Little Work Over Weekend

I fixed most of the bad boards in the subfloor of the kitchen. And cut out some cement board to use as a sublayer. Here is how the house is looking.

I also started sanding the stairs, in preparation for finishing. But then found out that I had completely clogged the filter on my wet/dry vac. So I had to stop until I got some new filters. Here is where I stopped.

Sanding this all down is going to take quite a lot of time. I'm also going to have to do a bit by hand because my sander won't get into all the corners.

That was all done on Saturday. On Sunday, I went out and bought my tile. Thankfully, John and Paul showed up to help me move it from the van to the house. It's insanely heavy, but I think it's going to look really good. I started to do the tile layout, so I could make sure the seam falls on the break in the floor. It works great in the direction to the back of the house. But to the front of the house, I'm going to have to play around a bit to make sure I don't have large tiles in a place where they'll be likely to break.

Subfloor Preparation

Even though the floor has a definite slope, I figured I had to replace some bad boards in the subfloor. Here are the boards I've replaced so far. I probably need to do one more, but I think I'll use a 1"x8" instead of a 1"x6", since there's a bigger hole to fill.

The edge of Durock toward the bottom of the picture is at the point where the floor starts to slope down. It's about a 1" drop total.

The Work is Slow

I spent the days working on the house. Made a big mistake, but learned a valuable lesson.

I put the second coat of polyurethane on the pantry floor last Saturday. I looked it over and things looked ok, so I decided it was time to start on the tile in the kitchen. This required me to move the refrigerator so I could pull up the old floor. My idea was to slide it to the pantry for a while. I got the frig up on the new floor, but when I turned it, I put a HUGE scratch in the floor. Apparently, it wasn't completely dry. So I'm going to have to sand and finish a bit of the pantry floor again. This is good info for when I do the rest of the house. I need to wait a long time for it to completely dry. Here's what it looks like now:

Lesson learned

The other thing I learned is that there is a slope between the floor in the kitchen and the dining room. I didn't measure it, but based on the bits of wood that I pulled out from the subfloor, I'd say the difference is a little less than an inch. This is good and bad. Bad because there's a good possibility that tile placed at the start of the slope will crack. Good because I should be able to match the height of the floor in the dining room better. I think that I'll just have to layout my tile carefully and make sure that no tile spans across the point where the floor starts to go down. I don't know if this is possible, but I'm going to try. Here's how the kitchen looks after today:

Almost ready for some tile

The Idiot Returns

While staying at my sister's condo, I thought that her furnace seemed rather loud. In fact, it's loud enough that it has woken me up a few times. I was thinking that maybe it was getting louder because the furnace filter needed to be changed. So, when it woke me up at 5am this morning, I decided to find out what size the filter was so I could buy a new one after work. Since it's above the ceiling in the bathroom, I needed a ladder to reach it easily. There's only a step stool here, so I was stretching quite a bit to try to get to it. I quickly saw that this was a size filter that I had never seen before. I figured it was roughly 12"x36". I went to Home Depot after work, thinking there wouldn't be many filters in that size and I'd notice it right away. Well, there were no filters in that size. Nothing remotely close. So, I got a tape measure and actually measured the filter when I got home. The size, 9 7/8" x 39 3/4". Basically, 10"x39". Looked online and didn't find anything remotely around that size. It looks like this was going to have to be custom made.

This would not have been a problem, but the current filter was totally gross. It needed to be changed a few months ago. So I wanted to get something in there now. I decided that I might be able to get two smaller filters and put those in. I didn't remember seeing anything at Home Depot, so I thought I'd try Menard's. The had 10"x20" filters, so I bought four. Here's how my little filters look next to the big dirty one.

I came home and balancing on a tool box on top of my step stool, I got high enough to put the two filters in. Then, I thought to myself, where should I put the extra two filters so I can change it again a few months? I know, I'll put them in the closet next to the washing machine. And when I went to put them away, I found:

I am an idiot. FYI, the filter has nothing to do with it. The furnace is just loud.

State of the Floor

The floor is probably not going to be beautiful, but I think it'll look ok. And I love the fact that I'm using the same wood that was in the floor. Stuff that had square nails in it when I pulled it out.

Here's how it looked when I was finished sanding it.

The right side is a bit light. My first stain attempt put stain everywhere, but wiped it off the left side rather quickly.

Right, that didn't make much difference. So today, I put another coat of stain on the right side only. Here's how it looked when I left it to dry.

I'm pretty sure that I'll never get it to match perfectly, but I think the second coat will help. I'll let this dry a couple of days and then put the finish coat on it.

One Coat of Stain

I finally decided that I was never going to get the floor perfect with sanding and that it was finally good enough. So today, I bought a can of stain and decided to just put it on to see what happens. I was going to just stain the one side of the floor that looked lighter, but then decided to do the whole thing. I didn't really wipe any off on the lighter side of the floor, but did wipe off right away on the darker side. When I go back tomorrow, I'll see how it turned out. If it's ok, then I'll put on the finish coat. If it's not ok, I'll probably also put on the finish coat because I have no idea how to fix this.

My one concern is that I'm using an oil-based stain/finish. I used a new paint brush to put the stain on, but didn't really know how to clean it. I looked this up when I got home and I may have destroyed the brush. Since I was uncertain how to use mineral spirits to clean the brush, I just left the brush in a bucket in water, which I probably should not have done. It was pretty cold today, so I didn't want to work outside, but that seems to be necessary with mineral spirits. I guess I'll find out how the brush is tomorrow. I'll see about posting some before/after pictures of the floor.

2012 (and beyond) Goals

Happy New Year!

I've been thinking about my plans for the year and have made a list of things that I'd like to start learning or do this year. I had planned on devoting January and possibly February to finishing the floor in my house. However, this isn't exactly a great plan. I do plan on working on the floor a lot, but it won't be all the time. It can't be. There will be long stretches where I just have to let things dry or when I'll be physically too tired to keep working. So, while the floor will be the main job, it won't be the only thing I'm working on.

Here's a list of things that I came up with, in no particular order:
Finish floor
Learn more C
Use Blender to make a model and send to Shapeways to get fabricated
Arduino game of picking out states on map
Get and use Eagle to make a simple PCB and have it fabricated
Get a better understanding of how and when to use JSON
Drawing lessons
Piano lessons
Learn some basic statistics
Get started with GPU programming
Build a workbench
Learn to weld
Work on a novel
Set up a Win7/Linux workstation for development work
Write up PDF on how to make linux as domain server and put it up for sale somewhere
Learn how to animate with Blender
Organize my tools/workspace
Learn an alternative mail system to Sendmail
Go to some Ruby meetups
Pay for myself to go to a technical conference somewhere
Make a dining room table and bench
Get my digital camera working with my telescope and go somewhere dark to see if I can get a good picture
Travel someplace that I've never been

It's a long list and there's little possibility that I'll accomplish most of these. But I figure it's always better to try to do too much than too little. It looks like quite a bit to learn, but that's also by design, since I'm also going to be attempting to save as much money as I can. Last year, I benefit a lot from all the money I'd been saving over a number of years. So, it's time for me to rebuild that nest egg.