Reclaiming White Oak Framing

Well we just celebrated our first year in this house. and I thought I would update our progress. We ran into a major snag with the plumbing that shut us down for the whole winter. our sewer line was totally blocked and need to be have about thirty feet of it replace on the city’s side, but wouldn’t do the work until we found our clean out on the property line. After some digging and probing with a rod I located what I hoped was the clean out, the trouble was it was about two foot under a small grove of black locust. There was no way we was going to be able to dig it up with shovels and picks.

On to plan B

Plan B; move into our camper for the winter, not a lot of fun, but we got though it and we are still happily married.

When spring hit I rented a backhoe and cleared the trees, dug out all the old clay tiles and replaced it all with schedule 40 PVC, made a nice clean out for the city, and then still had to argue with them for two weeks before I could get them to fix their end of the pipes. They finally came and replaced about thirty feet, left the yard a mess, but at lease shit was flowing in the right direction again and everyone was happy.

With the plumbing worked out we got to work gutting the rest of the house. We replace the ceiling joist and raised the ceiling to ten feet, this had to be done over the existing ceiling which made it a challenge. we set up a rotary laser level then cut and fished the sixteen foot 2 x 6 joist through the existing framework nailed and screwed them with lag bolts. we also replaced the collar ties. With the roof tied together we removed the old joist and loaded bearing walls which were all rough sawn white oak. I happily pulled nail and cleaned each board. Then made a nice stack in the side yard that is stickered with 3/4 space between each layer.

Next project that has to be done is the floor, it is so badly constructed the only fix is to tear out and rebuild it. on the bright it is also 2 x 8 rough sawn white oak. on the other hand it is going to involve digging piers putting a thirty foot LVL beam and hanging all the joist off of hangers. and this is if we don’t run into any surprises like rotten sills or ban joist. this is also a swallow crawl space so there may be some digging involved. I want to install some 2″ close cell foam board around the inside of the foundation wall and get a get vapor barrier down, this is money well invested. Lumber will delivered the end of the week so look for more updates as we work though this.

Whats Old is New Again

blue and yellow waste

blue and yellow waste (Photo credit: erix!)

One Mans Garbage

Evey since we bought this house we have been lucky, at lease that is way it feels. Working as a carpenter I have seen tons of perfectly good material tossed in the dumpster, so I wasn’t as surprised as some in my family at the amount and quality of used building material we have found with the exception of the new soaking tub with jets still in the box.  With just a few hundred dollars and some creative internet shopping I have gotten a Byran propane furnace with a two and half ton compress and the A coil for a hundred dollars. 600 sq ft of 6″ fiberglass insulation. for free. a top end Kohlor toilet and pedsal sink for $90 that alone new would of costed us over $750. We found a nice propane stove and Bosch dishwasher for $175 a G.E fridge for $100. I have more light fixtures right now than I can use for $50, so I have been selling or trading them for other material that we need.

If you have the time and patience you can almost find everything you need cheap or sometimes for free. We haven’t gotten away with buying everything being gently used we have had to buy somethings new like replacing  all the plumbing in this house. We replaced all the copper with PEX and had replace all the drains with PVC. While at the plumbing supply house we got a deal on a scratch and dent hot water heater that saved us about $150. Working most my life as a carpenter I have seen a lot of waste and it is good to see that attitudes are changing, people are not just throwing usable material in the trash because it doesn’t fit there needs any more. Now they are donating it to places like the Habitat for Humanity’s Restore to be resold so they can use the money to help build more house. It also brings another question to mind why aren’t we using more of these resources to fix homes of lower income people in need with the cash rather than using the new, cheaper material that I see them use now. Maybe its not practical, but it is a thought.

A House, is it a Woodworking or a Carpentry Project

A House as a Woodworking Project

Yes, thats right, thats how I’m looking at this rehab. I know most of the work will be carpentry by its very nature, but we are going to approach putting this house back together from the mind of a woodworking. When it comes to space and workmanship I want maximize the potential for the use of forgotten space, and work at a higher quality of workmanship than most carpenters in todays housing market. While making it as energy efficient as we can.

