Jobs Blog

2×12 slope stairs

Arnie asked me to build some steps beside his house. He lives on a mountain; and the gravel/mulch slope was about 22 degrees. When it’s slippery it’s dangerous. So I drew up a proposal for his neighbour and his Strata to review:

After approval and scheduling (note difference in colour of grass–1 month plus), I picked up a truckload of 2x12s and got to work:

The finished result looked quite close to my drawing!

The steps, being 6 feet wide, have a little bit of bounce…but most of them touch the ground at some point between the endcaps, so they are supported enough.

Floating, Sliding DVD player shelf

Sandee was having an issue with her entertainment unit: she has a large TV hanging on her wall but no room for an entertainment unit. All she needs is basically a DVD player. But where she has placed it, on a stool below, is too low to be usable:

and also a tad messy.

So with some measuring, a couple of visits and some pondering, I came up with a solution:

The top needed to slide open for access to plugs, etc behind and underneath (and dusting too). I used short cabinet drawer slides (soft close style).

When installed, it hides (most of) the cords nicely, and looks good too.

Floating Walls with doors

Debbie was renovating her house to make a couple of suites workable. She asked for 2 floating walls with doors, to help with organizing the flow.

I built stud walls directly on the floor. I used silicone on the floors so that the floors (floating floor and tile floor) could expand and contract a little bit. I was able to find studs in the wall to join to, even a few joists in the ceiling. I stuck in some doorframes and boarded and taped.

There is a lot of material that can go into building a wall, and of course there are mouldings. Instead of trying to feather and paint where the walls joined, I simply used a moulding…baseboards were simple too. Even the archetype headers weren’t hard to find. However matching the crown was a bit trickier:

I’ve done a little bit of crown moulding, but it’s always been the type that sits in the corner at a 45 degree angle. After I figured out what kind of crown I needed, the challenge was to cove it into place (3 pieces) – all between walls. I had not worked with 38 degree crown before, so it took some getting used to. But it turned out pretty good in the end.

Lattice re-do

Judy had some lattice under her deck that needed fixing. Also the “gate” on the right kept falling out.

I used 4×4 posts along the ground to give some stability. I pounded in some rebar anchors to keep them in place. I bought some vinyl grey lattice and attached it. I put hinges and a latch on the gate.

A nice 3 hour job in the sun.

Custom closet cabinet

Angela requested a built-in wardrobe cabinet for her closet:

She wanted it centered so that a couple of barn doors can be added in the future. So there is a 3 foot wide cabinet with a 3 foot wide space on either side. She also wanted shelves inside right up to the ceiling. And of course some rails for hangers.

It took me a couple of days to build it and paint it, and half a day to install everything. To save time and material on the upper cabinet, I built the upper part “on site” using the side panels and interior shelves to hold everything together. But the bottom section was a pre-made plywood drawer box.

Cedar Barn Door

Misty hired me to make a barn door. She had some 1×8 cedar planks. I edged them and planed them before gluing them together, but as some weren’t perfectly straight there is a bit of a rustic feel. It is 7 feet high and 5 feet wide.

It was a bit sad to paint the nice cedar white, but that is the colour that was needed. Painting cedar doesn’t always work as some of the natural oils bleed through, but with a coat of Kilz paint and 2 coats of cabinet paint, it looked alright.

She ordered an 11 foot track. Installing it was not straightforward thanks to odd stud locations.

Rustic Greenhouse Shelves

I put together a greenhouse for Donnie awhile ago, and she needed some shelves for her plants.

We went with rustic. I chopped up some free pallets and made a table and some shelves that would fit in the small hexagonal space.

I spray-stained them as well.

Live-Edge Shelves

Josephine asked for some live-edge shelves for DVDs.

I found some nice birch planks on Craigslist:

Then they needed a little more dressing up/contrast. So after planing off the back edge and sanding them a little bit, I cut them to size and applied stain to about half of each board. Then I varnished them, which unfortunately yellowed them a little, but they still looked good.

To install them as floating shelves on a concrete wall, I inserted 1/4″ lag bolts into the wall, cut off the heads, drilled matching holes in the back of the shelves, and slid them onto the bolts. I put a bead of silicone along the back too.

Deck sanding and coffee stains

Marnie hired me to sand (part of) her deck. Over the phone I quoted 1-2 days. When I showed up and saw the tiny thing, I thought I had it beat. But sanding was very slow.

In the past I had sanded a deck and it had been easy. The only difference was that I had spent a day or two pressure washing and using stain stripper. At the time pressure washing seemed like a waste of time…maybe it wasn’t. I decided to try the stain stripper. It got a bunch of gunk off (a layer of stain?) but not all of it. I was back to sanding…

I rented a drum sander. It did in 10 minutes what my belt sander did in 4 hours.

There was still a lot to do by hand – deck boards aren’t level – and I had to sand between them by hand as well. But it turned out ok.

Now for the coffee part. The homeowner chose a semi-transparent stain called “Coffee.” I stained it the following week on a warm day. The fence got a quick coat too.

Backyard deck and steps

About 6 weeks ago Carolyn called me about building a deck. I had a wait time and the price of lumber was going sky high so we bought the lumber right away and left it in piles until I was able to get to it.

I spent a week building. First I replaced the old stairs. I made them almost exactly the same except I added some posts for a railing.

Next I started on the deck. I worked my way away from the house in sections so that my customers could still access the backyward without climbing over framing. It is 12 feet wide by 25 feet long.

Lastly I added railings and steps.