Thursday, March 29, 2012

Side Project - Luke's Desk

In case you did not already know, my husband is a student. We moved to Butte so he could return to school for his Master's degree in engineering. He does a lot of homework but since he doesn't have a desk he's been working at the dining room table. He's been wanting a desk, but at 6'7" most desks are too short for him and the fancy, tall desks are much too expensive for a student's budget. Enter the lab table:
A professor was getting rid of this old desk that had been used as a lab table for many, many years. It wasn't much to look at but the legs and frame were solid oak and the desk was very tall.
The top is pine or fir which does not handle wear and abuse as well as the oak frame. Still, it was salvageable.
I sanded, and sanded, and sanded. The top was so gouged and pitted that I spent five hours sanding just that one piece. If only I could have run the top through a planer instead of doing it all with a belt sander. I forgot to take a picture of the sanded desk so here's one while I was apply the wood conditioner.
Refinishing the desk was my project but since it was for Luke he got to choose the stain color. He wanted a walnut finish with satin poly, not my first choice but it turned out well.
We found the chair for a $5 at a thrift store. It's a temporary measure but it will work well until he graduates.
The top still is not perfect. But after 64 years in a college lab it looks pretty good.
And just so you don't have to scroll to see a before and after:
All said and done the desk took about twenty hours and $40 in materials (we will be able to use the leftover stain and poly). If I was doing this for a living the desk would have been a waste of time but Luke is thrilled with his new workspace so I guess it was worthwhile.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Garage - Siding Up

After a week of work the garage is now dried in and the siding is up.
The siding is different colors because we mixed old and new boards. The whole thing needs to be painted but we now have nine inches of snow on the ground and it's still falling. Who knows when the weather will be good enough for painting.
We had originally planned to run the new garage electrical and call it good until fall but our project list is constantly evolving and we have decided that finishing the garage is more important that working on our laundry room. This is what I would like to accomplish in the next six weeks or so:
  • Run new electrical. At the moment we have one outlet and no lights.
  • Replace overhead door, man door and window.
  • Insulate
  • Sheetrock. We're going for a fully finished garage so I'll be taping and painting as well.
  • Finish exterior. Gutters, paint and lay stone veneer on front of garage.

Progress will depend on the weather and Luke having time off to help me hang sheetrock. It's going to be a lot of work but well worth the effort when we can work in a clean, brightly-lit garage.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Garage - What A Difference A Roof Makes

Despite the snow, rain and wind of the last few days we've made a lot of progress. Four guys from church came over and helped us put up the header. With all the extra help there was no risk of anyone getting crushed and the header was installed in about five minutes. Our trusses showed up at 4:30 that afternoon but thanks to the extra hour of daylight we were able to get them set before dark.
Tuesday was cool and windy but there were still able to get the sheathing on, cut the rafter tails and get the fascia on.
It was snowing on Wednesday but that didn't stop Luke and my dad from shingling. I was not disappointed to be at work all day.
We're still a long way from finished but it's really amazing what a difference the roof makes. The garage no longer looks old and out-of-place. Just for a little comparison here are some before and in-process photos.
The shingles are Estate Gray by Owens Corning. The house looks hideous by comparison. We'll be replacing its roof before winter rolls around again.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Back To The Garage

Butte is legendary for it's harsh winters but this winter has been surprisingly mild. So mild that we are commencing outdoor work in March. Our garage is in dire need of repairs.
The structure is 59 years old and has not received much updating or even maintenance.
When we moved in in August you could see daylight through the roof
We made some repairs this fall, just enough to make it usable. We tried to keep the building dry but even the 6 mil plastic and huge tarp we put over the roof were not enough to keep all the water out. And all the ropes securing that back of the tarp did not help the curb appeal.
The garage has a flat roof, poor planning for northern Montana. The roof is built with parapet style walls on the front and sides. The front and side walls are all the same height. The roof sits between the side walls and slopes from front to back.
Weird, right? Our new roof trusses will sit atop the parapet walls but before we can up them up we have to remove the existing roof. We pulled up all the shiplap on Saturday
And for the first time ever the interior of the garage was adequately lit.
On Sunday my dad, Luke and I were ready to start work on the garage door header. The old header was cobbled together and had sagged more than two inches before we put in a support post. But we never guessed how badly it was water damaged.Luke used his chainsaw to cut it into smaller sections for easy removal
How bad was the water damage? Here's a cross section, courtesy of the chain saw.
Because of the water damage we decided to rebuild the entire front wall. The garage is now being propped up by a series of braces until we can get everything tied together again.
This is where we left off on Sunday night. On Monday we should have some help putting up the new header and maybe even getting some trusses up.