That can’t be good

We were planning a day out last week and while I waited for my wife to get ready I decided to sweep off the deck. The fir bud covers have been raining down from the trees for a few days now and the deck is absolutely covered in them.

It was probably a good thing I did, because I noticed some sawdust. Now I know I haven’t been doing any work, so who was?

That can’t be good…

Dang. Sure enough several small round holes in a deck post. I guess it is now my turn to do some carpentry.

Tearing off all the cedar cladding I find what I am now expecting. Something has decided to use my house as their’s. Not sure what it was, as there were no visible critters still there. Ants or beetles most likely.

Unfortunately they did manage to chew up about 20% of the base of the post. I figured the best solution was to replace the entire thing.

It’s complete now. Used pressure treated 2×6’s instead of the spruce that was there. Also added some water proofing membrane to the beam and the first foot of the post, then 18” of tin flashing, then building papered the rest of the post, Overkill probably but it shouldn’t get wet.

I suppose this it the trade off to living here. It has nicer winters than the prairies but back there no one ever tried to eat my house!

Another day in paradise

Physical distancing remains the order of the day. We’ve been spending a little time in the yard. Planted the parts of the garden I could. Seeds only, too soon for tomatoes plants. Cleaned the gutters. Washed the truck. Cleaned up the shed a bit.

The priority project at home was a ramp for the dog. She is 15 years old this week and is starting to have a lot of problems with stairs. Some days she has a hard time just standing up. The next day she’s good for a two mile walk. Regardless, it’s getting worse and she fell down the stairs the other day and was on the limp, so something needed to be done.

A little longer than originally planned. I had to pull off a set of steps to build this. The local courier delivery guy uses these steps a lot since they are closer to the road. I figured I had better build them assuming a person would use them, not just the dog. So…wider and shallower.

Next up, irrigation.

Put one on the honey done list

There is a common thread to many people’s reaction to self isolation during the pandemic. They have the greatest intention to accomplish all the things they have been putting off for so long. I am no exception. Well, as far as the intent goes anyway.

I have had a moderately productive week. Planted the garden. Pulled four truck loads of fallen trees and branches out of the forest to start a chipping pile. Wait, did I just transmogrify a task? Cleaning up from wind storms into future mulch making?

I also FINALLY managed to get back into the shop and resume the shelving project. In fact, I finished it!

Doesn’t really look like a lot of work does it? Poor things sat in that cold shop most of the winter because I didn’t want to leave the heat on overnight. Electric heat here is flipping expensive, and the doors to the shop are pretty poorly sealed. Two coats of stain and five coats of lacquer takes a long time when you only do it when the weather is warm enough overnight.

Pretty happy with the result. I have three extra shelves I can add to the stack or use in another location. Need to buy more stainless round bar first. I knew I should have bought that extra piece.

Making it messy again

Well the sort of cleaned up shop did not last long. I currently have six different projects on the go with their various parts and pieces laying about, to say nothing about the sawdust and scrap wood and miscellaneous tools I have not put away yet.

Sigh…

Anyway, look at the shiny things!

I can darn near shave using them. These are the shelves for the Cadovius unit. The ebony stain looks great. Not perfect but definitely suitable. Still humming and hawing about the finish for the mounting rails. We have done six different stains and an unstained-just-varnished test. Leaning to the unstained maple you see above.

Progress (finally)

I made a concerted effort to get to the shop the last two weeks. A day here. A couple hours there. I even used it for some client work yesterday. Bonus!

Still playing Tetris with the landlords belongings but there has been some progress on that front. In fact the other day I removed the last box off of the floor. That may not sound like a big thing, but trust me it was.

When I first stepped into the building last spring you could barely walk around. Between unfinished projects, off season storage and general “I don’t use it but don’t want to throw it out” stuff, it was packed. As much as I appreciated the offer to use the space I was quite concerned about whether it was actually usable.

Everything along the far two walls is theirs. Behind me as I took this picture is a desk and two bikes that also are in here. If this is how it remains I can very happily use the shop. The kayaks will either go out of the shop or I’ll build a storage solution up on the wall somewhere. For now they remain as they are an actual work in progress. I finished rebuilding the coaming on the close one. Next step is sanding and then some fibreglass work and finishing. The far one has some bad veneer delamination to deal with.

I made some progress on a couple of my own projects too. I spent an hour or two tuning up the table saw with a new blade, reset the blade parallel to the mitre slots, and re-levelled the wings. While I was at it I put a new blade in the mitre saw. Both saws still had the factory blade in them. With the table saw freshly tweaked I cut the piece for the cadovius inspired wall shelves, along with a spare piece for stain / finish testing.

The workbench has been on hiatus for the last month but I did drop off material for the legs this week. I have a couple hours of work finishing up some deck stairs to someone tomorrow. Maybe after that I can sneak over and start the legs.

Unless Paul finds me. Paul wants a generator shed.

