Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Back Room

I've got a building bug. The success of the chair has given me a certain amount of confidence in my ability to achieve a goal that I've set for myself. Those square pieces of wood were stacked in that back room for months, just sitting there, mocking me, saying, "you don't know what to do with us. You're going to screw it all up. You don't even know the first step of making a chair." And they were partially right. But it turns out I DO know the first step of making a chair, or making anything, and the first thing you make is a plan. Damn, starting to get clever again.
Since I really like my chair, despite its flaws, I'm excited about my next big project, which is to enclose the back porch. Now, there was once a patio off of the dining room and hallway, and that had a roof over it, and many years ago somebody enclosed it. I'm not entirely sure how they did it, but it's got painted plywood on the outside and fake-wood paneling on the inside. It's always very whateverthetemperatureisoutside in there, and the bugs have easy access. I intend to seal it up, eventually putting vinyl or fiber cement siding on the outside, but primarily pulling off the paneling, adding insulation (if it's not there already), reinforcing the wall frame as needed, and putting up drywall. I plan to put in a solid door where there is currently a 60" x 80" sliding glass door, and I plan to cover up one of the windows.
I've been reading about framing and drywall, I've been looking through Google Images, watching videos on the proper way to use drywall joint compound, and I'm really excited about this project. That kind of excited I was about the video project for work a couple of weeks ago: looking forward to doing it while being a little nervous that I wouldn't be able to. Well, now my thrill is coming from this home improvement project. I have to make sure I have all the tools and supplies I need to pull it off, that I have it planned out well enough that I can do most of it in a day, or at least a weekend, and don't leave the house exposed much. Fortunately, as it is an add-on, and the interior, formerly exterior, wall and doors have not been compromised, if I leave the back room open, the house is not any more exposed than it was 30 years ago before the porch was closed in.
So the more I research it and plan for it, the more confident I feel about executing it, and I can't wait to get started. Sadly I have a lot of prep work to do in the way of clearing out space in our storage shed to fit everything that's in the back room now in order to get it empty so I can rip the walls off, etc. So the main thing I need to do to get started is plan. I need to set aside some time in which to expect to tackle these steps of the project.
The next step is unfortunately difficult to plan for. I need to pull the paneling off to find out what kind of frame is behind there. Is it 2x4s and insulation with fire breaks and cripple studs and all that, or is it a flimsy construction of sticks and mud? There are windows set in the walls, and they seem sturdy enough in their frames, like there must be some solidity to the structure. But with rafters spaced 36" apart, I don't know what the stud spacing is or if there is insulation or anything. Will I need 2x4s to reinforce the frame? Will I find rotting wood that needs to be replaced?
I have figured that I will need 8 sheets of drywall at 8'x4' to finish both of the new interior walls. That's not bad. Fifty bucks worth of sheetrock. Outside of the new door, that looks like it will be the most expensive part of the job. I was nervous about finishing the drywall, but after watching a couple of videos on YouTube, I feel totally confident in my ability to do that, even the corners. I'm still not sure about finishing the window frames, but I'm sure there's a video for that too. Get some corner beads and just compound over it like it's an outside corner. I think I'm going to want to replace the windows also. That gets really expensive really fast, but it will be necessary for temperature and noise control.
I have asked for a quote on the vinyl siding, both for materials only and for complete installation. I haven't seen any videos on it and I'm not at all confident about my ability to do that. Once I see the quotes I will likely fire up the ol' YouTube and teach myself how, so I can save hundreds of dollars in the end. Or maybe not.
So, assess the frame, make adjustments as needed, insulate, drywall, finish and paint. Somewhere in there put in new door(s) and windows.
Next step: put in a ceiling. Another thing I haven't read or watched videos about. I imagine it's not much different than the walls, as I can use drywall for that too. I'm going to put in a ceiling fan either way, but putting in insulation and an actual ceiling will help so much with temperature control. With the amount of time I have before the project start date, I'll be able to do plenty of research on putting in ceilings, so I'm confident I'll be fine. But, first things first: MAKE A PLAN.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Chairs & Knots and a potty.

