It was Tuesday morning (17 th) and I awoke just a bit later than I had been doing but still quite early. I was up, showered and dressed before six o’clock. I ate breakfast before checking my in-box and found my friend in New York had sent me another mail. We have periods of sending each other mails and then we stop for a while before it all starts again. She was just greeting me and saying hello and letting me know how things were going for her. I replied in kind before switching off the computer and donning my overalls. I was intending to install the small wooden fence now that the rain from yesterday had stopped falling. The previous time it had rained, a few weeks ago it didn’t last long though it was a good downfall. Yesterday it rained down almost the whole day.The morning was overcast on Tuesday but at least it was dry where I was working and reasonably cool. It couldn’t really be anything else at seven-thirty I suppose. Because the little fence was in three sections it wasn’t easy to fit due to the position of it. I used my battery-powered drill to drill the brick walls which made it longer to do. The mains-powered drill would have been faster but a lot noisier and at that hour I didn’t want to annoy the neighbours! As it was I had to dismantle some of the sections in order to fix them to the wall. sometimes the smaller jobs are more awkward and take longer to do. I was able to fit the copper bracket at the joint in the capping stones so avoiding having to drill the stone itself. It is so well hidden you will not be able to see it but it is positioned behind and is hidden by the bush in the second picture. I used brass screws for fixing the copper bracket and wood battens to the walls but I was forced to use steel screws in constructing the fence for there were many of them. When I had finished the work I applied some varnish to the screw heads to stave off corrosion, though they were coated steel screws. So all I had to do was tidy up and the job was finished. For a week or so beforehand I had fixed a piece of wood between the gate post and the Laurel branch in order to train it to grow away from the post as it hadn’t been doing. It would otherwise make installing the fence at that point impossible. Already it has forced the branch away from where it was before. I will leave the wood in place for a while. You can see it in this picture on the left..
Everything I did on Wednesday concerned wood. I started work at nine-thirty, a bit later than of late for a change. I had retired to bed early the previous night for I had been very tired but was feeling quite refreshed now and keen to get on with the work in hand. I cut the timber for the frame I was constructing around the boiler and assembled it. The work of cutting all the cross-halving joints was quite time-consuming but necessary if I wanted a sturdy job. By the time I had finished that work it was time for lunch. I had been wondering which was the best way to cover the now constructed frame to allow access to everything it was to cover. I needed to see what suitable sheets of plywood I had in storage in the garage so that was my first task after lunch. I found a couple of large sheets (8 ft x 4 ft) both in the same condition, covered in places with cement which had stuck to them during other work we had been doing over the past few years. No matter, I dragged one of them into the cellar and cut it to size before cleaning off the cement. It looked new once the cement had gone. I pinned it on the frame temporarily and at that point stopped work for the day…
I sat and thought about my next move. The sheet would be cut into two halves and be fitted as doors. The two remaining areas beneath and to the sides of the boiler would be done the same way making four doors opening for complete access. The two side panels would each be cut into two pieces both of which would be screwed into place for easy removal should that ever be necessary. Still some way to go yet and then I have to start work on the room cupboard.
E has been her usual self, winning prizes seems to come naturally for her. I have lost count of the things she has won over the last few years, holidays, tvs, cameras, books, furniture, the list goes on. It was Monday morning the second day of the month and we were in the dining area alongside the kitchen just talking and looking out the window at the garden when the doorbell rang. I went to see who it was and it was the postman delivering a parcel, two parcels to be precise for he called a minute later with the second. E had no idea what was in the parcel though it was addressed to her. Eagerly opening it she discovered it was the prize she had recently won in a competition, a bird box as we call them here. It had been manufactured in Holland and was labelled a three level bird ‘flat’ (apartment). It was my job to mount it on the wall, the only place suitable for it to go given the preferences….
