Finish Installing Guest Room Floor

March 14th, 2010

The first order of business today was to mill the splines to join the two grooved sides of the planks in the closet and nook. Pops had been sketching out the design using a scrap piece of wood last night. With his test piece in hand, we headed down to the workshop to see how we could make this work. The tongue is tapered and rounded at the end with the groove being shaped to match, so it’s not as simple as cutting a thin rectangular strip of wood that is twice the width of a tongue. With some trial and error, we were able to get the angle and blade height set on the table saw to get very close to what we needed. With some additional sanding, we had two pieces of spline that fit snugly in the groove but left some room for expansion:
After test-fitting the new splines in the pieces that would be joined, we headed out to breakfast at Betsy’s.

When we returned home, we got right back to work getting the rest of the floor done. We only had 3 full boards plus a 1-1/2″ filler in the closet and in the nook to get installed and that went pretty fast. We cleaned up all the tools, vacuumed up the sawdust, and we were admiring the new floor by 3:00.


Now all we have to do is get the floor finished. After seeing how bright the room is with the pine, we’re reconsidering whether we should use the dark brown stain that we had planned to apply. My father suggested white-washing the floor, which would be totally appropriate for a Cape. Now we have some decisions to make. Stay tuned to find out what happens…

Begin Installing Guest Room Floor

March 13th, 2010

I got up early today and got the guest room set up for installing the floor. I cleaned out all of the painting supplies and brought up the necessary tools for the flooring project. I checked in with my father, who was coming up to help with the installation. He was just leaving and would be arriving in about 2.5 hours.

The timing was perfect, because before I could get started on the floor, I had to head out into the warm nor’easter to help a fellow 300 Committee land steward erect an osprey pole on the parcel for which he is a steward. I was especially excited to help because it’s a parcel about a mile south of our house on the same salt pond. There were plenty of people on hand and the installation went quickly.

Pops beat me to the house by about 15 minutes, and when I got home, we got started right away. Once again, we are dealing with a 90-degree intersection between the floors and we needed to be certain that we would be perfectly square in the doorway. Initially, I was planning to start on the far side of the room after laying some careful baselines and hope that things were still square by the time I got to the doorway. That way, I would only be face-nailing in the closet and in the nook that will probably be covered by a built-in (someday). Instead, we decided to start on the other side of the room with the first board in the doorway. This would require us to make some splines to reverse the direction of tongues into the closet and nook, but we decided that would be easier and safer than my original plan.

After hauling the 16-footers out of the basement (wrapped in plastic to protect the wood from the driving rain), we got started on the floor:

We have enough long boards to span the whole room for all but three rows of the floor. Rather than cutting some of the longer boards to establish a balanced pattern, we decided to tuck the three short boards in the corner of the room where the bed will likely be so they’ll never be seen. The first board illustrated a slight problem with the squareness of the room, but we were able to get the board nailed in with a difference of less than 1/4″ to the far wall:


We had a little bit of trouble with the boards that met the hickory in the doorway. The smaller hickory board in the doorway was not quite square to the room and maybe not cut quite straight either. There are many possible causes for this that we didn’t bother to investigate. We just soldiered on, marking and sanding each board to match the angle and contours of the threshold:

The pine went in very easily. It took about 50% of the effort to put each nail in, and aside from the few boards that we had to cut for the threshold and the two around the heat vent, it was just a matter of chopping one end and gluing and nailing the board. We only paused for a brief burrito break in the middle of the afternoon. By evening, we had made our way all the way across the room and we decided that was a great place to stop:

We Finish Painting (On Time!)

March 13th, 2010

I got up early this morning and headed down to the guest room to flip the stacks of pine and get a coat of finish on the rest of the planks before work. I have to say that I’m loving working with the water-based polycrylic. I’m not sure that I like the look of it (but it’s just the bottoms of the planks so I don’t really care) but the lack of the noxious odor is fantastic!

When we got home from work, I stacked the pine in the middle of the room and covered it with plastic. I headed down to the basement to finish the bottoms of the remaining four planks. After a quick dinner, I got started painting the second coat on the walls. Tina was still scrambling to finish up a poster that our boss needed to take to a conference, so I was on my own for the beginning of the night. I feel less confident about my painting skills when compared to Tina’s, so I started in the closet for practice. I also moved very slowly. Tina came in when she was finished with the poster and took over rolling. We got through the whole room by 1 AM. We had totally transformed the walls in ceiling in less than a week. Best of all, we are ready to start installing the floor later in the morning (but not before a few hours of sleep).

