"One man's trash is another man's upcoming project"
Admittedly, this pair of deck chairs may look like they are ready for the scrap heap by most observers. But when I spotted them on the curb next to Wharncliffe Road yesterday, ready for garbage day, I decided to rescue them from their likely destination, London's landfill site on Manning Drive.
After I put about a dozen hours of hard work into them, I think the rusty metal and dirty teak will shine again. Since the workshop is closed until March 1 (except for very special events), readers will have to tune in next year to see the final results!
"The clock says 'Happy Hour' but I keep on sweepin'!"
Yesterday Mr. Shop Vac got a major, rip-roaring workout. Layers upon layers of dust disappeared, however, and in the future I promise to cut lumber outside - on windy days - so I can share wood dust and shavings with others.
Soon I will have the shiniest workshop in London.
"Why, I can almost see my face on the shiny surfaces"
I am almost finished my last job in the workshop for 2015, i.e., the Big Sweep. Just about every saw and hammer and piece of wood has been wiped clean. Just about every shelf surface has been vacuumed. I am down to the last shelf to vacuum and handful of lumber bits to save. When you smell a nice cedar blaze, you'll know I'm all done.
"The one on the left is actually two-tone green. Must be the lighting"
Second coats dried overnight and yesterday afternoon, while tapping my toes to a well-used CD, I tapped a few nails into place and - voila! - two colourful and spacious birdhouses are now ready for my next sale, this coming Saturday.
"The rescued drawer handles fit the bill. Happy landings!"
"The cedar base and support stick, attached w screws, can be easily removed"
"I just need thirty minutes to put this one together too"
And, if time allows, I will have a third ready before I head out the door tomorrow morning.
I loved working with the ten short wooden slats I brought back home from PEI earlier in the fall. I was able to build four birdhouses - 11 inches tall, 10 inches wide, 8 inches deep - and with the addition of four wooden spoons I was able to pull in free wi-fi for the birds.
"There are slight differences between the two.
Same deal on wi-fi but different roof angle"
"I wish I had another truck load of that lumber!"
Oh yeh, the birds love getting cozy inside the sturdy grey houses, opening their small laptops and tuning in to their favourite programs. I'm pretty sure I heard a pair of chickadees laughing at an episode of Coronation Tweet just the other night. Good for them. I'm hooked on it too.
I enjoyed dressing up two dust-covered duplexes made out of rescued lumber, from the plywood base, old pine faces (former cupboards) and driftwood branches from Port Bruce. I will do the same 'dressing up' for four more, in the spring of 2016, after I take time off to tidy up myself.
"The Workshop closes in one week. See you in March, 2016"
"12 cedar slats + a top (and a few other bits) = a G.H. BH"
I will try to finish three white cedar flat-top birdhouses (of the six) by Friday and take them to my last sale of the year. Sometime next Saturday or Sunday I will be locking up the workshop for 2015, the earliest date in quite a few years.
I know that leaves a few projects in limbo 'til springtime but I have a pile of writing projects that need attention. I think that in the future I will try to have a high and low season, in alternating fashion, with the workshop and writing projects. That's what I say now : )
"The roof supports and interior skeleton are visible above"
"All the trim is in place except for the support stick at back"
Once the trim dried I attached all the pieces in less than ten minutes. The chimney took more time to get into the right position than anything else but I think the final wonky angle suits the Hobbit house just fine.
I will not attach the support stick to the back - I'll let a buyer do that job, if it's desired - because then the birdhouse is harder to store on a shelf or pack into a box.
Hobbit house Number 2, with varnished cedar roof, should be finished by Friday. Maybe.
The two Hobbit houses not only need two coats of paint (or varnish on one's roof) but two coats of paint on a bucketful of pieces of trim. I'll let the trim dry overnight, then return to the workshop tomorrow for about 10-minute's work with completed trim. I think the finished product will certainly be unique.
An original J.R. birdhouse. From teak w 1/4" aluminum plate roof.
Photo credit - modernbirdhouses.com
I know that early J.R. birdhouses (above) look like an easy type to build - a rectangular box with a flat, sturdy roof - but they were not. Start looking for teak, aluminum plating and chromium screws and you'll see why.
The ones I'm building - from rescued cedar slats - are perhaps just a touch easier to put together, and I call them the G.H. with a tip of the hat to J.R. Davidson. That being said, mine do require a lot more parts (20 in all) and therefore more sanding and assembly time than my standard birdhouses.
Thankfully, the sander makes my job easier.
"12 rectangles, 1 roof, 2 roof supports, 1 base and
Count 'em. The roofs are tricky because 18 of the 20 cedar slats have to be angled, sometimes on both sides, in order to fit properly and tightly into place. (A standard birdhouse has two or four slats). On a Hobbit house, 30 - 60 minutes per roof is the norm. Why, I could make a giant snowman and grow carrots for its nose in that amount of time!
That being said, I like the final result and will paint one roof and coat the other with Marine Varnish. Then I'll work on the trim. I'm pretty sure the trim will take more than the standard amount of time too, what with the curved chimney and all!