...and crafting a purposeful recovery

Month: January 2020

Let’s talk tile

Moving right along, I wrapped up the fireplace project with a fun little tile job. First let me say I love working with tile. I have done many such projects over the years ( one, a 500+ sq. ft. floor) and there is a real joy in re-facing a surface with such a beautiful finish. And there are so many options to choose from like slate, ceramic, porcelain. etc.. I will credit my mom with instilling this in me. Back in the 60’s she would have these funky broken tile projects going and we could pitch in, bust up a few tiles and glue them into her creations – like puzzles but totally unique. Plus, tiling is easy and very hard to screw up (unlike putting down Formica which is rife with danger).

For my stove deck I selected ceramic 5″ tiles which I picked up at Restore for a pittance. I only needed 16 tiles so buying a box new didn’t make sense. Restore has odd lots so it was a perfect source, albeit the selection was limited.

For such a small job I chose not to rent a tile saw. Instead, I got on my go to – a youtube tutorial – for some quick instruction. You can cut tile to size with a straight edge, a steady hand and a utility knife.

First, set up the tiles like they should be glued. Then draw a Sharpie line.
Then, gather them up and place on a solid work surface with tools.
Using a straight edge, etch a line deep enough to score and penetrate the ceramic finish.
Then, using firm but gentle pressure, break the tile over a raised service. A small wood dowel works great. Ooops, good thing I don’t need the smaller piece.

I then sanded the rough edge with my my Dremel using a high-speed sanding bit. Avoid nicking the ceramic as it will chip.

This was too small a job to buy a bag of tile mortar so I used some leftover PowerGrab.
I went groutless
A home for my little Traveller.
A perfect perch.
But first, one last cure burn.

OK, sorry for the boring tile talk. Maybe TMI.

More stove stuff

So as I near the end of this project, I’ve decided not to buy any more wood. I have odd-shaped birch ply, hardwood and pine trim of various dimensions and even leftover components from Sparta’s distant past. This cabinet upon which I will place my stove is a perfect, albeit janky, example of using what’s on hand.

I have decided to install just one door for loading/unloading firewood

This box is topped with three leftover 3/4″ thick scraps, including the largest which was the original kitchen counter-top return, now cut to size. I will have to stick a couple wedges of 1/4″ Hardiboard under the right front corner.

I scored the leftover tile from the Restore store. $6.50. Cristina doesn’t like the color but she was out of town and I did not consult with her. Oh well. She wants black tile but that will show too much dirt, ash, etc..

I’ll need to get a tile cutter somewhere
Easy to load firewood from ground level
Trim a little tile, glue it down and voila.
I seasoned the little stove as per the instructions (keeps the paint from blistering).
More seasoning at the trailer with a Presto log

I won’t actually install this stove until I get to my destination.

Got the bed stained and polyed but forgot the ends. Ooops. I am getting a bit sloppy.

I will stain the cut ends.

Put another log on the fire

For anyone who has ever fished in a clear stream, you are aware that trout always look bigger underwater. What appears to be a lunker might end up a respectable, but slightly disappointing, pan-sized dinner for one. The same is true of the Internet. Especially when size matters. Ever shopped for houses or apartments online? Realtors have mastered a modern day tromp l’oeil technique, making spaces appear vast in marketing photographs.

With this in mind I present my cute, but diminutive wood stove recently purchased online.

The ANEVAY Traveller. No sense of scale in the pic.

This screenprint offers inconclusive evidence of the size of the stove. Of course, I did do more research regarding its dimensions but was not quite prepared for the reality – this stove puts the “tiny” in house.

Before you get the sense that I have buyers remorse, fear not. This smallish stove simply requires a change in my installation plans. It will generate 13 – 15,000 btu’s, enough to heat 320 square feet, and will fit very well in the space allotted. I just have to elevate it a bit.

Originally, my stove was to be mounted on the floor atop the fire-resistant Hardiboard

I do not relish the prospect of leaning way down to load the stove with wood, so this cupboard will elevate the stove and provide a handy storage area for tiny logs.

Have you ever tried to level something when you are in an unlevel space?
…I am not a cabinet-maker. Ha Ha.
This cabinet will be faced with leftover 1/4″ birch ply

Remember those two leftover doors whose location and use I could not recall? They will now finish this wood box and provide access to load and unload fuel.

Meanwhile, the bed frame gets finished.

One more coat of poly and the bed gets reassembled.

Come let me show you my etchings

Like Sparta’s rebirth, my blogging on the subject works in fits and starts. Until a couple days ago, I hadn’t blogged in a month. Of course, December was busy with the usual holiday stuff, not to mention construction rainouts and the lack of inspiration afforded by the tiresome trim topic. But, things are getting interesting again. I have installed my bedframe and, coupled with running water and electrical wiring, I think I can rightly call Sparta an abode.

So this pine spine will provide support to the ribs. Naturally, I will be applying stain and poly to the surround.
Ta da! Ready for a mattress and easily disassembled when it’s time for flooring.
They don’t call it a bedroom for nothing.

There. That’s three posts in as many days. I am officially back.

Bed Bugs

The more observant among you will notice that I’m building my bed before installing my floor covering. True, but I’m bored and need a rainy day project. And, no, I don’t plan on laying linoleum around the bed. When it’s time to lay the floor I will take the bed apart and move it. To this end, I have designed a frame that pulls apart, using door hinges with removable pins in each corner.

Pull the pin, break it down

With the frame put together it becomes clear just how little room there is for even a full-sized bed. I will just tippie-toe around it to get to the closet/drawer area.

That wicker piece to the left will go and I will move the frame slightly to the right but, still…

To this rectangular frame I will add a pine center piece that will drop in and help support the slats on either side. I will have those pics tomorrow.

Oops, I didn’t get the placement of the a/c plug quite right. Good thing I’m not planning on flipping this thing. Sparta’s many bugs will be part of her charm.


It’s the classic, old conundrum of what to do with the pieces left over at the end of a project. Whether it’s a jigsaw puzzle, an IKEA bookshelf, heart surgery or even that last piece of pizza ( “I might as well just eat it”), parts left over are a problem. With Sparta it’s no different. I thought I was being pretty methodical about dissembling Sparta and her useful components for subsequent reassembly – even taking pictures along the way (not to mention this endless journaling). Yet, here I sit with two drawers and two cabinet doors and I’ve no earthly clue where they go.

I have been faithfully restoring Sparta to her original intentions but somewhere along the way I detoured. So now, what to do with these orphaned parts.

Two doors…
Two drawers.

So it dawned on me that maybe these wide drawers were left over from when the previous owner – who had partially demo’ed Sparta – had taken apart the bed. Whether or not that was the case, I have decided to now build a full-sized birch platform bed which will incorporate these drawers into its design. After all, space under one’s sleeping quarters is often wasted and storage space is always needed, even in a huge trailer.

So yesterday I went and bought all the wood – mostly birch and some pine – for my bed project. While I’ve grown accustomed to sleeping in a Queen (never owned a King and likely never will), that is just not possible in Sparta. There’s no room. At 54″ X 75″, even a double bed is pushing it and will afford little walk-around room.

So with the bed design drawn-up in my head and $160 later I emerged from the lumber yard with the makings of my next project.

This will soon be an 8″ high platform bed
You may recall I found these on Nextdoor.com for free

It’s raining today, but maybe I’ll get a little done inside Sparta.