Category Archives: Uncategorized

Going Dutch

I got my wife, Lowen, a cast iron dutch oven for christmas. I bought a used one with the idea we would restore it to its former glory. After some internet research and youtubing I had an idea of what to try. Basically you:
1. Scrub.
2. Run through the oven’s self-cleaning cycle.
3. Scrub again.
4. Apply generous coating of Crisco.
5. Bake in the oven.
6. repeat steps 4 and 5 a couple of times.
7. Make delicious food in it. Not me, I can’t cook. Lowen is a great cook though. look at some of her creations at her blog, which is sorely out of date. (better get posting Lowen)

Pretty rusty.

Pretty rusty.

dutch6dutch4dutch5dutch3

Began the first scrubbing.

Began the first scrubbing.

Who wants to shake hands?

Who wants to shake hands?

After the oven cleaning and another scrub it is time for the first coat of crisco.

After the self-cleaning cycle and another scrub (sorry, no photos) it is time for the first coat of Crisco. Then back in the oven to bake a little. I had to buy Crisco just for this as we don’t use it, but later found out it is also good helping to clean ink off of my letterpress.

Getting ready to run the oven cleaning mode. This bakes off everything.

Getting ready to season the Crisco into the iron. The foil catches dripping Crisco.

dutch10

Second coat of Crisco. Then one more time in the oven.

Restored!

Restored!

dutch11dutch13dutch12dutch14

Back in action.

Back in action.

Advertisements

Deck pt. 2: build me up, buttercup

Now, where was I?  Right, so we had no deck at after tearing down the rotted one and it was  time to build a new one. Armed with some new wood, hardware and beer I set forth to build me a deck.

I pretty much stuck with the same dimensions and just recreated what was there. I did do a few things I differently, like using actual joist hangers and putting the right amount of lag screws in the ledger board that attached to the house, and installing proper flashing. It ended up much stouter than the previous deck and will hopefully last a long time, at least until when I am too old and decrepit to do it myself, at that point I’ll just drink the beer and watch hired help while annoying them with stories of how I once was young and could build a deck myself. Overall, I think it turned pretty good, though my professional builder and carpenter friends might see some things that they would have done differently. As a bonus I was able to recycle some of the old deck to build new steps for the back patio. So the backside got some lovin’ too, as it should be.

After it was built,  It was almost a year before I stained it. A combination of waiting for the treated wood to dry out and good ol’ procrastination. Linda Cottin recommended, at Cottin’s Hardware,  Cabot stain and that is what I used. I also used it for our front door project. Now you are caught up to where I currently am.

This summer, the final episode in the deck journey will play out—cable railings.

The beginning of "phase II" started when I got to drive home with a some long ass boards hanging out.

The beginning of “phase II” started when I got to drive home with a some long ass boards hanging out.

 

Joists have been "sistered" as they call it. Which is just two pieces attached to make one thick beam. Then I hoisted them up and put them in place. The short supports in between are called bridging, I think.

Joists have been “sistered” as they call it. Which is just two pieces attached to make one thick beam. Then I hoisted them up and put them in place. The short supports in between are called bridging, I think.

You can see I started on the decking. The white siding above the garage door is new siding. that has been primed. The thing I learned about cedar siding, that shit ain't cheap.

You can see I started on the decking. The white siding above the garage door is new cedar that has been primed. The thing I learned about cedar siding, that shit ain’t cheap.

And the view from above.

And the view from above.

On these long boards I used the pipe clamp to pull in the ones that bowed a little, so the spacing was equal all along the boards. I learned that you space them closer than you think to allow for shrinkage.

On these long boards I used the pipe clamp to pull in the ones that bowed a little, so the spacing was equal all along the boards. I learned that you space them closer than you think to allow for shrinkage.

Decking all installed on the thin part of the deck we like to call the plank. Which without any railing, it kind of is. Who wants to play pirate?

Decking all installed on the thin part of the deck we like to call the plank. Which without any railing, it kind of is. Who wants to play pirate?

8

The chalk line is where I ran the circular saw to even up all the board edges.

The chalk line is where I ran the circular saw to even up all the board edges.

I had to replace som wood at the corner of the garage door frame as well.

I did have to replace some wood at the corner of the garage door frame as well.

 

I accidentally left this joist hanger sitting here and put the decking over it. I'm not going to take that plank back off so it is now a permanent part of the deck.

I accidentally left this joist hanger sitting here and put the decking over it. I’m not going to take that plank back off so it is now a permanent part of the deck.