Even More Painting and Wood Sealing Too

March 11th, 2010

We had to leave work a bit early to take Lilly to the vet for her annual exam. While we were out, we stopped at Sherwin Williams to get the paint for the guest room and some Minwax Polycrylic for the floor bottoms. When we got home, Tina started painting in the guest room and I went down to the basement to start coating the bottoms of the floor boards. We had 8 16′ planks in the basement (because they didn’t fit anywhere upstairs). I had to clean up the workshop and get the big tools out of the way so I could stack them in four piles, face to face, on the floor. Once I had everything set up, I set to work finishing the bottoms. I was having difficulty seeing what I had done because of the poor light and the fact that the pine didn’t change very much when I applied the finish. As a result, it took much longer than I expected as I needed to be extremely careful not to miss any spots and not get any finish on the tops.

Once I finally finished the four boards that were on top of the piles, I headed upstairs to help Tina with the painting. She was about half-way done with the room. I took over the cutting brush and she continued rolling. By 10:30, we had finished the first coat on the walls.

After cleaning up the painting tools, we moved the shorter pine planks from the stack behind the couch to the floor of the guest room. With the boards spread out, I put a coat of finish on the bottoms of half of the boards.

With that task wrapped up around midnight and still on track to finish on time, we gave up and went to bed.

More Painting

March 10th, 2010

We had another marathon night of painting tonight. I got started painting the ceiling right after work while Tina took Lilly for a walk. When she got back, she took over cutting duties so I could concentrate on rolling. We had a quick dinner and then went through the room and painted the trim. I waited the necessary four hours and started the second coat of the ceiling at 10:30. We had everything cleaned up around midnight. Another night of hard work and we are still on track to meet our goal of installing the floor this weekend.

Priming the Guest Room

March 9th, 2010

After a nice long walk with Lilly and a delicious dinner, Tina and I kicked into high gear got to work priming the guest room. My father has offered his assistance installing the floor this weekend and we really want to be ready for the help. Once again, we’re using BIN on the ceiling and walls to get rid of the funky smell (which has mostly gone away now). The worst part of the whole process is dealing with the fumes. Our respirators block the smell but our eyes were burning! We were able to get through the whole room in 2.5 hours. We finished up around 10:30.

Tina might have felt overwhelmed at the start:

We had many test patches of paint to cover up:

Guest Room Wall Prep

March 6th, 2010

Tonight, Tina returned to fixing the walls in the guest room. She continued patching where I had stopped and fixed some of the patches I had started on the larger holes that hadn’t turned out quite right.

Of course, she had plenty of supervision:


I Finally Finish A Project (And Continue Another)

February 28th, 2010

Today, I returned to the epic closet remodel. I had picked up a nice pine shelf for my closet the last time I was at Lowes. I took the necessary measurements and finally cut the shelf to fit. A few minutes later, it was in place and the closet was done.

With that behind me, I headed down to the guest room to start patching all of the holes and dents that we had discovered in the walls. The worst was the closet, where the wire shelving unit had been attached to the wall. Once again, there were many tiny holes, knicks, and dings all over the room.

Underlayment in the Guest Room

February 27th, 2010

Earlier in the month, we decided that we really needed to get moving on the floor in the guest room. It was getting toward the end of winter, and soon, there would be more moisture in the air.

We got started on February 7th. The first step was to cut the rest of the door casings to allow for the increased height of the new floor. I also removed all of the baseboard molding that I could access. Then, I got busy gluing and screwing the half-inch plywood to the subfloor.
I got a few sheets installed before it was getting too late to be cutting the wood outside.

Back inside, Tina and I moved the pine planks out of the guest room and back in to the livingroom. We tucked them behind the couch on a layer of sheets to protect the floor. I ripped out the rest of the baseboard molding and then filled in the gap between the wall and the floor with some spray foam insulation. Hopefully that stops the wind from blowing into the room.

Fast-forward 20 days… I finally made time to get back to the guest room project. I started by trimming off all of the extra foam from the bottom of the walls. Then, I took measurements for the remaining pieces of plywood and headed to the basement to do some cutting. With all the pieces cut to size, I returned to the guest room and motored through gluing and screwing the rest of the underlayment. It was that simple. We’re one step closer!

Closet Work Continues

February 26th, 2010

The slowest moving closet project sees some progress. I finally cut and mounted the closet pole. I’ll finish this someday!

