Monday, July 27, 2015

Cable Cutting - Pekema Projects on the Road


This project actually took place back in April, but I didn't take an "After" until recently, so it's getting posted now.
A friend of ours (name withheld for security concerns) lives in a house where two guy-wires for a utility pole were anchored right in the middle of the back yard.  It created a large intrusion in the yard, and the cables were very clearly not accomplishing anything.  They were very slack.
We started the project by trying to dig up the anchor.

After digging quite deep, we realized it went much deeper than we expected, so we switched to Plan B.  That plan was to unbolt the hardware holding the cable, but we didn't have the appropriate tools, so we switched to Plan C, the hacksaw.
Yes, he is standing in the hole.
Despite a dull blade, we made it though the cable.  Once the cables were free of the anchor, we enlarged the hole to the side and bent the anchor over, burying it at least a foot below the surface.
The yard now has much better feng shui.
Yes, we did drape the loose cables into the neighbors yard.  It's the back corner, so it shouldn't bother them.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Canvas Crunch

One of our priceless works of art took a tumble off the wall when the nail holding it gave out.  The result was some battered particle board in two corners.

I started by yanking out the old fasteners visible here.  They prevented the boards from fitting back together.

With a couple brackets, it was (almost) as good as new.  Ideally I would have put L-brackets inside the frame, but it would have been a lot more of a hassle.  With these brackets, I was easily able to hold it flat while attaching them.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Inspiration 13

Wolf Moto's slick Moto Guzzi LeMans custom.
This is a cool looking bike.  It's making me consider gold wheels.  I'm contemplating a black and gold theme, since that was the original color scheme on my bike.

Cafe Racer Dreams delivers a masterclass in customizing a BMW classic motorcycle.
Cafe Racer Dreams delivers a masterclass in customizing a BMW classic motorcycle.This is a nice BMW, and I particularly like the crash bars.  Nice seat too.

When Jeff Veraldi broke his back in a racing accident, building this BMW K100 cafe racer became his therapy.
Very clean bike with a cool exhaust.  I like the front fender.

The motorcycle as art: Ducati MH900 by Hazan Motorworks.
This is a really nice looking Ducati.  Beautiful exhaust.

These are some pretty bikes with nice details.

The Heinrich Maneuver: Deus Customs take on the BMW R nineT.
I like this bike.  Particularly the rear fender and the badge.

Très Chic: Café Racer Dreams' BMW R100
Lots of interesting details.  Bar end blinkers, rear shock arrangement, BMW M paint scheme, tail light, etc.  Stole my battery location, but made a mediocre cover.

Cool, unconventional bike.  I like the exhaust and the taillight.

Cool BMW.  I like the exhaust arrangement.

Holographic Hammer's Ducati Scrambler
Very cool bike.  CARBON WHEELS!!!

Sweet bike with tons of custom details.

This is a very pretty bike...with a hole in the tank!?!  I like the handlebars too.

When a Swedish psychologist wanted a bike, 6/5/4 Motors built him this custom BMW.Clean BMW.  I like the minimal hand controls.

Thursday, July 23, 2015


We are very excited to announce we are expecting our first child*.

Baby P coming January 2016!
*Don't worry, it was planned.

Be sure to watch our new Baby page for updates on growing our human and putting together a nursery.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Bigger Battery Blues

After only four months, the battery died again in our bedroom fan remote.  I'm going to cut the old battery some slack since it was at least 8 years old when installed.  This fresh one better last quite a bit longer.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Taught Twinklies

About a year ago we strung up our Christmas lights above the back patio for a party.  We liked the way they looked so much, we decided to leave them up.  They moved to the front for Christmas, then back to the patio afterward.
The only problem was our hanging method was "quick and dirty" for the original party and after all this time, the lights were really starting to sag.
I decided anything worth doing is worth over-doing, so I bought stainless steel eye hooks and plastic coated stainless steel cables to help support the lights.

With the help of my dad, we pulled the new cables tight and ran the lights along them.  We actually pulled the cables so tight we were able to musically tune them.  The whole setup can be played like a giant harp.  Chrissy will be on a ladder playing the Star Wars theme at our next party.  Or not.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Doors for Days

Before.  Gross, yellow, '70s laquer on doors and trim.
You may have noticed the frequency of posts has gone down recently, but it's only because we've been working on the mother of all projects--refinishing all the doors in the house.  Definitely easier said than done.
We started with a single door, to experiment with our techniques.  We started with a light sanding.

