Wednesday, August 10, 2016


Seems like every time I write about a little progress on the house, I want to start with the word "Finally..." I have to keep telling myself that I'm retired and that "Mañana" is a perfectly acceptable word here in Sábado.

One of the things I signed up for was covering the 6x6 porch posts with bungalow-style tapered columns on stone bases. The stone work was easy - just a tube of special construction adhesive and some fairly careful stacking.

The columns were a little more involved.  Even though the inspector is gone, I wanted to stick to the fire standards and make them out of Hardie Panel - the cement-based board used for the siding, battery box, etc.  This means using a special diamond blade (I hit a screw with the first blade so had to buy a new one).  I made a jig for the table saw to miter the tapered sides...

...installed some centering blocks...
...laid a bead of glue on each joint (Note to self: next time pay attention to the label and wear gloves.  This is some hella tenacious glue that will require exfoliation to get rid of on my hands.)


...and added some home-made clamps.  Only made enough clamps for one column, so I followed up with some reinforced strapping tape so I could move the clamps on to the next column.


A bit further down on the Mañana list is rails for the porch.  This is what I'm considering putting between the columns:

The only progress I've made on the kitchen so far is the range hood. I bought an insert and built the hood out of wood, painted to match the cabinets.


Part of the reason I haven't been getting much done in the shop is that it has just been so darn hot, and the shop building is uncooled and uninsulated. So when Bro-in-law Danny came to visit for a week, our first project was installing a swamp cooler.  It's a nice one that hangs on the side of the building, and I got a great deal on it because it was an unused return in a beat-up box.

Being an evaporation water cooler and not an actual air conditioner means that it's very kind to my batteries (about 300 watts full blast) but it's also not as effective as an AC.  Especially if humidity is high.  It does the job though, and makes it much more pleasant to work in the shop now.

Because it blows straight in, I added some vanes to spread the cool air around a little bit.

What else? Oh, I freshened up the finish on the ole 1972 grandfather clock and set it in its place of honor.  This was the prototype of my first professional woodworking, which led to a short career as a clock builder, and a book, which led to a career in publishing, which led to a job as a tech writer at Qualcomm, which led to the stock options that made this whole dream come true.

Speaking of columns, here's a rough sketch of what I have in mind for the colonnade between the living room and the "hall."

And I now have a door bell for you to ring when you come visit me!

I'll be watching for you!