Monday, December 31, 2007

Shelf Building Extravaganza Day 6.

Day six saw the end of SBE, and lots and lots of toggle bolts.

The Kitchen before:
The Kitchen with completed shelves:
The dining nook before:
I worked all day on these shelves, installing the side braces and making sure that everything was level. Then I went to put in the shelves and discovered two things. There were only four shelves, not five, and they were all a bit too long.

I had to wait until Matt got home to help me shave on the ends of the shelves and in the meantime, I obsessed about what could have happened to the fifth shelf. Did it get cut into another size shelf? Did I just not cut one of that size? How could that be? I was so careful.

Matt came home and we cut the four shelves. I planned on getting a smaller piece of particle board and cutting a new shelf, but really, this was just troubling.

I started to clean everything up, and "oh there it is!" found the other shelf sitting in a different part of the house. We cut that one down and, FINISHED!
Now comes the much less exiting shelf painting extravaganza. I'm not really looking forward to that.

Tools. It helps to have a lot of tools. If you don't have a lot of tools, it helps to know someone with a lot of tools to borrow from. Below are all the tools I borrowed from my brother/Aunt Pat to get the job done. From the top:
Two ladders, two extension cords, two drills, drill bits, sander, eye goggles, hammer, level, square and four foot level.
Below are some of my own tools I used: level, hammer, two measuring tapes, needle nose pliers, a lot of pencils, hacksaw, extension cord, stud finder, screw divers, drill, drill bits.
It was a lot of work, but fun and I'm happy to have done it. It does limit my current conversational ability. "What have you been up to?" "Building shelves." "Oh."

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Shelf Building Extravaganza Day 5.

Day five dawned with sunny weather. It was a schizophrenic weather day. Sunny, then pouring rain, then sunny, then ice raining, then sunny, then just gray.

I put up the last two shelves in the bathroom. The shelves have to be attached to the supports, but other than that, these shelves are as done as they are going to be. I am still deciding what color to paint the bathroom. Right now, I'm leaning toward gray.
I moved on to the kitchen shelves. Luckily, even though I couldn't find studs in the long wall, there was something for the screws to grip onto. I didn't have to use toggle bolts on those boards, at least. Here are all the tools I was using for this stage of the project, conveniently located atop the freezer. Notice there are three drills. This project could be done with one drill, but the changing of bits would drive me crazy. I'm thankful that Chris let me borrow two of his drills. Which are also better than my drill, power-wise.
Here was the "duh" moment for today. When putting up the back brace, I would measure and make a line in the middle. Then, I would place the board right next to the line and put the level on top of the board. The level then covered my measurement and meant I had to not look at the measurement, or lose the level surface. I finally realized I could put the measurement to the right of where the level ended and see both the height of the board, and if it was level. Things were much easier after that.
I ran low on hardware, due to the fact that when I went back for more three inch toggle bolts there were none and I bought two inch toggle bolts which won't work with the combined thickness of the boards and the wall. So, I used what I had and put three back braces up for the kitchen shelves and had enough bolts to put up the side shelves on one shelf. So one shelf got done here.
Here is the dining room shelf area. This is the second most exciting area to put shelving for me. It's going to make life a lot easier.
I put up the back braces because there are studs there, then experimented with countersinking a hole for the side supports. By countersinking the hole, there was enough room to use the two inch toggle bolts. But by this time, it was time to clean up and go pick up Matt from the airport.
So ended day 5. Will day six be the final day of shelf building? Stay tuned.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Shelf Building Extravaganza Day 4.

Alas, Day 4 was not quite as enjoyable or productive as days 1, 2 & 3. Lessons were learned. The first was, I cut the shelves for inside the house a bit long, because the shelves in the sheds gaped a bit at the edges and I didn't like that. I figured we could sand off the 1/8 of an inch that was left and have a tight fit. It turns out that you can't really do that.