…and the close-up showing access panels on the side for each level should they need to be cleaned out…
We are hoping the box will get more cover as the plants below grow taller. Now that I was out in the garden I decided to do a couple of small jobs one of which was to sweep up the enormous piles of leaves that always accumulate by the cellar door leading out to the garden and in one or two other places around the house building. My other job was to shave off a little wood from the new passageway gate I had constructed a couple of months ago. It had expanded in the cool, humid weather as wood does. In the warmer and dryer months the wood shrinks a little so the gate fitted perfectly when I made it. I had forgotten to allow for the normal expansion of the timber. Despite the high winds we were experiencing on Monday it remained pleasant and warm throughout the day.
So there I was on Friday morning again with no electrical work and the whole day to myself. In yesterday’s post I mentioned I was going to build a stand for one of the new table lamps I had purchased. Soon after I had written the post I found myself in the rooms at the top of the house looking for something and discovered two suitable candidates for a table lamp to sit upon. Both would have needed painting white and the furniture on them would have needed changing to match what is already in the small lounge. Ah but alas they belonged to one or both of my two sons and though I doubt either of them were actually wanted by my sons there was no way I was going to take one or even ask. No, I had made up my mind to manufacture one myself so after breakfast I began the work. The first task was to find enough material from the stock of left-over bits and pieces from jobs we have had done in the past. I have always kept the scrap lengths of timber or sheets of board that were left after a job we’d had done as long as they were large enough to warrant keeping them. As we have cellar rooms there is plenty of storage space to allow that. After finding enough material I began by cutting four pieces of board to size which I would use for the side panels. Next I found some lengths of square sectioned wood to use for fixing the sides together to form a hollow square tube. I cut another piece of board to form a base and fixed that to the tube. Finally I found a slightly larger piece of board with which to form the top. Here is the almost completed pillar…..
I placed it in the cellar hallway in order to take the photograph. The work was done in the room we call the workshop to the bottom and right of this shot. It is called the workshop for a very good reason….it is one! Many a job has been carried out in that room over the years. The picture doesn’t show the fact that when it was taken the top had yet to be fixed. I did that next and then gave the whole thing a coat of priming paint. Once that was dry, about two hours later, I filled in all the gaps. It will need sanding down before another coat of paint is applied.
Yesterday E painted the timbers we had bought a few days ago with which to fit a picture rail in the bedroom we are refurbishing. She did that whilst I was away at work during the morning. In the afternoon we had dined out so no more work was done. Today, that is Tuesday as I write we decided to cut and fit the picture rail. Now for a joiner such a task should be fairly easy but for the likes of myself I knew it wouldn’t be that straightforward. I have fitted picture rails in the past on quite a few occasions and each time I was presented with one problem or another but I overcame them. I knew therefore that the work would get done eventually. Well the first section went up with no problems at all but when fitting the adjoining section at right angles to it we discovered that the angle was more than 90 degrees at that point. In fact it was nearer 94 degrees! That meant the mitre I had cut wouldn’t match with the other. I started again with a new piece of timber knowing that I could still use what I had removed. Anyway it was a struggle to cut the mitres even when I knew the correct angles. It was after I had struggled with the first section that E piped up that she thought she had a power saw somewhere in the house! Well I had never seen one but it appears she had purchased one some years ago when she was doing a carpentry course at college. She had stored it away and had forgotten where she had placed it. She hadn’t told me about it at the time either. She decided to look in a cupboard we have in the cellar room where the boiler is. It is a cupboard which has hardly ever been opened but I remember cleaning it out with a bleach solution to kill off some bugs we had found in there about ten years ago and storing various boxes on the shelves. Other materials had been stored in front of the cupboard so it was forgotten about. Guess what, there on one of the shelves was a power saw and here it is………….……It was a dream to use and we were then able to finish the rest of the installation much quicker
Whist I was packing everything away E started filling in the gaps with some wood filler ready for painting, probably the next day if things were to go to plan. It was a pity E didn’t tell me about the saw some years ago for it would have saved me an awful lot of time on the numerous occasions I had to cut timber for work I have done at home in recent years.
