On the 166th day - there was light.
(and drywall, and a coat of primer and two coats of paint - but the lights... they were the big moment)
It has been a very busy fall. Once again my friend Andy jumped in and helped out with the 4' x 12' x 5/8" (fire code) sheets of drywall for the ceiling. We rented a drywall lift and managed to hang all 6 sheets in a night. My Dad and Jill helped hang the drywall on the walls, and I must say - the whole thing went pretty quickly and painlessly.
Then the taping and mudding - which I decided to do myself. This is our second house and over the years I have gotten fairly good at mudding. I am not extremely fast, but I have it to the point where I only sand once at the very end. I managed to get the first two coats on - then I hopped on a plane, and headed for England to the European Woodworking Show.
Ok - I have written about Westonbirt being the best woodworking show before - but I think this one was even better. First off - the setting was absolutely incredible. How can a woodworker not fall in love with demonstrating inside a medieval barn? These things were amazing and the first hour was spend with my head cranked back staring up at the structure. The sad news - I forgot my camera, but there are quite a few photos on the UK forum here and here. It was great to catch up with so many good friends and familiar faces. I was sandwiched between John Lloyd and David Charlesworth. David and I had a great discussion about bed angles, bevel down vs bevel up and sharpness. Phil Edwards had a few new beauties to check out - I think he has developed a weakness for Blackwood. One person I wish I would have had more time to visit with was Richard Maguire. He had two stunning workbenches at the show and I was delighted to see the Benchcrafted tail vice and leg vice. These are amazing vices and may just push me over the edge to make another bench or try to retro fit the tail vice to my shaker style bench.
One of the things that really impressed me about the show was the number of people from outside the UK. I spoke with people from Sweden, Denmark, Portugal, France and Austria.
Hats off to Mike Hancock and the rest of the Classic Handtool folks for such a fine show. And my deepest thanks to Peter and Helen for helping me get around and to Mark, Helen, Ella and Helen’s father Robert for helping to make my last two days in England most enjoyable. I look forward to the show again next year.
For some strange reason - I recovered from jet-lag quite quickly and was back in action. I finished off the third and final coat of mudding, sanded it and we then started the painting. Oh, I should also mention that Riley was very interested in this “mudding” thing (I think he loved the idea of being able to do something that sounded messy) and so he asked if he could help. One day after school, he had a friend over and the two of them helped me fill all the drywall screw holes on the lower walls. It was really great to see their interest and hopefully it will lead to a level of confidence and self-suficiency later in life.
There has also been some progress on the livingroom floor. I made a dedicated single purpose cross-cut sled for cutting the QS white oak herringbone pieces to length. Thankfully it went faster than I expected. I am not quite finished, but above is a shot of the first 528 pieces. I still need to cut a slot in the ends, but it looks like the flooring may just happen some time in October.
And if all this doesn’t sound busy enough - I am leaving tomorrow for the Woodworking in America conference in Valley Forge PA. If this show is anything like the one in Berea - it is going to be fantastic. The line-up of speakers is amazing - quite a few of whom I will try and listen in on.
PS - the camera is already packed.