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It’s done

Wednesday, July 24th, 2019

Last night, we spent our first night in a couple weeks in our own bed. (While we were finishing the bookcase, the bedroom was a temporary workshop so we slept outside when weather permitted and in the guest room when not.)

The work is finally done now, and all the books are unpacked and on the shelves. I couldn’t be happier with the end result.

And going through and organizing all the books I haven’t seen in 10 years was fun too!

New woodworking project

Monday, June 10th, 2019

For a long time, we’ve planned to add more built-in bookcases to the bedroom to accommodate all my books still in storage. Part of this plan was for a tricky-to-build corner bookcase.

Brad and I designed this together, but he did the hard work of figuring out the exact dimensions and how to cut and assemble the pieces.

Once that got done, we had to figure out where to finish it. It is very heavy, and I was nervous about moving it after the finish work was done. It was hard to lift — what if we dropped it? It also has an awkward shape and weight distribution. So we decided to move it from the workshop to the bedroom (in the other house) and to finish it there.

Thinking about how to move it, we talked briefly about who we knew who might help. It’s a very short list here when you take account for people’s age and ability, as well as willingness. While we were thinking about that, I suggested we move it with the truck. That worked well.

Here it is in place,  but unfinished and without the final base and cap. Now the project is pretty much in my court to do the finishing. There will also be another shorter bookcase next to it (not the one shown here). Stay tuned for more pics.

New farm table

Sunday, August 28th, 2016

A few of you might remember back in May when I said we were starting a new project. Today it is complete! A new farm table.

It is almost 10 feet long and capable of seating 12. It was a challenging project because it is so large. (Have you ever seen that scene in the movie where the woman sets a Thanksgiving turkey down on the table and the whole table collapses taking the entire dinner with it? That was on my mind.) Because it is so large (and very heavy), we mostly built it in place.

We built this out of large Ponderosa pine planks that we got for this purpose when we built our doors. (Yes, we’ve been holding them for a long time!) There were some significant challenges in the construction and lots of planing, sawing, drilling, clamping, and sanding.

I always wanted a table like this, and in fact, designed the dining space in our house for it. (The chandelier we got looked a little ridiculous over the small table we had before, but now it’s just right!) I’m very happy with how this turned out. Can’t wait to see it surrounded by people and filled with good food!


Working on a new project

Sunday, May 29th, 2016

Stay tuned for more details as this takes shape.


Tile inlay

Sunday, February 16th, 2014

I’ve been working on a project to learn how to inlay tile into wood. I’m pretty sure this isn’t the best way to do it, but here’s what I did.

First, I marked off the area where the inlay would go and cut the edges with a utility knife.


Then I used a router to take out most of the wood in the inlay area (but didn’t go all the way to the edge).


Next I used a chisel to remove the rest of the wood to the edge. This still left a fair amount of rough wood though, so after that I used a Dremel to take out more.



Finally, I sanded it out, stained and varnished. Here’s the final product:


It was a lot of work, and the results aren’t perfect, but like most things, I’ll probably get better as I do more of this.

Looking like a workshop

Friday, January 31st, 2014

This is the old spare bedroom/laundry room/storage room in Tumbleweed. We’re working on finishing a lot of cabinet doors here now.


The post post

Tuesday, December 24th, 2013

It is almost five years to the day since we moved here.

And we now have finished (“finished” being a relative term) the main house and moved in. Hurray!

Of course, there are still things to do, but we are through all the big stuff, and the house is quite liveable.

Here’s Brad enjoying our first evening after moving in.


And here’s how the kitchen counters and bar turned out.

It has been a long haul getting to this point. It took almost exactly a year longer than I’d hoped (yes, I know; everyone told me it would), but I’m glad we took the extra time to do all the little things we really wanted to do with the house. After all, we’ll likely be here a long time.

I am amazed that we actually built this house. Then, on the other hand, when someone says, “How amazing!,” I think, “Not really. Anyone could do it. You just put one foot in front of the other.” True that.

I am always gratified by how well Brad and I work together, and building this house together was just another example.

Happy holidays everyone! We’ll be enjoying ours with a little relaxation and solitude.


Sunday, October 6th, 2013


Why this is taking so long

Sunday, September 29th, 2013

So this week were were planning to finish the bathroom. One day for the glass block wall. One day for the cabinets under the sink.


The glass block went great. Then we started to assemble the cabinets, and I had an idea. They don’t show much so we were going to make them quickly and easily out of mostly plywood with some nice finished facing. Then I thought about how nice they’d look if they were made out of a higher quality finished wood (our ceiling boards/baseboard wood) that was tongue and grooved together. Also, I thought this would be a nice way to learn some cabinetmaking skills that we might use later in the kitchen. (We still haven’t decided if we are buying cabinets, which would be faster, but more expensive and less nice, or making them, which would be time consuming.)

Four days later, we have a little less than half of the cabinet done.


BUT it’s beautiful. And we’ve learned some things. And they’re really more just what I wanted.

Many decisions like this have led to a house that has a lot more custom work and is much much nicer and has more long-lasting craftsmanship than we’d originally planned. And has taken a year or so longer. I think it’s worth it in the long run. But that’s why it’s taking so long.

Book nook

Monday, March 25th, 2013

For a long time, I’ve had a plan to build a few built-in bench seats to be book nooks for reading. The first one is now (mostly) done.

As with most wood working projects, we started by carefully selecting the wood and preparing it. We glued these boards together the same way we did the new doors, with routed channels and small pieces of plywood to add strength. Here is the wood after it was glued and sanded, but before any finishing.

And here’s the (near) final product.

The windows here face the mountains in the west and offer a great view. There is storage under the seats. (Note the charging station plugs with USB and regular outlets.)

I think we’re going to cover the front of this with the same material we use for the kitchen bar…hopefully distressed corrugated metal if we can find some we like.

Oh, and we finally found that pesky electrical short. Fortunately, it was behind the part of the wall that is still just OSB, not behind the brick. Good news!