Note that the original posting dates for these articles were lost during a site move... My apologies!
People often ask how much wood costs in someone else's neck of the woods. Well, I hail from near Ottawa, Ontario, the capital of Canada, and though it is hardly a Mecca for woodworkers, it does have some benefits, namely the region's abundance of local maple!
For some prices, I walked through two of my local wood suppliers and noted some prices for some of their domestic and exotic lumber. There is not particular rhyme or reason for the species listed here, other than they caught my eye as I wandered the stacks.
Note that all prices are in Canadian dollars.
At WoodSource, a full-service lumber mill located just a couple kilometres out of town, they stock commercial quantities of most woods, and have a showroom with exotic and shorts (under 6'). You can walk in and browse the showroom selection, but if you have specific requirements, it's more worth your while to stop by the front desk since most of their common lumber is in their warehouse out back.
At KJP Select Hardwoods, a more retail-oriented shop with limited milling capabilities on-site, they have a warehouse in a commercial district within the city proper. One entire section is devoted to lumber display, with the other devoted mostly to milling.
Now one thing I should mention about all these prices is that they will always vary with time. Just like currency, they will fluctuate and change as the value of woods and dollars change. Always remember that wood that is local to you will be available for a much lower price than wood that has to travel half the world to reach your workshop!
I would really like to know what some of you are paying for similar woods in YOUR neck of the woods, so do leave a comment on this one!
Originally posted Wednesday, April 01, 2009 8:11 AM
There you have it: The left and right side of the tub freshly grouted.
And next came the shower curtain rod. For this we chose a curved rod that offers more "room" inside the shower. When standing in the shower, there really does seem to be more room, much more than the gentle curve of the rod would appear to give.
The curved shower rod is also helpful because it keeps the curtain out of the way of the body jets. You have more room to move around. And finally, the shower curtain does not "drift away" from the tub's side, since the curve keeps a constant force against the curtain, keeping it properly in place and not against your body.
The next steps are to install the shower hardware, then painting, then the birch cabinets that were made! More on the cabinets in a future post.
Ditra by Schluter. I started by doing a thorough cleaning in the room, then rolling out the membrane and cutting it to length. The second length of the sheet needed some fancy shaping around the tub and plumbing-wall, however that was relatively easy to tackle with a fresh blade in the utility knife. Just remember to install the product mesh-side down :)
Once I was finished with the tiling, I let it cure for a couple days then came back for the grout work. This was not that complicated, however the biggest warning I can give is to make sure you remove as much grout from the face of your tiles with your float before it dries. On my vertical surfaces in the shower, I did not do such a great job of this, and had to spend hours removing the cured residue over the following weeks... But otherwise it is a very simple task. Also do not use too much water when wiping off the tiles, as it tends to suck the colour out of the mortar.
Lots of work, lots of time, and just remember that your mortar is only good for a couple of hours before it should not be used! Make small batches, and keep it mixed.
Before you apply the grout, make sure you clean up between the tiles, since you don't want to see any mortar after the grout is applied. A carbide-tipped scraping tool is perfect for this, such as the one sold for scoring-and-cutting cement backer boards.
The floor was next, so stay tuned!
I will preface my entry by stating very clearly that this was my first attempt at tiling. Therefore take all my tiling wisdom with a grain of salt. To mangle an overused quote:
Since my tiles were massive 13" tiles, I installed a horizontal support using a straight piece of scrap and started working upwards. The cutout for the soap dish was easy enough, but when I reached the level of my glass tiles, I started to run into problems. First, the glass block seemed to sink in further than the tiles and when I continued to lay tiles above them, the upper 13" tiles would slide downwards and compact all the glass tiles! After a while of panicked attempts to repair the situation, I could see that I was getting myself further into a hole, so I decided to pin the upper 13" tiles in place by minimally inserting a concrete screw below them, then peeling off the glass tiles, and scraping clean the mortar that was in the gap. At this point, I called it a day and proceeded to cleaning up the glass tiles before the mortar could cure any more (it was starting to get sandy).
When I returned to the project the next day, I discovered my second mistake: I had forgotten to cutout a space for the corner tray at the front of the shower! I had only discovered this error when I returned to the wall on the second day. My compromise was to install it lower, at the level of my support bar which was now removed. My wife also told me afterwards that she had wanted two corner shelves, one at the front and one at the back, however I had not picked up two shelves... Hindsight is always 20/20.
For a long time now, I have wanted to add images to my catalogue of woodworking joints on the site. Though I do have some basic drafting and artistic skills, I thought it would be clearer and more consistent if I used a drawing tool.
Google's SketchUp is a great tool for woodworkers that I have dabbled with in the past, but this is my first real attempt to produce something for viewing by anyone other than myself.
Mortise and tenon joints, along with end miter joints, are the first to receive the treatment. I will be adding more as time goes on.
What do you think of the images? Are they clear enough? Or do you prefer solid surfaces? Feedback is always appreciated!
Up here in Ontario, the mercury is starting to dip below freezing overnight, and it is time to start thinking of the workshop, and what you should do to protect it for winter.
When your workshop will be exposed to these temperatures, you should bring in all your waterborne finishes and glues. Finishes that are alcohol or oil-based should not be a problem outside, however do read the labels. Wood filler, though usually oil-based, should be brought in as well.
As far as tools go, there are two problems that you may encounter. The plastic casings for many tools are hard however they expand and contract differently than the metal they may be attached to. When this happens, the plastic is prone to crack when it freezes, or even thaws.
