Friday, November 28, 2008


There are periods in our lives. For me there is the soccer period. The college period. The Delaware period.

I sincerely hope that I'm eclipsing "The Remodeling Period". There has been only one store in my life, but recently I've been cheating on the orange store for the blue store. It may be that the customer service is better - or it might be I just needed different aisles to peruse. The truly sad part is none of this is a metaphor.

I've learned a lot the last six months: lighting, plumbing, electrical, drywall, finishing carpentry. Most of these I'd forayed into in the past, but now I'd declare some level of proficiency; well, I'm stretching it a bit on the plumbing and electrical. "Dangerous" might be a more apt descriptor.

In honor of this period, and hopefully its conclusion and a return to skiing, camping and friendships, the next few posts will summarize some of the projects over "The Remodeling Period".

We'll start with Shelly's study which we had to finish to make room for me to move in. Nothing new here, just paint and flooring. I did pick up a few shortcuts I'll share.

SHORTCUT 1: Don't let it dry.

I don't know why it took me over twenty of years of painting to learn to pull the tape off the wall immediately after painting. Wet paint can't tear or peel.

I realize this is simple and I've since learned everyone knows this, but, well, now we both know.

SHORTCUT 2: Why cut when you can guillotine?

Laminate Guillotine
On my kitchen, one of the biggest pains was cutting the laminate with a circular saw. Cutting the plastic composite dulls blades fast. For this project we rented a little lever-mounted laminate bifurcator that not only made a really clean cut, but was incredibly fast to use with no dust so I didn't even have to walk outside. It even cuts angles.

SHORTCUT 3: Circular saws are old skool.
I'm always trying to get by with just the tools I have. Facing a large trim job however I succumbed to temptation and borrowed a chop saw. I can't even estimate how much time it saved cutting moulding, shelves and casement. The fact that you can simply set it and go rocks. 22.5 degree cut? No problem. Loosen a knob, click, click, click, tighten a knob, cut. I'm in love.

SHORTCUT 4: Throw the hammer away.
As I mentioned , I'm skeptical of new tools. But already bending to borrow a chop saw, I couldn't stop myself from throwing my friend's nail gun in the back of my truck with the chop saw. This isn't love. It's lust. I've fired semi-automatic weapons before. It's like that, only productive.

My first nail. I put the gun to the trim and pull the trigger to a gratifying whump of compressed air. The compressor is dialed up way too high. It travels through the trim, through the wall and ricochets around in the closet on the opposite side. I grin and turn the pressure down. The second whump and the nail sets perfectly. I laugh out loud. A maniacal, but joyous laugh.


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