Encasement of Patience

Our New Staircase RailingIt has been a while since I posted something about carpentry, let alone a post at all. Life has been a little crazy lately. We have been working to prepare the house for children, and one of the things that I wanted to fix was the railing for the staircase. I just did not think that it was sturdy enough, and I wanted to make it safe for the children.

We have finally gotten through all the interview process with DePelchin and have been licensed as Foster to Adopt parents. We are so excited and cannot wait to see what is going to happen next. Patience is a definite key to the process; both for the interview and building the banister.

We started learning about DePelchin about two years ago and have been in the process of getting ready for children since then. Don’t worry if you are in the process yourself, because I do not believe it usually takes that long. After the first orientation, we found that some things were going to have to happen before we could go any further. So we took the first year to just prepare, and then we went to another orientation. This is when the real process started. Training, interviews, and continuing to prepare the house have been our main focuses since then. See where patience came into play?

A major area of our concern was the staircase. I knew I wanted to make it sturdy and safe, and I had a plan to do that. I framed a 2×4 stud rail and lag screwed it into the existing frame of the house. This rail was not going to go anywhere after that. Once it was connected, I faced it with a poplar material. It is a straighter and prettier material than pine, and I figured that it would be easier to box out with. The time was in the sanding. I have to admit, if you want it to look nice, you have to take the time to sand it. Mine took about 4 full Saturdays including the paint and wainscot.

A Friend of mine and co-worker (Carpenter) said that this is always the case when it comes to trim. He could do it much faster, but for better results, he said that you have to take your time. Check out the picture above, and hopefully it will inspire you to try to do something as well.

So Remember, when building something “Patience is a Virtue, and it will also bring about a smooth finish.”

The Order Of Things

Wood Crafters is one of the best backyard construction companies in the Houston area. I have been working with them for over 16 years now and look forward to learning new things in construction from them. After all, my recreational passions are cooking, building, and comics.

One of the things I have learned recently is about baseboards. I always thought that it was better to do the baseboards last. This way you get a clean look and everything finishes out nicer. It seems weird that my boss always insists that the baseboards should go in before the finished floors.

I thought that it had more to do with the fact that “time is money”, however this is not the case. In the kids room I decided to do it my way – baseboards last. Ultimately I realize that it would have been better to do them before the flooring. They look fine, but they could have been more level without any gaps on the bottom. They would have been easier to install, and touch up would have been easier. I have learned that there is an order to things. When the professionals decide that it needs to be done a specific way, there is always a reason.

Now I wish I had listened and done it the way my boss suggested. It looks nice, but I can tell the difference between what it could have been compared to what it is now. I guess you live and learn! That is why there are Carpenters with a big “C”, and i am one with a little “c”! I have much to learn. So remember, “listen to experience, have a plan, and realize there is an order to things!”

It is Simple – Just Use the Manual

Ladder Joint

In carpentry the phrase, “This should be a simple job!” is a curse word. It is kind of like saying “Break a Leg” to an actor before they go on stage. To the actor it is considered good luck, in the other not so much. In almost every case the thing that was supposed to be “simple” just doesn’t turn out that way.

This last weekend I had to install a new attic ladder, so I asked one of my carpenter buddies to come and help me put it in. (This really should be a two-man project.) The wood attic ladder we owned was broken at the joint on the bottom section. These ladders almost always break in this location and I did not want to consider putting a new one back in.

Werner Attic Ladder

Both Lowes and Home Depot sell aluminum attic ladders. It is better to spend a little extra and get something that will ultimately hold up better and last longer. After putting it in “by following the instructions” I could feel the difference right away. We watched the video first just to see what we thought, and they made it look so simple. We thought to ourselves “Yeah Right! Like it is going to be that easy.” However, once we finally got the old ladder out of there (the hardest part of the job), it really did flow the way the video described it.

Yes, it is possible for men to read the instructions before putting something together. In this case, I highly recommend it. If you have a bum ladder, check out the video and see if you want to tackle this absolutely amazingly difficult project (not really, LOL) for yourself. If I didn’t just curse the project for you remember, “It is simple – just use the manual and a good buddy.”