I added some "fancy" touches  by adding some trim, with bevelled edges even.

I added some “fancy” touches by adding some trim, with bevelled edges even.

 

Pretty much all built at this point. There sits the old deck, looking up thinking, "so that is my replacement."

Pretty much all built at this point. There sits the old deck, looking up thinking, “So that is my replacement.” I did pull all the good boards from the old deck and built some new steps for the back door.

Necessary deck building supplies.

Necessary deck building supplies.

Prepped for staining. After letting the treated wood dry out, and after procrastinating, I finally got around to staining the deck. Tarps make the place look real nice don’t they?

I used the same stain I used on the front door project. You know, to be all matchy matchy.

I used the same stain I used on the front door project. You know, to be all matchy matchy.

12

I recycled some of the old deck to make new steps for the back patio. These steps passed Kitty code as approved by inspector Bella.

I recycled some of the old deck to make new steps for the back patio. These steps passed Kitty code as approved by inspector Bella.

 

Deck pt. 1, The Eradication

This project was a doozy so I am going to break it into a couple of parts. I started it 2 summers ago and I still have a little left to do—finish installing the railing system. No big deal, just don’t send your kids to hang out in my deck quite yet.

One day, long ago, I was poking around under our deck and noticed what looked to be a little wood rot. I thought I had better take care of that before it becomes a lot of wood rot. When I  started using a chisel to remove that little spot, it plunged all the way through the board. SO, it was already a lot of wood rot, great. More exploration and removing of paint found a LOT more. It went all the way into the sill plate on the foundation. Somebody had just packed it with wood putty in the visible spots and painted over it — you know, the best kind of repair.

There was so much that I decided to just replace the whole deck. Why not, I have never built a deck and it was about time for me to make Lowen nervous with a massive home project. Step one: tear down the old deck. Demo is always the fun part! The next episodes will be the rebuild and the cable rail system — complete with fabricated bannisters by guerilla engineer Michael Harry.

2

Added some bracing while I disassembled and started my discard pile.

3

Starting to take the decking off.

IMG_5016

Jacked up the corner of the garage ceiling to replace the rotted sill plate.

IMG_5020

Sill plate removed. This is outside looking into the garage. Kind of weird you can just jack up the corner of a house pretty easily.

IMG_5021

New sill plate next to the old one.

IMG_4994

A good chunk of this rim joists rotted away.

IMG_4998

More rot in the rim joist.

IMG_4987

More rot.

IMG_4999

And more rot.

4

Part 2 will be the rebuild.

Story of a door

This is the story of a door. An ugly, mauve-ish door—that is no more. I’ll let the photos and captions tell the tale.

Before, when it was red with the storm door on and after.

To the left you can witness the before, when it was mauve-ish. To the right we have the end result of a lot of stripping and sanding.

And we are stripping.

And we are stripping. We use Citristrip for paint removal. It doesn’t have all the bad chemicals in it.

Stripping

And stripping.

It is like Ronald McDonald's face melted.

It’s like Ronald McDonald’s face melted.

Still stripping.

Still stripping.

Still stripping.

Still stripping.


Still stripping. Finally, you can see wood.

Still stripping. Finally, you can see wood.


8

Blah

Blah

Finally, the paint is pretty much gone. Now to sand.

Finally, the paint is pretty much gone. Now we sand.

I ran out of time and had to put the door back on partly sanded.

I ran out of time and had to put the door back on partly sanded.

Under all the paint were several holes where old peep holes had been. I plugged them with a dowel.

Under all the paint were several holes where old peep holes had been. I plugged them with a dowel.

Back to sanding on another day.

Back to sanding on another day.

I also stripped all the paint off of the hinges.

I also stripped all the paint off of the hinges.

And painted them metallic silver so they looked like stainless steel hinges. Works for now and doesn't cost any money.

And painted them metallic silver so they looked like stainless steel hinges. They will most likely eventually chip, since it is painted brass, but it works for now and doesn’t cost any money.


15

All sanded!

All sanded!

 

And all coated. I used Cabot's as recommended by Linda down at Cottin's hardware

And all coated. I used Cabot’s as recommended by Linda down at Cottin’s hardware.

I went ahead and redid the oak thresh hold while I was at it.

I went ahead and redid the oak thresh hold while I was at it.

All done. Hey, nice house numbers.

All done. Hey, nice house numbers.