Got a busy week coming up. I'm at work Monday, and not at work the rest of the week. I built a chair on Saturday. Felt good to get out there & bust out the woodworking tools. Got to use a circular saw, a jigsaw, drill, router with table, clamps and a framer's square. It's a pretty good-looking, very sturdy little chair. It's a time-out chair for the baby. She needs it. Boy does she. She has started to not listen to mommy and daddy at all. She's testing limits, and our patience is being pulled pretty thin. It was rather unexpected and sudden. If I had seen it coming I might have been able to prepare for it better. We'll get the hang of it. Potty training is not going well either.

I will pay my respects to Kay Haas on Tuesday, going to Cirque du Soleil's IRIS on Wednesday, Thanksgiving is on Thursday, and Friday I'm playing again with 13 Knots. Oh yeah, we played for the first time in almost 6 years on Saturday, after I built the chair, and everybody wants to do it again this Friday. So I'm looking forward to that. My playing and cooperation got rave reviews from other members of the band. I'd been dying to play bass again, and it did feel good. So we'll do it this one other time, then the studio we use (Pasadena Rehearsal Studios) shuts down for good. I know there are people who would be interested in seeing the Knots live once again, but so far there are not enough of them speaking up about it to book a gig. I'm pretty sure we'd all be down for it, if the chance arose. Unfortunately Xena lives in Austin now, so hasn't been able to join us, and it's unlikely that she would if we had a gig, though not impossible. She'd probably need at least one rehearsal with us, which would be easy enough. I don't think anyone's mentioned it to her yet. But again, the gig is not yet in the works, so that falls to the people with an interest to raise their voices and make it happen.

So anyway, the chair still needs sanding and painting, but other than that I think it's good. Delilah has asked me to build her a table also. First I think I will build an extended shoe rack or a cubby hole kind of shelf unit for the bedroom. The nice thing about building it yourself is you make it just the way you want it. Luckily I'm pretty good with Illustrator now and so I can plan it out real nice with scale drawings.

Welp, time to go.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Year End Ketchup

I've been very busy, working hard at the job, raising the little girl. I haven't thought about this blog in months, let alone found time to update. But I wanted to say, Support Wikipedia

I've been trying to catch up on my Burn Notice addiction. Bought season 2 a few weeks ago. I'm on disc 4. Christmas is coming up fast, and I'm going to ask for seasons 3 and 4. I just really like that show.

One of the things I've been updating a lot is my YouTube page, I've added many of my songs, including 3 or 4 I've written in the past few months. I'm also making a fairly regular appearance on Facebook, now that Emily and I have a computer at home, and an internet connection. I was starting to think it would never happen, but we budgeted and researched and ended up with an Acer laptop so she can take some online college classes, and I can do some marketing of my music and budding side project of freelance graphic design.

I rebuilt a gate next to the house to keep the dog from getting out of the yard. Boy did it need it. Rotten wood and broken planks, the thing would hardly open and close. The original gate used a steel frame, so I used that and 3 of the old planks, and I put in new cross-support 2x4s, two new dog-eared cedar planks, and all new screws. Besides the trip to Home Depot, the whole job took me maybe an hour. It was good to get my tools out and do something manly for a change. Oh, and I went to Sears and bought a few more tool things with a gift card I got for my birthday.

I bought tickets to Iris, the new Cirque du Soleil show at the Kodak Theatre. We're going on the 23d, the day before Thanksgiving.

I won a costume contest at work, but have yet to collect my prize. Not sure what's up with that, but it will come.

The old band, 13 Knots, is getting together for a little revival practice. Scott decided he wanted to jam again just for kicks, and he got through to the rest of us (except for Xena, who is in Austin). So we're going to do that this Saturday. I'm looking forward to it. I've been wanting to play bass with somebody for a while now, pretty much since I got my new Danelectro bass and Ampeg amp. And the Knots haven't played together since my wedding reception almost 6 years ago.

It looks like I'll be heading back to Buford, GA next month to shoot a video for the job, then I rush back and start editing it to beat a January deadline. I'm going to need a new computer for that, as we've already purchased Adobe Premier Pro for the project, and none of our computers will run it! I guess we're going to start making training videos, etc, now that we will have the means to produce professional-quality videos. And I get to learn how to do it! I'm the go-to guy for this, on my way to being a big-time movie director. Yeah, that's it.

Delilah is almost 2 1/2, and she is getting into the terrible stage, testing limits and patience and all that. I think we'll all come out better for it in the end. She really is amazing.

So there's a lot going on, and I am looking forward to the future and all that it holds.