The Mysterious Machine
I'm always fascinated by the old machines and implements which I see on some of the farms around Asheville and Weaverville.
Here's one I noticed recently in a neighbor's yard. Can you guess what it is?
I'll give you a few hints:
Have you guessed it yet? Scroll down for the answer.
It's a horse-drawn road grader.
On the subject of tools, I've got all the tools to do that project you've been waiting to do. (Unless you want a road graded, then you're on your own.)
The Proper Care and Feeding of a Woodstove
Ah, the delights of winter. Warm sweaters, hot soup and a cozy fireplace or woodstove.
With the onset of cold weather, lots of people are lighting the first fire of the season. I've heated my homes with wood for over a decade now, so I thought I'd share a few tips I've picked up over the years for safe, comfortable home fires.
Is It Installed Correctly and in Good Condition?
Regular Cleaning Prevents Chimney Fires
The Right Wood Burns Better
If you only burn your stove occasionally, you can pick up a tiny bundle of firewood at the grocery store. It's expensive, but it's an easy luxury.
However, if you're going to burn regularly, get a stash of well-dried hardwood such as oak or locust. You can also mix a few softwood logs in there, like pine. The soft woods are nice when you're starting a fire because they burn easily and heat the room up quickly.
However, the hard woods are better for long-term, regular use because they create less creosote. Hardwoods also burn longer, so you don't have to keep adding logs all the time.
In a perfect world, you'll get your firewood a few months before winter sets in, so the wood has time to dry and is easy to light. For the best results, cover it from rain and snow.
Prevent Hot Rolling Logs of Flaming Death
Okay, maybe that's a slight exaggeration, but when you're burning a fire, it helps to keep in mind that hot logs or sparks can come out of the front of the stove.
Pay attention to what's in front of your stove. If you have hardwood floors, get a fire resistant hearth rug to protect the floor. An ordinary rug like this one should be moved away from the stove before you light the fire.
If you like to leave the stove door open, you may also want to get a fire screen to keep sparks from popping out.
Get the Right Accessories
Now that you've got your woodstove in order, what other winter projects would you like to get done? I'll be glad to help with your "to do" list.
Art for Your Home: A Sculptural Chair
Yes, handymen make art too! Take a look:
It's been a busy week, but all of my pictures were pretty boring. (Wanna see some photos of a moldy shower surround? I didn't think so.)
So instead I thought I"d show off this project from my archives. It's a chair I made from branches of pinon pine.
Look a little more closely at the joinery on this chair.
See how one branch flows into another as if it grew that way? That took hours to do. I cut a tenon on the end of the branch, then hand-carved the wood above the tenon to make an exact fit to the adjoining piece.
Here it is from the sides. The tractor seat is just set in place, so it could be replaced by a hand-woven seat.
I tried to use the curved legs to evoke the stance of an animal.
You can buy this for $1975, with free delivery within our service area, which is a great deal considering the time that went into it. It would be a marvelous sculptural addition to any artistic home. If you'd like to buy it, please email me using the contact form linked in the button below.
Before and After: Curb Appeal
These pictures remind me of those children's games in newspapers, where they tell you to spot the differences.
Nope, this porch wasn't brightened up in Photoshop. Let's zoom in closer so you can see what a dramatic change a little paint makes. Here's the "before."
It had been a really long time since this porch railing was touched up, and it was starting to look weather-beaten.
Here's how it looks now:
What a difference! It looks like new wood, but it's just a careful coat of oil-based primer followed by a fresh coat of semi-gloss paint. Here's another angle showing the stair railing before and after:
Before it looked like it would give you splinters, but now it's something you're glad to grab onto as you climb the porch stairs.
If your porch needs a little paint, give me a call. I'll be glad to freshen it up for you.
Installing Linoleum Floor Tiles
I'm currently sprucing up a charming little house in Montford that just needs a little TLC to make it move-in ready. One of the things I fixed recently was the old linoleum floor. At the homeowner's request, I used a nice grey "stone" peel-and-stick tile, As you'll see, it's a great compromise between cost and appearance.
Let's start with a few grisly "before" shots.
This linoleum has a lot of heavy surface wear, and it can't be salvaged. Luckily, however, it's still in one piece and glued down well, so I can go over it with new peel-and-stick tile without removing the existing flooring. This will save the homeowner some money.
By the way, there's a trick to placing the tiles correctly: I always lay them out in a "hopscotch" pattern before I lay down the first tile. This helps me install the tiles with the fewest cuts necessary, and it also gives me a chance to center them on the doors if possible.
I like these new "stone" printed products. You almost can't tell them apart from the real thing, but they cost less, and you don't have to hire a tile specialist to cut and grout them.
The floor turned out beautifully. Take a look at some "before and after" photos.
Before: The cabinets look good, but the floor....?
After: A nice bright kitchen that's easy to clean.
If you have an investment or rental property that needs just a few small touches to make it beautiful again, please give me a call. I'll be glad to help.
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