Sunday, January 31, 2010

A New Blogger in the Family

For some time now, Anna has been talking about spending a semester in France with AFS. Probably since she started high school a year and a half ago. So we have been researching AFS, how it works, and all of the many options and things to consider about participating.

Many participants create blogs as ways to share their preparations for their trip, and then to share their experiences while they are away. Anna is an enthusiastic and prolific writer, so I'm happy to announce that she has started her own blog, at Please visit it and subscribe if you want to keep track of her preparations and (hopefully!) participation in this exciting and nerve wracking (for us parents anyhow) event.

A note about the name of her blog. Anna's middle name is Claire, so she's always been "an eclaire" :-)

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Bill and Kim Take Another Leap

Our family will soon expand by one- at the moment Kim is doing the expanding for us.

The wee lad is due mid-May and we are all very excited!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Basement Bathroom done!

After roughly four months of work, the bathroom is done. We've been using it for about a week now and everything is working great. The city will sign off on the permit after final inspection next week.

For those of you who are interested, the final cost was about $3500 for materials. We had two plumbers in to help with things that I either couldn't or didn't want to do. One was relocating the refrigerant line that goes from the furnace to the compressor outside. I'm fine with sweating copper pipes, but I don't care to deal with refrigerant. The other was the drain lines under the floor. After busting out some of the concrete floor, it was obvious that the connections were going to be complex. As with any time a professional is hired, the cost was not insignificant, but well worth it. I did the rest of the work myself. (Maggie helped grout the wall tiles!)

I did not tally my own hours on this project. I worked on it a LOT, many evenings, weekend days, and my days off were spent downstairs. I found it all quite enjoyable.

I'll start on the second floor full bath remodel this weekend. It will get a new tile floor, fresh walls (we're thinking wainscoting), tile surround in the tub, new vanity and toilet, and a vent fan.

So here is the video tour (co-starring Jasmine).

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Winter Sports Sunday, part 1

Round one of Winter Sports Sunday for us. Later today is our un-birthday party for the three ladies, ice skating at the city's recreation center. This morning their old man dragged them out to Squire Valleevue for cross country skiing. It was a great morning out. Mush!

Tea break.

The cookie provider.

The trail boss.

Rounding third and heading home.

Miter Box Goodness

Last week Christopher Schwarz posted about his Langdon mitre box, surely a precision gizmo, as he says, and one which is highly prized by Galoots far and wide. I thought I would post about my own miter box, a lowly Craftsman. Or is it so lowly?

This tool was given to me by a friend who had inherited it from an elderly neighbor. I guess it's vintage as 1960s or so, a time when Sears was still producing some good tools. This is one of them.

The box has several very nice features. The angle setting has notches at the critical angles which are engaged by a trigger release catch. Any angle is then secured by the red-handled and sure gripping adjuster.

The 25 inch back saw rides in two guides, each of which has a catch at the top (in which they are caught in this picture). When the catches are released, the saw is free to ride up and down. The guides can be adjusted to assure straight cuts for right handed or left handed apprentices. Back and forth motion is then guided by bearings top and bottom in each guide.

It appears to have mounts for hold down accessories, but these accessories did not accompany the box when I got it. I generally use small clamps if the work requires it.

The saw itself hasn't got the most comfortable or attractive handle in the world but its plate is of good quality, sharpens well, and cuts cleanly.

The box itself is also plenty wide, able to handle 5"+ wide stock if necessary. I use it quite frequently, for trim, picture frames, and any stock that needs to be cut to length with precision. While it may not have the cachet of a Langdon, it does the job extremely well, while also reminding me of the good friend who gifted it to me each time I use it.