gumbo2176
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Re: Unexpected Home Improvement Projects

Well Marlingardener, that was a long time ago when I was younger, thinner and in much better physical shape than I'm now in. That ladder was one of the Aerial Ladders I worked on and those are some of the easiest ladders to climb to be honest. They are built very strong, have great footing on the rungs and have rails that come about 18 inches up on both sides of the ladder so you can climb in a more comfortable position. The only caveat is you have to leave them about a foot or so away from the building on their top end and as you climb the ladder, the top moves closer to the building as you make your way up the ladder. They will bend toward the building as you get higher due to your weight. Once up to the top you get off it and as your weight leaves the ladder, it moves out away from the building. You can then radio to the guy operating the ladder and let them know they need to allow it to come closer in case you have to use it to come back down.


That was a piece of cake when compared to the couple days I worked 3-5 stories up the side of a building on a "Boson's Chair" installing some heavy gauge steel venting for a commercial restaurant kitchen hood back in the late 70's. Nothing like being on something that is basically a backyard swing with a rope hooked to a large pulley system on the roof and being raised and lowered by one of your fellow workers. Talk about trust. The pucker factor was working overtime till I was back on the ground.

imafan26
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Re: Unexpected Home Improvement Projects

I have tried some projects before but it has always taken more time than anticipated and I was never good at it.

When I got my first apartment, I bought a microwave oven cart kit and assembled and varathaned it. All the pieces were cut and it just had to be put together. It still took me over a week to get it done. I know it took me hours to just put it together and I had to let the varathane dry between coats. I still have the cart but after all this time, the slats are getting loose because the carpenter glue is giving up. I have reglued some of the loose slats.

I built a pull out drawer in my kitchen cabinet for the pots and pans. I installed the drawer slides and built the box. This was before I discovered angle bars. The box worked but I could not really build it square. I cut it with hand saw so it wasn't really straight and I nailed it. I had to take the box out of the cabinet and cut it down again because when I measured it It did not account for the thickness of the sides of the box and I could not close the cabinet door until I cut another inch off the depth. I should have used screws instead of nails. I had to periodically tap the sides back together.

I did put together the park bench kit. I still have the bench but the slats are starting to rot after 30 years

It took 2 days to put together a trellis. I did replace the 2x4 posts and it needs to be replaced again since after 20 years the bottom of the post is rotting.

A ten foot rain gutter took several hours to put together. It should have taken less than an hour to do.

When we built the extension, I did the interior painting and the painter gave me some tips like he told me not to push so hard since I was using my back instead of letting the roller do the work. He also told me on the ceiling and walls. the lighter color overlaps and the other color goes up to the line. You can't try to just go edge to edge from color to color. He also told me to always use the best paint and good brushes. Cheap paint doesn't last or cover well and cheap brushes will make good paint look bad..
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gumbo2176
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Re: Unexpected Home Improvement Projects

Imafan26, I have built good bit of cabinets in my time and drawers are one of the things that tend to take the longest. It sounds like you butt joined everything and nailed it together. It would have been better with screws since they offer more hold over plain nails. I, on the other hand, tend to go overboard with dovetail joints front and back and glue all joints together. There are no nails or screws in drawers of my pieces, just good, tight joinery and good wood glue. But then, I do have the tools and shop to do this in without much trouble. The bottoms are inset in dado joints and made out of varying thickness of plywood, depending on the size of the drawer and what it's being used for.

I've also done tons of painting, both exterior and interior and that painter gave you some good advice. If painting walls and ceilings, I paint the ceilings first and let that paint lap just a bit down the wall surface and then paint the walls and cut that line clean to the corner of the ceiling and wall where they meet. You get a much better job like that. And I too believe in the quality of the tools you use and the grade of paint do make a big difference in the final results. I can't tell you how many times I've gone behind do-it-yourselfers who thought nothing of painting their interiors and have me re-do it. They go to Home Depot and get a fist full of cheap brushes and try to do nice work with inferior tools, then don't know how to properly clean the brushes between coats to keep them in decent shape.

