Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The front porch /gate project

I have finally closed in on a rough idea to replace my porch railing.  In learning to make a new mortise joint and seeing an example used on a gate.  I am almost finished with the initial drawing mock ups.  I have some 30 year old deck redwood 2x6 lumber that is in a pile in back that will begin to be milled in the next few weeks.  I hope to get this out of the way before  knee surgery happens in the next month.  I still will be able to work on the gate/ railing while I am down, but I sure think that it is going to be difficult.  Here is a pile of old decking redwood in the photo at the side.

Japanese chisels

I have continued to find old chisels and import them from japan through the magic of Ebay shopping.  It is an odd thing that I can buy and chisel and have it shipped from Japan in this economy and get it cheaper than I can ship across state lines.  Anyhow I had been told that i would find chisels I like more than others and stones to sharpen more than others.  This is very true.  I have learned that I have bought many chisels that had not been taken care of for a long time and were in need of serious rough stone sharpening.  This has made me much better at sharpening though and patient too.  This is a typical sharpening session.  I watch a movie as I do this.

I tape my finger tips with athletic tape ( the white stuff) and I then can be a little less liable to lose some skin as I may rub skin on the stone.
I have been using 2000 grit and a 8000 grit stone.  Keeping the stones flat on a 180 grit we dry paper placed on a large chunk of granite I have.  A safety glass piece will do just as good, is cheap and mobile as well.  

PINERWORKS and the barn

I met with Matt Piner and his associate of Pinerworks in Sacramento, Tuesday to review the barn structure and to see just how to proceed.  They agree the barn is in sad shape.  Matt refers to it as a post and beam barn with very few beams...  Anyhow we have agreed that the critical elements are the exterior structure for historical and overall look.  The interior we have some leeway as to how to proceed to shore up and strengthen the structure with concrete piers and added posts and beams.  Most of these old buildings are getting torn down and used as a source for old growth redwood.  This is great if the structure cannot be saved.  But I firmly believe that the most environmental and correct overall choice is a rescue and return to its former purpose.  
Matt is on board for the most simple method of rescue, which is most cost effective and will do the necessary job.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Japanese joinery

I tend to get geeked at times. I am super geeked on japanese woodworking. My feelings tend to be fanatical about music, but I have gone way back in the time machine and have begun to work with wood again. Chris Owen, would surely be pleased.

I spent my high school hidden in the wood shop at Nevada Union, making the required projects( and sucking) I moved on to advanced wood shop and progressed enough to build a guitar with the help of luthier Ken Donnell and then a double neck in the new class guitar making, the only one in the U.S.!!!!!! Anyhow I would run off to LA as soon as I left high school then I met Mike Tobias and worked on a trial basis for a week sanding basses for him. I sucked at sanding and it probably did not help that I really needed glasses.   The shop was supposed to have increased in size, but the landlord did not clear out the space.  Due to this ( and likely the hope Mike could find someone else in the next months) I was told that there was not enough room for me at Tobias Yet.  After Mike called again, I started as a polisher ( trained part of the day then the guy training me just quit)  then went to woodwork, as I had experience in this department and was not too scared of wood machines.  Tobias' machines were all smaller than any I had ever used anyhow. Although I loved the work, I made more money elsewhere ultimately this is why i left.   Mike did ask if I wanted to go to Nashville when they were going to move there.  Life sure would have been different if I had gone.

Until now I had not worked with wood in a long long time.  Now taking a class in Oakland at Laney College with Jay Van Arsdale on Japanese woodworking,  I am both amazed and thrilled that I am trying this great art.

Ill write more about Japanese joinery as surely this will influence my future house projects.


The plumbing had been great.

When I bought the house it had old plumbing. I replaced nearly all of it. I ran out of money and patience and have a TON of copper under the house. I should never have said, I need water every evening. I should have just went to my girlfriends to shower. Anyhow, all except a bit was replaced and now I have an issue with the sink drain... Ugh, I knew this would happen though. So I started the assessment and gathering of my ABS to go in and out of the house often to fix this six feet of pipe.

As I looked under the house I saw the tub drain was not done right so ill have a future fun project to come. Maybe i'll just cut the floor out, rip out the wall and be able to get close instead of crawling and trying to find a way to solder a fitting in some odd space.

If I had a nickel for every project I am involved in right now, i'd at least have a dollar.


barn update.

The city left me a note about my accessory building in the back. To sum it up quickly I read, " tear it down or build it. You have three days to reply".

That will get you moving. First though is that the structure is a barn, nothing less. Second I have always wanted to fix my barn.
Lately I had been harvesting barn wood from Woodland. I love old houses barns cars and now Japanese tools. Anyhow, a few calls to the city and I have a jump on preservation. There just are not too many barns sitting in Sacramento these days. Especially near Land Park Curtis park.

I am sure that a neighbor called to say hey that structure looks old. Make em tear it down. Typical. If i had been more made of money there is no doubt that I would have fixed that structure after I bought the place. There is almost no roof. Four years ago the roof was covered in ivy. It held the roof on. I got rid of it cause I thought it was tearing the structure apart. It likely was BUT it also was keeping the rain out. So up went plastic, then tarp, then another tarp. The weather was bad this year and tarps kept tearing ( I admit after looking at how to put a tarp on for a hurricane I failed miserably) so I let it go. I tore my knee then a few days later was in a car accident. Talk about slow any home projects down to a crawl.

Well the barn looks like it is getting a push.

Lets see how far we get this time.