Monday, March 23, 2015

Steps 2

I built step number 2 today, starting with the base. I know it's hard to believe (even I have a hard time believing it), but I built it right the first time.

Before I screw the deck boards to the top of a base, I drill screw holes in each of the boards, and I hang nails between the boards to keep them evenly spaced. Once all the boards are in their proper place, I screw them down.

Here is the step all done, and the three other completed steps, too.

You may be wondering why I didn't rush to set the steps in place in front of the JayBee's entryway. I just know that as soon as I place the steps in place, it will snow up a storm, and I'll worry about the plow guy crashing into my new steps. I think I'll just wait a bit.

Also see:
Steps 1
Steps 3

Here is another project I have been working on: I have added three layers so far of protective exterior varnish to two chairs I plan to use on the JayBee's deck. I acquired two of these antique wooden theater chairs over twenty years ago. They are really comfortable but, in all this time, I have never used them because they need to be bolted to the floor and I never felt I had the right place for them. Now I plan to bolt them down to the deck in front of the JayBee. I know that adding any finish to them reduces their value as antiques, but there is no point in using them outdoors without making sure they have a good protective finish on them. I will also sew covers to use on them when they're folded up and not in use.

Of course I have not been able to do any staining or finishing outdoors; it's been way too cold for that. I've done it all indoors, but I took this chair outside to take pictures of it in the sun.

One of the chairs still has its seat number painted on its back.

Even though I have stained hundreds of shingles and the stained ones are piled up everywhere, the stack still waiting to be stained is daunting.

It was another frigid, windy day again today. My toes were frozen by the time I gave up and went indoors. George is pretending it's spring. (At least that's what I'm telling myself. He is displaying some signs of confusion these days, so I hope he's not staying out too long because he can't figure out when he should come inside.)

I love how the wind is ruffling George's fur in this next shot.

This next photo also shows some of the housewrap repair I performed yesterday.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Plan for Deck and Steps (Steps 1)

I know I have been remiss with my postings. Sorry about that; I just haven't been in the mood to post. I have been continuing to work along...

I have decided on the layout for the deck and entry steps for the JayBee. The four larger pieces in the drawing below are the deck sections that are already built (and currently in use in front of the old house). I won't move them and the planters into place until I'm done working on the front of the JayBee. Until then, I'll use only the steps (numbered 1-3 in the drawing). Directly in front of the entryway, I'll set number 3 on the bottom, then 2 on top of that, and one of the 1s on top of that. (The other number 1 piece will be stored until the deck pieces are put into place. At that time, there will be two sets of steps leading to the deck, as in the drawing.)

Construction of the steps: The first thing I needed to do was cut the pressure-treated underpinnings for the steps. I really dislike working with pressure-treated wood but I think it makes the most sense for this part of the project. It has been frigid cold, and I think we must have set records for crazy strong winds, but we have had enough sun that I set up to cut wood outside.

After all the pressure-treated pieces were cut.

Here are some of the cedar decking boards--all cut, sanded, and stained.

Below is the base of step number 3. I built this three times! When I set the deck boards on top of the base after the first time I built it, the base was too long. Oops! I carefully figured out how much shorter I needed to make the middle three boards. I dismantled the base, re-cut the three pieces, and re-assembled the base. It was still too long! Oh my goodness, I really can make my life difficult sometimes. I had to dismantle the base again, cut the middle boards again, and re-assemble it all again. Finally, after the third time, I ended up with a base that was just right.

At this point, the deck boards installed just fine.

Next, I built one of the number 1 step bases. I only had to build it once! Funny how that made it all go so much quicker.

And with the cedar decking boards added...

Then I made another number 1 step. Those of you that are extremely observant may notice that these decking boards are slightly different from the ones I used on the other bases. It's true; the boards I bought recently don't exactly match the boards I already had. Close enough; they will have to do.

Tomorrow I hope to assemble the number 2 step.

Also see:
Steps 2
Steps 3

While I was working on assembling the steps today and the wind was howling, I caught sight of something flapping outside the JayBee door. I went outside to figure out what it was. The housewrap had torn in the wind. Most of the staples had pulled free along the entire bottom piece of housewrap, all the way to the southwest corner of the house. So, I took a detour to refasten the housewrap to the house and tape up the tear.

Boring, but important: I have been continuing to stain shingles.

The cats have been spending a little more time outside. They are as eager for spring to get here as I am. Check out who is sitting on top of the compost bin. If there wasn't still snow everywhere, George would be in stealth mode; we would never even see him in a photo like this.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Spring is Inching Its Way Here

Spring is trying to make some headway around here, but it's slow going. The snowbanks appear to have lost about 18" of height but, since the temperatures remain mostly below freezing, I think there is more evaporating than melting going on.

I have had to clean off the roof again. Just love the view of the JayBee from up here.

I love how far into the woods I can see this time of year. Best enjoy it now; once the trees leaf out, these views will be gone.

Check out this snow sculpture. Each new snowstorm created its own layer.

Today I actually see pavement in the driveway. It's been months since I last saw pavement.

Even the cats are hibernating a bit less.

I am still staining shingles every day. They are stacking up all over.

I have other projects ready to roll--like, for example, the closet wall for the JayBee. I need the snow to be gone so I can move a bunch of stuff out of the JayBee--to give me room to work in there. I'm getting impatient. Any time now, Spring!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Sometimes It's the Simple Things

Ever since I installed the door on the JayBee, I have worried about the door crashing into the loft joist when the door is open. Today I purchased a door stop. It took less than five minutes to install it.

Such a simple detail. But it makes me smile. Now the door won't smash into the joist. (I will continue to worry about smashing the door glass with a tool or lumber, but that's another thing.)