A house, or a used truck?

With the money this house cost we could of bought a late model used truck, At 895 sq ft and 75% gutted, setting on a nice lot with plenty of trees and the outside in fair condition it wasn’t a difficult decision to invest in this little house. While we are constrained to the footprint of the house it is basically a blank canvass for us to design a house within. there are a couple factor’s that we have to work around.

Getting the feel for the function

I worked as much as a carpenter in my life as I have as a cabinetmaker and woodworker so I like to design function into the form. when designing a small space function becomes the driving force in the design. I start this project by just getting a chair and a pad of paper my camera and spending time in each space, taking pictures and making some sketches, I do this for each room. I also ask others who will live here to be involved in the design phase, and then we compare ideas, you will be surprised how many great ideas can come from doing this.

There’s a brainstorm a coming

Brainstorming is a great tool that many of us overlook. I normanlly try to take on all my design work with very little input from people around me. When I worked in a large cabinet shop the designers never asked for our (the cabinetmakers) input until something was screwed up then they wanted all our ideas how to fix it. Someone once told me the only bad idea is the one you keep to your self. My wife is very good at finding storage space without killing the living space and this excites the designer in me. Some of the things we want to do is build cabinets instead of framing in closet walls, building build-ins where we can, building the kitchen with concrete counter tops. We are going to use pocket doors to save space and add more widows  to give the house more light.

Stick around and follow me as we rehab this house

My shop is full of all our furniture and belongings, and we will be living in a camper while we do the work.

  1.  framing bathroom
  2. a toilet and plumbing
  3. hot water heater and a tub/shower
  4. furnace
  5. framing bedrooms
  6. wiring lights and plugs
  7. drywalls

Well wish us luck and come back a visit often there will be weekly updates, along with maybe some post about the beer, mead and hard cider we are brewing and sour dough bread we bake.

A Tail of a Mongrel Woodworker

I have never liked the term hybrid woodworker for someone who uses a combination of power tools and his hand tools to do a job. I believe this is just what a woodworker does to accomplish his task. To me someone who limited their self’s to hand or power only seem more like a hybrid woodworker. The dictionary defines a hybrid as 2: a person whose background is a blend of two diverse cultures or traditions, Ok another definition is 3a: something heterogeneous in origin or composition, <a hybrid of medieval and renaissances styles>. So looking at these two definitions I guess I could really consider myself a hybrid, however a synonym of hybrid is mongrel and that works much better for me so from this day forth I am going to call myself a mongrel woodworker.

2013 Goals for Sleepydog Woodshop

Well 2012 is coming the a close and I am thinking my goals for the upcoming year. I am one to make resolutions, but I am all for setting goals, and what better place to record them than on my blog so I can actually come back to this post in 12 months and see how many I was able to accomplish. So here goes, for my blog I want post more content, I would love to post one a week but with school and my photography blog that might be pushing it.

  • Post content to my blog twice a month
  • Start a Podcast (this is the year I put some of that schooling in to action)
  • Add video to my blog and podcast.
  • Do more interviews with other woodworker and shop owners and wood working business.
  • Make my blog and podcast better so I can attract sponsorship
  • Use convergence better this year, (be more active on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus)

These goals for my blog. I also plan on opening an Etsy store this year.

For the shop this year I would like to add a few more tool so I can explained my business plan. So for the shop I want to-

  • Finish writing my business plan, and five year marketing plan with goals.
  • Ether add heat to the shop or find a different shop with heat.
  • Paint the shop
  • Improve dust collection.
  • Rebuild table-saw base
  • Rebuild Shop-Smith
  • Get a 16/32 drum sander

These are some personal woodworking goals I would like to do this year.