Now I Understand

January 10th, 2010

So now I finally understand why Tina has seemed so stressed about getting the floor done and putting the kitchen back together. Last night, she threw me the best surprise birthday party ever! I knew that a couple of my friends were coming up from CT for dinner but I also knew that they wouldn’t care what state the house was in. Thankfully, we finished just in time and this was a non-issue.

Jay, Catie, and Steve arrived in the afternoon and Tina suggested that we go grab a beer before dinner. We headed to the Captain Kidd in Woods Hole and grabbed a table in the back room. After the first round of beer, Jay began complaining of a stomach ache and switched to water. Sometime during the second round, he disappeared to the men’s room. When he came back, he asked Tina if she could push dinner back an hour and run back to our house. Tina reluctantly agreed and placed a call to the restaurant. We raced back to the house. I rushed to the door to let Jay in and immediately noticed the odd glow coming from the dining room. The house had been decorated in a very festive, Mexican-themed way. I cautiously proceeded further into the house. As I rounded the corner into the livingroom, I was greeted by a 30-voice harmony shouting “SURPRISE!!!”

And surprised I was! The rest of the night was a fantastic blur that included, among other things:

*The first Chronic Cape Guac-off


*A never-ending supply of margaritas

*Piñata (it broke more easily with an aluminum bat that a whiffle ball bat).

*The best rendition of Happy Birthday I’ve ever heard, including four-part harmony


*Dancing with cats!

I think a good time was had by all. I certainly enjoyed it. Best surprise party ever!

A Bit of Plumbing

January 7th, 2010

Tonight’s after work project was plumbing. It was time to get the sink hooked up again. I had finally found a cheap, single-handle faucet to replace the leaking faucet. We’ll upgrade to a nicer faucet when we upgrade the sink sometime in the future. Here’s the bare sink:

Waiting for me to reconnect the supply and drain lines:

We have running water in our kitchen again! No more washing dishes in the bathroom:

Install Cabinets

January 6th, 2010

I started the process of reinstalling the cabinets yesterday but didn’t make it very far.  I raised the supports for the back of the counter
and tried to get the cabinets in place.  I couldn’t get anything squared up and was getting pretty frustrated. I decided that maybe the cabinets were never really square to begin with (I didn’t check when I removed them) and I tried to get them in place as best as possible.  When I tried to screw them down, I discovered that the original screws were no match for the hickory!

We stopped at the lumber yard and got some longer screws on the way to work this morning.  When we got home, I got back to work on the cabinets.  Before long, I had them reinstalled:

I finished up by getting the dishwasher in place, securing the end cabinet and reinstalling the counter top. This place is starting to look like a house again!

The Floor is Finished

January 3rd, 2010

Sunday morning, the last day of our vacation.  We headed downstairs to check on the floors.  The measles were gone!  The last coat looked great! By late afternoon, we were able to walk on it.  We headed downstairs with the cats (who had been stuck upstairs for the last half-month) to check things out.  The living room looks pretty good:

Noche approves of the kitchen:

Here’s the detail of what we did under the cabinets.  This is the spot for the stove.  We added an extra board in case  it was possible to see in between the stove and the cabinets.  The hickory runs about 2 inches under the cabinets everywhere else:

Here’s another view of the bridge in to the guest room:

And this is how we applied tung oil under the remaining cabinet:

We brought up some furniture and sat on our couch for the first time since May!  This was definitely a champagne-worthy occasion.  A toast to success:

A family portrait:

Continued celebration:

Finishing the Floor – Day Five

January 2nd, 2010

Joy!  The test board from yesterday looked normal.  We were going to be able to fix the floor.  With that good news, I set to work hand sanding the whole floor.  If I knew where my palm sander was I could have used that.  Instead, I spent a few hours going over the whole floor (500+ sq ft), taking out the bumps and lightly scuffing the rest of the finish.  Once that was done, I started the more difficult task of removing all of the dust.  I began by gently sweeping up as much as I could while avoiding the knot holes.  Then, I wiped the whole floor down with tack cloths.  Once I had the floor nearly dust free, I used the shop vac to suck the dust out of the knots.  Hopefully the vacuum doesn’t catch on fire before I get around to changing the filter!  With that done, we proceeded to spread the fourth and final coat of tung oil.  This time, we were much more careful about opening the windows after and we waited as long as possible to turn the heat back on.  We didn’t want any dust getting blown on to the floor!  We headed back upstairs to wait for the results…