Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Door Finishing Fun

When we left the new water heater closet door last, it was freshly stained and ready for finish and hardware.

Step One: Cut a hole for the vent
Every gas water heater needs air and venting, so we need to add a vent to this door. The small panel on this door (originally the top panel) is perfect for this job! I carefully measured the inside of the vent, traced it onto the door, and drilled a 3/8 inch hole in each corner:
This allows me to use a jigsaw to remove the panel.

Step OnePointFive: Paint the Vent
Our vent is a salvaged vent from the Habitat ReStore. $1, but in need of some paint. I scuffed it up with sandpaper, and then spraypainted it glossy black, making sure to coat both sides of the vent louvers:

Step Two: Apply Finish
We chose shellac for our door finish; Zinsser Bullseye Shellac to be specific. I'm rather enamoured with the idea of shellac right now... and am especially loving the ease with which it is coming off of an older door that needs refinished. I figured that this door (like our entire bathroom) is a great place for an experiment.
I brushed a thin coat of shellac onto the door, let dry an hour, and sanded lightly with 220 grit sandpaper; I repeated this 3 times. The 220 was a bit coarse for my prefered final finish, so I am planning on a final sanding with 400 grit sandpaper; we'll see today how that goes.

Here's a picture of the door with a third unsanded coat of shellac and with the grate set in place:

Coming up: More Door Jamb Fun!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Back to the House

Did you wonder if this would ever turn back into a houseblog? Well, today is the day! I spent the weekend sanding and staining a new door for the water heater closet in the bathroom:
This doorway is 22" wide, an unusual size. Complicating matters was my want for a paneled door, and my preponsity for used doors. It is hard to cut 2 inches off of a used 24" door that has panels and door handles cut!

After years of searching, I finally found a 22" door at our local salvage store. It is newish, pine construction, and three panels. The smallest panel is just perfect for installing a vent; we are "flipping" the door over so that this panel will be on the bottom.

Here is the sanding:
I sanded first with 100 grit sandpaper on my orbital sander. The polyurethane finish gummed up the sandpaper quite fast; I was able to "pick" it off and keep going at intervals. After removing all finish, I finished up with 150 and 180 grit sandpaper. I wanted a dark stain, so stopped at 180.

I used the same stain on the door as I had used on the bathroom baseboard; Miniwax Red Mahogany:
This picture is of the first coat drying. I've since added one more coat, and will hopefully add the finish today after finding a vent to add.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Dishes for the Cardinal

We perused the thrift stores carefully for just the right dishware for the Cardinal... and here it is!

They match the orange appliances beautifully:

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Call for Help

I don't normally ask for help on this blog, but this seems important. I've been reading Hallie and Joe's blog for over a year, and now they've hit a rough spot. A much rougher spot than a truck broken down in Montana. Here is a new website on how to help!

Glacier Pics

Here's a few pictures from our trip to Glacier:
Goose Island in St. Mary's Lake
Hidden Lake
Running Eagle Falls


Canoeing on Two Medicine Lake

Scary clouds on the way home in Wyoming!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Busted Flat in Shelby

We had a lovely trip to Montana and Glacier National Park last week. We took the Cardinal up, using our old Dodge Dakota to tow it. We didn't want to take the Subaru on such a long trip without trailer brakes! Sure the Dakota has 180,000 miles on it... but the Subie had 150K. And the Dakota had never run better.

The trip to Glacier went well; we enjoyed family, hiking, and wildlife for a few days before heading back to Great Falls. Unfortunately, about 78 miles (exactly) from East Glacier, the truck acquired a terrific vibration. We were just about to stop, when there was a huge "pop" and the truck lost all power to the wheels. The vibration was quite jarring! We just barely pulled the truck and trailer onto the shoulder... and after looking at the underside of our truck, the huge trail of liquid down the interstate, the lake of fluid under the truck, AND the cracked transfer case, we cried.

Wish we had pictures.

Called a tow truck... luckily my sister had AAA. Unluckily, we were still 60 miles from Great Falls, with only small towns between. I called mechanics in each town, and none could get us in within a week. We didn't know what would happen. Oh, and AAA doesn't cover trailer towing. Would we have to leave the Cardinal by the interstate?

After two hours, the tow truck arrived. Luckily, the driver was more than willing to hook the trailer onto the back for $1 a mile... and would tow us free 20 miles north to his town. He made a few calls, and found a mechanic who could get us in the next day.

He asked us where we wanted to have the trailer parked; we said "Cheap and close to the mechanic". He thought about it... and said he had a free place for us if we could handle train noise. Well... living in an old house in the old part of town, I have no problem with train noise.

Here was our two night camp spot:
Right by the tracks.

Back to the mechanic... I must say that everyone who stuck their head under our truck, from the tow driver, to the 4 mechanics let out a huge breath and shook their head. Our transfer case didn't just crack... it EXPLODED:

The part was supposed to be in the next day, and he promised it by 5. At five the next day, however, we walk to the shop to a somewhat flustered mechanic. Our part had missed the truck up, but the mechanic had sent a man down to get it in the hopes of staying late to finish it up. Unfortunately, the man's truck had broken down on the side of the road!

Ah well. It was done the next day, albeit without a speedometer (the wires ripped out in the explosion) and missing 4x4 (apparently, the CV joint on the front wheels was freezing up now), and we are back down in Colorado, considerably lighter on the pocketbook.

Oh, and if you EVER have a chance to stay in Shelby, MT, may I recommend the local museum... the Marias Museum? It was a big house FULL of old things, from Victrolas and wedding gowns, to depression glass, pistols, and blacksmith gear. It was one of the most interesting museums I've ever been in!