First, thanks to all who made such nice comments before I ever made a post on LJ. Here is a belated introduction.
I somehow caught a DIY bug earlier this year. Don’t know why this happened. In 19 years of marriage and 15 years of homeownership, my work has consisted of precisely: hanging one store bought cabinet and putting up a few store bought shelves. That’s it.
When I was 16 years old, I spent six weeks of the summer as a carpenter’s helper at a 40 unit or so home development construction site. It was a lot of labor – carrying boards from here to there, sweeping up, digging holes, filling holes – but I learned a modest amount of basic carpentry. As an 19-year-old college drop out, I refinished my parents’ basement – no electric or plumbing.
33 years after that first experience, I started sawing and hammering and drilling again. I did a partial rebuild of the steps that lead from the back of the house to the patio. It was a hack job, replacing the old handrails and newels with 2×4 and replacing the treads and risers, but not the stringers. Still it got the juices flowing.
I then took a big chance and repaired the corner of the floor in my bathroom. Water damage had loosened the tiles and rotted the subfloor. I tore out a 2’ x 3’ section of the tile and rotted subfloor, dried everything out, repaired the subfloor, laid the tile, and grouted. It was a bit of an ordeal, especially when my wife burst into tears after coming home to see kneeling over a gaping hole in the floor. She was… pessimistic about the prospect of having a working bathroom anytime soon. But it worked out.
Then I built a new screen door for the back. It was my first experience with pocket hole joinery and the need to get cuts precisely square. It came out okay – kinda’ crappy, but it works. Just recently, after three days of pouring rain, the frame swelled and now doesn’t shut completely so I’ll have to plane it.
And my most recent project has been to replace the stairs that lead to our basement. Just the treads, but it’s much more demanding as the stairs make a 90 degree turn halfway down which requires miter cuts and such. As of this writing, I have one more angled step step to make, then I need to paint the risers and put a protective coating on the steps.
Despite my display of at least a modest level of handiness, my wife is still deeply skeptical. One apparently does not change two decades worth of opinion in 10 or 11 weeks. She seems to feel like I’m one hammer swing away from calamity.
But my wife’s apprehension is okay, because I have decided that most of DIY sucks. It’s a lot of sweat and sore muscles for only moderate satisfaction. I want to build furniture. Beautiful, stunning, Arts and Crafts furniture. Morris chairs, settles, chests of drawers, dining chairs, coffee tables, desks, bookcases. I want to use mortise and tenon, dovetail, and half lap joinery. I want to cut dados and rabbets. I want to do it all.