Monday, October 21, 2013

The Bar

It took MUCH longer than I planned but the bar finally is finally DONE! There were a LOT of mistakes made, I won't torture myself and point them out, but overall I am reasonably happy with it and it functions perfectly. The pictures from my crappy Canon camera DO NOT do it justice. It really is much nicer looking up close.
 It was built from spalted wormy maple and maple veneer ply. Oak was my first choice but I got a great deal on all the maple so maple it is! We finished it with an Early American stain and two coats of satin poly.

I found a bar online that was similar then I just made up my own plans in Google Sketch Up. Now I need to build some proper stools for it!

Friday, May 24, 2013

A Good Day...FInally!

The weather has been putting the kibosh on building anything. I need to plane and cut lumber outside because I have no room in the shop. This is a really sad thing. As it is when I do get it all prepped I will have to assemble things somewhere else in the house. This is NOT a good thing either. But for the moment that's where it's at.
I have been working on the new media center PC in the meantime. Again I am reminded of why I got out of the computer business. 31 days after I purchased all the parts the MSI Twin Frozer HD 7850 video card FAILED! I was livid because of course you can't return items to Tiger Direct after 30 days. But I took it back anyway, trying very hard not to explode as I talked to the technician. They were actually very good about it (perhaps the smoke coming from my ears and the blood running from my eyes had something to do with that) and simply exchanged the card for me. I got the 4 TB Seagate SATA III hard drive and a SanDisk 120GB Ultra Plus SSD drive installed as well. The performance has gone from 5.9 to 7.7 on the Windows Experience scale. SWEET!
I have been loading music and TRYING to fix my music library but it`s not easy. Downloading music has it`s caveats such as bad metadata, bad spelling, and bad quality. Every time I make changes to my library I have to update it in SONOS until which things in Sonos don`t work like they are supposed to. I have almost 20,000 songs, most of which I ripped (improperly) from my 300+ CD collection. I have downloaded several FLAC collections as well - again not always properly tagged. I have been scouring the web for software to help me fix it all. Media Monkey was highly recommended but I had to do most of the changes manually. Then I found Jaikoz Audio Tagger. This software is a TOTAL ass saver! The auto correct feature works like magic for fixing tags and metadata including artwork. The trial version will only let you save 20 songs per session, which would be fine if you have a small library, but it works so well I bought it after trying it out on about 100 files. It will still take some time to fix it all - but this software ROCKS!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Finally Making Furniture!

The rec room is no longer "wrecked" but our bank account has been destroyed! We have most of the renovations done and are in the process of putting things back. Despite having knee replacement surgery right in the middle of the reno, we managed to keep going. Now I finally get to start making furniture!
The renovations included a new Ceilume PVC drop ceiling, 17 new StandardPro LED down lights, a new pendant light for over the new bar I am going to build, new Drop and Done vinyl flooring for the bar area, new Shaw stain master carpet for the rest of the room, new Graber wood venetian blinds and a fresh coat of paint. We also got some beautiful new Arts and Crafts Industries mission style furniture. The bank breakers were a new Sonos sound system and a new Media Center computer.
We are very happy with the choices we made, and despite some trying moments, we did pretty much all the work ourselves except for patching the ceiling drywall when we removed the old fluorescent lights and installing the carpet. The spouse got a major education in wiring because I wasn't able to go up and down the ladder to install the lights. We certainly saved a ton of money doing it ourselves. But it's hell when your whole house is destroyed for 3 - 4 months.
The new Sonos system is kick ass! We got the Playbar, sub woofer, 2 play 3's and the bridge. We wanted wireless and portability and Sonos delivers that and much more. The media center computer was supposed to just go away, but with this Sonos system there is so much more we can do with the computer that it needed an upgrade. Instead we just went with a whole new system. It's not your "normal" media center PC - it's housed in a Cooler Master HAF XB case and includes a ASUS M5A99FX Pro R2.0 motherboard, AMD FX 8320 Black Edition 3.5GHz processor, Kingston HyperX DDR3 1600, and an MSI Twin Frozer R7850 video card running Windows 7. There are a few more goodies going into it in a couple of weeks.
The 3 pieces of furniture I need to build have been revised, revised and re-revised. The plans are still not finalized for the wall unit and the guitar cabinet but the bar plans are done and I will be starting it next week.
The knee is doing well and I am so happy to finally be out of agony with it. I go back to work in 3 weeks. Hopefully I'll at least get the bar finished by then.