  • Attended a woodworking class
  • do a large wood sculpture
  • Finish the kitchen Island
  • Build some thing with some inlay in it
  • Build a banjo
  • Build a set of outdoor lounge chairs
  • Look for a apprentice to train

These are goals I would like to set for my business

  • Look into LLC
  • Start an Esty Store
  • Do at lease three shows
  • Look into doing a home-show or woodworking show as a vender
  • Market my carving knifes

I’m not sure if I can get all this done, but I do know one thing for sure that if I don’t at lease set goals then none of these things will happen on there own. Let know what your goals are for 2013, let me know if you would like to be on my podcast, I am looking for other woodworkers, not just the same guys we keep hearing about. I want to interview  the guy working in their garage, the guy who just started woodworking, or the guy who has beed sucking sawdust for years but are well known names. I want to start a podcast where all us unknown woodworker, can have a voice, so if you are interested let know.

80/20 Router Fence

A week ago I saw on The Wood Whispers a table-saw fence that he liked, it was an after-market product made from 80/20 aluminum channel made by Very Super Cool Tools. I believe it was a Kick starter project. The fence is nice because of the versatility it gives you on being able to attache things to your fence like, hold downs, or auxiliary fences, and other gizmos. The fence system is build on the biesmeyer frame so it will work with most table saws.

Front view of 80/20 router fence

Back view of router fence

Back view of router fence

Back of the fenceBack of the fenceBack of the fence

80/20 press

Press I got for a dollar

What I want to show you is a router fence I made for my router table about two years go after i picked up a press made from 80/20 at an auction for $1 cash money. Every one thought I lost my mind but I had a plan from the moment I saw that little gem sitting there. so after a few moments of creative deconstruction I got in-touch with my inner child the one who loved to play with the erector set and put together a first class router fence .

Front view without boards

Front view without boards

Sketch of the Day: Hall Table

This is a blog that I recently found while surfing. there are some really nice designed pieces on here and I thought I would share the site. There is a lot of inspiration on this blog if your looking for ideas when your designing a piece of furniture.

Chief's Shop

It’s a hall table, a console, a buffet – whatever you call it, this concept features a slight Asian-inspired design with the legs and top.


Be sure to like Chief’s Shop on Facebook! At 1,500 likes someone will be selected to receive a box of 500 Kreg pocket hole screws.

Make Some Sawdust!


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WIA Horay

This weekend I will be attending Woodworking-in-America in Covington Ky, to sit in with Mary May a classical trained carver. She will be one of the keynote speakers at the conference and I suspect draw many local carvers to the event. She isn’t only one of the top architectural carvers but a well known internet teacher, providing many hours of well done video instruction on her web site at a reasonable rate.

New Jointer for the Woodshop

I ran across a deal on a Ridgit jointer last week for less than $300 dollars at Direct Tool Outlet, so I bought it! While it is only a six inch jointer and I was really wanting an eight inch joiner, I really couldn’t afford the bigger one at this time with the consideration that I would of had to upgrade my electric to 220 to accommodate it. It’s my true hope to find some old relic of a jointer that is 12″ or so then I wouldn’t mind paying for the upgrade as much, until then a six inch will suffice. If I did need to flatten anything bigger than six inches then that I will use one of my many hand planes.

From 1918 magazine advertisement. Caption: &qu...

From 1918 magazine advertisement. Caption: “The Porter Style C Jointer with direct motor drive. Practical in every respect. Ideal for the School. A high grade tool made by specialists. C. O. Porter Machine Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan.” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Rolling Utility Bench From an Metal Old Toolbox

I had an old cheap metal toolbox that use to piss me off every time I tried to move anywhere. The metal on the bottom that the casters where screwed to was so thin that it would bend any time you moved it, so the wheels never would stay flat or level, one even bent almost to a 90 degree angle when it got caught on a small rock while I had it rolling across the shop one night. Well you can only guess what happen? yep that’s right the tool box flipped! tools spilled everywhere and I took a header over the whole dang thing. Well; I picked myself and my tools up and pushed that box over in the corner with ever intention of taking to the dumpster.

I really couldn’t afford to replace it, and I didn’t have any place handy to put the tools that it was holding, mostly drill bits, marking tools and other misc stuff, that is when I decided to make a new bottom for it. Then while watching some work bench videos on U tube I came up with the idea of making it a rolling work bench. I had some short pieces of 2 x 10s and a small vice; so I cut, glued, and screwed it all together into a nice little handy work surface. The best part I didn’t lose any storage.