Most people don't know how to do proper prep work when painting and I don't care if you are applying $100 a gallon paint, the meat of the job is in the proper prep work. The finished product is only as good as the effort put in to get things right the first time.

Sounds like a lot of things you are tackling are just results of time, wear and tear. Loose slats on an older, "some assembly required" microwave cart and rotting slats on a 30 year old bench are all part of normal wear and tear and not a sign of poor workmanship.

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tomf
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Re: Unexpected Home Improvement Projects

Gumbo I have made some furniture and it came out quite nice despite myself. My dad was in construction and ran a crew so I started working construction at age 14 making shopping malls, buildings, houses, and remodels. I also worked as a plumber. Although I have not made a living doing construction for a long time I have bought and remodeled some houses, and built a few small buildings.

You are so right prep work is the biggest part of painting. I hate using a brush so I got a pro paint sprayer, the painting part goes fast, it is all the prep work that takes time.
The things I do are an evolution and I am always learning. My way is not the only way of doing things, and I may and will change the way I do things as I learn better ways. So any advice that I give is in that spirit.

gumbo2176
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Re: Unexpected Home Improvement Projects

Marlingardener wrote:Gumbo's and tomf's comments on prep work reminded me of when we renovated an 1870 house. We would spend a month scraping, sanding, mending, and preparing the walls and woodwork, then in three days the painting was done and the wallpaper was up. It always seemed like an anticlimax :? .

Wow, a house from the 1870's. That thing had to have so may layers of paint, most of it lead based, that I can only imagine how long it took to get it prepped.

The house I'm currently living in is a huge 2 story, all wood clad with abut 24 inches of exposed rafters and tongue and groove sheathing on the eaves. It has 31 double hung windows and all of my upstairs windows have working shutters. There's also 2 porches on the 2nd floor, one in front and one in back. It took me over 3 months of 8 hours a day work to prep the house and I took it down to the wood the first time I painted it. I re-glazed all the windows with proper glazing, not that caulking compound called "Handy Glaze" that doesn't last that long. Like you found out, it took me about 3 weeks to paint the entire outside the 5 colors that were chosen. The body was a tan/gray color called "Olde Silver", the windows and trim were painted white and the shutters were dark green. The porches were gray with light blue ceilings.

I was so glad to finally get that over with and it held up fine for over 13 years until Hurricane Katrina flooded the downstairs. I had to re-paint the bottom portion of the house, so I decided to do it all over again. Only, this time, it just needed a good cleaning and a light sanding-------much quicker than the first time. It's been 9 years now and the paint still looks good. I'll be 63 in another week and I may have just 1 more paint job left in me if everything stays relatively the same for the next couple years. OH JOY!!!!!

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applestar
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Re: Unexpected Home Improvement Projects

Wow! you are all AMAZING!

I often dream about being able to do stuff like that, but, alas, I don't have what it takes -- skill, patience, energy, tenacity, ...did I mention skill? :oops:

...but I admire people who CAN and LOVE hearing about stories like this. :-()
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gumbo2176
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Re: Unexpected Home Improvement Projects

applestar wrote:Wow! you are all AMAZING!

I often dream about being able to do stuff like that, but, alas, I don't have what it takes -- skill, patience, energy, tenacity, ...did I mention skill? :oops:

...but I admire people who CAN and LOVE hearing about stories like this. :-()


Applestar, I look at it this way. I'll either have to pull the green stuff out of my pocket and pay someone else to do my work, or go the "Sweat Equity" route------------I choose the latter.

For example, the first paint job I put on my house in 92 would have cost me $20,000+ to have someone come out and do it like I did. I did it over a 4 1/2 month period at a cost of about $1200 in materials. I looked at it like it was a job for a client and worked it accordingly. There were days I didn't want to climb that ladder and eat paint dust for hours at a time, but it was what needed to be done. That is where the average Joe says, "Nope, let someone else do it because this is just too nasty."

