Thursday, January 27, 2011

Harry Potter Suite

This weekend I've been working on a door for the sizeable space under the landing, aptly named the “Harry Potter Suite”.  I picked up a stripped cedar door a couple of years ago from Grenfell for $20.  According to the bloke I bought it off, it came from one of the early buildings in the Main St, which would potentially date it from the late 1800's.  It's had a hard life especially where the lock was fitted, with the timber split right through.   Perhaps the door had been kicked in at some stage, maybe during an armed robbery by some bushranger like Ben Hall (or maybe the owner just forgot their keys - equally plausible but not nearly as exciting).

I’ve reduced the height of the door by about 8 inches by removing the bottom rail (otherwise known as the horizontal bit) and taking 8 inches from the side and centre stiles (the bits that run from top to bottom).  I then reassembled the door and, to be honest, you wouldn’t know that it’s been cut and shut.

I also need to make the door narrower by about 4 inches.  Ordinarily, I would take a third off each of the three stiles to keep it symmetrical.  But given the damage around the lock I’ve decided to take 2 inches from the outside stiles and leave the central one as is.  I’ll add a couple of across grain keys on the inside of the door for strength.  This would have been a common repair method when the door was made.

One nice aspect of this job has been the opportunity to use a hand plane from my Grandfather Woolner’s toolbox.  It took a little time to sharpen and tune, but it’s great to use.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Upwardly mobile

At last it is possible to get to the upstairs' rooms without climbing a ladder. This is real progress.  Not that the stairs are finished, there are still handrails, panelling, a door to the Harry Potter suite, moulding, skirting boards and non-slip strips.  All of which will require a few more days' effort, but the lion's share is done and they work.

As with the other steps and winders I've rounded the front edge of each tread on the second flight using my trusty Stanley hand plane.  I really think hand planes have a lot to offer when it comes to small jobs, they are quick to set up, make no noise and create minimal dust.  Plus, from my perspective, they give the slightly imperfect, hand made finish that I like.

During coffee breaks I measured up for the kitchen bench.  The plan is to build the kitchen in Canberra using some of the second hand timber I've picked up over the last couple of years and move it down when completed.  I'll put the drawing up when it's done.