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complete « Well that was… an idea

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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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Voila. A sideboard. Sorta.

Doesn’t this look nice?

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It does! That’s why it’s a shame it would have fallen apart and/or collapsed if you looked at it wrong. I say ‘would have’ (and fallen, and collapsed, and looked) because I turned these miscellaneous items into a fully functioning side table with less than $2 in parts.

The legs were a handy find at a restaurant liquidation – they’re a stand for a server’s tray, and probably cost me less than 50 cents. The top is a salvaged piece of good quality veneered particle board from a broken Ikea dresser I disassembled a while back. The dimensions worked and the pieces looked nice together. Keeping them together was the trick.

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And that illusion was solved by two $0.48 pipe straps from the local hardware store and a handful of screws from the back room:

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En français, s’il vous plaît

Sometimes you just have something really heavy to hang:

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That is one of two (!) four-foot by four-foot metal-clad hardboard-backed bulletin boards I picked up years ago at a liquidation ($0.51 a piece, baby!). While they may eventually wind up in the library (and the library may eventually wind up being built) I had use for one on a wall in my bedroom. The main difficulty was figuring a way to securely hang the rather heavy square without putting tons of holes in the plaster wall. Read the rest of this entry »

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‘Quick’ custom drawers

The box shelves I built, so as to curb my daily wanderings into the living room for the purpose of getting dressed, did an excellent job of shelving things. But sometimes things should be drawered instead of shelved.

In my experience (and I once built a prop desk off of a three inch sketch, so I have at least some) drawers are boxes with hardware and/or framing that allows them to slide in and out. The box part should be exceedingly simple – it’s the functionality that requires some planning. Or, in the case of my never-ending collection of salvaged stuff, someone else’s planning that you save.

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Read the rest of this entry »

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Cracked glass

One of the new windows upstairs developed a massive crack, seemingly overnight. Since it’s still under warranty, the window company sent someone (the same person who installed the windows, actually) to replace the pane. When he’d disassembled the vinyl cladding to insert the new piece of glass, he found his initial suspicions as to the failure confirmed – an inch-and-a-half long chunk of glass was nicked out, probably during factory construction. This created stress points that the cold weather exacerbated and caused the pane-length crack.

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That worked surprisingly quickly…


This time of year, apparently all it takes is two walnuts and a squirrel will squeeze itself into a space barely larger than itself (there were no mid-size traps available at Lowes). I put it out last night as the sun was heading down and when I got up half an hour ago, I found… success!

Just released the critter into the arb. He was healthy enough to scoot from the trap to a tree 20 feet away in about .003 seconds, so I think he’ll be fine.

Now to fully patch that hole in the porch eave so this doesn’t happen again. This task will be made much easier, I hope, by the fact that I FINALLY bought a jigsaw. After several trips to Jamie’s without stumbling across a solid one for cheap, I caved and decided that fixing the eave, building a vent slot for the laundry room, etc, etc were more important than bargin hunting. I may have failed flea marketers everywhere, but at least my house will not have unnecessary holes in it this winter.

Also done yesterday – ordered the shed, put up the second light in the hallway (thank you again, wire clippers!) and… something. I must have done something else yesterday. I need to keep two lists – things to do and things I’ve done. Yes, I realize this blog was supposed to be the latter.

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What to do with a large pile of wood

1) Build a step stool for reaching ceilings.

2) Build a sink stand for a portable slop sink (There’s a pic around here someplace).

3) Put in a temporary floor in your attic so you can move around without fear of falling through a ceiling, and store stuff for a garage sale someplace other than the laundry room.

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Stuck (un)

Finally. Four cutting wheels on a borrowed rotary tool to score the plaster and start to cut the wood, a screwdriver to chip the plaster out, a saw and a steak knife (long story) later and I could access the wheels inside the wall. The rope had in fact jumped off and was wedged between the wheel and the wheel well.


Snipped the rope, rolled the wheel to loosen the stuck section, and the window finally came down. Some new line and an assist from Marion later and I swear this thing moves smoother than before.

I haven’t gotten a chance to look into options for the next part of this project, though – security. Right now there are a couple of heavy screws above the bottom sash to keep anyone from just sliding it up from the outside. There’s probably a more elegant solution to be found, something custom that matches the old wood, maybe. Perhaps it can be located at Home Depot.

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Sump pump, part the first

While standing in the basement during a rain storm the other day (checking to see where seepage was worst – as expected it’s near where the gutters have problems and water puddles near the house) I heard the sump pump come on and glanced over to see it in action. Turns out the hose, which the previous owner mentioned was getting near needing to be replaced, had a few small holes in it – on the basement side of the wall. I watched bemused as the table and bricks to the right of the pump got a shower, then switched of the breaker and went in search of a new hose.
CIMG4423First off, I need to learn to look closer at things. The pump manufacturer says this is a 1.5″ outflow, so I bought a 1.5″ hose. You’ll note that the old hose (below) is attached not to the pump directly, but to an adapter of sorts that I can only assume makes it 1.25″. Anyway, with some extra tightening of the screw clamp the new hose fit fine.

CIMG4421This is your sump pump after who knows how many years under water. This is your sump pump hose, cleaved to the adapter even after the clamp is removed.

Unfortunately, upon securing the new clamp, turning the power back on, and resubmerging the pump, it did not… pump. Some light surgery revealed that either moisture had finally gotten in to the power housing and corroded the connections or something was wrong in the motor section which I can’t access due to severe corrosion and buildup around the screws holding the main housing.

Long story short, $110 at Lowes got me a new pump and a one way check valve that allowed me to connect the hose to the pump.

Few things make you feel so much like a homeowner as having to say ‘Ben, I’m going to be late – I’m up at Lowes buying a new sump pump so my basement doesn’t flood.’

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