Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Moulding The Future

    The closer you get to the finish of big projects, the more the work involved seems to drag.  I wish finish work went as fast as framing....AnnaMarie is starting to accumulate furnishings, picking paints, and choosing fabrics.
     Moulding and trim work is fun---it's the finishing touches, and going slow to do it right is one of the differences between a OK project and a really good one.
     It can be expensive though.  A single stick can cost $14 and sometimes you waste a lot of it.  However, a nice 2" by 10" by 12' plank is less than $10, and just like rocks are full of tiles, planks are full of moulding waiting to be liberated.
   Here is a bunch of moulding from one plank.  You have to select timber that's relatively clear because once you start cutting things thin, a knot can make it fail.  There are 5 crown trim pieces, a funny angle one for where the ceiling changes pitch (it actually got cut into 2--filled a corner with the other piece) 3 outside corners, and 3 inside corners.  They get sanded a lot to look more finished.
     The reason I haven't returned Byron's table saw is just to make all this trim.  The outside corners like this get run through 3 more times with the blade set at 45 degrees---to soften the corners.  People will be forever brushing against outside corners so they should be rounded.  A deep sanding smooths it all out. 
     Next step is priming it all, then painting.  It will be white but AnnaMarie can't decide how white yet.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Please, Tell Me Where I Get It Wrong

    Say I want to buy some communications device...I'm sort of leaning towards an I-Pad but I'm not sure.
    I have money.  I'm going to weigh this product's value to me against how much money I have to part with to get it.  This is 100% my decision.
    The makers of communication devices want my money.  They are competing to research and develop the best product, and know that the cheaper they can sell it for, the more likely I am to decide having it benefits me more than having the money.
    They have to take some risks.  They have to decide what features are selling points, guess at how many to produce---not enough, they sell out and I buy something else.  Too many , they invested too much in production and hiring.  It's a tricky thing, business. 
    This is the height of efficiency.  A company that chronically makes poor decisions eventually is replaced by one that does not.  I end up with the best product for the price---maybe even decide to do without.
    Sure, it took hard work.  Probably not as hard as Masai women work their cattle on a daily basis, though.  Sure, it took smarts---but smarts are a very difficult thing to quantify, and there are some very successful people that really aren't that bright.
    Here's what the left is missing.  You also need to specialize----which is why the Third World is full of hard working people still in the Third World.  You also need to take your unique specialty and take some risks.   Just hired employees take very little risk--the people that employ them have taken a risk by hiring them.  Often they've invested their savings in an idea, borrowed against a house, stretched very thin.  Most fail, some succeed.   The ones that succeed USED to be looked up to and emulated.  Every single penny of our economy has come from two sources---people capitalizing on their resources, or borrowing against the future capitalization of resources.  That's it.  The government has no money.
   So here is our president telling people business starters didn't build their business.
   Do you know how profoundly insulting that is?  We are proud of America, Mr. President, because here, if we work hard, and smart, and take risks, and produce something that's more valuable to people than the money in their pocket, we might succeed.
   My cottage industry (building cottages) is a second career.  I work harder there than my main job, 14 hour days are not unusual.  I LOVE providing housing for people.  They have decided staying in the homes I've built is a higher value to them than the rent they pay.  As soon as it's not, they leave.
   Roads, Schools???? Are you kidding me?  Do you have any idea the kind of road fees I pay to get a permit?  And continue to pay with every gallon of gas driven to build and maintain?  I spent more on the school fees and parks fees to build (never mind there is no park in the subregion) than I did on lumber!
   So my reward is a higher tax bracket.  You need to tax behaviour you are trying to discourage, like smoking.
    Anyway, I build the best places I can in the hopes people will decide to rent them.  WE are blessed with good tenants and I want to continue to provide safe, functional living spaces---my tenants are people, and friends. 
    Compare that with our President's drive to socialize medicine.  I don't get to decide if the service is worth exchanging my money for.  I'm required to buy it.  There is no incentive for healthcare to be efficient, or good, or innovative.  Demand will skyrocket since there's no financial impact either way.  There will be no competition to provide the best service, people will just want to get me in and out and who cares if I die anyway?
    A private drug company just developed Truvada, a promising drug to prevent HIV infections.  This innovation didn't come from the government and the more intrusion there is, the less of this sort of thing we'll have.
    Which came first Mr. President---Mr. Ford and his assembly line, or the government built roads?  You want to hold education of our heads?  End it!  Families that value education for their kids will find a way and it will become far more efficient---the tax savings will be far greater than the cost of privately run, competetive schools. 
    You exposed yourself, Mr. President.  Your rhetoric is polar opposite of what it means to me to be an American.  You can't be proud of yur country and want to fundamentally change it at the same time.  I just hope everyone else sees it too before you get another term with no worries about needing to get re elected.  We can't afford it.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Problems, Solutions

