)  And they came with my house.  For better or for worse, I decided to keep them.  Probably more of a pain to rip them out than it would be to just let them stay.  Some people have even said that they like the logs.  I think they’re all just saying that to be nice, though.

Okay, that’s it, that’s really every ‘before’ picture I have of the bedroom.  We had taken the paneling out in the above pic to put in a new electrical box, many years ago.  We did put the paneling back up when we were done.  I don’t know why.  Could have just left it like that.

Now, all the paneling is gone.  New 4×4 beams are in place, partly aesthetic and partly structural – they really help tie this room to the rest of the house which has exposed beams everywhere, and they also help hold up the floor in the loft above.  The logs don’t do a damn thing, except provide housing to wasps nesting for the winter.

To finish this room up, the bed had to come out and get set up in the living room for a few days.  I used our dresser as a work table in the middle of the room.  It’s a pretty solid dresser, made a great work space.

There’s an electric baseboard heater that’s more than a little ugly but puts out good heat, probably because it doesn’t have to be energy star compliant or some crap.  It’s the kind of heater you can cook hot dogs on if you needed to.  I painted it copper, made it a little more passable to look at.

Now we’re all done, logs and all.  New lighting, new paint, new trim, new windowsills, new caulk, new paint, new everything.  Only those logs remain, and at least I slathered them with spar urethane.

I encased the ends of the beams with brackets to conceal the joist hangers.  I think my creativity was kind of running out at this point, but they look okay.  Anyway, best solution I could come up with.

I really like the closet doors on their big barn door hardware.  The space is a little tight and they could still use some adjusting but they look good to me.

The iron weighs more than the doors do.

New copper switchplates, custom made copper finger pulls for the doors.

Drawer No. 2 is obstructed by that big dresser, but you can still access the space through a trap door inside the closet.  I’m hoping that dresser can move to another bedroom someday, if we add on to the house or something.

So, what are you thinking?  “Hey, Joe?  You know those big logs that washed up on the beach?  I think we can use them for corner posts on the next house we build.  Wouldn’t that be great?”  Seriously, how many beers do you need to get to that point?

I guess I’ll call the house finished, logs and all.