Saturday, August 29, 2015

Custom Shelf 13

Bring On the Slates

What's cooking?

Yesterday I assembled four old pine platforms upon which I will eventually attach four historic slates. What will I add to the slates for an overall artsy fartsy look? Time will tell.

I waited for the glue to dry on four 'slate' platforms

I will fasten the slates after the platforms are stained

Can slates be painted. We shall see

I will let the platforms dry and air out while I assemble a few ideas. What will get my client's heart a-thumpin? I think I know!

Please link to Custom Shelf 12

Photos GH

Custom Shelf 12

A Rosy Hue

Yesterday the weather was just right to set the shelf outside to let it air out before taking it into my livingroom so it would not collect dust during the last steps I must now perform, i.e., related to artsy fartsy platforms and slates for the black end panels. As well, with the shelf so close to my front porch, I will be able to move it outdoors for three coats of varnish on the top surface in the morning and bring it back indoors at night.

 Three types of cedar seem to go well together.
Black end panels now require my attention

I only wiped down the rustic shelf surfaces with my stain rag,
and they seem to reflect the same rosy hue as other surfaces. A1

Hopefully, like yesterday, a curious cat or bird will not use it as a resting or landing site.

Link to Custom Shelf 11

Photos GH

Little Library 9

This Library is Very Colourful!

 "Library trim is all painted and I have my hammer and nails handy"

Way back in May I bundled up the trim for this 'little free library' so that pre-school children and parents could go to town with their paint brushes. I missed the painting party later in June but did get all the trim back in a very colourful state. Now I will have to figure out what pieces of trim goes where. Unfortunately, this is one project that gathered a wee bit of dust recently while I worked on a custom shelf, so, if I can't figure out this jigsaw puzzle first try, be patient.

But I'm pretty sure I'll get it right!

Link to Little Library 7

Photos GH

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Back in Action

Where Did I Leave Off?

 "Tuesday, Aug. 18, I enjoyed a lovely afternoon in the backyard"

The workshop has been quiet for a full week because I took a hastily-prepared vacation to Mont Tremblant QUE on about one day's notice. Today I will take a look inside to see what needs doing and I have a feeling there will be more than enough to fill the afternoon and more.

"Sixteen cedar birdhouses now sit just inside the workshop door"

"On Monday, the 17th, I added stain to a custom shelf"

"Way back on Sat. Aug. 15 I added more paint to Gord's Gourd"

On Wednesday the 19th I packed my motorcycle bags, and the next day I landed in Perth ON after barely surviving an enormous, often treacherous, completely drenching downpour. Today, the 27th of August, I look forward to the aromatic, completely dry workshop environs and will likely work at an easy pace.

No hurries, no worries.

Link to Custom Shelf 11

Photos GH

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Custom Shelf 11

Looks Better Now

This thing is heavy! I didn't realize how heavy until I tried to move it outside yesterday before applying a wood conditioner to all the bare lumber (painted plywood end pieces need not apply). With my wife's help I set it up on a bench in the shade and hoped for a breeze.

"Once conditioner is applied to rustic shelves I will mix some stain"

Two hours later I said, "No more. I'll leave the three shelves until tomorrow." And with that, I lugged it back inside the shop.

The sun's rays caught the table top at an interesting angle. I think now that this project will look A1 when finished.

Link to Custom Shelf 10

Photos GH

Monday, August 17, 2015

Custom Shelf 10

Trim From the Top of the Pile

"One last piece to go on the front... lower right"

Shelves are in place, made from rustic cedar rescued last year from Joe Flagler's dock demolition. And because I have more of the fine lumber on hand (yeah, a lot more), I turned some of it into strips of trim and put it all in place on Saturday afternoon.

Now it's time to think about the finish line. I'll apply a coat of wood cleaner, then concoct a jar of colour-rich finish (thinner + stain), and some type of final wax or varnish coat for the table top. Exciting, shiny times ahead.

Link to Custom Table 9

Photos GH

Saw Repair

Fingers are Crossed

"The guts of my table saw, on the mend...?"

Late last week, while cutting trim for a custom table/shelf, my Dewalt Jobsite Saw began to act up in a strange manner. It would slow down, then stop, then start up again without blowing a fuse or without me flipping a switch. Once or twice it activated a built-in circuit breaker on my extension cord, so I knew something was fishy.

"It has sucked up a lot of dust," I thought. "But it doesn't owe me anything if it just died."

Before making a decision about whether or not to have it repaired or replaced I fell back on my experience with my last table saw. "I'll take the motor out of its housing and give it a good clean."

I put it back together yesterday, cut a 'test strip' (of scrap cedar) - no problemo - and will see how it goes over the next day or two. Fingers are crossed.

Link to Spring is Springing

Photo GH

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Gord's Gourd 7

Taking My Time

"The blue dots are dry. Now what?" 

I am in no rush to reach the finish line related to this large, colourful birdhouse. The first round of orange and blue dots are dry, and I've gone on to add an organic shade of green here and there - why, it reminds me of broccoli soup - and I feel another colour or two will soon be added to other spaces.

