Fireplace Freestyle Fiddling #4 It’s Mantle Time

I know this is a long drawn out series – but there’s more components than average to this build, due to the flanking bookcases.

1-checking-the-taperThe tops of the bookcases are slightly sloped intentionally – and because of this the side panel will need to be tapered. First a level is placed on top and the gap is measured for the taper. This is how much we will remove from the bottom to make the top level.

2-trper-jigI use a tapering jig, but you can use a homemade version just as well. This will add a slight taper to our side pieces.

3-squaring-the-sideOnce we have the pieces cut we then need to square the sides to the window casing. I used a framing square and shim out the side piece so everything is now square.

4-tapered-sideA piece is cut for the side top reveal.

5-side-paintedAn additional piece is cut to wrap around the front of the marble top. It is then painted before attaching.

6-mantle-roughNow we’re ready to make the mantle. This is a 5/4 (1″) X 10 clear white pine board. I just set it up to get an idea of the overhang.

7-back-band-cutI decided to make a back-band to go at the back of the mantle. I used a router to add some detail to the top and then cut the three pieces. Here I’m test fitting the cuts.

8-mantle-sides-joinedThe three back-band pieces are glued and nailed together, I then joined the front mantle to the side pieces with a biscuit and glue.

9-mantle-glue-upThe mantle and back band were all assembled as a one piece unit to keep everything flat and straight.

10-test-fit-mantleThen the assembled mantle was test fit into place.

11-painting-back-bandThe back band is finished and a hole was drilled in each side leg of the mantle. I made the side mantle top slightly narrower to make the joint easier to finish and not have to be concerned about the joint separating.

12-mantle-wiringWiring from a wall switch is run under the mantle to both sides of the fireplace for the final test fit.

13-sillite-receptaclesThe wires were for these. Called Sillites, they will allow us to plug in Christmas lights or other decorations on the mantle.

14-attaching-the-mantleOnce the wiring is run we can finally glue and attach the mantle.

15-mantle-in-placeTime to start sanding and finishing.

16-fireplace-side-detailOne more detail is added to the side of pilaster to mirror the design in the sunroom.The paint is BM Ice White in Impervo enamel.

17-shell-detailI’ll sand and paint this a total of four times. I start will 100 grit and finish with 400. It is tedious, but when it’s finally done you can feel the difference.

18-sillite-receptacleThe Sillites have a cover when not in use.

19-finish-paintingSo you think we’d be done – but nooooo – we still have to finish the original details on the bookcases – and slide the fireplace in there.

One more post on this thing and I’m outa here – promise.

 

Fireplace Freestyle Fiddling #3 Almost there

If I’m going to have a roaring fire in this thing by Christmas, I better get a move on finishing the surround.

Let’s Continue, Shall We?

1-fireplace-blockI added small extension blocks to the tops of the pilasters to create some depth and add some dimension. The pilasters are just press fitted to the side pieces that have been attached to the fireplace. The crosspiece is not installed.

2-fireplace-corner-blockA little silicone is used to attach the carved corner decorations to the corner boxes. Again, I used silicone in case I had to pry these puppies off and keep damage to a minimum.

3-pilaster-baseI added a small foot to the base of the carved facing pilaster. Behind the ornamental element is another piece with a bevel cut to match the foot. The base is pre-painted to make final finishing easier.

4-finished-pilasterAll the design elements are in place for the pilasters. The floating crosspiece is slipped in and two scrap sticks are used to keep it in position.

5-pilaster-alignmentHere’s where those floating front pieces come into play. The top crosspiece shows how crooked the face of the pilaster is in relation to the fireplace front at the top. The base of this pilaster is flush to the fireplace – pretty skewed.

6-pilaster-daddoBecause we didn’t attach the front piece to the side we can pivot this just a little to square the face to the front of the fireplace. Since the fireplace is a little skewed you can see the top is slightly out of the bottom of the dado.

7-aligning-fireplace-pilastersBy clamping and attaching the top crosspiece to the pilasters we can tighten the legs and remove any gaps between the pilasters and fireplace. The lower crosspiece is still not attached. Make sense?

