Today the work effort shifted to the TV cabinet, mainly because just about every piece of reclaimed wood going on it has to be custom and I'd rather get the painful stuff out of the way sooner rather than later. With the floor and ceiling being a little wavy, everything butting up to those surfaces has to be cut with a slight, nonuniform angle. The walls are plaster and not perfectly plumb, but the variations aren't so severe that it makes any sense to take the time to scribe a line on the boards so they can be cut to fit exactly; I'm using hand plane to shave off little bits and pieces here and there to get a good snug fit to the wall. Careful attention has to be paid to both the TV and cabinet door openings because if those things get out of square or level - which is easy to do when dealing with lumber reclaimed materials - it's going to stick out like a sore thumb once the TV and doors are installed. Nothing about the room or lumber is real flat or straight or square, which makes measuring, drawing right angles, etc. almost irrelevant.
So...today was a slow day. Doing all my cutting in the room where I'm also installing the lumber isn't as convenient as it may seem like it might be; the room isn't very big, and when you stick a miter saw, table saw, air compressor, 2 nail guns, the lumber, etc. in it...it gets REAL small, REAL quick. And dusty...I keep forgetting to bring my mask to the jobsite, so at this point there's a small 100 year old oak tree in my lungs.
But...so far, the cabinet is looking pretty much like I want it to, and should be wrapped up tomorrow. Up next: the headboard, and it's going to be insane.
Finally got started on the reclaimed wood today, although the morning got off to a slow start with having to set up shop inside the house due to the slushy snow on the ground outside. It was pretty cramped quarters with both a miter saw and table saw set up in the bedroom I'm working on/in, but after making about 18 pounds of sawdust the bed skirt is close to being done, the cabinet is ready for reclaimed wood and the headboard...I'm still toying with a couple different ideas.
Corner detail; the reclaimed wood only has the "reclaimed" look on 1 surface, which means the sides and back of every piece need to be concealed one way or another, which means mitering corners, which means getting the table saw real dialed in and saying some prayers (reclaimed wood isn't always super easy to get square corners with)
Part 2 - a built-in cabinet/tv enclosure - of the reclaimed wood project took place today. I'm still not real sure how the finished product is going to look; the client has pretty much green-lighted me making the design choices, which is both awesome and a little nerve wracking all at the same time. But, the plywood skeleton that got built today is rock solid and plenty level, plumb and square, and those are always my first priorities. The box isn't super pretty, but I'm working in an older house which means wavy walls, wavy floors, wavy ceilings and nothing being square; I'll save the precision cuts and fits for the reclaimed wood skin.
Side note: the reclaimed lumber showed up today, and I spent an hour carrying the stuff into the house where I'll let it acclimate to indoor air temps for a day or two. I did this without wearing gloves of any kind, which didn't seem like a bad idea until I had to use a utility knife and needle nose pliers to remove splinters.
...is finally underway, and the next 2 weeks are going to be a lot of fun. This project has been on the books for a while, but we had to wait for the lumber to get shipped in from California. It's cool-lookin' wood...but the 5 weeks for shipping...not so cool.
Anyways...the job includes a number of projects, including the installation of a massive headboard and the construction of a furniture piece in the master bedroom, all of which is going to get skinned with the reclaimed wood. Today was day #1, always a bit of a slow day on bigger jobs; there are a lot of tools to unload and set up, materials have to be sorted through, and especially on a job like this - there's no real designs set in stone, it's going to be the construction equivalent of free-handing something - a game plan has to be devised.
So...progress was slow, but there was progress nonetheless. The reclaimed lumber should show up tomorrow, and by the middle of the week we'll be getting into it.
Sometimes the slow weeks are good for making the website pretty, getting the Etsy store looking good and dealing with all the administrative stuff that comes with self-employment. Conversely, being crazy busy and on tight schedules means I don't often stop to take a lot of pics and I get all kinds of behind on paperwork, emails, etc. Fortunately for me, and unfortunately for the readers of this blog...we've been stupid busy lately, and pics of finished products are few and far between.
Several weeks ago we had a client that had torn out a pocket door wall and needed the drywall patched. Normally the old house gods frown upon that sort of thing - tearing out pocket doors - but the clients have plans for the original pocket door, so it's kind of a wash. Regardless, the seemingly minor project took forever because it was about 17 degrees outside and the uninsulated walls of the old house made it tough to get joint compound - 20 minute mud at that - dry with any kind of quickness. We also had to patch the wood floor, which was miserable because the existing hardwood had been refinished, and not in a real uniform fashion, so each new piece of hardwood we put down had to be custom planed.
This is the before pic. There isn't an after pic, for the reasons mentioned previously. But...if you can imagine additional framing, drywall and a silky smooth drywall finish, that's what the end result looked like.
During a let-the-mud-dry day on that project, we visited our buddies over at HDA Architects, whose office just wrapped up a massive renovation. We discussed some potential future custom furniture work, and hung a bunch of artwork and architectural paraphernalia on the walls. Normally hanging pictures on a wall doesn't fall in our wheelhouse, but when the artwork is bigger than the people installing it, and there's like 14 pictures to hang...it's a bit of a project.
Following that, it was on to some commercial work. We occasionally do work for a group that owns 6 bars/restaurants around the STL area, and we spent a full week between The Corner Pub & Grill and The Tavern, doing a wide variety of projects. At The Corner, the work involved regrouting the kitchen floor, drywall repair, shelf construction and rebuilding a portion of the area behind the bar. At The Corner, we were one of many trades/subs involved in the work, and at times space to work in was scarce. That said, everybody worked together and the bar was ready to open by the originally scheduled date. Again, there weren't a lot of pics taken; we were working 10+ hour days and doing everything we could to stay on schedule.
At The Tavern, we went back and closed up the wall where we installed some sliding doors a few weeks ago. Adding the doors to a previously open doorway didn't solve the noise issue, so we went back and closed up wall above the door. We also outfitted their new catering van with a wood floor and shelving, allowing them to safely transport a pretty solid amount of food to wherever they need to go.
In the down time, when there was some available down time, I spent a few hours in the shop banging out a few small projects for some clients. I recently purchased a boat load of reclaimed barn wood for a large project, and while I didn't need all that I bought, I had to buy enough to make the drive out into the country worth the trip. And at the price I got (next to nothing), I figured I'd load up.
Next week we're going to start a pretty killer custom woodwork installation, and I'll do a much better job of getting some pics of that project...