   Finish work is pretty cool.  You're actually working on stuff that's going to show.  There's a real temptation to rush now that the finish line is so close, but this is the stage that differentiates a good build and a great build.  From here it's like a basic remodel in the amount of work left to do.\
   I'm starting with the bathroom because having a working bathroom will save the time it takes to go home and come back a few times a day.  Not that it's hard to cross the street (which is the extent of the commute) but once I'm home there are always distractions that keep me from going back----blogging, for example.
   I'm confronting all these little issues I'd thought about before even breaking ground, and decided to just deal with when the time came.  I wanted the window in the bathroom low enough that AnnaMarie could reach it, and she knew exactly which tub surround she wanted installed---(She really likes how easy the pre-formed ones are to clean) but they are higher than where the window goes.

     So the surround was held against the window and traced, then cut.  I bought some vinyl corner trim, cut it to size, and gooped it into place with silicone.  I didn't want to use metal fasteners in the wet location.  Also the 'mud' in the window sill is waterproof stuff.  It's still high enoughthat it really shouldn't get wet at all.  I wanted to slope the sill so shampoo bottles won't be left there (I think houses look tacky from outside when you see that in the window) but that would have meant cutting out more of the surround and made the trimwork difficult since it wouldn't be square anymore.
     Problem #2.  Months ago when I sweated in the tub mixer, I kept all the plumbing in the center of the 2x6 walls so I wouldn't hit them with nails or screws.  So I went to put the faucet handle together, and the mixer was too deep in the wall.  The screws for the faceplace wouldn't reach, nor would the handle or the mounting tube.  Nuts!  Does that mean I have to tear out the new surround, and the greenboard, and re-plumb everything so it's closer to the surface?
   Well, I got to thinkin' I couldn't be the only person to deal with this.  People add 3/4" of tile all the time so there must be a simple solution.
   So I got online and sure enough, Moen offers an extension kit.  It comes with a longer tube, longer temperature limiter, a variety of screws for the face plate, and an extension that goes over the valve controller for the knob.  It was $12.  They even offered a few different depth extensions.  I guessed 1" would do it, and it did.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Starting the Ending

   If it seems like I post random pictures here...well, I sorta do.  See, I haunt a site called http://countryplans.com/smf/index.php?action=forum .  It's a forum for owner/builders.  What is interesting is they are trying to sell house plans but encourage owner/builders that don't even buy their plans---they even facilitated getting my plans to someone else that was interested in them.  It's a great resource for owner builders with questions or comments.  I just like seeing what others are building.  It's a whole spectrum---some super fancy, some downright unsafe.
   So in the home stretch now.  I was trying to figure out how to finish the beam that holds up the bedroom and opted for deep sanding and a clear polyurethane.  Mom suggested a pantry and broom closet up against the wall (It will be behind the bar area)  so that's done. 
     The chimney chase was a difficult design element.  AnnaMarie wanted it to match the outside boulders--how they look uncut, then incorporate some cut stones.  All the stones are native to the lot.  It would have been cool to do the whole thing in a stone veneer but it would add a year to the project and lots of weight to the chimney.  This pic is taken from way up a ladder.  Really you will only look at this from a ground floor vantage point, and from the reading nook it's mostly stone.  All the wood will be white.
  I got the mantel and some other stuff varnished up.  This is the same mystery wood the stair rails and balusters will be made of.  it's beautiful, whatever it is.  Once all the balusters are lined up in place it'll be really pretty.