The other danger is moisture! Warm air can hold more moisture than cold air. When a tool is cold and a warm breeze passes over it, water will tend to condense on its surface. Just look at your ice-cold drinks on a hot day, and you will see what I mean. To protect your tools from rust that will form on metal surfaces, give the tool a "second skin" that will let the moisture bead up on. Put your tools in a tool chest, box, or other storage area that is relatively sealed, but not completely. You want to allow the entire container to warm up at the same rate, without actually stopping the air from entering.
As a further suggestion, put a desiccant in with the tool in the container. A desiccant is a substance that can absorb the water from the air, and trap it in a form that won't endanger your tools. Silica gel is the most common desiccant nowadays, and a cheap source is premium cat litter. The silica gel looks like opalescent beads, whitish but almost translucent. Simply wrap a small amount in something that can breathe (nylon stocking, or even a regular stocking) and place in the container with your tools.
Of course, simply bringing them inside is the best option. Just be sure that if the tool is already cold when you bring it in to wrap it with cloth as it warms up, to prevent the moisture from condensing on the surface of the tool.
Now there is no excuse to find rusted tools in the spring!
She had somehow managed to push hard enough on one spindle to break it at a narrow point, leaving the lower half pointing dangerously upwards, and the top half was half way across the bedroom.
Lacking a lathe (note to wife...), I headed for the next best thing: the drill press. I happen to have some 1/4" dowel stock on hand, so I drilled a one inch deep hole in the centre of the top and bottom halves of the spindle (make sure they are centred and matched!), and then I cut a 1-3/4" section of dowel and dry-fit the pieces.
With the pieces ready, I headed back to the bedroom with the spindles, dowel, glue bottle, a damp rag, and a 3-foot clamp. For the model of crib that I have, the top and bottom of the spindles are very slightly tapered. This means that I have some wiggle-room when it comes to spindle height. So I put the top half of the spindle in place and pulled upwards with the top of the crib against my chest, to force the spindle as high as possible. Then I placed the lower half of the spindle in place, put some glue in the dowel hole and along the exposed shoulder, and inserted the dowel. I then removed the top half of the spindle again, added some glue to the dowel hole and again to the shoulder. The next manoeuvre had to be done all in one attempt, or glue would end up dribbling everywhere; I put the top half into its proper hole, pulled it as high as it would go again, pushed the lower spindle as low as it would go, lined up the dowel with the top half of the spindle, then straightened the spindle until the dowel slid into the hole. Make sure you have the top and bottom halves properly aligned so that the "teeth" match, or you will ruin the fit of the two pieces.
If you don't have a drill press, another option is to cut a notch in both top and bottom halves, and insert a small hardwood or hardboard spline. Do not simply glue the two pieces together without any support because it would result in an end grain-to-end grain joint, which is the worst joint for strength, and even a 15 month-old can break that joint!
Hopefully this helps you fix your next broken crib!
But I woke up this morning, and my eyesight is 90% back to normal. I still have some doubling right in front of me, but it it only on the scale of a very slight distortion. From what I know of eyes, this small distortion is relatively easy to fix... but I also know that the outer layer has the capability to fix itself... and I think I'm in that category.
When I first looked at my eye after the accident, quite literally you could see a sear-mark diagonally across my iris. Yes, my eyeball looked like a nicely BBQ'd steak. Now it appears to have "dissolved" and the tissue is healing.
So once again, wear your safety equipment :)
Ask anyone who knows me, and they will confirm that I am "Mister Safety". Goggles, NOISH filter mask, earmuff-type hearing protection...
But for some weird reason, today I was wearing my mask, and my hearing protection while I was doing some soldering, but I neglected to put on my safety goggles. Big mistake...
I was soldering the pipes for the shower controller together, torch in the left hand, solder in the right with maybe 12 inches sticking out off the reel, and I was kneeling in front of the wall and looking slightly up. I finished soldering the joint, lowered the torch, and pulled back on the solder, when I somehow "slapped" my eye with the unrolled solder. I blinked a couple times, thought nothing of it, and went back to work, thinking of how lucky I was with my close call. But after about 10 seconds, I knew I was not so lucky, since my eye was tearing up a little. In fact, it was starting to sting. So I quickly shut off the torch, put down the solder, placed a damp cloth on the controller (to reduce its temperature), an looked in the mirror.
What I saw kinda surprised me. My cornea (the part directly in front of the black dot of my iris) had a diagonal slash across it, like a white haze, about 3mm long, and about 1.5mm wide. When looking out of the right eye, my vision was perfect at the edges, but straight ahead and to the left my vision is blurred. Double oops. I'm now thinking I'm in trouble. What happened is the solder which was just touching the hot brass/copper had swung back and slapped my eyeball with the solder right near the tip, where it was still super-hot.
So I go outside where my wife is playing with my daughter, tell her that I've "made a mistake", and that I'm heading to the hospital to have them look at my eye.
There, they freeze my eye (just by drops, not by a needle) then give me more drops of a yellow dye so they can look at my eye through a vertical-slit opthamological tool with a blue light, and since blue and yellow make green, any green that they see would indicate a "gouge" in the eye, where the yellow dye pooled.
Looks like my eye is not that severely damaged. The doctor thinks it is just superficial, and prescribed some drops to stop any infection, and told me that if I don't feel a bit better by Friday morning that I should go back (for more drastic measures...)
In the end, I got off lucky. The solder was in contact with my eye for such a short period of time that the burn was not that deep. It was not the impact that did the damage (scratch) but it was the temperature of the tip at the time of impact that did the burn, like touching the edge of the oven when taking out the turkey. I'm taking the rest of the day off, of course, but I'll be back to work tomorrow. My "vacation" time is running out, and the project must get done!
With goggles this time.