So Chris and I headed to the North Portland Tool Lending Library to see if we could get a table saw. Table saws, apparently are very good at shaving off tiny bits of things. While we were waiting in line, the two people in front of us checked out the two table saws. We ended up with this band saw and we both renewed our love for the band saw which neither I nor Chris had used since Junior High shop class. I got to work shaving tiny bits off of boards and Chris got to work indoors.
Mom (who was feeling better) got to work sanding.
Next problem. Two old chestnuts: 1) Measure twice, cut once. 2) When you assume, you make an ass out of you and me.

I had assumed (even though I knew better) that the 1 inch by 12 inch boards were actually 12 inches. They aren't. Instead, they are 3/4 by 11 1/4 due to cutting. I knew this. It's a famous trivia question from the genus edition. "What are the dimensions of a 2X4?" The answer is 1 1/2" by 3 1/2". Still, I blithely cut side brackets that were 12 inches long.

Because I didn't factor in that missing 3/4, the side supports for the pantry shelf were too long, a fact we only discovered after Chris plopped the board down. We aren't taking the sides off and cutting them to size because it means re-doing the toggle bolts which are a pain. Sigh. I'm going to leave it as a reminder to not assume and to measure twice (or even once) and cut once. I have a plan to make it look cool.
Pantry shelf before. Those are the two shelves that came with the house and inspired this whole project.
Pantry shelf after.
Moving onto the bathroom. Before:
I got started cutting sides down and Chris got to work using toggle/molly bolts to attach the braces to the wall. This area had no studs that I could find. He got two of four shelves up before we ended for the day.
I spent the rest of the day putting things back into the sheds. Bike shed before:
And completed bike shed. Yipee! Look at that storage. There's even a shelf for winter vegetables.
So ends day four.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Shelf Building Extravaganza Day 3.

Day three dawned with sun and Aunt Carol came over to help. Mom was supposed to come too, but she got sick. When Aunt Carol arrived, she first pounded in the nails that joined the shelves to the braces. I tried doing it, but I discovered that I have no talent for that. I kept bending the nails. While she was doing that, I went to work cutting more braces and after she finished nailing, she went to work sanding. There was a lot of sanding. It was very nice to have someone else do it.
Here she is pre-drilling the braces that will be attached with toggle bolts in the bathroom.

When we were done, we neatly stacked sets where they will go. Here are the bathroom shelves.
When Chris arrived he brought the lips, which were previously 1X4's that he cut on a table saw. They are a little bit bigger than 1X1 1/2's now, and they get attached to the front of the particle board shelves to increase their strength. Another tip from the wonderful Storage and Shelving Solutions book. The totally finished bike shed.
He then got to work on the garden/tool shed shelves which went up very quickly. Aunt Carol and I got to work hand sawing the peg board which you can see below the third shelf from the top. I will have a place to hang my tools!
Pretty soon, all that junk seen below, will be relocated onto the above shelves. I can't wait!
So we have 99% of the boards cut to fit, we have the majority of the boards sanded. Can we spend just one more day of Shelf Building Extravaganza and be finished? Tune in and see.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Shelf Building Extravaganza Day 2.

Day two dawned with warnings of a potential seven inches of snow in the West Hills. This was a bit worrisome, because it would have interfered with Chris coming over and helping with this whole project. Luckily, when I called, there was no snow where he was.

First, I cleaned out the sheds, which are shelf set one and two. This is the biking shed. It also holds our camping equipment and seasonal items. And luggage. Things actually stack very nicely in this shed. But shelves will help use the space in an even better manner.
This is the horrible garden/tool general house and yard work shed. It also has Matt's bike in it. This shed is so crowded, with everything on the floor, that I hate to go in it. I am most looking forward to fixing this shed.
It's a good thing Matt is out of town, because all items in both sheds, with the exception of the lawn mower and the cans of paint, are sitting on his side of the bed in our bedroom. I'll get them put back before he gets home. Anyway, bike shed, sans stuff.
We got the lumber and other supplies. Just in lumber, we got 15 lengths of 1X4X12, 2 lengths of 1X12X8, 4 sheets of particle board and 2 sheets of peg board. This all fit neatly in Chris' truck and we chugged home. At this point, the temperature had dropped and we had snowy rain. We unloaded into the living room and went out to eat.
Upon returning, we went to work on the particle board. That stuff is heavy! I have resolved to resume my weight training program. We cut it three sheets of it down to the correct sizes we needed for the shed shelves. Each shed has four shelves that are 24 inches deep and one shelf that is 12 inches deep. We are both good cutters, with nice straight lines, but cutting this time was much louder than when we were out in the yard. I remembered too late that I didn't have ear plugs in.
My wonderful Storage and Shelving Solutions book suggested finding the studs and then marking where they are with masking tape. So smart. It was much easier to locate them when there is a tape guide. Chris had to counter sink the holes to get the screws to lock into our metal studs, (I really hate metal studs) but I had a counter sinking bit left over from my building my loft bed when I lived in South Boston. So that was convenient. Here is the first back brace. It was soon joined by two side braces.
And then the shelf plopped down on top.
And, boom! Five shelves where there were none. I cut shelving brackets while Chris installed the shelves. We didn't bother to sand these shelves, nor will I paint them. These are working shelves, built for practice and utility, rather than aesthetics.