Sigh…

Maybe I’ll put it over there…

Well the staples in the bench top were actually easier to remove than I feared and did not leave a big bunch of holes. Planing the top down has been an interesting experience. I have not used my planes too much prior to this project, Most are recently restored from garage sale finds. Definitely notice the difference a freshly and properly sharpened iron makes.

Only made it to the shop one day this week. Planned to work on the bench and the kayaks but instead I got completely frustrated by the clutter and spent most of my time rearranging.

and this is the ‘cleaner’ version!

The problem is the shop is still used by the landlord for storage as well. 90% of the stuff in this picture is not mine. The plugins on the far wall are suspect. I think squirrels have had at the wiring in the attic. I have shut them off at the breaker panel and decided since the outlets are useless I would use that wall as storage for their stuff. It is his tools and supplies and wood scraps.

I won’t be back to do more for a few days. The rest of the week I have to split and deliver firewood. I bumped into a fellow at the ferry lineup looking for wood and he has agreed to buy all of mine. It will be nice to have it gone, takes up way too much space in the shelter. I have no power splitter so it will be a long couple days with a maul.

Company coming

Company is coming so I am taking a couple weeks off.

Sort of.

Actually I have been knocking off honey-do list items list like nobody’s business.
• Finish placing mulch around trees
• Spread out remaining topsoil
• Clean off and store tarps
• Clean truck
• Build new shelves in office
• Clean out closets
• Install hangers for brooms, etc
• Cut the lawn

I even managed to get over to the shop to work a bit on the bench. Tomorrow will be the usual last minute stuff, general house cleaning and maybe groceries. Company arrives in two days.

Speaking of the bench, I had a nasty surprise planing the top.

Yes, staples! I’m glad it was my scrub plane that found them. Not that a scrub plane iron is any easier to remove nicks from. Not sure the best way to removed these now with it having to carve a big hole. Ponder ponder…

Busy Summer

For the first time since we moved here we did not have a long scorching hot dry summer. There have only been a few days above 25ºC and we actually had rain every couple of weeks. Last summer was many days above 30ºC and 12 weeks no rain.

In addition to giving the forest a stress break it also means that we have not been shut down by the fire department all summer as we have been in previous years. We had a short shutdown for about 3 days back in early July. That’s it.

The downside is that work continued all summer. No imposed vacation. No shortage of work either, as I have had all the hours I want and then some. Too many actually. We never got much of a chance to hit the beach, or paddle, of camp, or tour. I also never got much of a chance to use the workshop I am renting. Good thing rent is cheap.

I have been making a bigger effort to get to the shop more frequently over the past couple weeks. I have dragged in a few more tools, set up some shelving, and did a few small projects. Made some metal plant supports for Kelly, re-sawed some wood for a client’s facia, and finally made some progress repairing the landlady’s kayaks.

Today I started a new workbench. I am going to make it a hybrid of a Paul Sellers bench and the Moravian knockdown portable bench. This morning while waiting for the dog to be finished at the groomer I completed planing and gluing up the components for the top.

Next stop…lots of hand planing. Then I can start of legs which is lots of mortice and tenon cutting. Should be fun!

Hard Times

Another chance to try something new this week. I worked on a dry stack sandstone wall which surrounds a pond. The homeowner was a bit particular about the look so we did a lot of rock splitting to get a tighter looking wall.

Splitting rock this way involves drilling a series of holes along the line you want to split the rock in, then tapping pins into the holes. The feathers are metal shims places on either side of the pin. As the pin is driven down between the two feathers the rock eventually fails, hopefully along the line of the holes.

It reminds me of old stereotypes of convicts breaking rocks…

Honey do

With the nicer weather we are finally getting a little work done in the yard. Not that we can’t work in the rain. I just don’t want to.

First was to deal with the goofy soil available here. If you grew up in farming country it is not what you would call dirt. Very light weight with lots of compost in it. Maybe I should call it compostable material, because it has a way to go before I would compare it to the product coming out of my composter. The result is that the soil tends to disappear. Our garden beds probably sunk 8″ over that past two years. So, a couple yards of dirt to top up the beds so we can plant.

I also finally planted the apple trees we purchased a few weeks ago. These will fill up the orchard space and will likely be the last fruit trees we plant. Apples, crab apples, pears, peaches, cherries, sour cherries, haskaps, Saskatoon berry, and hazelnuts. Good list. Hopefully I get some produce this year instead of losing it to the raccoons.

Next up was to finish burying the bricks I bought to line the driveway by the lawn. I laid the first one 18 months ago. That’s embarrassing.

Of course you cannot only remove items from the list, you must also add new items. In this case we added a big one. Last month we scored several 8’x3′ double glazed glass panels and an assortment of single pane safety glass pieces for a ridiculously cheap price. They are currently stored behind the shed waiting to become a greenhouse. I hope to get onto this job in the summer. Seems like a good job to do during the summer shutdown when the fire department says no more using machinery.