Restoring My Vintage Spartan to Glory

...and crafting a purposeful recovery

Month: August 2018

Back to flooring

Before I get too far with cabinets, I have decided to shift gears and refocus on floors.  You will recall that I was struggling with the type of material used to smooth-out my subfloor’s irregularities prior to laying vinyl.  At first I wanted to pour self-leveling underlayment but decided against it, fearing eventual cracking due to twisting and torque while driving.  One of my Bro-in-laws, Jim, came up with the fine idea of using a very thin plywood as the smoothing element.  Not only will wood resist the ill-effects of movement, it is actually a cheaper and easier solution than what I was considering – painting a primer, laying fiberglass mesh and pouring specialized self-leveling underlayment that contains polymers (twice as expensive as the regular stuff).  At Home Depot, 2.7 mm ply is only $14 per 4 X 8′ sheet and ten of those cut to size, glued and nailed down and, BAM!!, I’m done.

Inexpensive Chinese ply (don’t breathe the fumes)
$3.36 a tube.  2 tubes per sheet.
Pounded down every 10″
Voila

BTW.  You may have noticed a difference in my last three posts – bigger, clearer pictures.  This is the result of my adopting the Beta “Gutenberg” enhancement offered by WordPress.  Better, huh?  And I suppose it is also due to my new phone, an Apple 10.

Second panel down.  Photo-enhanced on new phone.
Damn!, this beast is long.

The Chef, in the bedroom, with the bottle.

One of the first things that struck me about this “55+ Active Adult Community” I moved into last spring was the quiet.  There are no kids playing in the street.  There are no cars within earshot exceeding 15 MPH and the dogs, all of the tiny fit-in-the-purse variety, are secured indoors.  There is no need to bark.  What is sometimes soothing to the ears, however, becomes a bit dreadful when all you can hear is the sound of your thoughts.

At about 3 am today I was awakened by nothing in particular and my brain decided to traipse down that well-worn path called second-guessing.  I suppose if it was really only the second time I had pondered these issues it would be bearable.  But here I was taking on yet again the questions underlying the folly of my life.  Yes, this alcoholic has a magnifying mind and in the wee small hours of the day I create mountainous scenarios in my mind that I choose to excavate with a toothpick.   

The thoughts that sometimes plague me can be put in three buckets – regrets, remorse and resentments.  The “three Rs” as I tell my therapist.  As I type this, I see that remorse has no plural, unlike the other two.  Nobody says remorses.  I conclude that’s because remorse is too big a thing.  It is amorphous, lacking a clearly defined form, vague and unfocused.  It hangs like fog.

Simply put, I say regret is “What could I have done differently?”.  Resentment is “Who wronged me?”.  Those are somewhat easier questions in pursuit of a thing or person as the answer.  Like a game of Clue, once you find the who and what, it’s game over – go back to sleep.  But not so with remorse.  I generally frame that with “Why did I do it?”.  The whys are always harder to discern and I suppose they keep therapists, sociologists and liquor stores busy.  But sometimes a lifetime of couch therapy may only scratch the surface – that flimsy toothpick turning the rubble.  

Why, why, why?  At 3 am the question is too much, it’s weight unbearable.  So I get up, make some coffee and type – no closer to an answer but with the clicking of keys to fill the void.

More cabinet fun

This cabinet work is quite amusing – as in entertaining.  Restructuring Sparta’s innards is really just a big jigsaw puzzle – with a few pieces missing.  Fortunately, those reconstruction gaps left by hungry pests or wood rot are easily interpolated based upon having enough of the original cabinets.  I just have to fill in the blanks.  So far, I have completed the bedroom closet and most of the lower kitchen counter.  Next up are the hall closets and the kitchen cabs. over the sink.  I can really see Sparta’s insides coming together.  I am still wrestling with decisions about finishing these cabinets but have decided to make that call once they are installed and I have a better overall feel for color-schemes.

Spindlely cabinet remains need help
Stout wood glue and a few well-placed nails/screws and good as new. Note metal “square” to ensure it all comes together.
Starting to look like new
From both sides…
Amateur?  Who you calling amateur?

Fun with cabinets

To begin cabinet restoration I started with the easiest and coolest segment – the built-in bedroom armoire.  I say easiest because it had the most complete and usable components and coolest because the detailing and finishings are, well, cool.  In my last post I showed some of the bug damage afflicting the original pieces and it was fairly extensive.  But unlike the kitchen and bathroom cabinetry, there was no water damage at the bedroom end and so the overall condition was pretty good.

Having assessed the damage to original pieces I went to Home Depot only to find that they did not stock birch cabinet components.  I needed 1-3/4 X 1-3/4″ lengths and 3/4 X 2-1/2″ and 3/4 X 3″ pieces.  The closest match I could find was Alder which is in the Birch family and a semi-hardwood of moderate price.  They did not stock wood of the exact dimensions so I bought several 8′ lengths of 3/4 X 3/4″ and 3/4 X 3.5″.  These I had to either glue or rip to acheive the desired dimensions.

With the pieces that were larger than needed, I had to rip them to size.  Normally this would be done with a table or bandsaw but I lack the equipment so carefully cut the lengths to size with a jig.

A little Gorilla glue and bam
Press and hold
The old pegs broke off during dissembly so I drilled new holes
Plugged and ready to insert
Note new and old components along top, bottom and sides.  Glued and screwed
Original pocket doors were in great shape – just in need of a little sanding
Oops! I didn’t align the holes in the door track hangers quite right. It lists a bit.