Half Wall Renovation

I wasn’t taking a lot of pictures while working on the new house.  Too many small fix ups to name, and not enough time to document them all.  One larger project was my kitchen half wall.  There is this segment of wall that separates the kitchen from the living room.  It made both rooms feel smaller and didn’t seem to serve much of a purpose, so I decided to take it out.  Only the pantry remains at full height.

I removed all the drywall and found a lot of wiring to do with the intercom system.  It hadn’t worked when the previous owners moved in, so out it comes.

It was tough to cut all the drywall and studs to a really straight line.  An oscillating multi tool helped with the drywall, but standing studs are hard to cut straight.  I did as best I could with a reciprocating saw, and came back later with a belt sander and 4ft level to make everything even.

I have never done a bullnose corner before, but managed to pull this one off pretty well after a few rounds of drywall mud.  The odd dark green wall got a lot of primer and paint so it matches the rest of the house.

To cap off the wall top I ripped down a 1×8 to a nice width, and painted it white.  A little store bought molding also painted white finishes it off.  It feels good to not be renovating a house right now.

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New Garage

We have been moved in about a week, but have spent all of that week cleaning up our old house to get it on the market.  Almost all the renovations that happened on the new house occurred at such a break neck pace that I didn’t document much of anything aside from a choice disaster.

That having been said, I wanted to say goodbye to my beloved garage.  9 years ago I moved in without owning a power tool bigger than a compact miter saw, and with less than a year of woodworking experience.  I added electrical outlets, lights, and a lot of sawdust to that place.  Many mistakes were made and lessons learned.

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It was a packed mess, but I knew where everything was (mostly).  The new space is over twice the size.  You couldn’t tell in these shots because I had a temporary work bench setup for house renovations, tools everywhere, and the movers were pushing things in off the truck.  It is a tough place to navigate.  There is some built in shelving that helps for now, but might need to come out.  Also the previous owner had an office setup along the one wall.  Probably not going to stay in the long run.  Going to need to get the old house cleaned up and unpacked inside before moving onto the shop.

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Plumbing Nightmares

I actually had a nightmare the other night about paint.  We owned a house and for some reason had cut out a huge part of a wall, but were going to put it back ourselves (lots of drywall work).  I looked at one of the remaining walls and the sheen of the paint used was all over the map, flat to gloss.  Someone started painting and accidentally mixed in streaks of black and other colors.  I awoke from that nightmare into one that might be worse.  A broken pipe in the wall.

The new house’s two spare bathrooms have pedestal sinks.  They look fine, but as I found out are dreadful to work on.  I think they must install all the faucet and drain hardware, then move them into position on the stand.  My simple faucet switch out turned into a total sink removal.

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But wait, there’s more!  Every supply valve in this house leaks when you touch it.  The valves are CPVC pipes with some kind of copper washer crushed on.  Impossible to remove.  In trying to get the valve apart so I could cut close to that copper washer I broke the cold line off in the wall.  This was at about 8:30 at night.  Crestfallen doesn’t begin to describe my state.

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Yeah, this little guy right here.  I don’t trust CPVC any more, and wish they had used copper instead.  I cut a hole in the wall and inspected.  The next day my oscillating multitool and I had made a big hole in the wall and repaired the pipe.

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Not exactly gorgeous, but no leaks and I could have the water turned on again.  With this big gash, reinstalling the pedestal sink was not going to happen.

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We picked out a nice little vanity that matched the rest of the bathroom to replace it.  The pedestal sink was high enough that a lot of drywall mudding and painting had to happen before the new vanity could be installed.  Friday night I broke the pipe off.  By Monday I had the pipe repaired, the wall patched primed and painted, and the new vanity in.  That is what a long weekend can do for ya.

In the mean time we removed the other bathroom’s pedestal sink and replaced it with a similar vanity, replaced both toilets, and took care of a half dozen other small things.  It will all be over soon.

New House, First Meal

We successfully bought our next house.  The renovations have begun amid work and a million other things.  I was digging through pictures and found the first meal I ever had at my current house.  The first meal at our new house is a lot better, and the surroundings are nicer too.  What a difference 9 years makes.

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Sawhorse Sheet Goods Table

UPDATE: This setup served me well for about 6 months, but died this weekend.  When assembled it is a really sturdy platform.  Disassembled, the brackets are weak and prone to bending.  During the assembly process they are easily damaged as well.  I don’t regret having built it, but will be doing sheet goods differently in the future.

