Results are in

We decided to try a number of our favorite stripping methods to see what is going to work best to get the crappy old paint? stain? off of all of the logs. The strip-test was a nice diversion from pulling out all the old ‘chinking’. Which is tedious, but could be worse.


The winner? On the right there, it’s just regular rubbing alcohol and a green scrubby pad. And the log looks like new! It’s rare that the easiest, cheapest, least toxic item wins, but it did this time! We’ll take that small victory. And start scrubbing soon.

The usual silliness

I was walking the dogs (we are dogsitting), and came upon two cedars that had been dug out and discarded on the side of the road. In our neighborhood, things in the road are up for grabs. Since we need a little screening at camp, we went home, hopped in the truck, and picked them up. Bagged and burlapped – well, one is in muslin because we were short on burlap – here they sit, waiting for the next trip to camp. Another trash day score!


Double fantasy

Today was a heck of a day. We finally got some OK weather coinciding with most of a couple of days off, so we primed and painted the ceiling (ta-da!)

And over the past couple of days, we decided that we simply must fix the horrendous (and unsafe) steps up to the porch (ta-da again!). It was truly amazing to both finish a large project and fix a hugely obnoxious eyesore/safety hazard! It’s on…

Someday, a door

We’ve been wrapping up big projects at work and in a bit of a rainy spell, so our cabin work has been small in scope and indoors. ┬áSpeaking of doors, we have spent a good bit of the indoor time working on the door, again. This is the back door we bought last summer that it looks like we’ve not yet posted about. Eek.

So, we bought this ‘door’ in a back room of our favorite (non-big-box) building supply store. They used to have a great seconds, leftovers, scratch & dent room, which we found and prowled all last summer. There, leaning up against a wall, was my dream door. It’s a Jeld-Wen, and after we measured the existing opening, it was EXACTLY the right size. Which is weird, because the opening was a non-standard size. Even better, it was marked down from $575 to $75. Yeah, that’s right. How could we not get it? So we put it in the back of the truck and figured on installing it last fall.

Never happened. Why? Well, as we took a closer look (thinking I’d just paint/varnish it and pop it in), it turned out that it was siliconed into the jamb. Not just a few dollops for transport, but all the way around. I called Jeld-Wen and was told by the (very nice and helpful) guy on the other end that what we’ve got here sounds like a sidelight. Whoops! But, as I talked through it with him, we agreed that I could turn it into a door with some elbow grease. Gauntlet thrown.

I spent many evenings this winter in the basement, watching the Olympics and scraping out silicone-y goo from the door, then sanding it off, then cleaning it all up. The door finally looked great as did the jamb – almost like something a person might actually purchase if they had a real budget. So I called back Jeld-Wen with more questions. What should the size of the door be relative to the jamb? Hinge and knob placement? What kind of weatherstripping to use? All were expertly answered by a technical specialist (who was impressed we had gotten this far; it really truly was epic to get all the goo out of the door. It took like two straight weeks of evening sessions just to get the door free from the jamb).

Yesterday and today, it was no small victory to cut the door to length and width (width required the purchase of a fence for our saw, then when that didn’t work too well, and old-school improv). Then we routed all the hinge placements with this super-excellent templating jig, then the handleset with a door handle jig.


Cutting door to width. Luckily, we had another piece of jamb that was really straight!


Kreg Rip-Cut fence. If your saw doesn’t have a fence, this will do it.


Porter-Cable hinge jig in action.


Hinges go here!


And the handleset here. (It’s a surprise – a superb ebay find).


In case you want one – part number.

We stopped there – we actually were one jig short and though we could cut and chisel the strike plates by hand, we will have several doors to do and decided to order the matching Porter-Cable strike and latch plate jig (arriving in the next 3 days). The hinge jig truly is worth it.

Next victim

While we’re racing during our busy season at work, we’re trying to keep moving forward by doing little jobs that have built up. These largely include going through (and cleaning, fixing, re-vamping) the accumulated finds of the past year. The King was one; we are now on to a variety of metal cabinets that will complete the kitchen, ranging from free ones found roadside to a super-cool piece from Craigslist. More on those later.

In the meantime, K cleaned the garage and broke out the welder, then attached casters I’d found at a salvage store to a stool (mangled by someone else – it was once full-height) I found for a few bucks somewhere, ground the whole thing down to decent metal, and clearcoated it. I sanded and oiled the seat. Our idea is for this nice little industrial number to be a bedside table in the loft – the scale is right, and we love the design. It was a bonus that it was pretty close to free – I think I paid $3 for the stool, and $2 for the casters. But someone had jammed old pieces of copper pipe on the legs – there was enough copper there that I bet it amounted to a few dollars at the scrap yard in our last run. We’re going to call it a wash, and enjoy our free side table!