Friday, September 30, 2011

2011 Woodstock Wood Show - FAIL!!!

Today I was very excited as it was the opening day of the annual Woodstock Wood Show. This event has been touted in the past as the "Biggest Woodworking Show in North America". Not this year.
There was a serious lack of EVERYTHING at this year's show. You wouldn't have known or expected it with the $12.00/person gate admission. In past years it was a full day event for me and even a 2 day venture sometimes. This year we were in and out in just over 2 hours and that was looking at some things twice.
I have no idea what happened with the organizing of this event but it was absolutely terrible this year. There were no big name vendors - DeWalt, or Milwaukee, although there was a SMALL Bosch and Freud display.
I can't even convey my disappointment. Next year I'll check with someone else who attends before I fork over 12 bucks.

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Closet Doors

The finishing touch to our bedroom makeover is a set of glass paneled bi-fold doors. We had to custom order these from Home Depot and we chose oak to match the trim in the bedroom. Regular pine doors would have cost us about $400.00. But no, we wanted the OAK deluxe version so we spent $1015.00 dollars.

The doors come from Milette, a Canadian company which is a nice bonus. We ordered the Ovolo moulding on the French Bi-folds model 305HP with Clear Chinchilla glass. In OAK. For the price we paid I ASSUMED the doors were solid oak. But oh no - it's some cheap ass veneer over even cheaper ass knotty pine that's split at the ends. Are you FUCKING KIDDING ME????? That's what I paid a thousand HARD EARNED dollars for?

Because the doors are "special order" we cannot return them. No where at Home Depot did they say or indicate that these were a veneered door. No where on the Milette website do they indicate that these are veneered doors. Basically we were ripped off and duped by Home Depot and Milette. These doors are not worth HALF of what we paid for them. I could have made SOLID OAK doors for MUCH less money.

AGAIN - CAVEAT EMPTOR! You need to ask every possible question BEFORE you buy because no one is going to tell you that they are going to SCREW YOU OVER and then refuse to refund your money.

Milette - I hope this rant costs you 1000 times what you stole from me! Home Depot just lost a VALUABLE customer too.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Shelf Portrait

Summer is half over and I an STILL not finished the shelf. Due to this stagnation I have done NOTHING else either. WHY I am having such a woodworking block with this project I have NO idea. The day it leaves my shop will be a very happy day indeed.

Freehand routing is HARD! I went slow, but following lines that were near impossible to see is like swimming in the dark. You have NO idea where you are. I used the small Trend T4 router, and then followed up with a Dremel tool in a Dremel plunge accessory to try to sand out the rough spots. That didn't work worth a damn either. I think the writing on the shelf says it all.

The wood is hard maple. The plan is to fill the routed areas with glass beads and coloured sand and then put a clear epoxy over the whole thing. So far the lettering is about 1/2" deep and I am REALLY hoping that's deep enough.

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Nervous Breakdown Shelf

A colleague at work asked if I could build them a shelf. It was to be made out of maple, be 12" x 57" x 1 1/2" and have 3 matching shelf brackets. They also wanted some lettering routed into the top of it. Sounds pretty straight forward right? Not in MY world!!!

The widest piece of maple I could find was 7 inches wide and 2 inches thick. No big deal, I could just laminate two 6" pieces together. Well I could have if the wood wasn't already twisted and bowed and didn't twist and bow even further the more I milled it. Okay, easy fix, I'll just make four 3 inch pieces and laminate them together. By the time I got the twists and bows out I am down to 1 1/4" thick MAYBE, and 4 pieces, none of which are the same width. I haven't even laminated them yet and I am ready to either start over or throw in the towel. I can't imagine what fun I will have when I try to router the lettering into this.

My jointer seemed to be the biggest problem. Initially it was making things more curved then straight. I did a little bit of fine tuning and managed to solve that problem just as a nick in one or 2 of the blades reared their ugly heads.

I have read that if you try to run a bowed board through a planer you will just continue to make the bow worse. I can now attest this is absolutely TRUE. You MUST have a rock solid sled and have the piece wedged perfectly or you are wasting your time at the planer. Unless you are trying to make arches, in which case go for it!