As I had no electrical work to do on Wednesday I could become a plumber again for the day but first of all I had to grout in the three floor tiles I had refitted in the wet room on Monday morning. The tapcolumn in the bathroom needed to be connected to the hot and cold water supplies both of which could be found in the airing cupboard behind the tall towel radiator. The toilet cistern, the shower unit and the hand basin are all connected to the cold water main which has the advantage of being at a higher pressure. The mains water can also be drunk if so wished using the tap over the hand basin. The hot water supply is from the hot water cylinder which in turn is supplied from a storage tank above the airing cupboard ceiling. We chose however to supply the bath’s cold water from the storage tank so that both the hot and cold water supplies to the tap would be at the same pressure. However the pressure from the storage tank is quite low because it is located insufficiently high enough to obtain a high pressure. The pressure has always been adequate for the bath supply and the old bath used to fill up quite quickly. Nothing has changed to reduce the pressure which in fact should be that tiny little bit higher as the new bath sits closer to the storage tank than the old bath did but in fact the pressure at the new tap is actually lower! This is because the final flexible connecting pipes that run inside the column are reduced dramatically in diameter. The supply pipes are both 22 mm but the flexible pipes are only 10 mm or thereabouts. This does restrict the flow of water. So the task for the day was to remove the shelving from the airing cupboard and connect into the hot and cold water pipes taking the new pipes down to the floor and out under the wall supporting the radiator to connect to the flexible pipes to the tap column. It took some time to cut and assemble all the pieces and fittings but eventually it was completed and I tested it by partially filling the bath…..(click on image once or twice to magnify)
Once all the plumbing was done I had to reinstate the three shelves inside the cupboard and fit some supporting timbers and clips to hold the new pipes. By the time I had tidied up it was half past three and I had missed my lunch! Actually, I had deliberately forgone lunch so that I could finish the work. All that needs to be done now is to box in the pipes beneath the tap column and cut and refit the room’s door, all woodwork.
I had invited a local plumber round on Monday morning to look at the possibility of fitting a larger drain-off pipe to make draining down the central heating pipes faster. I need to drain it down to enable me to disconnect old pipes that fed a radiator and connect the two new ones I have already installed for a new radiator in a different position. He arrived not longer after I had returned from doing a small job for someone and we discussed my requirements. He made a suggestion, actually the very idea I had in mind already and he went to the local plumbers merchant to buy what was needed. On his return fifteen minutes later we discovered that the parts he was going to use would not fit. The problem is that the old pipework is an Imperial size (that is measurements in inches) but all new pipework and fittings are Metric sizes. There are special reducers for connecting the different sizes together and I already knew this having changed our hot water cylinder about fifteen years ago when the other one sprang a leak. It is possible to break into the pipes I wanted to connect the drain to but the system would need draining to do even that! After some debate we both decided not to bother with that at this stage but perhaps leave any alterations until the summer when the heating is not in use. In the meantime I am resigned to using the existing 15mm drain connection situated on the boiler itself to partially drain the system down to the point where I will be connecting the new pipes. That means draining down two whole floors of radiators and pipes which might take some time. At least I know now where I stand. As the guy hadn’t done any work except removing the blank end from the existing tee piece where I had hoped to fit the larger drain-off pipe (and may do at a later time) to check the size, he only charged me £25 for his time. I gave him £30 for his time and advice, it was worth it. I think he was rather surprised though to be confronted by a female electrician who knows quite a bit about plumbing. So it was lunch time and I was about to prepare something when I got a call for a job. It more than paid for the money I gave to the plumber and soon I was back home. After lunch E went out shopping with her mum again, this time for Christmas presents and while she was out I sorted out some 10mm plywood from the various sheets we have stored in one of the garages and cut it to size for fitting on one side of the new studding I constructed in the bathroom a couple of days ago. I took it upstairs and fitted it. I wanted to use plywood on the shower side of the wall to make fitting the shower itself easier. I won’t have to worry about getting a good fixing to the wall as it will be entirely made of wood! I don’t need to fit plywood on the other side but may do so anyway as it will make the wall sturdier than it would be if I used plaster board. I have plenty of plywood in storage. I am thoroughly enjoying this part of the project as I love working with wood and constructing things with it.