My next door neighbor is currently adding 2 wings on his house that increases his living area by about 1200 sq. ft. One area is a kitchen/dining area and the other is a huge master bedroom with his and her walk in closets and a large bath with Jacuzzi. They also put a new roof on the entire house and are in the process of having the exterior painted. They are going to spend between $170-200K by the time they are done because they are having workers do everything.

Owning a home is always a work in progress since there often seems to be something that needs fixing, cleaning, painting, etc.

imafan26
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Re: Unexpected Home Improvement Projects

I have found the source of the toilet leak. Good news, bad news. It was not the flapper, but I changed it anyway and it is not the wax seal

It was leaking from the tank. I recently changed the toilet seat and I can't see the bolts under the toilet and accidentally loosened up the tank bolt instead of the seat bolt. I thought I tightened it back up, but the bolt is definitely wet. I drained the tank and there isn't any more water on the floor when I flush the toilet with a bucket. Bad news. I hope the tank isn't cracked, or I will need a new toilet. I am waiting for my handyman to come back to check that out and make sure the bolt gets tightened without cracking the toilet or leaking. Unfortunately, the ceiling downstairs still has to be fixed.

I am taking on the piles around the house a little at a time.

Unfortunately I have more expenses coming up as well as this repair. My car is 25 years old and more of the 25 year old things are breaking down, so I have been looking for a car for a few months. My nephew has found a minivan that is 13 years old and in my price range. I checked out the insurance and it will cost about what I am paying now. It is getting checked out by the mechanic now. It will give me more space after I take the extra seats out, but being a van it has no trunk, so I will have to cull what I keep in the car now. That is hard since, I keep a lot of stuff in the car and they don't have another home. It is mostly garden tools and things I need like repair parts for the sprinklers which I don't need everyday, but I need it when I need it.
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applestar
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Re: Unexpected Home Improvement Projects

When you switch from enclosed trunk to open cargo space like minivan or suv, you have to be creative about storing things that can become a projectile hazard in case of an accident.

Most SUVs and minivans have tie-downs that I consider are for child seat strap but maybe they were originally meant for cargo. I keep a covered milk crate of things secured with bungee behind the back seat.
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imafan26
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Re: Unexpected Home Improvement Projects

That's a good thought Applestar. I never thought of that. It is a problem now because most of the things I use regularly is in the back seat now and when I stop or turn sharply, things do shift. I am thinking of putting a storage tub in the back, but I will have to think about how to secure it. Or, I will have to put most of the common things I use in 5 gallon buckets, but I will have to think about what I need everytime I go out. I will still have the problem of things needing to be secured.

My handyman came yesterday and he tightened the bolt on the toilet a little more and he put up the new screen door. He helped me cut out a hole in the ceiling so it can dry out and to make sure nothing else was leaking. It is good now, no more leaks and it is nice not to have to use a bucket to flush the toilet everytime or have to go downstairs in the middle of the night.

I have to finish cutting out the rest of the ceiling and get the type X drywall board. I also have to move more stuff out of the room. Then I have to call him back and schedule the repair and decide if I want to do another popcorn ceiling or a textured ceiling. Popcorn is harder to do and messier but if it is textured then the other half of the room will have a popcorn ceiling. I don't want to touch that side of the room because, that is in the original house built in the 70's and that means it does have asbestos. The side that leaked was part of the addition we built in 1991 so it does not have asbestos.
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applestar
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Re: Unexpected Home Improvement Projects

Maybe you could put a moulding to divide the ceiling visually -- maybe even hang a valance-link fabric or, if you have asian-decor, oriental carved wood cutout design soffit kind of thing (do you know what I'm talking about?).