Somehow between the planer and the jointer and a whole lot of extremely fine cuts I managed to flatten the boards. The shelf will now be 1" thick because I will still have to plane the shelf once more after it is laminated. Of course I couldn't edge joint the wood because of the nicks in the jointer blades so I had to joint them on the table saw with Freud Combination 50 tooth blade. I did get some very nice smooth edges, but not without a lot of trials and tribulation and a little sanding and hence the different width boards.

Somehow I will finish this shelf. I don't think I will be charging any fee for it. I may even have to bite the bullet and pay for the wood out of my own pocket. If my colleague takes it home and burns it, I won't bat an eye.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Black Hole Wardrobe

Of course we couldn't stop at the closet. Once it was in, the entire bedroom had to have a makeover. It all started with a shopping trip to look for a new dresser or bureau because I am tired of fighting with the drawers on the spouse's "antiques". It took 2 days to find something we could agree on. But instead of just a dresser we bought a whole bedroom ensemble. We expected to have to wait weeks for delivery but we were informed that everything except the head board, foot board and rails would be delivered on Friday. This was late Wednesday afternoon.

We had planned to paint the bedroom AT SOME POINT, just not right AT THAT MOMENT, but with the furniture on it's way we stopped at Home Depot to pick up some paint.

I have been trying to fill the void left by the unavailability of Pratt and Lambert paint in my area by trying different brands of paint to see if I could find anything on par with the performance and unprimed one coat coverage I had been spoiled with by Pratt and Lambert. CIL, Benjamin Moore, Behr, and countless other brands always left me disappointed and doing two coats or a primer coat and then one or all too often 2 more coats to get proper coverage. For the heck of it, I thought I'd give Martha Stewart's brand a try. But I pretty much resigned myself to two coats before I even started. The kicker was we had to paint the ceiling AND the walls BEFORE Friday! That meant Thursday would be paint marathon day.

Our bedroom is NOT small. Even though we got up early, and both worked like troopers, at 8:30 that night we had only completed one coat on both the walls and ceiling. We had taken down the light fixtures as we had already bought new ones to replace them, so we were working by lamp light. It was impossible to tell what the paint would look like in the morning. With fingers crossed and after two quick cups of coffee, we opened the curtains, turned on two lamps and surveyed our handy work.

To say I am impressed with this paint is an understatement. Move over Pratt and Lambert, I have found my new favourite paint! Thank you Martha Stewart for such a HIGH QUALITY product! No primer, one coat, absolute smooth even coverage AND it's eco friendly, no smell AT ALL and washes up easily with water alone. It will take time to judge it on wear and durability, but if it lasts like it goes on, it's a total WINNER! The walls are now a beautiful "Ice Rink" blue and the ceiling is "Opal". The pictures don't do it justice.

Fresh paint, a custom closet, new ceiling and table lighting, a trendy bedroom outfit, and a couple of art deco carpets and we have a luxurious boudoir!

It's a shame to use it for sleeping in! But after that marathon week, I need the REST!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Marathon Project Completion

Finally, after 4 months, we have finished the master closet! There has been some serious blood sweat and tears that have gone into this project and there were many MANY times I was sure it would never be finished. Actually I still have to make about 4 more shelves for the shoe racks.

I have lost track of all the mistakes - there were LOTS. Stopping and starting with days or weeks in between will do that. But as we did the final assembly it all fell into place incredibly well.

The biggest mistake we made on this project was tearing out the old closet and turning the house into a war zone before we had even cut a board. You have no idea how much stuff you have in a closet until you have to store it somewhere else in the house for 4 months.

Now of course we have to paint the bedroom. And then there will be new lighting needed to match the decor. And of course new curtains and bedding. Why does every project become a money pit?

While the project list is still LONG, my only plan for the near future is putting the house back in order. I took this week off work to try to get this finished and because it was a success I think I'll reward myself with a couple of actual DAYS OFF!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

When You Just Want to Scream

My life has just passed the point of insanity. Work is keeping me very busy. The spouse has been laid off/on call so I am forced to work 6-7 days a week to keep up with the bills. Going from working 2 days a week to working 7 days a week is bad enough, but trying to get other things done it near impossible.

We started working on the new closet back in the beginning of January and here we are at the end of February and it is no where near finished. Today we FINALLY started staining the closet parts, but of course that has now turned into a total disaster. We bought some SAMAN brand all-in-one sealer, stain and varnish. We thought we'd give it a try because it's made in Canada, it's low VOC, it has a short drying time and it's odourless. It's also the ABSOLUTE WORST SHIT I have ever used! Now perhaps we just got a bad batch but this stuff has the consistency of runny pudding. That would actually be runny SAND pudding because it is VERY gritty. It separates in a matter of minutes. And it dries before you get it off the brush!

