Happiness. Short-term, stupid, self-interest.

Home Improvement – Slow and Steady Wins the Race

August 2007

Planning the Trim
With inspiration from my wife, we decided that the standard colonial casings found at Home Depot would be boring and the room needed to have a little more character than that. Her vision was for something simpler, actually. Something that looked more rustic and not flamboyant. She came across a style called “Arts and Crafts”, or “Craftsman”, which is a turn of the century style that pieces multiple rectangular pieces of wood and requires few tricky cuts and it also doesn’t require a router.

The hard part of this was that stock lumber doesn’t come stain ready and it doesn’t come in the all of dimensions required unless you special order. It turned into huge undertaking coming up with a plan that uses stock lumber that we can rip on my table saw to the proper dimension and without having to buy or rent a planer.

Note that somewhere around this time my wife got job. And even though she doesn’t start until September and thus we won’t be seeing a paycheck for quite sometime, that didn’t stop us from starting to spend it. We essentially opened the flood gates on the budget once again, hopefully to finish off the construction phase of the project.

The first go-around of the trim plan ended up with a list that called for a lot of lumber, priced out to about $700-800. This was more than I wanted to spend, but with some creativity of ripping larger pieces of wood, I was able to come up with a plan to save about $300. The only drawback now is that the simple trim project now turned into a complicated one. I even had to make my own coding system.


Lowes had the better cuts of the wood I wanted and I learned my lesson previously that stain comes out differently depending on where the wood came from. But, one store didn’t stock enough. I spent many days and hours after work running from Lowes to Lowes to find all the pieces I needed. (in good shape)

The first thing I did is sort out all the wood and organize it because putting it together was going to get very confusing.


The second thing I did was to make a sample board of the stains to pick out just the right one.


Another planning item was to pick out the tile we were going to use by the patio door. We had over a year ago picked out some nice porcelain ceramic tile that somewhat matched the slate we used for the hearth. It was in a series called “Crowe/Apache/Navajo” from a tile specialty store. We still had the samples, but a year later we still weren’t quite sure if it was exactly what we wanted; plus, imported from Italy, it was twice as expensive as some of the tile you could get at Lowes or Home Depot.

I re-looked at the tile at Lowes and found something with a nicer texture, but the pattern wasn’t as diverse and it didn’t match as well. But it was cheaper. Still unsure, I called the specialty tile store to see if they had the “Crowe/Apache/Navajo” in stock and they told me it has been discontinued. Discontinued, but they did have some leftover in the “back room” at half-price. So, without thinking it any further, I drove out after work one night to pick up some “Crowe/Apache/Navajo”.


A lot of little things got done so far with the Summer ¾ gone, but the room didn’t look much different. There were still several main pieces of the project yet to be done.

The last two weeks of August we will be on vacation. We are also up at the lakes every weekend leaving only Mon-Thurs evenings. If I didn’t have to work, I MIGHT get this done by Octoberfest.

Looking ahead to September with soccer and softball on Saturdays, my entire Saturday was gone leaving only Sunday. Plus one of the September weekends I am booked to be out of town.

The kids are going away to their grandparents for a few days before vacation leaving me with one solid weekend to get as much done as possible. I’d like to have the trim ready to install after Labor Day; but, to have to rip over 100 boards, sand them, stain them, then seal them, with 3 coats, drying in between each, I think will take me to the end of September.

But with one solid weekend and getting up early in the morning, do you think it can be done? … It would take a Miracle.


September 19, 2007 - Posted by | Home Improvement

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