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outside « Well that was… an idea

Archive for category outside

Things I did today

  • Mowed some of the lawn, in advance of tomorrow’s expected thunderstorms.
  • Reorganized the shed, because starting to reorganize the back room immediately led me to the shed for something and I just, well, my talents were more needed there.
  • Found an excellent use for part of an old broomstick. (Pic soon)
    • Remembered how I need to take a few more pictures to finish off months-old posts sitting in the drafts folder.
  • Swapped the glass window for the screen window in the front storm door.
  • Discovered a loose piece of trim on screen door, took it down to tack down said trim.
  • Returned hammer and tacks to back room.
  • Discovered more loose trim, took screen window down again.
  • Checked to make sure there was nothing else loose on the screen window. Returned hammer and tacks to back room. Muttered about how the back room needs reorganizing.
  • Put screen window in front storm door.

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A porch is a porch, of course, of course

But it looks better with lattice instead of whatever corrugated white fiberglass-like stuff has been wrapping the porch for years:CIMG8413
Read the rest of this entry »

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It’s so comfortable…

So at long last I followed through on my threat to use the rest of that pressure-treated lumber I’d salvaged years back…

… and make something both functional and aesthetically pleasing:

No, wait, that’s not it.
There we go. Sorry Ryan, you won’t weather as well sitting outside all winter.

Even after completing that picnic table several years ago I still had maybe a dozen 8-foot lengths of almost 1×6 (I’ll explain the almost later) and a desire to create a sitting space other than my front porch. I’ve always liked the look and feel of Adirondack chairs (variants sometimes called Cape Cod-style, or Muskoka apparently) – the wide arms, the curved seat (not always a standard design element, FYI), the high backs, and the rustic quality, plus I used to go to Boy Scout camp in the Adirondack Mountains. So there we are.

Searching for chair plans online brought up literally dozens of options. I settled on this plan for its look – it really seemed the most comfortable of the designs I viewed – and its largely complete instructions set including three excellent options for creating the cut templates.

Depending on the wood you buy, 38 feet of 1×6, 8 feet of 1×4, and 68″ of 2×6 could wind up costing $100+ easily. Because these chairs are meant to be used outdoors – and therefore may be painted – this is a great project to use reclaimed or even scrap lumber. It’s even better if you have ‘spare’ pressure treated (or, heaven forbid, redwood or other traditional outdoor furniture woods) boards. $10 in fasteners and several hours of work later and you’ll have a conversation piece from which to have very relaxed conversations.

This project got stopped and started several times due to other work, but I’d estimate it as doable by one person in four hours (not counting sanding) IF you have all the tools and space so you don’t get in your own way.

Tools:

  • Mitre saw
  • Table saw (at minimum, the seat slats need to be ripped)
  • Jigsaw
  • Drill with paddle bit and predrill bit
  • Circ saw
  • Workbench with adjustable opening in top. (If your table saw can cut a shallow enough angle for the back slats and arms, you won’t need this or the circ saw)
Everything except the arms cut to length. I chose to rip the 1x4s out of the 1x6s instead of buying or finding 1×4 pressure treated.
 
I opted for combining the grid plan and measurements templating options from the site. Pro-tip on making templates for symmetrical cuts (like the back supports) – you only need to draw out half of the template; just flip it over on the board to trace the other half. You also only need to template the top of the back slats. The long angle can be marked with measurements and a straightedge on the board itself.
You can also ‘nest’ some of the templates since cuts are only made on one edge of the wood.
Saves time and paper, but does require a bit of spatial reasoning. Above, the upper and lower back supports.

Not much else to report – the online plans (and handy pictures) were easy to follow and made a lot of sense. Two adjustments, and then another pro tip. First, I skipped the part in the instructions where they suggested temporarily attaching the sides to the leg/arm unit and using temporary spacers to keep the right width. I just maneuvered everything into place, clamped, and attached the bolts directly, several steps early. It’s possible I lucked out and got everything pretty square by accident. If anyone sees a good reason to do things the way the instructions say, I’m all ears.

That should be my mantra.

Second adjustment – I was sloppy in measuring the salvaged wood. The boards are actually 1 1/4x6s – so one inch thick instead of 3/4″ thick. This had virtually no impact on the construction, save for the rear spacer which had to be cut down a half inch (1/4″ on either side) to fit. As always, measure twice, cut once, then remeasure, realize your mistake, and cut again.

No, I was wrong. That’s my mantra.