Any NORMAL person would have took one look at it and thrown it out. But no, we had to at least try it because despite it looking like crap we liked the colour, a nice Brazilian Cherry. So this morning we got almost half of the closet parts stained. The stuff looks like bad MAC-TAC when it dries. The brush strokes do not flatten out because it is so thick and dries so fast. I was so disgusted when I went back out to look at what we had done, I have decided to SAND IT ALL OFF and start over with some REAL stain like MINWAX!

This is no easy feat because the I am sanding very thin veneer. Lets just say the closet will have a serious "distressed" look when it's done. It will probably take me three days to UNDO what we did in about 5 hours this morning. But I don't care, the stuff is GARBAGE and I am not letting all our hard work be coated in SHIT. CAVEAT EMPTOR - do NOT buy this stuff!

Being on the Union Executive at work has proved to be a lot of work and sometimes quite frustrating. If you ever thought big corporations were heartless cold entities, you don't know the half of it. While I hope it never happens to ANYONE and I certainly don't condone it, it's getting easier to see why some people go "postal".

And to top it all off, today we went out shopping and discovered that someone rammed the back end of our new truck. It looks like about $4000.00 damage. Just what I needed. NOT!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Sign the Petition!

The government is allowing the telecom and cable companies to rape your wallet over internet charges. We need to stop them!! Please sign the petition!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

A Really New Year

We got the Delta Lathe for Christmas and a set of 6 Economy Turning Tools from Lee Valley. Other then turning the lathe on to see if it worked nothing else has happened yet. The pen mandrel I had for the MasterCraft lathe won't fit in the new Delta. There will be a lot more lathe accessory shopping in the near future.

I attended a lathe tool sharpening class at Lee Valley yesterday and it was a bit of an eye opener. It looks like we are going to have to invest in some sort of sharpening jig. They were recommending the Wolverine Jig in the class. It's not unreasonably priced, but it won't work with our 6" bench grinder. We'll have to invest in an 8" grinder. More money! At least I won't be wasting my time trying to freehand sharpen tools anymore.

The current project is a couple of quickie book shelves for the spouse's mother. Nothing fancy here, just some laminated pine and pocket hole joints. They are getting a maple stain and a couple of coats of polyurethane. They worked out to be about the same cost as the cheap melamine particle board shelves sold everywhere now. Plain or not, solid wood is much nicer.

We have started on the master closet as well. We started as in bought the wood and drew up the plans. I got some 3/4" birch veneer particle core sheets at Home Depot for $34.00 a sheet. When I realized what a steal that was I went back to buy more. Either the sale had ended or someone realized the mistake because they were $66.00 a sheet. DAMN!!!! I am kicking my butt now. Once the book shelves are out of the shop the cutting begins!

We had a little hot tub problem I had to deal with too. Right before Christmas the heater unit quit. Our local spa store was closed over the holidays so I finally got a new $500.00 spa heater ordered right after the new year. I was going to get the local spa technician to install it only because my luck with anything to do with plumbing has been less then stellar. It came with installation instructions, and a fairly terse waning about not installing it without a certification in electrical. The spa tech wanted $55.00 for the service call plus $70.00/hr. to install it and he figured it would be close to 2 hours. He also wanted me to get an electrician to do the electrical work. This would have added $300.00 and change to the cost. WTF?????? I was so pissed off I just installed it myself. It wasn't exactly rocket science. I hooked up the 230V power, put a new plug end on the pump cord, plugged it in, plugged in the light and VOILA! It all works. BITE ME R&S Pool and Spa! I am still dumbfounded by that whole 70.00/hr. thing. WTF?????? Needless to say we are taking our spa business elsewhere.

If you are looking for spa equipment I highly recommend Cedar Tubs Direct in Canada. My order was processed and shipped promptly and my email inquiries were answered right away. They also had excellent prices.

Being back at work through the week seems to be agreeing with me. There is less shop/project time, but I am feeling much better. It is much easier to recuperate from 8 hours then it is from a 12 hour shift. Retirement is still a bit away.