Shingle Matrix

More paint drying on tarps, only now I’m getting paid for my efforts.

Let me tell you one thing.  Cedar shake installation is a pain in the ar$#!  So many little pieces.  Cedar really shouldn’t be painted.  Paint peels and chips and cedar lasts forever, so you typically treat cedar with a stain.  Stains fade but don’t push off of wood like paint.

The cedar shingles we pulled of the Murphy McBride house were 90 years old and 90 percent of them could have been turned over and put right back up.  Some of these have been added to my wood horde.  Expect a birdhouse post in 3-5 years.

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Opening Cans of Environmental Responsibility

The bad news first.  Ten people actually  looked at this blog yesterday and there was nothing new for them to see.  Sorry to let you down, folks.  I’ve been really awful at documenting any of my carpentering efforts.

The good news…  you’re experiencing it right now.  A new post.

This is the story of a stack of paint cans that have been waiting in my driveway for years of freeze/thaw cycles to be finally liberated from their rusting buckets and allowed to off-gas and become (hopefully) inert in a toxicological sense.  Whoa, typing that word was a little like hopping on rocks in a stream bed.  I made it!

I’ve been told kitty litter is an excellent accelerant for drying paint but I’m doing my utmost to not embrace my inner crazy cat lady and going into k-mart to buy cat litter without having any actual cats is a crossing a line better left uncrossed.  Also, I’d have leftover cat litter which is almost as bad as leftover paint.  Instead, I fused together the three renewable resources of:

1.  Time, a whole lotta precious time

2. Sunlight, which is my enemy except when I’m drying paint or growing beets

3. Creative free-flow bullshittery

the result:

take that Mr Pollack!

My green force was strong this day.  The paint was drying on a banner recycled from the 2007 Mole Festival.  I don’t know how to do accent marks so that’s mole as in the delicious mexican dish not the tunneling mammal.

I’m so glad Ada didn’t walk in on me in the backyard while I was occupied in my paint disposal/high art program.  I’m pretty sure getting rid of rusting paint buckets didn’t make the latest version of the honey-do list.

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Rural Studio

As I gear up for a summertime push towards finishing the backyard appt I’m turning to Auburn’s Rural Studio for inspiration.  Some feelgood design porn.

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the 90’s is still alive on the internet

I’ve been researching d.i.y. projects that don’t involve dumping infinite amount of oil into the big fishtank down south.  The first project is an ev (electric vehicle) conversion.  It’s inspired by the ’93 Plymouth Colt Vista parked down the street in indefinite stasis.  I bought it from one of the guys in the Square Peg woodworking shop for $200 and have since put ten times that much into new tires and failed attempts at plugging oil leaks.  (I almost feel for you, BP.)  The only thing I’ve plugged is the leak in my wallet and there it sits covered in dust with leaf mulch composting beneath it.  Luckily the dust and grime has covered the penis someone added to the hood in permanent marker.  Also luckily permanent marker is not permanent when exposed to the elements.

The second project involves an ambitious plan to upgrade my unfinished manshed into a finished apartment.  I’d like to pour a slab and install a radiant heating system within it that circulates water though pex tubing that’s been heated by gas water heater.

For both projects I ran across websites frozen in time from the 90’s,  in style if not in content.  They are blessedly free of ads and scams and reference a blissfully innocent time for the internet- back when it was difficult to find naked people on the web.

I spent a morning reading Jerry Halstead’s ev conversion blog.  He’s a web page developer who was blogging before the term was even coined.

You can trace his evolution mastering the web arts.  His newest blog is the lightsaber of websites: simple, elegant, colorful.

I like that it’s completely stripped down and rather difficult to navigate away from whatever he’s focused his attention on most recently.  It’s not a lightsaber.  It’s a friggin’ laser!  It’s also a  vision of what the internet could have been with a little knowledge and initiative, much like the project to make a beat up old car into a quiet clean ride.

Turns out I don’t have eight or ten thousand to sink into an electric beater right now but I may turn my ’83 schwinn cimarron “offroad” bike into an electric bike with a kit and a wheel rebuild from the bike shop.

The other 90’s site for my other project is the Radiant Design Institute.  I love this site and I may end up paying Fred Seton $400 to design my radaint system and still end up saving $ thousands by installing it myself.  Pex plumbing makes capable idiot plumbers out of all of us.

I love this site.  It’s the Dr. Bronners of web design.  Fred’s not trying to trick you into buying a manual or clicking google ads.  He just wants to share some knowledge and save a man some cash and he’s actually got me considering giving hundreds of dollars to someone I met on the net.

Also and completely unrelated, except to bring us back to the present future, I came across the site  It’s sweet!

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Mechanics and Operators

For a man who uses his hands for a living I am ridiculously un-handy outside of the use of power tools and stabbing weapons.  Sure, I can rip a fairly straight line freehand on a table saw and safely and productively operate any number of bladed finger shortening devices.  Basically I’m a professional wood bartender with any number of highly specialized blenders with the safety of the glass pitcher removed.  However, there’s a long list of should-be simple skills the mastery of which forever eludes me.   Here’s just a few of the skills who’s practitioners I admire all the more for my own deficiencies.

