Thursday, June 24, 2021

Back Stair Decking

I don't remember what kind of wood CDR used for the back stairs—it was something tropical—but it looked really nice when they finished the project. I really regret we didn't finish it sooner. The nine years of weathering did not improve the appearance of wood and my several hours of sanding didn't do enough to remove the weathered wood.

Yesterday, I finally finished applying the Cabot Australian Timber Oil. I like the finish. Too bad I didn't do it sooner. =)

The boards next to the door are covered by a roof overhang so they look the best.

All the sawn balusters and railings are painted. I just need to finish prepping the newells (sanding and painting) and we can finish this project. 

It has gotten crazy hot in Portland—we have a forecast for something like 112℉ on Saturday—so it likely won't happen for a couple of weeks. I am really hoping this hot weather doesn't last the summer.

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Railings Painted

For the past couple of weeks, I've been slowly plugging away at painting the railing for the back stairs. We didn't have enough sawhorses to paint everything at once so I've had to paint everything in two batches. It was a little painful to put paint on this beautiful clear cedar, but I've learned the hard way that it won't look so beautiful after a couple years of weathering.
First I did the batch of balusters inside the garage. I applied a coat of exterior primer on all four edges and then I did the same with a good quality exterior paint.

All finished and ready to be installed
Then, once we had the tablesaw moved into the garage, I set up the rails outside under the porte cochiere. They're getting their last edge painted later today, then Jeff will finally get his parking space back.
I had hoped to finish this stair railing project before summer arrived, but in March I decided I would rather finish my closet first because I was tired of the disarray in the bedrooms. Then, by the time that project was finished, it had started to rain. A lot. 

I figured it made the most sense to sand and finish the stair decking before we installed the rails which will require a week of clear weather when it's not-too-crazy hot. I'm crossing my fingers it will happen soon because I'm eager to get this wood out of the way in the garage. I have some other projects I would like to work on.

Friday, June 11, 2021

Garage Progress

So far this year I've been spending a lot of time sifting and getting rid of stuff, the garage is no exception. We had this old workbench that the prior owner left behind and it was piled high with junk; this is how it looked last September. We finally managed to clear it off and sold it on craigslist. 

Our goal was to make room for the table saw to fit in the garage. Once the workbench was gone, we rotated the rolling wood rack and pushed it against that back wall. 

As a reminder, this is how the garage looked in Aug 2019 when I originally posted about wanting to organize it.
This has been a bit of a slow-going project, but I am pleased overall with our progress. There is still some junk we need to deal with in front of the wall with the tubs, but the garage is much better and more useable now, especially since most of the tools in the photo are on mobile bases and can be rolled out of the way. 
I have some ideas for more woodworking projects I'd like to try this summer, but we are feeling strongly the pull to get in our car and go places, so we may not get much done this summer beyond keeping the plants watered.

Sunday, June 6, 2021

More Native Plants

One of our favorite nurseries, Echo Valley Natives, has lost their lease and will be closing at their current location so it gave me an excuse to go and visit. (They may reopen in a new location if they can find one.)

In March 2020, I planted a Lonicera ciliosa (orange honeysuckle) but it died pretty quickly. I've been hoping to find a replacement because I really want one of these plants for our hummingbirds. I figured it would be worth checking with Echo Valley before they closed in July. They had two little orange honeysuckles and they also had the Lonicera hispidula (pink honeysuckle) and I purchased a couple of those as well. I'm hoping between the four plants at least one of them will survive and thrive.

Of course, since I was there, I found it hard to resist getting a few unplanned natives. I got a couple Dicentra formosa (bleeding hearts), Oxalis oregana (wood sorrel) and three Lupinus polyphyllus (bigleaf lupine). Other than the honeysuckle, we don't really have room for these plants so I'll just plant them in the beds with the other plants and they can do their best to compete for space.

We have been enjoying our yard so very much this year. A little more rain would be nice as we're already feeling compelled to do some watering, but it is worth it.
The Parking Strip.
The flower bed under the black walnut.
The view of the hidden garden from the back patio.
When I was poking around my photos, I was reminded this is what the area behind the garage looked like just two years ago.

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

More Garden Benches

When we were cleaning up for our holiday BBQ, Jeff made a snarky comment about our junk pile of wood on the side of the house. He was right, it looked bad. This is roughly how it looked over there, though the wood was stacked next to the house, not spread out all over the driveway. (This is a photo from last fall, I didn't think to take a recent one.)

It finally prompted me to use up the last of the good pieces of scrap wood. Since we were planning to have a BBQ, I thought it would be helpful to have more seating, and because we still had some short pieces of pressure-treated 4x4, I was able to reuse my plans from last year.

Jeff and I quickly sifted through the wood and found we had enough pressure-treated 4x4 to make two more benches and once we confirmed we could find enough long pieces, we spent about an hour cutting everything out. (We used whatever kind of wood was handy, without regard to the species, though most of what we had lying around was cedar and fir scraps from our fence and shed projects.)

Then I spent the next few days staining everything.
These benches went together pretty quickly. We decided to use fewer slats on the top this time around because we are hoping it will be easier to clean the seeds/leaves out of the gaps.
The old white bench was also partially disassembled/cleaned and restained with the green stain. I'm not sure how durable the finish will be since we applied green opaque stain over the top of the white opaque stain, but we won't be putting it back under the maple tree so hopefully, it won't need as much scrubbing.
The rest of the weathered wood I didn't think I would ever use went off to the dumps before the BBQ. So, while the side of the house still looks a little junky, it is better. I do hope we'll get the last of this stuff cleaned up this summer.