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September 2021
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Storage Space Recycling

Having completed the Storage Project, I had a bit of used material left over, like the pocket door, and the old shelving. So I mounted the door to the wall.

So it could hide the shelving. The left side has a fixed shelf, the right side has adjustable shelves.

The shelving unit is mounted on the wall with a ‘french’ cleat. Basically a piece of 3/4”  plywood that has been ripped on an angle,  having one piece attached to the wall and studs, and the other piece attached to the cabinet. Gravity holds it in place. I also attached a piece of plywood to the bottom back and ran a couple of screws into the studs.  So if it ever needs to come down or moved, 4 screws and away it goes.

French Cleat Detail.

Closet Office 2

In our last episode we had done the demo, run the electric, built a deck/ceiling frame, and done some taping.
The taping on the cornerbead is done the texture is matched, and it has been primed.
Upper Storage
I have also installed the plywood floor for the upper storage area.

Note that I taped the ceiling and wall to limit the mess as I finished the face of the closet office. I pre-drilled the plywood and screwed it down. It is a two piece installation as there is a wing on both sides. The plywood in front comes even with our drywall and is covered with a 1×6 MDF trim board.
Here is a longer shot.

I extended the trim to the wall on the right and an equal distance on the left. This allows the homeowner to attach curtains if that is their choice. The work top will not extend beyond the sides of the closet so the ability to install bi-fold doors is also open.

In addition to screwing the MDF to the header in front, I also screwed it to the plywood using a thinner screw known as a trim head to stiffen the deck and the corner.

I used quick clamps to align the trim and deck as I screwed it together.

Closet Office Ceiling
The first thing here is installing the electric box and blocking. This is the box recycled from the ceiling in the storage area project.

The placement of the box was decided by the fixture I am using, which in this case is an switched 18” flat florescent. Because of the mounting holes for this fixture I installed a 2×4 backing strip on the left. Because the back wall is next to the garage I caulked the hole where the romex came through, (despite the fact the wall is insulated, it gets moved and bunched up when you run wires through it) and stapled the romex in place which is just good technique. This will provide general lighting on the work surface. The box allows the client the ability to change the fixture in the future if desired.

In measuring the closet it turns out that it is not square. No surprise here. My first sheet goes from 22 1/2” on the left to 23 1/4” on the right.

Here is a trick for cutting small angles. I took my drywall square and lined it up with my measurement marks and used a couple of quick clamps to hole it down as I cut the sheet.

This works fine for small angles, larger ones require either a chalk line or a straight edge.
After cutting and buffing it, I trial fitted it to see that it would fit without breaking any corners or edges.

The light box is in this sheet so I made my measurements and used a circle cutter to make my outline. I used a keyhole saw to cut it out.

Here is a tip for cutting holes. When cutting close to the edge of a sheet, start your cut at the narrowest point to the edge and cut away from it. The chances of breaking the sheet go way down when done this way.

I taped the ceiling box with blue tape to avoid crap in it. Having hung the drywall, I masked the wall and mesh taped all of the seams.

Next up is taping.

Flat taping into corners like this is more art than science, as you have to cover the tape and yet not so hard into the corners that you telegraph the wall texture into your mud. It leaves ridges at right angles to the line of your mud. Sand or fill. If needed your second coat can run from the wall edge to the feather edge to fill in those ridges. Depending on how picky you are. As you can see taping the ceiling box closed was a good idea.
After sanding, I removed the masking paper, ran a small bead of caulk into the corners and primered.

Leave the tape on the box until your painting is done and you are installing your light.

Next up will be shelving and decking.

Closet Office 1

This is a typical closet in a ‘modern’ home. Around 2 feet deep, 7 feet wide and on the inside 8 feet tall.

This design is cheap and fast to build and keeps the bi fold and slide-by door industries alive. It is also the whipping boy and training center for young drywall hangers and tapers. Closets are the last things to get hung and taped so they are usually not the best finished inside.

We will turn this into a home office. We will need to install electricity, cabling for network, telephone, space for the cable modem, router, hub, a desk surface, shelving and storage. We are not changing the basic exterior dimensions as the window on the right side limits depth expansion. But I will grab every bit of space I can.
The area above the header on the inside is awkward as a closet as anybody who has been smacked on the head is probably nodding.

We are going to create storage here. First up after removing the rod and shelf,(leaving the cleats as we will be reusing the shelf) we run a band of 2×4 around the interior of the closet above the door opening.

This will serve as the ceiling for the office as well as the deck for the storage above. I placed these above the opening in front to flat tape the ceiling and not need to skim coat the walls.
After completing the deck/ceiling I opened up the front of the closet from the top of the header to the bottom of the top plates. There were no cripples above the header, which is just a 2×4 flat with a 2×4 nailed to it in front for nailing and hopefully to keep the opening level.

I also pulled a power leg from the outlet I have already run to power the overhead light.

After cleaning up the opening I corner beaded it on both sides and mudded it.

Tip: In spaces like this, finish the mudding before installing the floor and ceiling. You may also to paint it also.

Next up, rough in and taping.