Thursday, February 28, 2013

Renovation Madness

If you ever want to drive yourself crazy, plan a renovation where you will try to hire people to do the work for you. Being someone with a skilled trade ticket I can appreciate a professional wanting to be paid a fair price for their time, skills and knowledge. The problem is a FAIR price. When you have flooring installers charging by the square foot and electricians charging per light, things can get out of hand in a hurry. For example the flooring installer wants $6.00/square foot to install tongue and groove engineered hardwood. Yes it will require gluing the boards together along with the cutting and fitting, but my rec room is 570 square feet so that means it will cost me $3420.00 JUST for the installation. It's a job that can be done by one person in two days maximum, and that would be a snail's pace. It's basically a square room. Even if I paid him $50.00/ hour for two 8 hour days that is only $800.00. There is something really wrong here. At his $6/sq.ft. rate I would be paying him over $200.00/hour. WTF????
The electrician wants $125-150/light. I supply the lights (fixtures and bulbs). I need 18 to 20 lights installed so I am looking at $2500.00 MINIMUM again JUST for installation. OK he will supply the wire. I can buy 100 feet of wire for under $100.00. Again this should take no more than 2 days at a snail's pace so this guy is making $150.00/hour. How do these people actually get work charging these ridiculous fees?
We talked to a general contractor about putting up a drywall ceiling to replace our drop ceiling. It's only about 10 sheets of drywall. It will require a bit of strapping as well. First thing he says is "I don't do much taping and mudding but I could probably do it." We asked him about the flooring and he said "I have never installed one of those floors but I'll give it a shot." Sounds like a crap shoot to me. I can't afford to buy flooring for this guy to "experiment" with. And if he can't do basic drywall work, what kind of contractor is he?
So it looks like we will once again have to take hammer in hand and do it ourselves. I am waiting for a surgery date to have my left knee replaced and my right knee is not far behind. The flooring seems pretty intimidating right now, but I really think the raping of my wallet by these people is far more painful.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Late Night Drawing

It's almost 3:00 a.m. and I just finished designing a guitar display cabinet in SketchUp. I read the WoodWorker's Guide To Sketchup tutorial and now I can actually design things in SketchUp like they would be built instead of just a picture representation of what I am trying to do. I still have LOTS to learn but I have gained some great new skills. That's a good thing because I have a lot of furniture bulding to do in the next little while. It's rec room makeover time.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Playing Catch Up

It's been well over a year since I have posted to this blog so it's time for a little bit of catching up. I went back to work full time in 2012 so wood working and computer games went to the back burner. Surprisingly there were still some major projects that got done last year.
We did a huge make over in the kitchen. It went from this:
To this:
We had to move the microwave, install a new range hood and build a cabinet in the corner.

Matching the wood and the patina was much harder than building the cabinet. It's not perfect but damn close.
We also took down our old rotting wooden deck:

and had a new PVC deck put up:
But we let the professionals handle that.
We also managed to get that utility closet finished finally!

In September we went on an Alaskan cruise up the inside passage. It was actually our "honeymoon" trip although we didn't get married until October 13th.
The trip was fantastic! This is us on Meade Glacier.
The wedding was perfect. My entire family was there to help us celebrate.
And by the time that was over Christmas was creeping up on us. Since we had pretty much blown the budget for the next ten years with all the years events, we decided to MAKE Christmas gifts in the form of end grain cutting boards. We didn't get nearly as many done as we planned but we got a few completed in time.
For Christmas we bought ourselves a Jet 16/32 Drum Sander. It was an early present to help with the cutting boards. It sure made sanding them a HECK of a lot easier!
I only got one computer game for Christmas. My wish list included Black Ops II, Far Cry 3, and Battlefield 3, the latter one being the one I actually got. I installed it on my big computer but I think that was a mistake. I need to start using my gaming laptop to play new games. It has the better video card and processor. I could upgrade my big computer, but it really is becoming redundant. And there is NO way it will be able to run Crysis 3.
2012 was a pretty big and busy year. I am back on weekend work for 3 months, so hopefully we can get some woodworking projects done. Maybe even get the rest of those cutting boards made!