...and sometimes you're the bug.
Today, I was the bug. Mostly.
The act of being the bug started first thing yesterday morning on a job site in Kirkwood; I was rushing to open a set of metal sawhorses so the other guys on the crew had a place to set some quasi-heavy walnut butcher block counter tops they were unloading from the truck, and in the process I sliced my index finger pretty good. Like, REAL good. If you check out my instagram feed you'll see a picture of me doing some chisel work today with a big hunk of blue painter's tape around a finger...that's the band-aid holding my finger together, and it makes doing detail work - like chiseling - a little tricky.
Today, after another round of gluing up parts of the trestle table I'm working on intermittently, I figured I'd sharpen the chisels and start working on the mortises and tenons. Each trestle frame (there are 2, 1 on either end of the table) is made of 3 parts, and all 3 get joined together with mortise and tenon joints. The individual parts are all too big to use the table saw for cutting tenons, and because I'm using reclaimed wood, which has relatively imperfect surfaces, there's no real sense in using the router to cut the tenons. So...after using some other power tools (drill press & circular saw) to hog out the bulk of the material that has to be removed...it becomes a hand tool (chisels and planes) game. And the sharper the hand tools, the better they work.
Anyways...after sharpening the chisels, which is an exercise I don't particularly enjoy, I promptly got to work and within maybe all of 4 minutes, managed to smash my biggest and most favorite (and useful) chisel directly across a giant nail that had been buried in one of the boards. Chisels don't like nails, and I had to go sharpen the chisel again.
This subsequently happened like 3 more times today. Not cool.
Still, I managed to get 3 mortises cut in the bottom rail of one of the trestle frames.
Feeling a bit victorious (but tired of chiseling), I figured I'd take that bottom rail over to the band saw and cut all the curves and whatnot the plans call for that dress the bottom rail up a bit. So I went ahead and printed out the plans with all the dimensions, transferred them to a scrap of plywood, and cut it out so I'd be able to trace that onto each end of the bottom rail and forgo having to measure and draw everything out on both bottom rails.
Now that I'm looking at all of it, it occurs to me that the bottom rail is sort of shaped like a giant, old-timey/hipster mustache.
Anyhow...with the template transferred onto the bottom rail, I was ready to do some cutting. I was also about the be the bug...again.
I knew that with the size of the chunk of wood I was going to attempt to cut, my bandsaw was going to be tested. Significantly. But, I had high hopes.
Well, I had hopes. Maybe not "high" hopes, but hopes nonetheless.
The bottom rail stands 4.5" tall and is 4" thick, with the 4" dimension being what would go through the bandsaw. That's a lot of meat for a 10" bandsaw, but theoretically...doable. Or so I thought.
I got one side of the bottom rail - let's call it the left side of the mustache - cut without a lot of trouble. I didn't cut as close to my line as I could have but with this easily being the biggest chunk of lumber I've ever run through the bandsaw, I was aiming for halfway close and no screw-ups, and a real quick learning curve. More wood can always be removed, but it's very difficult to put it back once it's been cut off.
Unfortunately, the right side of the mustache would not be so cooperative. Once again, I ran into another nail buried in one of the boards, although I didn't realize it until I'd attempted the same cut about 28 times without being able to figure out why the blade kept getting hung up. I felt a lot like the guy that hit my car, twice; the first time he hit it he thought the car wouldn't go any further in reverse because of a transmission issue, so he pulled forward, then reversed again, hit my car AGAIN, and then decided to, I guess, take off his blindfold and he realized that it wasn't a transmission issue...it was another-car-is-parked-and-you-just-hit-it-twice-without-looking-becauese-you're-an-idiot issue.
I felt like that idiot, because I ruined the blade - the only blade I had - and because the saw takes a stupid unique blade size, I had to run out to St. Peters to buy more. And for those of you keeping track at home, St. Peters is negative amounts of convenient for me to get to, let alone at 6:30 on a Friday night.
But I got 3 more blades. Know what I did when I got back to the shop and got a new blade installed?
I hit another nail, and ruined another blade.
Know what I did after I put a 2nd new blade on the saw?
I hit another nail, and ruined another blade.
The 3rd new blade I got was pretty large, too large to make the curved cuts I needed to make, so...I abandoned the bandsaw operation for the evening. Frustration had gotten the best of me.