8-crosspiece-frameNow we can make the crosspiece overlay. This will be mounted to the main face crosspiece that has yet to be permanently attached.

9-crosspiece-optionThe piece is constructed to frame the center carving and have two side elements. I originally thought I would have two raised panels, but didn’t like the design.

10-fireplace-first-assemblyThe crosspiece frame we just made is attached to the floating crosspiece. The frame is then attached to the top piece that bridges the pilasters. Only now are all the elements attached to each other. That’s a lot of steps to put three sticks together.

11-routed-trim-moldingSince we made recessed panels on either side of the center carving, we need to add the same detail to the recessed edge that the carvings have. A small router bit created the profile and then two trips through the table saw makes the proper shape.

12-trim-molding-set-cornerThe pieces are cut and fitted to the inside of the recess.

13-trim-in-placeNow the recessed panels match the carvings.

One more post and we’ll be on to the next – come along – it’s getting interesting.

Fireplace Freestyle Fiddling #2 Design Fail

First I want to thank you for your kind comments – it’s encouraging to hear from some of you who follow along this 6 + year renovation – my,  you sure have long attention spans.

Remember that anyone can do what I do – it’s not difficult if you take your time and be precise in measurement and cutting – or build in some wiggle room in the design like I have on this project. If I hadn’t put in the daddo (groove) in the back of the legs on this fireplace but instead built it on a flat surface – it just would not have worked.  One other thing – be prepared to make changes in the design – especially if you have no clue as to what you plan to do –

See Below

So we left of here.

6-start-of-fireplace-designThe two side legs (pilasters) are removable and the crosspiece is loose. I’ve built small square boxes attached to the front of the pilasters – now we start to figure out our design.

2-fp-designFail # 1 – This seemed like a good idea on paper, but when I glued these on the fireplace I knew I made a mistake. Waffles anyone? I was trying to tie in the design of the cabinet doors.

3-fp-designFail #2 – OK, so maybe if I just move the center element to make a central rectangle and use a simple molding under the mantle.  Nope.

4-fp-designFail #3 – The fluted pilasters are the original pieces that will go on the cabinet frame. So maybe we could make a wider version to fit the pilaster. Still trying to salvage my waffle, I thought maybe I could place a center square of some kind of design. Not feeling it.

5-fp-designSemi Fail #4 – How about making the waffle go away and add a square design element? The flat fluting has got to go away. This thing looks too square.

6-fp-designFail #5 – So let’s put a rounder element in the mix. I had a couple of stair balusters, so why not add these. It will soften the look of all the sharp corners. No, no, no.

7-fp-designGetting warmer – Let’s just get back to basics. I cut some cardboard and mocked up the design elements – we’ll figure out what they are later. I want three elements to mirror the three Ginkgo leaves in the stained glass windows. Also in the photo I’m in the process of adding rock wool insulation up the chimney. This high-heat insulation will help keep the cold out. This is a direct vent fireplace, so the two silver pipes are for venting.

8-fireplace-design-1Fail #6 – My first thought was to use some type of flower to to tie in the leaf theme of the windows. I found a great wood shop out in Oregon that makes stock carvings that I thought I could incorporate. The company is Heartwood Carvings. This was nice, but too far from the arching design the Ginkgo leaves have.

9-fireplace-design-2Fail #7 – We’re getting closer. The palmetto flower had sort of the design I wanted, but I really liked the central scallop shell design.

10-fireplace-final-designI’m tired, my head hurts – let’s just go with this. I found matching scallop shells in a square block and thought that they mirrored the Ginkgo leaf design. My wife was from an island and she eats scallops – so why not?

11-wood-carvingsSo I put in my order and in a few days I got these. Two carved pilasters 4″ X 36″ – Two 5″ square corner blocks and a 5″ X 12″ center block.

12-wood-pilastersTime to get busy and build this thing.

More to come – stick around.

Fireplace Free Style Fiddling #1

Now that we have the woman cave kinda finished, let’s move on to the 1st floor. Time to tackle the living room fireplace.

It looked like this when we bought the place in 2009.

It looked so cute, but looks can be deceiving. The rug on the hearth hid the fact the whole fireplace was crooked. It had a gas insert that was not to code, painted brick that was poorly built. The old double hung windows were drafty and no insulation made this part of the room cold. We’ll fix it.

