173 Our Old House

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

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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 3 days 7 hours 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 1 week 3 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 1 week 4 days ago.

In my last post I showed the steps for making my card scraper holder, and in that post I mentioned I used the center line scribed made right here at 173.I even mentioned the possibility of a post about making the scribe and wuddaya know - here it is! I guess the first thing I should mention is that a center line scribe is used for determining exact centers on the edges of boards when making biscuit slot cuts, drilling dowel joints, for assembly work and more. I should also mention that such a scribe can be purchased just about anywhere, and most are listed at less than $20...
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Posted 2 weeks 3 days ago.

Betty Davis once said, "Getting old isn't for sissies."  Boy isn't that the truth!  That's relevant because in the past couple years I have more aches and pains than ever, all seemingly with no immediate cause, probably just my youth catching up with me.  Right now I'm a bit laid up with a back injury so there aren't any significant projects going on here at 173, but of course I'm always in need for some workshop therapy.  The other day I was watching a video on how to make a card scraper holder:   This guy makes some good videos and this one inspired me to make one myself.  Fair warning - this is a heavily photo-centric post.  I started by cutting a card from a small sheet of tool-grade steel...Of course, the trick is to cut the card as straight as possible to reduce the amount of filing...
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Posted 2 weeks 4 days ago.

The Beisler house has embarked on a huge project, one that will change the house profoundly.  As I understand it, Nephew is building an addition that will extend both his kitchen and the second floor.  I have to tell you - I have never undertaken such a large project so, kudos to Nephew!  It's fun to follow the progress, and I love that Nephew is a man of the same heart, with a desire to, in his own words, "do our best to make an old house to our dream house, a combination of old, new and some Fränkischer Tradition."  It'll be interesting to learn which traditions will be evident in the addition!  And so the project has begun and as with any other job there was prep work:Because of the frost line in that part of Bavaria, the footers were dug to a depth of 90 cm, which is roughly 36 inches...
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Posted 3 weeks 3 days ago.

Percy Bysshe Shelley, you know - Mary Shelley of Frankenstein fame's husband, expressed it so aptly...O wild West Wind, thou breath of Autumn's being,Thou, from whose unseen presence the leaves deadAre driven, like ghosts from an enchanter fleeing,And as autumn waned into winter, cold was the night when the west winds blew into the face of 812.  The house faced the west, and with that old door and the fact that the old place wasn't insulated back in the day, our family lived on the chilly side (definitely an understatement) in the winter when those west winds blew straight in the face of 812, right through the front door.  My kid brother in 1972The picture above was taken in 1972 when our family had been in the house for maybe a year or so, and I think we were renting at the time.  The wes...
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Posted 3 weeks 4 days ago.

I follow quite a few Youtubers who post about their woodworking, rehab and DIY projects, and every so often they post about building their incredible woodworking or shop workbench.  The variety of bench styles tremendous!  Some are beautiful -Some complicated:And some are behemoths!And some are simple and utilitarian.  But no matter the adjective, the single most important common factor is that they serve the needs of the user.  If you're like me, a simple homeowner, DIY'er and weekend woodworker, it's fun to look at these most important of all tools, and I just wanted to take a minute to show the workbench here at 173.  Brace yourselves though - it's not nearly as fancy as any of those pictured above.It's of the very simplest of construction, but this simple bench has faithfully served 17...
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Posted 5 weeks 3 days ago.

I follow quite a few Youtubers who post about their woodworking, rehab and DIY projects, and every so often they post about building their incredible woodworking or shop workbench.  The variety of bench styles tremendous!  Some are beautiful -Some complicated:And some are behemoths!And some are simple and utilitarian.  But no matter the adjective, the single most important common factor is that they serve the needs of the user.  If you're like me, a simple homeowner, DIY'er and weekend woodworker, it's fun to look at these most important of all tools, and I just wanted to take a minute to show the workbench here at 173.  Brace yourselves though - it's not nearly as fancy as any of those pictured above.It's of the very simplest of construction, but this simple bench has faithfully...
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Posted 5 weeks 3 days ago.

The other day I posted Part One of the Sled Rebuild and left off with the wood pieces of the sled cut and ready:After that it was time to do some serious work on the steel runners.  The sled was built circa 1936, and my neighbor said it was sitting in his basement for a few decades, so the steel was in fairly rough shape:And the steering mechanism was a bit rusty as well...I started with a wire brush, moved onto the wire wheel on my drill, then sandpaper.  Fortunately, it was a beautiful day outside so I saved the house from all the dust...And right there in the carport I spray painted all the parts.  The runners with Krylon Cherry Red and the steering parts in Krylon Satin Black...That done, it was time to finish fine-tuning the steering handle...But, when I went to round over the edges,...
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Posted 7 weeks 3 days ago.