Has it really been 81 days since my last blog?

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Blog entry by Ethan Sincox posted 07-19-2007 09:16 PM 1061 reads 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Ok, that’s WAY too long for someone like me to go without writing…

Part of me feels like I shouldn’t blog about woodworking when I haven’t done any in three months. Part of me says I need the release of writing and that maybe I can write about woodworking until things settle down enough to where I can actually DO some woodworking… Let’s go with Part 2.

The wife and I are starting to feel settled in the new house. A lot of the major projects are pretty much done, so the sense of urgency seems to have passed. Interestingly enough, that actually concerns me! I don’t want to lose my motivation!

The one big project still remaining is painting trim. Blah. The wife hates painting trim (and doesn’t really have the patience, anyway), so the weight of this project is on my shoulders. I know once I get things going it won’t be such a big deal (I’m notorious for putting things off for months and then getting it done in 30 minutes once I finally do get to working on it). It’s that first step which is so difficult to take.

One up-and-coming project that WILL involve some woodworking is the replacing of the handrail on the stairs. (Well… I’ll have to cut and measure the returns and then apply the finish. That counts, right?) The current handrail is a 13’ board of 2×8 pine, mounted to the wall on three blocks of wood. I suppose that was the style for the early 80’s? Doesn’t go well with the mahogany wood floor, though, so it has to go. Checking on-line, I was able to find handrails in mahogany, and the price wasn’t really that bad, but the shipping on a 14’ piece generally cost as much as the rail itself! After a few weeks of pondering, I was hit with one of those, “oh, duh” moments.

I’m fortunate enough to have a younger brother working in a woodshop that mostly does custom cabinets and trim work. I know they use a lot of mahogany because Noah is able to get me the occasional shorts (anything under 3’ is usually tossed in the dumpster). Upon my moment of enlightenment, I called him up and asked if they ever did handrails. After a few choice brotherly words, he said of course they did – they’re a cabinet and trim shop! I asked how much it would cost to run a 14’ section of mahogany the next time they do a railing profile. He talked to his boss and said they’d do it for $8.50/lf. (If they’d done it for me the week I asked for it, there would have been an additional $100 set-up fee for the time it takes to get the machines calibrated for the run. By having them run me a piece with their next batch, I avoided that fee.)

So on the 4th of July, when I was back in my home town where my younger brother works, I gave him a check for $120 and my older brother helped me strap a brand new 15’ mahogany handrail (they threw in an extra foot for stain testing) to the top of my truck. :) How sweet is that? I couldn’t touch a 12’ rail on-line for $200, and shipping would have added another $100 or more to the cost.

God, I love having good connections.

Opposite the wall with the handrail is a small 1/2 wall capped with a pine board. When I get the handrail replaced, I’ll have to switch that out, as well. It should be a fairly simple task to pop that off and replace it with an appropriately-sized board of mahogany. The only real woodworking I’ll have to do is to make my own sections of cove trim to put under the cap, transitioning it to the wall. But that’s easily accomplished with a router, cove bit, and table saw.

The other big project inside that will involve woodworking is the replacement of the fireplace mantle. We’ve tossed some ideas around, but nothing is even close to being finalized. All we’ve figured out so far is that it should be mahogany. I think I’ll need a little more to work with before I cut board one, don’t you?

I have a feeling if I try to come up with a list of woodworking projects I’d like to accomplish before the end of the year, it might help me to get back into things a little easier.

Dana wants a planting bench built in the garage for her gardening.
I wanted to build a bench to add some outside seating to the patio area.
(Either one of those would be a good LJ Summer Contest entry, non?)
For Christmas gift exchanges, I drew Dana’s sister, Kate, when we were up in Ohio last weekend. I was thinking I’d make her a jewelry box…
The doorbell ringer is currently housed in some cheap piece of plastic. I thought it would be interesting to try and come up with an Arts and Crafts styled mahogany box to replace it – and it would tie into the whole “mahogany” theme we seem to be generating inside.

Mmmm… that’s probably a good start for now. I still have a lot of trim to paint.

Ahhh… feels good to write again. Also feels good to have a little bit of motivation building up.

-- Ethan,

9 comments so far

View WayneC's profile


13754 posts in 4094 days

#1 posted 07-19-2007 10:46 PM

Hmmm. I thought it was much longer. Good to see your back in the swing of things. Glad the house is setteling down.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View woodspar's profile


710 posts in 4096 days

#2 posted 07-19-2007 11:03 PM

Mahogany tossed in the dumpster? AARRGGHHHH!

Thanks for update, glad things are running smoothly. Gotta love painting trim. Please post pix of the handrail when you get it installed.

-- John

View Bob Babcock's profile

Bob Babcock

1804 posts in 4083 days

#3 posted 07-19-2007 11:42 PM

I feel your pain on the trim painting. We are installing all new windows and have to stain and poly the inside trim and paint the outside. Not fun!

It is nice to have connections.

I have a similar situation in regards to the mahogany. I got all the mahogany for my chair from my son-in-law who also rescued it from the dumpster….go figure!

-- Bob, Carver Massachusetts, Sawdust Maker

View scottb's profile


3648 posts in 4324 days

#4 posted 07-20-2007 02:47 AM


Good to hear from you again! Suspected that you were deep in house projects. What a score on that rail! (I hear you on the painting)

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- --

View Dorje's profile


1763 posts in 3994 days

#5 posted 07-20-2007 04:10 AM

Fun reading!

-- Dorje (pronounced "door-jay"), Seattle, WA

View Ethan Sincox's profile

Ethan Sincox

767 posts in 4171 days

#6 posted 07-20-2007 02:56 PM

Feels good to be back in the sawdust.

I write for two reasons – to generate focus in myself and to entertain you.
Looks like I’m batting 100.

-- Ethan,

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4158 days

#7 posted 07-20-2007 03:33 PM

the writer returns!! :)

great blog, I enjoyed every moment of it.
Oh connections—I’m going to have to get me some of those :)

I’m looking forward to seeing your Awards entry!

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View Bill's profile


2579 posts in 4158 days

#8 posted 07-20-2007 04:41 PM

Glad to have you back with us Ethan. I am sure there are tons of to do’s left on the house, but nice that you took a break to share with us. One day you will even get to work on building your shop. Then the blogs will start to fly.

Looking forward to the next installment.

-- Bill, Turlock California,

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 4296 days

#9 posted 07-20-2007 09:55 PM

Welcome back Ethan, & happy painting.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

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