The Shed On The Hill (part 1)

This shed has a little deck across the front.  It looks like maybe it needs to be replaced?  Not only was it listing at 20 degrees from normal, not only was it rotten so badly you could fall through it at any moment, not only was it ugly and full of bugs… all that aside, I just didn’t like it.

For starters, it was too small.

Now *that’s* a deck!  15′ x 15′, pressure treated lumber, joist spacing of 12″, and set into enough pillars I could park my truck on it.

There’s even a little path to get around back behind the shed.  There’s nothing back there.  Not yet, anyway.

A lot of heavy metal went into this deck. 1,200 decking screws alone, not counting the fasteners and bolts holding the frame together.

It took two days to screw all those boards down.

Now we’re cooking with grease!

No help at all.

She likes the stairs, though.

Now the safety rail is installed.

It’s the detail work that make it nice.

A little fun with driftwood on those tall posts.  We’ll hang lanterns from them.

No help at all.

Demolition for Every Closet

I started asking myself what was different about my closet compared to, say, normal peoples’ closets.  Why is my closet never pictured on the front of magazines?  What is so wrong with it?  Why do people threaten me with violence when I offer to put their coat in my closet?  Something is just different about mine, and to make it more socially acceptable, I started by removing all the things that I didn’t see in those magazines.


Well, I ended up with this.  No paneling, and a bunch of uneven posts that by some miracle hold up the stairs.


Long gone is the bare light bulb and its frayed pull-string, though these electrical wires will pose a challenge to do correctly.  I drew out the circuit, and I have to connect four 12 gauge wires together in this box.  Sucks to be me.


Not to mention the ethernet cables, the HDMI cable, all those speaker wires for all the speakers I planted around the house.  This is a lot of copper.



This section of wall has always been a little off, and now I know why.  They installed the bottom plate right on top of that green carpet.  They couldn’t even be bothered to take up the carpet to extend their wall 24 inches.  That is seriously lazy.


It took a while to get all the electrical tucked away neatly (not to mention correctly) and put in a few more studs for the drywall.

pay n pak

Anyone here still remember Pay n Pak?  Yeah, didn’t think so.

drywall deck

The weather was nice, so the front deck made for a really good area to carve up all that drywall.  This is a small closet, but it still swallowed up six sheets.  Lots of irregular pieces going in there, not to mention I had to carry them into some confined areas.  It was like playing Operation:  carry that big heavy sheet of drywall and don’t hit a door frame.  Bzzzzzt!  Oh, you’ll have to sand out that dent now.


Finally, some nice, shiny, mold-resistant drywall up, inside and out of the closet.

no help

No help.  No help at all.


How To Attach Your Bookshelf To The Wall And Not Look Like A Redneck

So, almost two years ago I made the Jeff Foxworthy inspired joke “You might be a redneck if you mount your bookshelf on the wall with 2×4’s.”


Yeah.  You see, we have these little hot water radiators that heat the house.  They work ok.  I guess.  But you can’t really put furniture in front of them or you lose all that heat.  Plus, the furniture doesn’t go right up against the wall.  Ergo, I mounted my bookshelf up on 2×4’s and installed it into the wall.  The resultant space beneath the bookshelf was a favorite cat hangout, due to the nice warmth it gave and the opportunistic view of the birds out the back door.

Well, I always knew that when I got around to destroying the paneling and replacing it with drywall, I’d make something a tad nicer than a 2×4 block to support the front load of this 600 pound bookshelf.  But first, a bit of history about the stupid bookshelf.


This was one of the first pieces of furniture I ever made.  I had some spare boards from my old house in Denver, good aged fir 1x12s with really nice patina and very good strength.  These were from old growth trees, and the wood is nice and dried now.  It’s a shame they were butchered by my amateur techniques but there you have it.

The poor thing has been through the war and crossed several state lines to be where it is now.  It’s never had a proper backing, so I bought some 1/4″ plywood that I’ll stain and affix to the back. Other than that, I’ll give it a few coats of polyurethane that it always deserved and patch it up nice.  And when I put it back on the wall, it’s not going to be on crappy paneling but real sheetrock, just like modern homes.  And it won’t be on 2×4’s!!


I made this little base to support it, and it rests on a ledge that’s screwn directly into the wall studs.  I’ll stain this to resemble (not match, I never have any luck trying to color match) the bookshelf and I think it will go together nicely.  In another week or two, this monster bookshelf will be built into the wall and suspended over the heaters and our cat will have a nice warm place to watch birds from.


In other news, we’re making progress on the wall demo.  I’ve almost finished all the electrical work.  It was finished last week but we decided we wanted lights dangling in that little open space so now I have more electrical work to do.  I had to run the wire through a 4″ post, a 4″ post with 2×4’s joined to each side (that was fun to drill through) and now I get to decide which of the three circuits I want to draw power from.  That wall has wires from (1) the bathroom circuit, (2) the laundry room circuit, and (3) an unknown circuit that has some kitchen outlets on it now.  I’ll sleep on it but I’m probably going with (3).


One of the funner bits of woodworking I got to do was make a cap for the half wall.  I used one of the remaining 2×6’s I had left over from the garage construction, and planed it down to about 1 1/8″ so it doesn’t look like a 2×6.  I had to cut holes for the posts and install them around like that.  I was going to do some fancy pants joinery like triangular feather joints at the corners, but I really need to finish this project by 2016.  And I have a full time job that eats up more of my time than I spend sleeping.  So I’m probably just going to use tenpenny nails.


A little glue, some cabinet mounting screws, some time with the Festool sander, and it’ll look great.  Okay, it’ll look adequate.  And I’m proud of myself:  it’s one of the few things in this house that is actually level.  It’s kind of weird.  Makes the rest of the house look lopsided.

no help

Of course, some of those who live here would be perfectly happy if everything was made out of cardboard.