Money counting-  I have difficulties just putting away the eight or fourteen dollars change from the supermarket.  You know how it is where there’s a line behind you and the spotlight and pressure are on you to put that cash away and vacate the space next to the card scanner within a barely reasonable amount of time.  After all those years of just using a debit card, handling cash is like catching feral puppies.

Folding sheets or t-shirts-  I could never, ever work at the Gap.  I am a completely broken and useless folding tool.  My “folded” fitted sheets look only slightly better than if I had just crumpled them up in a ball.  I can fold socks and that’s about it.  I do not fold my underwear.  It just goes in the drawer dogpile style.

Cutting hair-  I think I could be good at this because it’s so much like woodworking.  Powertools, check.  Particulates littering the floor as evidence of work being done, check.  It’s just that nobody has to wear their trim or moulding on their head all day.  That’s a lot of pressure.

Food Service- There’s nothing that ruins a restaurant experience for me more than empathizing with the staff.  If I put myself into the worn out shoes of a waitress or cook I’m immediately appalled at how horrible I’d be at remembering all of that disposable information.  There’s a certain amount of that in carpentry.  I’m constantly memorizing numbers and fractions of inches, but that’s just numbers.  It’s not the same as sides and drink selections and substitutions from multiple tables simultaneously crying out in the brain like an unruly mob.   I recognize this isn’t a mechanical skill but I file it under the category of hand/memory skills so it qualifies.

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Metrics update!

Whoa now!  19 hits today a new record!!!  This shit is blowing up!  It’s so big I think I’ll change the name.  Goodbye P&B.  Hello MMTM!

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My Favorite Tool

If today’s post is in any way less stellar than average we’ll just have to blame it on the polyurethane adhesive on my fingertips.  It just feels so wrong to type with this gunk on.   Like swimming in a tutu.

Not that I’ve ever swum in a tutu.  Jared Shank and I dressed up in some tutu’s once and jumped around on my parents bed in innocent childhood exstacy when I was young enough not to be ashamed of such behavior.  Then I spent a good ten years in boy scouts with Jared terrified that any moment he’d give away our dark secret and ruin us both.  At some point I grew old enough not to be ashamed of this sweet memory.  That was probably at whichever age I officially dropped out of the demographic for Schwarzenegger movies and enthusiastic military service.

It was  scouting that kept me from ever even considering enlistment, which is ironic since its stated mission is to foster civic responsibility.  I could barely stomach hanging out with a bunch of sausages one night a week and one weekend a month, so how was I going to survive four years of close quartered stale sweat and aggression?  Now that I’m married, man dates are one of my most coveted privileges- but I get to pick the sausages I hang with.

I’m starting to get used to these polyurethane finger gloves.  They’re three times stronger than regular finger gloves.  And they’re covering up my fingerprints so I can use this laptop for cybercrimes and be harder to trace.

I was using the glue for a tile installation job.  It was the top part of a bathroom knee wall and I didn’t have thinset but I did have this messy glue.  To be frank this is a pretty shady technique that you won’t be reading about in any Home Dog tiling 123 books but I figure this stuff is 3 times stronger than (insert really strong thing here) and once the grout is in I’ll be golden.  Still it’s shady and if I had any pretensions as a tile guy I’d be ashamed.  But I don’t so I’m not only my fingers are funked up.  Where’s the gojo, mofo?

Here’s how much of a tile guy I’m not: I drove to West Asheville to use my friend and tiling master Gustavo’s tile saw.  Gustavo saved my ass by making time in his schedule to do the majority of the tilework in this bathroom I’m remodeling.   (Thank you Gustavo and Jose and thank you for lunch you are beautiful men! )  Unfortunately I forgot to make the most important angled cut on the final piece of the knee wall.  So I end up back in my jobsite driveway freehanding this cut with my grinder but it’s turning out like shit.  But then inspiration strikes!  I rig up the garden hose on a bucket and hold my grinder in the spray and presto a poor man’s wet saw/ electrical deathtrap.  Did the trick, although the grout lines turned out a little fat where they should have been skinny.  Luckily it’s white on white like rice in a snowstorm so my tile inadequacy will be lost in Gustavo’s fine installation.

There are very few mechanical problems that I will not at least try to solve with a grinder.  Surprisingly often it actually a good idea.  It can cut wood and metal and plastic and gloves like a knife through warm butter.  It can fit in tight spaces and be held in any number of awkward positions.  I’ve pretty much decided that when I lose a hand I’m welding a grinder onto my stump.  Unless it’s actually a grinder that’s responsible for me being single-handed.  Then the grinder will have lost its favorite tool status and I would have to discover the grinder’s nemesis and attach that instead.  Also I’ve decided that if there was only one chip left on the planet it would have to be the Hint of Lime tortilla chips.  Unless of course they were responsible for there being only one kind of chip left on the planet.

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