1a Old roomAs always first we tear it apart.Which also included resurfacing the ceiling and two walls because of plaster damage.

5 windows doneI  removed the windows and added energy star units that didn’t open – added stained glass windows to hide the neighbor’s house and used the original cabinet doors and made new boxes to go on either side of the fireplace.New insulation and drywall was placed to repair all of the damaged and lost plaster.

1-fireplace-concrete-boardI used thinset to attach  hardibacker with tapcon screws over the uneven brick surface and ran two air lines for the direct vent fireplace and put a new cap on the chimney, ran a new electrical line to the right side of the fire box and had new gas lines with a code approved floor shut off added.

2-marble-installedAgain I dragged my wife to Nashville to look at some stone and came home with this carrera marble slab. They cut the three pieces so the grain and pattern of the stone matched.

The hearth is a piece of leathered finish black granite. The original hearth was limestone, but in really poor shape and was 1 1/2″ out out square.

3-bookcase-topThe tops of the bookcases were capped with part of the same slab.

4-stone-installed-fireplaceThe hearth got a skirting of the same granite. It will match the black fireplace surround. The floor dipped on the right hand side about 3/4″ so that was fixed when I added the 1/2″ CDX plywood overlay. Now the new hardwood will be flat and level.5-marble-bookcase-topAdditional pieces of marble were placed in the sunroom bookcase windows.6-start-of-fireplace-designThis picture represents a week of doodling and trying to figure out what to do with this thing. After a lot of head scratching I got this – not much to look at. The reason for all the doodling? Nothing on this brick fireplace was square, level or plumb. Instead of building this surround as a one piece unit, the pilasters and crosspiece are not permanently attached to each other so that I can make adjustments to make square. Nothing is glued or installed yet. All I know that this is the general scale and shape of what’s going here.

1-side-railBut I have to start making this a permanent thing, so just to be safe I started with the side pieces that will intersect with the cabinet frames. You can see the cuts to fit over the marble tops and granite hearth. I used silicone here for a couple of reasons – mainly because if I’ve made a mistake I can get this thing back off the fireplace. If I would have used polyurethane glue – I would have to destroy my fancy cut-work

2-side-installedThe sides installed we can start building our floating fireplace parts on this foundation. Since I don’t know what the final design is, I’ll put on elements that I know will have to be in place before the next piece of this puzzle goes on.

7-base-cap-start

The front piece of the pilaster is dadoed on the back to fit in the side piece. It is not glued or attached and this allows for it to ‘float’. This will be how we adjust for the out of square parts of the fireplace structure.

I know we’ll need base caps, so let’s make those.First we make the side base. This is notched over the hearth and is dadoed into the face of the fireplace pilaster. The front piece sits proud of the side piece because they’ll be an additional detail there.The side cap is cut to rough shape and temporarily put in place.

8-base-cap-detail

A sample block of the front of the cap is used to mark the side piece for cutting.9-finished-base-cap-corner

Once the side piece is cut it looks like this.10-base-cap-installedBefore final installation I paint the pieces that are next to the granite, so final painting will be easy to do.

Bored yet? More to come.

 

Cave Art

Being a student and lover of art, I have been fascinated with civilization’s need to create a visual record of our existence. For some reason I have always been attracted to paintings – I suppose that’s why I do what I do at the gallery I am supposed to be running (when I’m not here at the Adventures Project). Since this is a woman cave- I thought I would present some cave art.

janfeb2016_f11_indonesiacavepaintings-jpg__600x0_q85_upscaleAn example is this painting that is thought to be the oldest cave painting in the world. Found in Indonesia in 2014 you can read about it here.

When the carpet was installed in the basement it was just hours before pieces of cast off furniture arrived from our house we currently live in. Oh, and some cave art as well.

1-cave-artIt’s been 6 years since any livable space has existed in this house – unless you count a bathroom. I plopped down some chairs and a coffee table and went to pull some art from storage.

3-cave-artJust a few pieces to finally get something on the walls – after all, that’s one reason for doing this crazy project in the first place.