Thus ended day two.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Shelf Building Extravaganza, Day 1

I've been talking about Shelf Building Extravaganza for at least a month and now it is finally time to do it. Shelf Building Extravaganza is building sets of shelving for six different areas in our house. My thought was, why not do all six sets at once? The theory is the same, so once we do one set, we can apply the knowledge to the other five. So it begins.

This was my basic inspiration. This is one of the two existing shelves that came with the house. Basically, there is a back brace, and two side braces and the shelf is plopped down on top. First came the planning.
I measured all the areas I wanted to put shelves in and then drew in a rough sketch of what it would look like with the shelves. Each set got a different sheet of paper. This one is the dining nook plans.
I then re-measured everything and printed some one-inch graph paper. (I love the Internet. I didn't have to go to the store and buy some graph paper, I just googeled it and printed.) Then I made a final plan. To the right of the drawing, I listed the total number of lumber needed for each part--shelf, back, sides. To the left I listed all the supplies I needed for this particular set of shelves. This one has a long list because I plan to put a grow light in so that took a lot of extra supplies.
I also sketched out how the shelves would be cut out of the particle board so I would know how much particle board to buy.
I transferred all my left hand lists to a single sheet of paper
And then transferred those numbers to an excel spreadsheet.
I then put all my plans in a notebook and walked over to our local Lowes (where we had gift cards) and spent an hour and a half locating all the things on my list. This was a great idea. I will always do this for projects from now on. It is so much less stressful to just wander the aisles with a notebook, rather than trying to make decisions when you have a full cart of lumber. Plus, I went home and slept on it and realized I had forgotten things.

I came home and added a column with the aisle numbers, and a column for the prices. I then got a rough total of what things would cost.
And that pretty much took about eight hours of the first day.

New (to us) Chairs!

On Sundays, I am a youth adviser for YRUU at church. Last week, we unearthed the pool table from the construction clutter that had surrounded it all year and we also unearthed these chairs. Dana, my boss, let me take them home for my dining room table. I love the colors!

We used to have four of the wooden chairs, but one broke and one is on its last legs (hee hee). With the two remaining and the four new chairs, we have a full set for our table.
Thanks Dana. Thanks also to Jan and Aunt Pat for hauling them home. And Matt for unloading them.

Christmas Dinner (with a bit of breakfast)

We ate well on Christmas day. Here is the English Pork Pie I made for Christmas Breakfast. It was delicious and filling and I served it with three kinds of mustard. I got the recipe from O, the Oprah Magazine's December issue. They don't have a link to it on the site that I can find. There was also french toast, fruit and mimosas.

Onto dinner. I made Fruit salad with Hot and Sour dressing.
Aunt Carol made Steamed Vegetables
Kelly brought rolls.
Mom, Aunt Carol and I made cheesy potatoes.
Aunt Pat made oysters for Chris, who didn't have the main meat course.
I made squash wreaths.
Aunt Pat made individual beef wellingtons.
And we all gathered around the table to eat.
Me, Lori, Mom, Aunt Pat, Chris, Kelly, Aunt Carol.

There was also blackberry pie and Christmas cookies for dessert, but I forgot to take a picture of those.