Monday, December 28, 2015

New Sconce lights

For a while, these posts will be in reverse chronological order, starting with some recent projects and going back to projects I did over the summer and fall. A month ago or so, I installed some much needed extra lighting in the sun room
. I wanted something that would illuminate the space in a way that didn't draw attention to itself. The room didn't need any extra aesthetic attraction, just more light. So I settled on two sconces that would more or less disappear once installed. One challenge was that it would be very difficult to wire in a switch for them. The solution: no switch! Instead I'd use wifi bulbs that could just be programmed to come on in the evening.
 The lights were wired from behind, accessing them from an upstairs bedroom. As you can see, it took some doing to fish the wire through the wall... why waste all that time with fish tape when you can just punch a fist-size hole in the wall every six inches until the job is done? The finished look is just what I wanted. And wifi bulbs are neato

Warm Floors

I bought a new house this year, which means my creative labor has not been directed towards sexy woodworking projects but comparatively unsexy housework projects. So, I'll post a few entries on some of those projects, because, while not sexy, some have been pretty time intensive.

Ok, I might have under-sold the sexiness of some of the house projects, because the most recent one is decidedly sexy: heated floors! If that does not sound sexy to you, this is because you've never walked barefoot on a heated floor.

I only heated a small portion of floor, mind you. In the sun-room where we eat breakfast. The area only has an unheated crawlspace below and predictably the floor was downright frigid in the morning. Very uninviting for eating your breakfast cereal. So, I found a product that can slide right under the laminate floors I installed last spring. About $700 later, plus some amateur wiring, the heated floor is operational and feels reeeeeally nice.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

I think this bench would make a nice small project this spring. Two or three of them, perhaps, to go in my new sunroom!

pictures provided by Book/Shop


Monday, April 13, 2015

laminate plank flooring

This season brings a new house and a whole new world of projects to get invested in.  First up: new floors.

I went with something cheap and durable - Laminate Plank. It's only $2 a square foot, and I have about 800 square feet to cover. Sometimes I don't love the choice of pattern I chose, but I think I like it better than the alternatives. The blunt truth is that it will never quite convince someone that it's wood. It looks slightly fake, which it is - It's plastic on top of MDF. But it ought to be durable enough for a decade or so, and it goes down quickly since it just locks together with no nails or glue.

Here are a couple before-pictures. Isn't my house beautiful? The old surfaces to pull up are carpet and old laminate.

 A couple days into the project and things looks like this


It took a long time to plan the layout of the new board. They are spanning long distances (longer than recommended) and being parallel to the wall in one room puts them off in another room. Additionally, the floor needed leveling in one area, and I used a cement mix to do a half-assed job there. For cheap one-decade-of-use flooring I don't really care if it's totally level.



in the end I like the grain quite a bit, especially from a distance. It's very warm in most lighting conditions. I still need to do the trim around the edges, and I suspect it may be a while before I get to that...

Sunday, January 18, 2015


Over the last two weeks, I have finally put up the drywall panels to complete the ceiling under the loft. I got to use a nifty drill bit that allows you to drive a screw into drywall without going all the way through it. I bought it years ago, but never had the chance to use it, and it worked surprisingly well, considering it's a two dollar replacement for a 200 dollar zip-gun the the pros use.

And here are some pictures of the drywall installation. First mesh tape, and then several layers of mud, with some sanding in between