Storage Project 1

Storage, Storage, Storage!!! You have stuff, I have stuff, everybody has stuff. You need to store your stuff. Unless you live in a warehouse, you probably don’t have enough storage space. I am not talking about hoarding,  collecting burger shop glasses, or hobbies that involve large stationary power tools, but  just normal stuff.

Holiday stuff, camping stuff, sports stuff, and for those of you who live up north, your winter and summer stuff. (You know who you are and you know what I mean)

This is a photo of folks who have stuff. Look carefully at the photo as I explain how we will make storage. This is the back end of a garage.

Notice first the wire shelving on the left. It is a stainless steel rolling unit from Costco. About 90 bucks and worth every penny. It comes with 6 shelves that are 48” wide and 16” deep. It comes with serious 4”solid rubber casters and is 6 feet high when assembled. (I own 2 of them and recommend them highly) It is rated at 600 lbs, but in my own field testing have put more on them.  Moving on…

If you look about a foot to the left of the open door you will notice a 3-4” concrete curb. This curb is actually  part of the house slab.  The garage floor is at grade level.  The curb is going to support a wall that will run the width of the garage (23′) and be 44” deep inside.

This is the east side looking from the garage door area. It is 10 feet across from the door to the wall. Here I will frame a wall with a 36” steel door across this entire opening to meet the wall on the right.

This is the other side with the ‘storage’ originally designed. On the right is a storage unit that was added later. It is full too.

This unit has a pocket door, which is the only intelligent idea here. What I am going to do is to open this side of this wall,  remove the pocket door and frame in the opening, remove the short wall between the existing opening and the new wall creating a long storage room. I will wire it for cable, network and electricity for future uses. Stay tuned.

Internet, Gravity and Feed Corn

My Internet has been until recently always on. My Internet, TV, and Phone (in order of importance) all come from the same company. I have been having connectivity problems for some time, like the last year and a half. Part of the problem is a signal strength causing the TV to not get all of the channels. A few weeks ago the phone vanished. The repair folks came out and replaced the box outside. Got phone, started losing internet between 10 at night until 9-10 in the morning. For someone who is on the web late at night and starts up around 4 am, this was not a good thing.

In the last year every bit of cable and connections in the house has been replaced. I even went and bought a new modem. Getting the provider to recognize it on the network was an exercise of its own.

Here is a real problem as the provider only has techs between 9-7. Since my problem was between 10 at night until 9-10 in the morning you can begin to taste the insanity. So when they come during the day, it is on. sigh…. One of the most annoying parts of these adventures is the playbook mentality of the techs. Not their fault as the company seems to feel this is the one true way. Having has a parade of tech come through doing the same things over and over again, despite the length and breadth of conversations with the tech support folks, the techs show up doing the same damn things over and over again. I have mentioned to them repeatedly that the drop from the alley to the house was the culprit as the wire in the house was new and they could connect from the office to the connection point in the alley. By a process of elimination, whether by Sherlock Holmes or Occams Razor, replacing the drop should solve the problem.

But Nooooooo! The people on the phones can schedule service, but there is no place for notes such as conversations with customers and or more importantly a history of previous service calls. Hence the techs doing the same snoopy dance over and over. This is not a criticism of the techs, as they were all courteous, knowledgeable, and workman like. The problem is a management function like so many of these service industries are.

The business model is simple. Sign us up, provide a product, make money. The connectivity game is not nearly as competitive as folks would have you believe. There is infrastructure such as lines and connections to maintain. Although the mobile phone industry is being savaged by not maintaining the infrastructure to keep up with demand especially in the smart phone category. They are stuck in the modem sales mud hole. This is in the early days of the internet, ISP’s would sell 10 connections for every modem they had under the theory that this was over capacity. Back then you needed a dialer, telnet, and Archie and Veronica were your search tools and browsers fit on a 720K Floppy. Back then we didn’t surf the net. we dog paddled. We lived in the dancing bear universe. We were amazed that the bear danced and didn’t criticize the lack of form.

Providing service in case of connectivity product failure should not (which is of course my optimism, trying the glass half full meme) require a legion of techs who are doing the same snoopy dance, sent out in the field with inadequate information especially after the third service call.
During this period I fslipped off a ladder in the rain. Not far, but screwed up my back muscles something fierce. More on that later.
The second to last tech did call for a maintenance request, where they would ping my modem to see if it was on the network at 2 hour intervals.

Progress I thought… Silly me. They checked it during the day when I had connectivity and closed the ticket. sigh….
While I was hobbling around as I could not sit or lay down for any length of time and I walked around like a real old fart, the last tech showed up in the early morning while the connection was down. Finally the drop got replaced and everything is working great including me, which brings us to seed corn.
Being a remodeler one has a love hate relationship with gravity. Some times too much, some times not enough. It was raining and I was getting something off a short roof before it rusted. On the way down Gravity farted and I ended up on the ground. Do not use ladders in the rain. Full Stop.
Feed Corn
I got up, put things away and went to bed. The next morning it was a 20 minute slither to the bathroom 10 feet away. It went downhill from there. This is a bag of Feed Corn. Denim Cover filled with Feed Corn.

