Sometimes we get so busy that I don't have time to do everything I need to do...like update the blog, or send out quotes/invoices, or dry myself off after my morning shower. And right now...even with some hiccups in the schedule that we didn't really have any control over...stupid busy.
Busy with what, you might be asking yourself?
Well...on the general contracting front, a couple weeks ago we got hired to do a variety of things for a homeowner out in west county, although we were on such a tight deadline that I didn't stop to take a lot of pictures. Because we had to skedaddle out of there ASAP to get on to the next job, I definitely didn't stop to take any pics of any finished work. Regardless, a lot of the work was pretty pedestrian stuff, and nothing to get too excited about in terms of photo ops.
But...we did have to re/finish a staircase as part of the job. We don't normally do a ton of that kind of work, but we have in the past and it was part of the scope of work, so we put in quite a few hours tearing out carpet, spackling (9 million) holes, burning up sandpaper, staining and poly'ing the threads, painting the risers, etc. The end result turned out really well, although you'll just have to take my word for it because like I said...there wasn't any time for final pics.
From that job we bounced over to another west county client and got to do some work that was a little more trim-carpentry-heavy. The client's house has wainscoting all over the place, and among a variety of other tasks, the job required us to remove some of the wainscoting and replace it with...more wainscoting. However, the new wainscoting made use of tin ceiling panels, which added a pretty creative and unique touch to the otherwise fairly standard wainscoting throughout the rest of the house. Accent wainscoting, if there is such a thing, is what I'd call it.
The new wainscoting - which got installed on the wall shown in the pics as well as the backside of the wall shown in the pics - didn't come without a ton of wall prep work, most of which involved filling holes and divots of all shapes and sizes, as well as skim coating over the evidence of the previous wainscoting. Once the wainscoting was installed...we put away the white ceiling paint (part of the scope of work on this particular job involved painting the ceiling in a couple rooms; for the record, 5 gallons of ceiling paint is a LOT of paint to roll on 2 ceilings) and got out the green. The end result looks pretty solid, and is definitely a twist on traditional wainscoting.
In terms of smaller projects, there are still a couple cutting boards that need to get shipped, and I received an Etsy order from a Nebraskan a few days ago for some smaller items. The TV stand I've been working on intermittently still needs some final detail work, and on top of all that and regular business responsibilities (site visits, talking to clients, sending out quotes and invoices, etc.) I've been trying to get the ball rolling on an upcoming project that I'm pretty excited about. I'll save the details for another time, but in short...sometime in the next 3-5 weeks...this little guy (it's a 7' long trestle table) is going to come to life:
Between Blues games and tax preparation and some much need yard work at home, I didn't get to spend a lot of time in the shop over the weekend...but I did get a couple coats of oil on this guy, and it'll be ready for shipping - out to the sunny city of Los Angeles - sometime this coming week along with a serving board.
Some days it's rough cut barn wood furniture, some days it's end-grain cutting boards, and some days...it's 2x4s, 2x6s and 4" screws.
Bathroom framing at its finest.
We're peeling off one job - the client is in the process of buying a house/selling a house/moving and things are just a little too chaotic to keep working on the house that's going to be sold - but we're not quite ready yet to start the next big project, so I've spent the past few days in the shop trying to knock out a bunch of projects that have been on the "to do" list for tooooooooo long.
Namely, this TV stand, being constructed with barn wood and wood from an old door.
She's not done yet, but I'm off to a pretty good start. I wanted incorporate some translucent, bumpy glass from an old window in the TV stand doors, but I only had 2 pieces and I pretty much ruined the first piece when I tried to cut it. So...the doors will get regular glass, but I think it'll still look good.
Doors...a back...paint...poly...she's getting close.
At one point today I was gluing a few old door pieces together and at a standstill with the TV stand, so I switched gears - after changing the planer knives, which made a world of difference (a sharp tool is a happy tool) - and dug into some serving boards and cutting boards that were recently ordered.
Given the overstock of lumber I have in the shop, I made up a few serving board blanks a while back and have been sitting on them for the proverbial rainy day. Those generally look about like this...
...and then to finish them I drill holes in them for hanging, and/or cut them into funky shapes (rectangles get old), and then sand and oil them. The ones pictured above are made of walnut, cherry and birdseye maple.
Cutting boards take exponentially longer to build, especially if the design is complicated or intricate. The cutting board I recently received an order for is 100% my call, so I'm making a pretty wild board. It won't be huge - maybe 14" x 10" when it's all said and done, but it'll go through several rounds of cutting and gluing back together. By changing the angle of the cuts, moving things around, etc., it's pretty easy to come up with something a little more exciting than a bunch of equally-sized little squares or rectangles. Using a variety of lumber ideally suited for end-grain cutting boards - maple, cherry, and 2 different types of walnut in this case - helps liven up the board a little.
It's a gluey mess right now, but I think 1 more round of cutting it up and putting it back together (and then a silly amount of sanding) will do the trick...
I had an opportunity today to mill some of the lumber we pulled off a mountain of wood at the IL sawmill. The wood had been rough cut and stacked for who knows how long, and was covered in dust and dirt and water stains from the leaky roof. I didn't even know what I was getting, but like I said at the time...free lumber is free lumber.
Anyways...I gave the planer a workout today, and as it turns out...cherry and walnut. Mostly walnut. But the important thing is...it all cleaned up just like I figured it would. I'll get it stacked and stickered indoors (don't worry about that fact that indoors = my dining room) so it can acclimate to indoor conditions and do any final twisting and warping that it wants to. Then...project time...because I got a LOT of lumber from the sawmill...
It never ever ever ever ever gets old going out to U-Pick. I didn't go out there for anything too special this afternoon - just some walnut, cherry and birdseye maple - but still...there isn't a better hardwood lumber supplier in the STL metro area.
We got rained out on the job we had planned on going to today, so we shifted gears and did some quick work for one of our regular clients, OG Hospitality Group, which manages The Corner Pub and Grill, The Shack Breakfast and Lunch and The Tavern Kitchen and Bar. We built an outdoor server thing - it must have weighed 200+ pounds - for The Corner Pub and Grill. And, we delivered it, which was a miserable experience. 2 dudes trying to move a difficult-to-grab 200-pound structure, in the rain, in and out of a giant truck...not something I want to do again anytime soon.
After that, we loaded up a steel coffee table frame I'd built a couple weeks ago and delivered it to a client over in Illinois, and then...we went to the sawmill, which was easily the highlight of the day.
I'd heard stories of this particular sawmill, and have wanted to go check the place out since I first heard those stories. It did not disappoint.
It's not a particularly clean business establishment. Or, really even safe to be in. At all. But it's definitely a full-blown, fully operational sawmill complete with some of the oldest, biggest, scariest tools I've ever seen.
The place has been in operation, apparently, since 1957, and it's heyday was definitely many decades ago. But...it was still pretty neat to go check out nonetheless. And because there's currently - though you wouldn't know it from the above picture - an effort being made to clean the place up, I was able to score some free lumber that's been stacked up since who knows when. I'm not even sure what I got; it's a mixture of walnut, cherry and probably oak and any number of other species. A lot of it isn't real easily usable, but a lot of it is, and at the end of the day, free lumber is free lumber.
Ideally, we'll be able to do some business with these guys in the future; I'm interested in getting giant wood slabs from locally harvested trees, which is something these guys are plenty capable of providing, and they're interested in doing some business with a table-builder. Maybe that'll go somewhere, maybe not, but either way...today won't be the last time I visit this sawmill.