4-thorpThis was my wife’s first request. This is an acrylic on canvas  painting by a regional artist Cynthia Thorp titled ‘A Moment of Him” – well it is a woman cave after all.

5-mary-louis-schrodtThis oil painting is titled “Fire Fighter” by the late Mary Louis Schrodt of Louisville. It’s wonderfully realistic, but unfortunately not functional You can read about her here.

6-grace-coleShe selected this Oil painting by Grace Cole titled ” Requiem of Frozen Tears”. Grace is still a working artist and you can read about her here.

7-deb-boyerShe picked this little watercolor by regional artist Deb Boyer. My wife came from an island, so this is a reminder of home for her.

8-chris-thomasAnd this little oil painting by the only male artist in the cave. This rose study is by Chris Thomas, an artist we helped develop many years ago. His web site is here.

 

8-coffee-artOf course, to my wife, the best art is her coffee cup sculpture.

It feels nice to have someplace that’s not full of sawdust and has art on the walls.

I’m happy.

 

 

 

Quick Update

Just a quick update to let everyone know I’m alive. I’m working like the dickens at the MisAdventures project, so more to come.

I asked my wife if she wanted a shelf in her little coffee niche before I started this project, as it’s way easier to just tile it in while doing the field tile – not needed she said. Afterwords she thought that a shelf was probably a good idea. Sigh –  married life

 

1-cutting-marbleI had enough of the old marble top my neighbor gave me to make a little shelf.

2-coffee-nook-shelf

So after cutting and a little polishing I grooved the bottom of the shelf to receive some stainless steel pegs that I had drilled and set in the sides of the niche. A little tweaking, a little grout – bada- bing,  bada-boom. Done and move on.

3-new-carpet

Good thing too – as I had just enough time to put the final coat of paint on the walls and finish the baseboards before the carpet installers arrived.

Hang in there – things are going to get finished.

It’s Coffee Time

Greetings fellow renovators. I hope everyone’s summer was fun and fruitful – whether you were tackling a renovation project or your summer reading list. For me it’s been inside time this year – with most of my focus on the woman cave shenanigans.

Over the weekend I finally got around to fixing the hole to the left of the staircase. My wife loves her coffee – me? I’m 62 and I have never had a cup of coffee – or a beer for that matter. I’m weird like that. She wanted a place to have a hot pot of coffee or tea for her visitors – so that’s why the hole is there.

9 finished stair

So after I paneled the hole with some 1/2″ plywood it’s time to figure out what to do.

1-nook-startSo I hopped over to the home center and picked up this subway mosaic tile from Lowe’s. I added a electrical outlet on a GFCI circuit for the coffee pot. Since this is a house built in 1935 I thought this smaller version of  subway tile would work.

2-marble-oldNext out to the garage to get a piece of antique marble top that my neighbor gave me – it was from an old dresser that had a top that split in two.

3-concrete-board-upAfter a little fiddling with the tile saw and a quick polish it was attached to the bottom with some silicone. 1/2″ Hardie cement board was added to the back, top and sides of the opening with a little tile adhesive and screwed temporarily until the mastic set.

4-tile-startAfter a little math we start to tile. I used tile mastic instead of thinset here. Mastic is an organic adhesive that can’t take continuous water exposure. Since this area will only get a minimal amount of moisture it will work fine. Mastic works well with mosaics because it holds tile initially much better than thinset.

5-tile-inSo in a couple of hours I’ve got the tiles set.

6-groutingThe next day time for grout. I was kind of concerned because my wife picked a light grout and this looked way darker than the color sample showed.

7-grout-finishedAs it dries it lightens up – so that’s a good thing. What’s not a good thing is I missed a little grout by the outlet plate. A little grout mixed up and applied will fix this.

8-pvc-trimThen a little PVC trim is cut to cover the raw edges of the opening. This was milled from 5/4 (1″) stock to wrap around the front to cover the tile edge.

9-trim-inAfter the cover trim is attached I made a back band trim to match all the other door openings.

10-trim-detailHere you see the trim detail that wraps around the front to cover the raw tile edge.

11-finishedNow all that is needed is the coffee or tea. If it makes my wife happy – then I’m happy.

Onward we march – tag along, something pretty might show up.