You put it in the microwave oven for 2-2 1/2 minutes and get about an hour of heat. Absolutely wonderful for strained muscles. Plus you don’t have to plug it in. So basically that is what I have been doing for the last month.
I did manage to watch the complete Buffy the Vampire Slayer
. A lot of those large companies resemble vampires and other monsters. If only I had a Slayers Strength and a few wooden stakes…..

42 Inches of Surfing

One of the things that I looked for in getting a flat screen TV was the ability to plug in other devices. My primary purpose was to watch DVD Movies and TV Series. Nothing brightens up a series than being able to watch it without commercial interruption.

A 42 inch screen is a pleasure. Because I do a lot of stuff on the web, I bolted together some parts from old computers including an old RAEDON video card and hooked up.


Works great. I have a wireless mouse and keyboard by Logitec that I bought at Costco, controlling it from 12 feet away. The Logitec Is NOT recommended as the keyboard feels like somebody poured syrup under the keys. Real squishy strokes. Like typing through snot. Not recommended.
I ended up with the Logitec as Costco stopped selling the Labtech sets that I really like.

But as a proof of concept it works well.

Even More Bubbles

My own projects take a back seat to clients projects, which is why my media room is still unfinished despite building the new temporary workshop in the back.

Rummaging around in the building salvage yards a few years ago brought me this window which I installed for light in the media room. Double glazed commercial window I picked up for a song. Light with low heat gain as it is a west facing wall.

The view sucks. The neighbors swamp cooler is not my idea of a view. My side eave is not adding a lot either.

I had thought about stained glass here, as I was looking for light over a view. I have enough windows to tell me what the weather is like.

I have decided to bubble it. Having lived with the bubbles in the laundry room, I really like the light I get through these blocks. It is one of those happy things that happen that I will be able to get an even number of blocks in the opening.
Mediawindow2This block only comes in one size. 8×8''. I wish they came in a 6×6 size as I have a window in my bathroom that would look great with these.

Bubbles Bubbles Bubbles.


Right now I just have them stacked in the opening while I do other things. I am thinking about various framing options.  Bubbles Bubbles Bubbles.

More Bubbles

The laundry room was a dark place. Now with Bubbles!
Here is a better detail of the bubbles.
This afternoon will be quite a light show…

Bubbles, Bubbles, Bubbles

I need light, am not buying anymore windows, and will not install skylights. So I am gonna  shove bubbles in my walls.

Glass block is an intriguing material. I have wanted to play with them, and have been circling around them for some time. I finally found a pattern that I liked. This is a pattern called Seascape, made by Pittsburgh Block. This photo is poor but you get the idea.

I built a series of frames for the blocks. The frames are 3/4'' plywood just big enough to fit around the blocks. They are deep enough to go through the wall completely. This is the inside of the frame. I have glued these in here with GE Silicone II XST which is supposed to be a paintable silicone caulk. Says on the tube that it will do everything but have your children. We will see.
The outside has a face frame of plywood, whose inside dimension is just a little smaller to act as a lip for the block and provide a surface to caulk to. Since this is an almost pure silicone, I am letting it dry before I trim it.
I am also experimenting with Elmers ProBond Wood Filler. I won't use it again. You can see where it has shrunk back. after sanding. I didn't have any ZAR handy.

Tommorow I will punch some holes in my walls and mount these.

Drywall Fun – Racetrack Ceiling

A Racetrack Ceiling is a ceiling with a band(s) of drywall applied to your ceiling and finished with 'L' bead. This is my living room with a single racetrack. It adds depth and interest for a small investment of time, over a more elaborate Coffered Ceiling.

For this project you will need a ceiling, some 1/2'' or 5/8'' drywall, enough 1/2'' or 5/8'' 'L' bead to enclose the inside edge, Powergrab adhesive, drywall tape and mud and a few coarse thread screws to hold the drywall in place while the Powergrab dries.

This is where I built a soffit for extending the HVAC for the media room. We are going to apply 6'' wide strips of drywall to the perimeter of the ceiling for our racetrack.
You want to cut these as straight as possible. Saves work later.

Here is the ceiling with the strips applied. They are held in place with Powergrab, and a couple of coarse sheetrock screws to hold them in place. Don't worry about hitting wood, you will be pulling them out soon.

I specify Powergrab because it just flat out works. If you want to hold it for 10 seconds you probably don't even need the screws. Liquid Nails, and other panel adhesives do not work this well.


Next, we tape out the inside corners around the perimeter of the room. Tape and coat the Wall angle of the corner before attaching the 'L' bead.
Then we attach our 'L' bead to the inside edge of the drywall with thin coat of powergrab and a few screws to hold it, while it sets up.

Fill coat the bead strips, mud the wall side of the corners, let dry, sand and repeat.

After sanding and before priming, run a very thin bead of caulk on the top edge of the 'L' bead to hide any holes that may peek out.

Prime and paint.

Depending on the size of your room, ceiling height, and amount of work you want to do you can apply a 9'', 6'', and 3'' racetracks around your room and 'step' it like a coffered ceiling.

Drywall can be fun!