Often we get caught up in our day to day concerns and forget to stop and smell the proverbial roses. Over the last few weeks worries and concerns have been allowing me the opportunity to toss and turn all night and wake up feeling drained… It’s been great… Anyway, this morning as we sat down to breakfast we had the blessing of this peaceful scene while we ate. I’m grateful for the blessing of being able to cook an ample breakfast made with eggs from our own chickens while enjoying this scene, all without the fear that pervades so much of our world. May we all be the change for the better so more of the next generation can enjoy similar experiences in their homes.
Renovations are a sequential vortex that suck you into the swirling abyss of despair and unfinished projects. If you listen closely you can hear millions of voices calling desperately from below “Don’t do it! It’s good enough!” On the plus side we now have a dishwasher in our kitchen, so the project I commenced on is finished, however now I need to build a new kitchen countertop, finish a cabinet beside our now stacked washer and dryer, drywall the laundry alcove, and pull some new wiring. While I’m at the last one I might as well get into the attic and pull some wire for lights in our living room because that has irritated me for over a year now, and then I’ll have to do some more drywall….. Nooooooooo!!! I’m being sucked away… Let this be a warning to you all before it’s too late!
Anyway, as you may be able to tell, I have been working on installing a dishwasher. It all started out innocently enough, when we bought house I promised my wife that it would be a simple matter to install the dishwasher as the house was lacking one. It really was simple, it only took about two hours of actual labor to install the dishwasher, however dreading the inevitable sequence of events involved in any sort of renovation I have delayed for over a month in actually installing the dishwasher. We bought a nice Bosch dishwasher on a Sears black Friday sale which has been sitting in our carport in its box for well over a month now. Finally the guilt of trudging by dishwasher every day overcame the fear of the renovation and I commenced. Unfortunately I forgot to take a before picture but that wasn’t really interesting anyway. I started by pulling the original countertops off, which were two different heights, and rearranging the kitchen cabinets to a better configuration to suit dishwasher.
Also unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of the beautiful original flooring that was underneath the current linoleum. It is a 8 x 8 red and black spotted tile which would’ve gone really beautifully with the 80s green snowflake print wallpaper which was also behind the cabinets. It would’ve looked a lot like a strawberry garden gone wild. We gave some thought to restoring it to its original glory and then laughed wildly moved on.
I built a birch plywood box for around the dishwasher. Now is where the sequence of events got out of hand. In order to plum in the dishwasher I had to pull out the washer and dryer on the other side of the wall. While I was doing that we decided to stack them to save space which of course required ripping off the upper cabinets in the laundry room. This now requires a new set of cabinets to be built in the space recently vacated by the dryer, and that project will be saved for later post. Unfortunately the battery on my phone has been dying when it’s cold so I don’t have any pictures of the construction of the cabinets but the install and frustrations involved with that will probably be well documented.
We decided to make a butcher block style countertop to see if we could do it and to see how it would look. Since this was our first attempt we decided to do it on the cheap and so I purchased 5 number two or better 8 foot long 2x10s. By ripping these into 2 x 2’s I essentially made a bunch of quartersawn pine.
Quartersawn wood has the advantage of being much more dimensionally stable. Of course the center two were more flat sawn and were discarded but I still ended up with enough to lay out a 26 inch wide countertop.
After planing everything to the same thickness we glued up the entire countertop at once. I think if I was to do it over again I would glue up three at a time and then glue them up in pairs until I got to the full dimension. There were a few gaps and it was kind of uneven overall but I ended up using my hand plane to clean it up which worked really quickly. Edit
We applied a coat of wood conditioner and followed that up with the dark walnut wood stain. The next day after the stain had dried we applied two coats of satin polyurethane to the bottom to seal it and then flipped it over. At this point we discovered a mistake that we had made by not raising it off the paper which was protecting our table. The poly had glued the paper to the leading edge of our countertop. We then had to scrape the paper off. This turned out all right since it gave the edge bit of a nice distressed look.
All in all it turned out all right. We made a few mistakes but since our all in cost is less than $100 including the tools and the polyurethane I think it was a good learning experience. As you can see our superspy approves.