Tranny love

Not that kind of tranny, that is a whole different post. So I had to replace the transmission in the truck. I had never done that before. It seemed like something I could do, but I was on the fence about it. That’s when My friend Rob said, “I’ll help you.” He is a mechanic so I said hell yes to that. In the end it was unbelievably simple. The hardest part is the weight of the transmission and the awkwardness of positioning it. They really should make handles on these things so you can get a kung fu grip on it. It is one heavy S.O.B with no good spots to grab onto. I stuck to Rob’s advice of, “whatever you do, don’t drop it on your hand.” If you make it to the end there is a video of me driving  with no floor board and you can see my tranny in action. “My tranny in action,” that sounds funny. I shifted, steered AND took the video all by myself. I never said I was a responsible person.


This is After the old tranny was out. We brought it up through the floor. With a floor jack underneath we unbolted it, pulled it back, then jacked it up to where we could muscle it out.


Another angle. We didn’t even have to take the bell housing off.


Here is the old one after being pulled out.


Here is the rebuilt one about to go back in. Nice and shiny.


Muscled back in, dropped into place and being bolted back up.


This mutha is all in. Leaving the floorboard off until I know it works.


We took the door off to help maneuver the transmissions in and out. Plus I needed to put a new hinge on.


Chair reupholstery

First, reupholstery is a funny looking word. I had to look it up to make sure I had it right. Second, that is what this post is about.

We have the Mid Century-ish chair that we really like. In fact I think it was the very first piece of furniture we ever bought. Welcome to adulthood, where you actually buy things and your living room set isn’t entirely made up of dumpster dive finds. I think it was all of $50 and we still had to put it on lay-a-way.

The fabric was shot and in true Countryside Lane fashion we decided to do it ourselves. We had a book, what more do you need? Well, besides fabric and other materials. Ends up the book was a P.O.S and didn’t tell us much. We made sure to stay true to the pattern of the original material that we carefully skinned and we winged it where we had to. On top of new fabric we also redid the wood.

Below is out story of our first reuphols…silly word. By they way, we still dumpster dive.

The original

The original.

And the after shot

And the after shot. Dayamn!

Threadbare and faded

The ol’ girl was threadbare and faded. You tell yourself it is just aged and charming, but really it just looks like dookie

The wood was looking pretty crappy as well
The wood was looking pretty crappy as well


At this point we hoped we knew what we had gotten ourselves into

At this point we hoped we knew what we had gotten ourselves into.


If we learned anything from my   Brake jobpost a long time ago, it is that certain jobs call for cetrain socks

If we learned anything from my Brake job post a long time ago, it is that certain jobs call for certain socks.

A late night, low light shot. Almost done.

A late night, low light shot. Almost done.

An arm all sanded down

Part of a leg all sanded down.

old vs new

Old vs new. Bottom one is restained and ready for varnish.

All done.

New fabric on, Wood redone.


In place and ready for another 40 years of asses.

In place and ready for another 40 years of asses.

Salvaged wood candle holder

I have some small pieces of salvaged lumber from a porch that was built in the late 1800s—still had the old square nails. They are almost to small for any project I had in mind. However, I didn’t like the idea of delegating them to the firewood pile. After a long career in architecture they deserved better. This little project was simple and gives these old timer’s some new life.

Drill, sand, wax, pop in a couple of votive candles and here is what you get. (The wax is Swilley’s all-natural beeswax.

Oh, this ended up as part of a gift exchange at the office I am currently freelancing at. If you burn down your house Aaron, don’t call me.

Salvaged from a late 1800s porch.

Salvaged from a late 1800s porch.

After cutting the pieces down and measuring hole placement, it is time to drill the holes with a forstner bit.

After cutting the pieces down and measuring hole placement, it is time to drill the holes with a forstner bit. Then sand it down. Just enough to give the grain some new shine while keeping the old saw marks and other scars.

Applying the beeswax rub.

After some finer sanding I apply the beeswax rub. (Who’s gonna be the one to make a “rubbin’ your wood” joke? I have people in mind.)