House numbers

Our neighbors put up some nice mid-century house numbers, which gave us house number envy as we had no house numbers. I looked into buying some but nice,  mid-century numbers cost more than I was willing to spend. During my number search I found another blog where the guy had made his own numbers. He even provided the template. So I set out to copy him. The cost was zero since I had all the stuff already. A little digging through the wood pile, a little digging through the paint cabinet and a little digging through the nail/screw cabinet.

pattern stuck down, clamped, and ready for surgery.

Pattern slapped down, clamped, and ready for surgery.

I used a combination of hole saw and jig saw to cut out the numbers.

I used a combination of hole saw and jig saw to cut out the numbers.

Rough cut.

Rough cut.

Time for some sanding.

Time for some sanding.

Using the Dremel for refinement and smoothing.

Using the Dremel for refinement and smoothing.

Shaping the round parts. Once I got it smoother, I decided not to sand with a finer grit as this was looking like a brushed steel texture to me.

Shaping the round parts. Once I got it smoother, I decided not to sand with a finer grit as this was kind of looking like a brushed steel texture.

Not bad. Close up it isn't exact, but you won't be this close to them.

Not bad. Close up it isn’t exact like a machined number, but you won’t be this close to them.

From here, they seem passable for store bought, metal numbers.

From here, they seem passable for store-bought, metal numbers. And from the street, you wouldn’t even have a clue.

Return of the Jetta

This summer the Jetta got some attention. New tires, new brakes and rotors, seats cleaned, and some other fixes. You’d think it would be grateful but the S.O.B still stranded us on I-70 not to long ago, alternator went out. [fist shake]

AC
This summer the AC went out. I fixed it, but first lets see my MacGyver-ism at work. I was driving to Minneapolis and didn’t have time to fix the AC, so after some googling, I decided to try to make a temporary redneck AC
with a foam cooler of ice, and a camping fan, and some rigid foam board. While it did blow out cold air, It didn’t blow enough keep up with the midwestern heat. I tried.

redneck AC

My attempt at redneck AC.

Now onto fixing the real AC. to I replaced the easy parts hoping it was that, the blower motor and blower motor Resistor. Neither of  those replacement parts fixed it. I assumed that meant the climate control switch went bad. Easy to replace, just getting to it was looking to be a pain in my arse, and I was right.

1

Just had to take out those turny knobs. Easy right?

2

Wrong. I had to take a lot of plastic parts out. dash panels, console, the glove box, and on and on.

4

All this had to come out…

5

To replace this little guy.

BRAKES
I also put new brakes and rotors on. The brakes were pretty bad. Worn all the way down, and past the sensor thingy.

1

I’m pretty sure it shouldn’t be worn down THAT much.

2

Old vs. new.

3

Old rotor vs. new rotor.

4

Me vs. Jetta brakes

6

All done.

IMG_7251

I used the old rotors for some rusty yard art decoration for our newish patio.


IMG_7257

We got stoned, patio that is

What happens when a friend removes a fish pond in her back yard and has a bunch of stone she no longer wants? Last summer we get ourselves some stone for a damn good price. We had thought out loud for a few seconds about doing something by the pond—a someday project. That someday came sooner than expected when the supply of stone landed on our laps, not literally, that would hurt. We busted our butts moving a truck load of stone, then went on a trip to the west coast, Big Sur is big awesome BTW. The same day we got back from that trip I grabbed a shovel out and broke ground.

IMG_4874

Before

IMG_7236

After

This was not fun to load and unload. I repeat, not fun.

This was not fun to load and unload. I repeat, not fun.

IMG_4876

Cutting out the sod.

IMG_4894

Sod out, dug out, weed barrier in place, sand added. Looks like a cat’s pooping dream, a giant litter box.

IMG_4896

I used a little sledge to shape and size the stone.

IMG_4897

Piecing together the puzzle.

Dry fitting the puzzle. We did this and decided we didn't like the hammock pole or the compost bin.

All dry fitted and leveled. We did this and decided we didn’t like the hammock pole or the compost bin. They went bye-bye.

Compost bin is gone and a new flower bed in the works.

Compost bin is gone and a new flower bed in the works.

The new compost bin, relocated and built out of all free materials.

The new compost bin, relocated and built out of all free materials.

IMG_7238

Close up of the filler. I used something called pit fines. It really wasn’t a material my research came across for this use. I saw it a Pines Landscaping and it looked like it would work and was cheap.

Another spot in the yard to drink beer.

Now we have another spot in the yard to drink beer.

IMG_7248

I put some rusty brake rotors as decoration at the back of the bed. They came off the Jetta when I changed brakes/rotors recently. Nothing wasted here.

IMG_7257