"I had organic paint at the ready..."

"What colour goes well with broccoli soup?"

So, work will continue as the mood strikes, if the shoe fits, when the time is ripe.

Link to Gord's Gourd 6

Photos GH

Friday, August 14, 2015

B & W Perches

The Price is Right... black and white.

Link to B & W Found Object

Photo GH

Timely Trim

The Right Price

While finishing the assembly process for a batch of birdhouses I usually begin thinking about the materials I have on hand that can act as trim and perches. If I have wooden kitchen utensils in good supply I grab  6 - 10 spoons, forks and spatulas and cut them down to size. The leftover bits often make solid perches for the next batch of houses.

I see such utensils at thrift shops or yard sales on a regular basis. You can believe I snap them right up if the price is right - and it usually is!

"I spy with my little eye..."

I noticed today, after arranging ten utensils on my living room coffee table, that a good-sized grouping makes a nice display of its own.

Future artsy-fartsy project? We shall see.

Link to Custom Birdhouse 14 to see more unique perches and trim.

Photos GH

Gord's Gourd 6

Dots, Dots and More Dots

I think rows of dots will occupy my time this weekend. Orange and blue will go first. Then we'll see what happens.

As well, I'm thinking about constructing a paper mâché hood over the door to keep out the weather, but if I think of something easier then I'll do that.

Easy kap-easy will win the day.

Link to Gord's Gourd 5

Photos GH

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Tiny Houses from Scrap

For Wrens and Chickadees

 "I only have one 'tiny house' left. Better make more"

I save scraps leftover from other projects and every once in awhile, when conditions are right, I look through the scraps to see if a birdhouse is present in their midst.

"The face and back of a tiny house is only 5 by 5 inches"

"Leftover dark poplar will make a sturdy wren house"

"Leftover rustic cedar from a set of shelves will make a lovely house"

After cutting rustic cedar for shelves yesterday I saw a birdhouse. Now five are on the go, made from this and that.

Link to Tiny Houses 4

Photos GH

Custom Table 9

Rustic Cedar Shelves

The set of shelves fit to a T. And while trimming edges in order to achieve such a fit, the shop smelled delicious.

Next up... two types of trim and a little work on the plywood (black) end-pieces.

Has this project completely dominated my time in the shop? No. I took time yesterday to collect some scrap and rescued lumber and start work on a batch of wee wren or chickadee houses. : )

Link to Custom Table 8

Photos GH

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Custom Table 8

Four-slat Table Top

I think I have been dealing with some of the finest western red cedar in all the land lately, and Canada is a pretty big land. The distributor was Terminal in British Columbia.

I recall the day I transported six 16-footers (2 by 10-inches) home from St. Marys in my Honda Civic. They filled the car with such a magnificent (but powerful) aroma I had to keep the windows open all the way to London - in November! The planks (that had been cut into 8-foot lengths to fit into my car) are now being turned into various projects, e.g., table/shelfs, birdhouses, and more.

"The top has been cut, fitted and attached into place. Still smells great"

It pays to buy premium wood and I will be working with the remainder for several more months.

About the current project - I will be adding shelves and trim next. Then comes the surprise ending.

Photos GH

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Farmhouses 12

Two-Tone Green

 "Not only do these models have a grand interior..."

I think the two shades of green go together well and, if I recall correctly, I've seen a house and matching mailbox painted with these same colours just a couple of blocks from my front porch.

"...the front porch provides room for seeds and a rocker"

I should get all six from this batch together on the back deck for (as Ed Sullivan used to say) "a really big shoe!"

: )

Link to Farmhouses 11

Photos GH

Red Cedar Birdhouses 2

Sitting on the Fence

I used the best red cedar I have in the yard for this batch of six rich beauties.

I say, you can have one of these hanging on a fence or tree trunk in under five minutes. Materials required - two nails and a hammer.

Link to Rich Cedar Birdhouses 1

Photos GH

Gord's Gourd 5

Lines, Lines and More Lines

So, I've got the primary colours covered. Now what (besides finishing up the farmhouse in the background)?

More to follow.

Link to Gord's Gourd 4

Photo GH

Rich Cedar Birdhouses 1

The Best* Basic BH $$ Can Buy

 "I sliced open or booked 5 inch-wide slates for the faces and sides"

There are a few things I really like about these basic birdhouses: The cedar is the best in town, the interior floor space is 5 by 6 or 30 sq. inches because the sides are attached to the outside edges of the front and back faces, the roof slats are really solid (a bit thicker than usual) and finally... they smell so doggone nice!

"Three BHs have pine roofs. The rest are 100% premium red cedar"

"The workshop now smells like a million bucks"

I'll add trim tomorrow and I think the final result will be rich.

*best cedar I have ever purchased, from Home Hardware in St. Marys. I bought six 2 by 10s (in.) by 16 ft., cut them in half and transported the end product - twelve 8-footers - home in my Civic. Birdhouses made from the first two boards paid for the load. Almost 0% wastage. Now I'm just having some fun!

Link to Basic Western Cedar Birdhouses 5

Photos GH