I will need a temporary work surface when renovating the new house, and have a lot of sheet goods and drywall to cut up.  I thought about building some sawhorses and adding on to them, but I don’t have much time.  Instead I started with two of these Burro branded horses.  Honestly, for 20 bucks a piece, these things are pretty good.  Made in USA, stackable, stable, and strong.  Just make sure you are choosy, not all were created equal.  Explaining the build will be easier with a before and after shot.

I want to put a full sheet of plywood or drywall on these and have the cuts be well supported.  That would require a structure almost a full 4×8 feet.  I used metal brackets to help it be a quick assemble and break down job.  Two 42″ 2x4s go across the saw horses.  The saddle brackets keep them upright and a right angle bracket on the edge holds a long support to tie the two horses together.

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Every time I use these as a cutting surface I am going to cut into the 2x4s a little.  I will adjust blade depth to minimize the damage, but I don’t want metal anywhere near the top surface.  The brackets that hold my middle support were too tall, so I cut them down.

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The table breaks down into 2 stackable horses, 2 supports that go on top of the horses, 2 long ones that go from horse to horse, and a center one to help prevent sag.  The only extra screws needed for assembly are at the four corners where the long stretchers meet the supports on top of the horses.  I made sure to install the screws low so the saw won’t catch them.  The horses still stack, even with those saddle brackets installed.

When I assembled this I didn’t screw any of the 2x4s down to the horse’s saddle brackets.  It all still felt stable.  A half inch sheet of plywood and a few screws should turn it into a sturdy temporary work bench.  All the drywall cutting I need to do will be aided by this big stable platform as well.   The assembled dimensions of the top are 44×84″.  Enough to support a 4×8′ sheet, but leave some room at the edges.

When the house work is done I will probably keep it as a way to break down sheet goods.  This will be a big upgrade over my current method of hanging them out of the back of the suburban.

Goodbye Garage

The wonderful wife and I are pulling up roots and moving.  Not far, just a few miles away, but our new dig will be bigger and better than ever.  I have lived in my fixer-upper for 9 years now and the time has come to move on.

When I moved in I had few tools and not much experience.  I ended up renovating the whole house and developing a strong passion for woodworking along with more tool junk than you can shake a stick at.  The garage has seen a lot of my screw ups and disasters, but with that, a lot of learning.  It has been a slow organic work of progress.  That and mostly a huge mess.

I started packing up right after taking these pictures and finishing off my drill press rebuild.  This is why I was so interested in it being mobile.  It was a little sad to start undoing all my hard work that got this shop to where it is.  To offset that, the new garage has over twice the square footage of my current one.  Lots of exciting posts to come in the future about new house renovations and shop setup.  Until then, goodbye old friend!

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Hurricane Season Start

Hurricane season hasn’t started yet, but we already have our first named storm of the year.  Happy hurricane season everyone!  As of writing this it is still subtropical (I guess for specific weather nerd reasons it isn’t called a tropical depression), but expected to become a tropical storm.  As a wise guide once stated, it is never too early to start thinking about getting yourself ready for the storm.

I went around and found a few minor issues that could be a big problem if a storm were to hit.  These are easy to do now when I have free time, but would be stressful to complete when a storm is coming.

First up on the list, my screened in porch is getting old and one of the vertical supports broke loose.  It doesn’t hold the roof up, there are 4×4 posts for that, but buffeting winds would do a lot more damage with this part flapping around.  A few right angle brackets and metal screws secured it in place.


Second, I have a set of areca palms that have gotten too close to the house.  I probably shouldn’t have planted them that close in the first place, and might cut them out completely when they start pushing out the fence.  For now, I like them, but need them to be away from the house.  Again, under normal storms they aren’t a problem, but heavy winds could whip those fronds around enough to do real damage to the corner of the roof.


Last but not least my poor fence had another post shear off.  Not sure why they all happen on just this one side, but they do.  The left picture shows a distinct bend.  As it turns out the most bent post is actually rock solid, just not straight.  The one closer to the camera has broken off at the ground.  I left the broken post in place and sank another one next to it.  Everything is much more solid.  Thats it for now.  Time to enjoy a margarita and hope we have quiet season.