Quickly now – pro-tips all around:

  1. Narrow scrap wood should be a mainstay of every shop – easiest way I know to guide a circ saw along a long angled cut, like for the back slats.
  1. Invest in a good saw blade for said circ saw. If you’re cutting pressure treated wood or heavy hardwoods, get a new blade, period. My old blade was bucking and binding when trying to cut the arms especially. $11 at the hardware store later and the cut took less than three seconds.
  2. Finally, if you’re using reclaimed wood, take advantage of the ravages of time. Knots, gouges, nicks – don’t sand them all away. And with weathered pressure-treated wood, experiment with not sanding down too far to allow for multiple colors and graining to emerge. The arms (which I have no idea where that wood came from, just that I had almost the perfect lengths sitting on my shelf) have three or four colors, like desert wood, from yellows to grays (of course) to even a bit of reddish purple. And the sides (second shot below) are tiger-striped because of how deep the worn ridges in those boards were. Great accents to the piece, I think.
Now to build a deck, and I’m all set…

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More things that can be built with 2x4s

A ramp for the shed which *should* be capable of supporting the industrial drill press that’s currently in there.

Quick (stackable) sawhorses using these plans, currently minus the plywood caps.

Updates (and pictures) to follow.

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Believe it or not…

I’ve done a bunch of housework since February, I just don’t have internet at the house so I often forget to post anything. Besides, you like pictures with your stories, I know you do.

More of the exterior is painted, the garden beds have been expanded a little, the raspberry bushes are coming in all over, and more light fixtures have been upgraded. But all of that is but words. Pictures, and more frequent updates, hopefully soon.

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So much for that schedule…

…which, I think, may already be the title of a similar post.

Hang on, I’ll check…

(flip, flip, flip)

(waiiiiit a minute, this isn’t on paper…)

Anyway, I have done many, many things on the house since the last post. No, really, you must believe me. What exactly, I can’t remember, because, you know – so many things! Yesterday I do remember. My friend Amanda wants to… learn about home repair? Is bored? Whatever the reason, she’s been asking to come over and help me on projects in exchange for food and drink, which is exactly in my price range dontchaknow. While the initial intent was to tackle getting the gutters back up, there’s still a bunch of pain in the neck prep work before we can even put the patches on the old holes, so I left that for the day.

Instead, we wound up rearranging a huge amount of stuff between the shed and the back room, freeing up tons of space, making tools accessible, and hitting upon the incredible conclusion that, of all the tools and materials that need to be in storage right now, that maybe that pile of plate glass panes that was in the shed could be what gets stored in the basement. You know, instead of anything wood or metal.

Geniuses, both of us.

Onwards!

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Oh man! Today I did stuff!

97 degrees today and I decided to work outside most of the day. With the breeze, working mostly in the shade, and drinking plenty of water, it was fine (I think – check back tomorrow to see if I’m dead). Peaceful at times, actually – a good day’s work in the great outdoors, or whatever a small backyard is considered.

All the joists are laid out and soaking up rays. 95% of the gravel has been moved from the yard to the new parking spaces, to be spread about soon. Tomorrow I’ll flip the boards and figure out how to stow them where the gravel was, thus freeing up my driveway for, y’know, a car or something.

This would probably make more sense with pictures. And it would probably matter more if anyone were reading this blog aside from me. You are? Well click on an ad to say hi or something.

Tomorrow: more stuff. Yes.

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Paint paint paint paint

On the east side, this time. Pictures coming once everything is done, which might be by month’s end oh the optimism.

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Oh I’m a lumberjack…

Best workout in a while – taking down parts of well-established buckthorn *trees* using a hatchet. I recommend a soundtrack of late-80s punk, or the NPR podcasts I was actually listening to.

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Weeding

Extensively throughout the yard(s), including a real thorough hack at the stuff growing around my old dwarf apple tree. (In an awesome turn of events, both the dwarf tree and the young apple I planted next to it last year are both bearing fruit; small and probably tart since I haven’t been spending enough time on them, but fruit nonetheless.)

Of particular interest was the discovery of why buckthorn shoots keep cropping up around the dwarf apple – there’s a thick stem *ball* that established itself *under* a low-leaning branch. No way to dig this one up, so I’ve cut all the shoots, dug up the few seedlings nearby, and am now talking with a brother of a friend who is a forester about paint-on pesticides for buckthorn. More updates once the devilish weed is dead.

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