173 Our Old House

Chroicling the ever-so-slow remodeling of our 1927 traditional-style house.

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It's finally done!  The refurb of my Gerstner tool chest has been a long time coming.  It started probably 9 or 10 years ago when my Dad gave me this classic machinist's tool chest:For many years it sat up on the third floor as a shabby chic decorative piece, always with the thought of refurbishing it.  You can actually see it in the left lower corner below...But there were so many projects that really needed doin', so the chest had to wait its turn.  Well, a few months ago I hurt my back pretty bad, and after I started to heal I needed to find some small projects to do.  So, back in December, I decided now was the time!  I started by Googling "how to repair a wooden tool chest", and found a ton of information - a learned a ton too!  First, I learned that this was a machinist's tool chest...
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Posted 4 days 14 hours ago.

It's been a few weeks since I posted anything, so I thought I'd take a couple minutes so y'all know I'm still alive!  There's no major project going on here at 173 right now, although I'm not sure why - there's always more to do.  But I am in the middle of a couple almost trivial projects.  One is the door that leads into the laundry room...There's an interesting little story that goes along with the door but, I think I'll wait til it's done and I post about it to tell!  And, there's another little project -That's the old Gerstner machinist's tool chest my dad gave me.  I'm not doing a total teardown, but I am doing a fairly thorough refurb on it.  Both of these little projects are nearing completion, so - see ya in the funny papers!...
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Posted 1 week 5 days ago.

Welcome to the Accent Table Megapost combining both posts about the design and build of the little accent table made specifically for the end of the upstairs hallway in 2019.  So, the class I'm in is winding up and I have a couple days off work so I wanted to get in the workshop and do something.  One thing I've been wanting to do is make an accent table for the end of the upstairs hallway.  Here's where we left of in October:It's really difficult to get a good picture up there, but you get the idea.  The problem with that spot is that there are two doorways at the end of the hallway so whatever piece was to go there certainly could't be particularly big, otherwise you'r have to squeeze by whenever you went into a room.  I don't like that idea, so I had to come up with a solution.  I decid...
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Posted 4 weeks 6 days ago.

Welcome to the Radiator Cover Megapost combining the 5 or 6 posts about the cover made for the dining room radiator in '18 - '19.Winter came early this year!Of course for me it's okay because I love winter!  The problem is, when last we met I had taken out windows in the bedroom, and planned to get them painted and rehab'ed before winter came.  As it turns out, I did get some work done...But then the winter turned and I had to put the windows back in before the snow flew.  In this case I ripped a new parting bead so I could re-install them...I also managed to restring the window weights... But alas, the windows will have to wait 'til spring.  But all is not lost!  I decided now was as good a time as any to build a cover for the radiator in the dining room...
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Posted 8 weeks 6 days ago.

As you probably know, I like finding things to do with scrap wood after a project.  In this case, I've made a few simple toolboxes, and if you read through, you'll practically get a tutorial!  The first was after the back porch remodel in 2011, and was just a decorative piece for the back porch...It's painted Valspar's Golderod in semi-gloss, and just so you know - that's going to come up again in a little while.  I also lightly distressed it, and used Valspar's antiquing glaze to give it a bit of an aged look.  The second one I made maybe around 2013, was a toolbox for the workshop.Most of the time I haul tools around in a 5 gallon bucket with one of those organizers, but sometimes it's nice to just throw a few tools in a box and head out...Like the first toolbox, this one is of simple de...
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Posted 11 weeks 4 days ago.

This is the first of the Megaposts here on House 173!  What is a Megapost you ask?  Well, when I'm doing a large, and sometimes not so large, project I end up posting the progress as I go.  As it turns out, even with labeling, getting the whole story can be difficult.  So I decided that on the larger projects, I would create a post that culls together each of those posts to create a kind of metanarrative. and this is the first - the great dining room built-in of '17 - '18!11/5/17:  I have the next project in sight! Work is crazy right now, the holidays loom, and I have to start back to school soon, but I thought - why not get involved in a rather extensive project right now. I guess if we wait for the ideal time, nothing would get done...
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Posted 11 weeks 6 days ago.

Trying not to drone on about my back, but it's still out so there's still no big projects here at 173.  The good thing is - 173 has always been a work in progress, so there's really no finish line to be in a hurry to get to!  In the meantime, I've been puttering in the workshop making little hand tools that someday will make work just a little easier at times!  In the last post I showed the wide center line scribe, which you can see in this picture...For this next tool, I used that scribe to mark the center line of a piece of stock, then used the compass to mark out an arc:Then, using the center mark made by the compass, using the combination square, I marked out two 45 degree lines...All of which began to look like some kind of new-age peace sign...Next, I wanted to drill a nice straight...
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Posted 13 weeks 1 day ago.

Seems like all I've been able to do is tinker in the workshop and make these little hand tools.  I guess it seems that way because it is all I'm able to do.  In recent weeks I've made a holder for card scrapers, a large marking gauge as well as a small marking gauge, and recently posted about the center line scribe I made back in August...The reason for so many tiny projects is that I have injured my back significantly enough that I need PT and medications, so big projects, which are aplenty, must wait a while.  So while these projects seem of little value, they are, in actuality, very useful - at least in giving me a distraction from thinking about work!  And besides that - they're fun!  I think it was just yesterday (the medications make me feel like I'm in some sort of time distortion a...
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Posted 13 weeks 5 days ago.

Yesterday I wrote about the marking gauge made here at 173.  It was a fun little project, again made of scraps:The first thing I did was laminate the two pieces of scraps leftover from the sled rebuild...Which ended up being the fence for the gauge:But that fence didn't use the entirety of those laminated boards, and I must confess that I did obsess just a little about what to do with the little 4"x4" scrap that was left over.  I don't usually worry about such a small piece, but it was such nice wood I just had to do something!  So I got to thinking, why not make an even simpler, but smaller marking gauge?As you can see, this only required that little scrap, a 5" piece of scrap dowel, a finish nail, and a brass screw.  One of the fun things at 173 is that there was a small host of things t...
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Posted 14 weeks 5 days ago.

Mikhail Baryshnikov, that great ballet dancer from the 1970s, once said, "Your body actually reminds you about your age and your injuries - the body has a stronger memory than your mind."  Have truer words been spoken?  I've been a little laid up with a back injury for a few weeks now so I still don't have any projects of significance happening here at 173, but for the last couple posts I've been making little shop tools.  The last post was about the center line scribe I made a couple months ago, and the post before that was my newly minted card scraper.  And of course, I like to do these projects with scrap wood just for the challenge (I defend myself - it's NOT out of cheapness!) of it.  This time I used a couple scraps from the snow sled rebuild:So I started with some dead heads from th...
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Posted 14 weeks 6 days ago.