But I didn't want to call it a night on a sour note, so I took the middle part of one of the trestle ends (the part that gets the tenons that go into the mortises I previously cut in the bottom rail) over to the table saw and rough cut the tenons. Then, after a lengthy amount of measuring and chiseling, and measuring and chiseling, and measuring and chiseling, and dry-fitting, and chiseling some more, and beating on things with a rubber mallet, and chiseling some more...victory. The 3 tenons fit perfectly into the 3 mortises, and exactly how I wanted everything to fit.
Tomorrow is a new day, and with it comes another chance for success. The upper rails are glued up, the mortises in the other bottom rail are already cut, and provided I figure out how to make the bandsaw cooperate (and by "cooperate" I mean use it the way it was meant to be used, and stop trying to cut through nails)...I ought to be able to get both trestle frames successfully assembled.
I finally got around to starting on the trestle table a couple days ago. When it's all said and done, it'll be about 84" long with breadboard ends, 43" wide, and it'll have been made form 100% reclaimed lumber (some of which came from a house that was torn down to make room for a newly constructed house; the clients are the builders of the new house, and they wanted to make sure some part of the old house lived on).
Currently, the table top lumber has been denailed and rough cut, and 4 of the 6 trestle pieces have been glued up, although they're still in slab form so there's a ways to go still. But...a start is a start.
There will be more pics to follow...I don't want to give too much away just yet. :)
...necessitated the replacement of 150+ square feet of builder grade vinyl flooring with 6"x24" faux wood porcelain tile. Maybe "necessitated" is a little strong, but the toilet leak had to be rectified, and the leak had discolored the existing vinyl floor, so...might as well go ahead and replace the whole floor, right?
The toilet leak, as it turned out, was pretty gnarly. I don't think it was a large leak or a recent leak, but rather a really, REALLY small leak that had existed for quite some time. There are conflicting schools of thought on the subject of caulking the base of a toilet (this particular toilet had been caulked), but I'm 100% in favor of NOT caulking them in; if there's a leak, you'll never know about it until a significant amount of damage - ruined floor, rotten subfloor, etc. - has occurred.
With the toilet being caulked in, the leaking water was contained under the base of the toilet, and slowly seeped under the vinyl and eventually, under the underlayment between the vinyl and the subfloor. That all had to be removed, then the mold remediated, then patched back up.
The job still isn't complete - we'll get to that later in the week - but so far...I really like the herring bone pattern. It takes a little longer to lay than a running bond or staggered pattern, but it's definitely a pattern that has a little more of a high end look.
Maybe it's the architecture. Maybe it's the history. Maybe it's the hard-to-see potential. Maybe it's the forgotten about nature of the area in general. Maybe it's the seclusion from the rest of the city (thanks, HWY 70).
Whatever it is, I really, really, REALLY enjoy working in/on/around buildings @ the north riverfront in St. Louis.
We spent the past couple days doing a quick tile installation for GetSomeGreek, replacing some well worn carpet squares in the lobby with 12"x24" porcelain tile. There are additional plans for the space, and larger plans for the building in general so we didn't bother with putting the lobby 100% back together just yet, but the tile's down and that made everybody happy.
There is going to be a LOT of tile work going on this week; today's fun involved getting started on giving our friends at GetSomeGreek a new lobby floor. By this time tomorrow, everybody there will have forgotten all about the carpet tiles that occupied the space previously.
And as a side note, north city/riverfront is still one of the coolest, most off-the-beaten-path places in the whole metro area.
Every now and then a client gives me some dimensions and lets me run with a design. This TV stand was one such project.
The bulk of the piece is made of reclaimed barn wood; a couple frames made of 2x3-ish material got wrapped in barn wood and serve as the top of the stand as well as the lower shelf. The outside panels are barn wood, although I didn't have enough barn wood on hand to build the interior partitions so I used some scraps from an old door. I figured the contrasting colors and textures might look better anyhow; an all barn wood piece might have been a bit heavy, visually (and physically; this beast was not a whole lot of fun to move around the shop).
The two doors are made from more reclaimed door scraps, and the glass came from an old door as well. I had some bumpy, opaque glass I initially wanted to use, although there must be some trick to cutting that stuff (it's pretty thick) that I don't know about because my efforts resulted in a lot of cracked glass. Given the number of old doors I've worked with over the years - and the resulting pile of glass I have sitting on one of my workbenches - I ultimately decided to just some regular glass (which I can cut pretty successfully).
Hinges, door knobs, a few strategically placed holes and a whole lot of wipe-on polyurethane completed the project.