Monday, November 15, 2010

Long, Busy Weekend....

Spent most of the weekend doing Home Owner stuff, and I ache all over!
One of the things I've been doing is cleaning up the area between the edge of our driveway and the property line of the house next door. It's an area about 22" wide and 30' long that runs alongside the driveway, from our gate to the back yard and the side walk. My wife had put a bunch of "River Rocks" in there over the years after having no luck growing flowers there. Over the years it degenerated into a weed pit, and was looking pretty bad. SO, I told her I clean it up and make it look nice again.
What a job!
I'd sprayed the area with a mix of RoundUP and Weed-B-Gon a month or two ago, and let *everything* in the strip die. It looked like I'd called in an Agent Orange aerial drop, but everything was dead. SO....I started digging out the rocks and gravel. I spent the better part of a week with a "Pulaski Axe", which is an axe blade with an adze on one end. Works great for chopping up hard, compacted dirt. Then I had about six wheelbarrow loads of dirt to move out and sift. Most of the large rocks I put into 5 gallon buckets (SIX of them!), and the smaller rocks I just left with the dirt. I made a sifter out of a 2x4 frame and some hardware cloth (aka "Chicken Wire") with 1/4" holes. I wound up with about 4-1/2 wheelbarrow loads of nice sifted dirt, and the balance was smaller rock. I then spent about a week laying out the property line, making a nice clean cut (you could tell where the two front yards joined by the type of dirt), and installing new redwood boards for edging. I soaked the boards with linseed oil to preserve them, even though redwood is pretty good for rot resistance. I used fence slats for the boards, but I probably should have spent more money and bought "real" boards, as these things aren't exactly the straightest pieces of wood! Shoveled all the dirt back in and leveled it with six bags of paving sand, and tamped it down. I still haven't put all the rock back in, as I was getting pretty burned out on the job, and wanted a break.
WELL.....Saturday afternoon my little sweetie decided to get started on another project we'd been talking about for a few months. She wants to remove the carpet by the front door and refinish the hardwood floor in that area so that water and dirt don't get tracked onto the carpet during what passes for our "winter" out here. She went out and got some 60, 100, and 220 grit sandpaper for our orbital sander, some stain for the wood, a miter box (we have one, but nobody knows where it is), and some nice trim for the edge of the carpet. Sunday morning I laid out where to cut, and started removing the carpet. Getting the carpet cut straight wasn't too bad, and after about 45 minutes I had the area clear. Then I had to pull out all the staples where the pad had been tacked down, and turned the sanding over to her. After a few hours, she had most of the water stains in the wood sanded out, but we're still going to have to bleach out the rest, fill the cracks between the boards, sand it again, and then stain and seal it. She wanted to just sand the stains out, but after I told her she'd put all kinds of depressions in the flooring if she sanded down that far, she decided not to. And now she realizes it's going to be a LOT more work than just "Pull up the carpet, sand the floor, and stain it" like she thought. I've got the trim mitered and fit, and I'll drill pilot holes for the nails today, as I really don't want to tempt fate nailing solid oak trim down without predrilling some holes through it!
Oh, and she asked me how much longer it would take to finish the rock area......sigh.......


  1. Are we having fun yet??? :-) And yeah, do NOT let her sand the stains out, dimples WILL result!

  2. Oh, she did some minor sanding with 100-grit tonight, and then used some good old Chlorox on the stains.
    I'll do a final check tomorrow, and if it looks as good as I think it will, I'll put a coat of the wood hardener on it. After that dries we'll lightly sand it, and do the filler, then sand again, and get ready for the stain.
    Hopefully we'll have it finished this weekend!

  3. Good luck! Let the filler dry at least 48 hours, otherwise it WILL ripple/peel up


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A Bit Of Rearranging In The Electronics Shop

 Since I've been cranking away on projects, I decided to rearrange things on the bench a bit to make it easier to use my test equipment....