Our plan was to try a gel stain, which was something we had never worked with.  After the first coat, it looked like this.  Not encouraging, but the instructions indicated this would be the case.

After the second coat it looked better, but we weren't happy with it.  The gel stain gives a somewhat wood-like appearance, but it hides the real wood grain, which is actually pretty nice on the doors.

Since we didn't like the finish, we chemically stripped it and started over.
Our second attempt was a one-step stain and poly, in an attempt to avoid having to do multiple coats.  It was supposed to be a rich mahogany (pretty dark), but it didn't look anything like the can and just made the door look like it did when we started.  We quickly wiped it off as best as possible and returned it.
After some online research we found the next potential finish.  Royal Mahogany Dura Seal Quick Coat stain, meant for wood floors with a clear Danish Oil top coat.  Chrissy went to buy the stain and discovered it is only available to contractors...and cute girls who are very persuasive.

Thanks to the utility onesie, the stain went on beautifully.  It highlighted the beautiful wood grain we barely realized the doors had.

The Danish Oil gave it the perfect sheen.  Not too glossy, but nicely finished looking.  This first door is slightly rough, but we deliberately used our closet door as the first test.

Once we had our system down, it was time to expand to do the rest of the doors.

The next step was a whole lot of miserable stripping.  I cannot stress enough how nasty this stuff is.  Chrissy started on the ground, but after 30 chemical burns, I convinced her it would be better to have the doors at a better working height.

See how much happier she is now?

After many hours and several doors, Chrissy had had enough, so we called in backup.  We were lucky to get help from my brother, uncle and cousin.  We owe them big time.

We went through four gallons of stripper and scraped the goo into a steel bucket.  Once the stuff dried out slightly, I dumped out the nasty clump of rags and stripper into the trash can, saving the bucket for another project.

After everything was stripped, my cousin Garland sanded every door, with a sander purchased just for this project.  Notice how many there are in the stack behind him.  In total, we did 13 doors (eight closet, three bedroom, and two bathrooms).

Once everything was sanded, we were able to start finishing all the doors.  This took quite a while since the doors are double sided and they have to dry between coats.  Procrastination played a role too.

Eventually, we got all the doors finished, but we couldn't hang them until we addressed the door jambs.  This was actually all done concurrently, but it makes more sense if I describe them separately.

As mentioned earlier, the trim had the same unpleasant finish as all the doors.  The first thing we tried was using stripper on a jamb.  After discovering how miserable that was, and since we knew we wanted to paint the trim, we gave the rest of the trim a light sanding and moved on.

The shutter doors between the kitchen and hallway, previously mentioned here and here, were removed, but the hinge cutouts in the jamb remained.

I didn't want to look at them, so I made some filler pieces and carefully glued them in.  There wasn't an easy way to clamp the piece, so I wedged a stick in the doorway to hold the pieces in place and draped a towel over it to make it more visible.  I could imagine someone not paying attention and walking into it.

Once the glue dried I sanded the patch flush and applied some wood filler.  It was now ready for paint.

After sanding each doorjamb they all got at least three coats of paint.  Yes, it was very tedious, just like the rest of the project.  Thanks again to Garland for finishing up the painting.

We also had to get all our hardware in order.  That meant painting the closet door tracks.

I also cheaped out and painted the old hinges flat black.

And the screws.

We did, however, spend a little money on new knobs for all the doors.  We went with the Venetian Bronze finish because it went great with the new door color.

With everything ready, it was finally time to hang the doors.

I also painted the closet door pulls.  I wasn't about to pay $7 per set for new pulls in the correct finish.

We are very happy with the way everything turned out, but we never want to do it again.  It's amazing how nice relatively cheap, flat, hollow-core doors can look.
Unfortunately we skipped the door to the garage and the front doors because we didn't want them removed for a long period of time.  Hopefully they will go fast since we are now experts on the process.

Update:  I just realized I didn't include the total cost for this project.  Here's the approximate breakdown:

Stripper: ($20 x 4) $80
Stain:  $15
Danish Oil:  $10
Trim Paint:  $40 (lots of leftover)
Spray Paint:  $5
Closet Door Rollers:  $15
Knobs:  $110
Total:  $275

David:  4 Beers
Garland:  3 lbs lentils
Mike:  6 gal herbal tea
Chrissy:  32 chemical burns
Andy:  Sanity
Total:  Indeterminate