…..though slowly. I resumed the construction of the frame for the door today (26 Mar) but it took quite some time. I don’t rush things these days, let’s face it I am no spring chicken! I spent two hours sawing timber before lunch and then another hour and a half after lunch doing the same thing but also assembling the sections.
You can see the short timber has been cut at each end to form a cross-halving joint. All the sections were cut this way to give the frame strength. In the second picture you can see the frame at that time fully assembled but as yet unfinished.
All the sections were screwed together. There will be more pieces added as I go along. In the top space I have to insert the glass panel I purchased for the door. More strengthening sections will also be added. Once I am satisfied with the frame I will then fit the plywood panelling either side to complete the construction. So it is coming along slowly but surely.
….where was I? Oh yes, working in the cellar, the bottom of the house, beneath ground level at the front of the house but at ground level at the back! It is handy when accessing the rear garden or for bringing in the groceries from the vehicle in the garage. Much of the food is stored down in the cellar either in the larder room or in one of the freezers we have down there. It became necessary therefore to tidy things up and that had been my aim throughout the past twelve months or so. As I write this on 29 December I have almost completed what I had set out to do plus a little more along the way. Two rooms remain as they were, the larger store room and the largest room, the workshop. The store room has so much stuff in it not belonging to E and I so not much can be done in there until it is taken away. The workshop needs much clearing out too but maybe that might get done this year who knows? I was again in the hallway down there this morning doing a little work. I had been for my walk, had my breakfast and watched some catch-up tv and now it was time to work. My efforts were concentrated on fitting thresholds at the base of three of the doors…
From top to bottom, the gym door, the store room door and the workshop door. As the store room floor is a couple of centimetres higher than elsewhere in the cellar because it had a screed laid over it years ago I had to lay two pieces of timber across the floor one on top of the other. In each case the timbers were screwed to the floor with a thick layer of floor tile cement beneath them to aid with levelling and to give extra grip to the floor. Another piece of timber was screwed along the base of each door to effect a better seal. Why the seal? Well it gives a better appearance and effectively prevents the spiders we know we have in the store room and workshop from migrating throughout the cellar as they once did. It is impossible to stop that entirely I know but it will help. That was all the work I did today for a change but tomorrow?
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.
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.