Half coated.


2 coats later and 2 candles later, this guy has a new function in life.


Handmade threshold

We recently ripped the carpet out of one room and just painted the subfloor. Sounds janky, but it looks pretty cool, not to mention easy on the pocket-book. We needed a threshold to visually join the carpeted part with the new, non-carpeted part.  I was also being cheap about that and didn’t want to spend money on a long-ass, wood threshold—about 8 feet. After a trip to Ace Hardware where I said, “I’m not paying that”, I went to work on making my own out of some salvaged lumber I bought at an auction.

Looks real ratty on the outside.

Squared the edges and made the first rip cut.

Out of that I cut a strip and angled the top two edges.

Time for a “Banquet beer” break.

With pilot holes and counter sinks drilled and some varnish applied, it was installed with nice silvery screws.

Come closer…


Old fence planks, new life

I have been working on a couple of big ass projects that have kept me from posting. Once they are done there will be posts and photos galore. Until then, nibble on this.

A few items I made out of some old cedar fence planks that were destined for the burn pile. I adopted the stash and have been using the wood to build stuff. Being well aged it gives it a rustic look. Wood, I give ye new life.

A little table to put stuff on. Decoration by Lowen.

Bones on display. Found on a bone hunt along the river (Thanks Kevin, the master of the bone).

A temporary cover for the window well to keep the leaves out, as well as typsy guest during BBQ’s. Very pirate-like eh? Kind of like a lid to a barrel of grog.

And finally, some wedding signs for my sister’s wedding.

Painting a car hood

This was a last summer project, just now posting about it. The clear coat on the Jetta’s hood was flaking off like a bad case of dandruff. After a price quote from the body shop I decided to take on this hell hood myself. One reason was that for half the cost I could buy an air compressor, HVLP spray gun, auto paint, and do it myself, then have these tools for future projects, nice strategy for getting more tools huh? I knew it wouldn’t be perfect, but it couldn’t look worse, hopefully *gulp*. Lowen was crazy enough to let me try this and in the end it turned out pretty decent. Not perfect mind you, but more than good enough for that Jetta. One thing I took from this? A big hats off to auto body folks. That is hard work and  an art form. Getting a  baby butt smooth paint job is a skill. BONUS; there is a video in this post, gettin’ all hi-tech on you kids.

That, my friends, looks like crap.

Stripped and sanded all the old clear coat off, and some of the paint. At this point I knew I couldn't turn back so I hoped I didn't bite off more than I could chew. This is where Lowen probably got nervous about this project. Me too a little bit.

All primed. We actually drove it like this for a couple of months. Ghetto fab eh? I had to wait until the humid, summer weather had gone bye-bye to lay down paint.

Paint day! "Want some of this?"

After hours and hours of prep work this part only took a few minutes. I wish it would have lasted longer. My make shift spray booth was made of a pop up tent and some tarp walls. You can see a box fan with a heater filter strapped to it. This was for exhaust for fumes, and the filter captured paint particles.

All done.

New old wheels for Beulah

I finally replaced the hot rod rims and tires that came with my truck, whose name is Beulah by the way. This is one more step in returning it to a grandpa truck. I found a guy in KC who only works on and restores mid 60s trucks. Perfect, I have a mid 60s truck. He had an old set of rims, tires and original dog dish hubcaps that he sold me for a good price. The good price was because they needed a fair amount of work and are dented up a bit. I had to sand off some rust, primer and paint them. Originally, on the two-tone painted trucks, the rims would have been the same blue as the truck. I just painted them black for now, since they came to me black. I’ll paint them the blue later, when I paint some other body repairs and have the right blue on hand.

Goodbye hotrod wheels (left). Welcome back original wheels (right).

New kicks loaded up.

I knocked off the gunk and loose paint with a wire brush.

I knocked off the rust on the hubcaps.

I used some naval jelly on them to help inhibit the rust that I couldn't knock off.

The top 2 have been cleaned, the bottom two are next.

All primed.

The various stages of painting.

All masked off for the application of the red paint.