’Tis the season for home improvement work

Posted Dec. 10, 2010, at 7:15 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 29, 2011, at 12:47 p.m.

Since the Christmas season is upon us, it is a time when I start working in the house.

Last year, I was painting the first floor of the house. This project usually occurred after work, so it was dark outside. Even with all the lights on in the house, there were still a lot of “holidays” in the paint that I had to touch up when it was sunny out.

I am not sure if it was the color of the paint or my eyesight fading. Probably both.

This year, I am already well under way. The first project is to repair some tiling that I had installed behind the wood stove. The backing for the tiles was a prototype gypsum board that I had saved for a long time. It was an interesting product that never got off the ground, and I had some stored in my warehouse with other build-ing artifacts. It was (I thought) the perfect substrate for tiling. It is fireproof and waterproof.

And it moved when the stove got hot and cracked some tiles.

This project is slow going but is almost done.

It is holding up the fun project — cutting wood. When I did the ceilings in this house, we did not use any drywall. All the ceilings are covered with edge and center bead pine paneling for a cottage look. There is one ceiling that I did not do. It is a small area on a stairway that had plaster on it, and I just touched it up with joint compound and painted it.

It is a sloped ceiling, and I guess at the time I did it, I decided that it was going to be a hassle to install pine on it. It is on the stairs, so access to one end is up in the air and difficult to reach.

We are only talking about 50 square feet. It won’t cost too much for materials.

Viking Lumber has the pine in stock. All is good, right?

Well, the far end that is hard to reach is, well, hard to reach.

That is why I did not do it in the first place. It was simpler to paint it with a roller with an extension and be done.

But the solution is at hand. I get to buy one of those weird folding ladders that can have different length legs. This will allow me to reach the far end safely, and I get a new tool — the folding ladder with different length legs.

This all works out well — it is the Christmas season, and we want the house to look nice. And I get a new toy — I mean, tool.

The final project that I have put off for six years is the stair railing. We have a nautical-looking, 2-inch-diameter rope that is used as a handrail. I guess that does not pass code.

And it really upsets my mother, which I suppose has some merit.

A railing should really be more secure.

The railing has some compound curves that will be challenging to make but will look very impressive once done.

I have been promising something decent looking for six years, and this is the winter to do it.

The stairs are not very long, and most of the railing is straight, so most of it is very simple.

I think that some exotic hardwoods might be in order. Something that would leave enough scrap pieces so I can make a banjo once that is done.

And maybe I will need a new router, too. It is Christmas after all.

Questions for Tom Gocze should be mailed to The Home Page, Bangor Daily News, P.O. Box 1329, Bangor 04402-1329.

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