If you rearrange to also functionality divide the room, if would look like you intended it that way.
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HoneyBerry
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Re: Unexpected Home Improvement Projects

My neighbor worked hard day after day after day digging a very long trench all the way from the back yard to the street trying to locate a leak in the water line. Turned out it was just the toilet tank mechanism that was leaking. I think it must have been karmic pay back by the universal gods for putting grass clippings in his neighbor's garbage cans. The neighbor in back was complaining about that and then soon after I caught him putting grass clippings in my garbage can. I wanted to install a spring loaded device in my garbage can that would scare him if he tried to open the lid, like a jack-in-the-box. I guess there are worse things than putting grass cuttings in neighbor's garbage cans.
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applestar
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Re: Unexpected Home Improvement Projects

BirdLover wrote:...it must have been karmic pay back by the universal gods for putting grass clippings in his neighbor's garbage cans. The neighbor in back was complaining about that and then soon after I caught him putting grass clippings in my garbage can. I wanted to install a spring loaded device in my garbage can that would scare him if he tried to open the lid, like a jack-in-the-box. I guess there are worse things than putting grass cuttings in neighbor's garbage cans.
That's a funny neighbor. :lol:
I think I would have set up a compost bin on our property border and asked him to put all the grass clippings in there. :()
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applestar
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Re: Unexpected Home Improvement Projects

Wow. I know a couple of my neighbors drag their yard waste out back where our properties back up to the municipal green zone and recreational park and dump them -- this includes grass clippings and leaves, etc. (No they are NOT making intentional compost piles). One neighbor also used to dump used motor oil in the very beginning.

But these neighbors who dump stuff in/on other neighbors' properties are pretty brazen.

That reminds me --- I used to find really weird stuff on my side of the fence alongside a neighbor with teenage kids -- especially after parties. After 3rd such find, I couldn't take it anymore and collected them and showed their mother. I told her I was embarrassed to even handle them and have to throw them out in my own trash. After that, I didn't find any more tossed-over junk. :roll:

(Imafan sorry about the OT :o )
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Re: Unexpected Home Improvement Projects

A neighbor used to dump stuff in my bamboo grove. It was irritating. It was like he was using that grove to expand the storage capacity of his yard, which was full of junk, old cars, etc. He was a hoarder type. We found the front end of an old car in there once. When asked he insisted that it wasn't his, that he didn't put it there, even though it was obvious that it was his piece of junk. So we told him that we were going to take it to the dump, since it wasn't his. When we checked the next morning, the old piece of car was gone. It disappeared mysteriously in the middle of the night. Funny how things go sometimes.
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imafan26
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Re: Unexpected Home Improvement Projects

I hate people dumping garbage at my house. I find cups, candy wrapper, and cigarette packages stuck in my hedge and plastic bags in my yard. Somebody once went to church, came out and cleaned their car and dumped everything on the curb including used baby diapers. When the neighbors were moving out they dumped all of their trash in my can. I usually take out an empty can and fill it in the morning and there wasn't any room for my trash, a 13 gallon bag.

Usually my neighbor lets me borrow space in his can. Usually he only has grass in it. I asked for a second can. I can fill a can in an hour especially at this time of the year when I have to do the tree pruning or heading off. I try to put out at least one can on green day. Most of the time it isn't because I don't have enough trash or space in the can, but the time to actually go out there and fill it.

At the community garden plot, I usually spend about 3 hours there watering and weeding. I can fit 3 large bags in the back seat of my car (about 80 lbs) and I drive it to the composting facility about 10 minutes away. If my friend comes and I get an early enough start on Sunday, he has a truck and I can get more bags filled and loaded before they close.

At the community garden my plot is on the outside. I have leaf mulch that has been dumped right outside my gate, so have to park the car a little farther away. This stuff should be gone fairly fast. In the past people have dropped off bags of weeds and logs and palms which are not wanted. I usually have to take the time to scrape them away and repile them so I have a place to park my car.
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tomf
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Re: Unexpected Home Improvement Projects

Wow I am thankful for my neighbors. Motor oil, what an ----- head.
The things I do are an evolution and I am always learning. My way is not the only way of doing things, and I may and will change the way I do things as I learn better ways. So any advice that I give is in that spirit.



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