Category: "The Artist's Studio"


by brae  

Since I was back to waiting on the main structure, I cut some firewood for the wood stove and walnut firewood box.  There was an old farmhouse near my parents' place in a local suburb.  I don't think anyone around here appreciates an old white farmhouse like I do.  I suppose there could have been structural issues with this particular one, but I still think it's a shame when a bunch of suburban cookie cutter McMansions take over old, beautifully detailed houses.

Anyway, they did save most of the trees on the lot but cut down the largest of them.  I was horrified when they did it.  Again, the usual thing around here is to cut down every old tree, build a house then plant new tiny trees.  They cut this one down because they failed to take its location into consideration when planning the garage.  I went over there after the damage was done and grabbed a branch from the ground.

That branch has been waiting for just such a project as the Studio...

I sawed tiny logs from the main branch with a tiny saw.  :D  The branch is quite dry, so I was able to just snap the smaller pieces apart.

I split the larger pieces using a chisel and rubber mallet.  What interesting grain patterns!  It smells good, too.

Some of these pieces will fit under the wood stove (pardon the primer).

I love the textures and colors.

Since the firewood box will hold the battery and switch for the wood stove and I don't want to have to rearrange firewood each time, I made a fake wood stack that can be lifted out of the firewood box.

I added small scraps of walnut 3/4" high to hold the wood stack above the battery and switch (not yet added).

I cut a flat piece of walnut smaller than the opening of the firewood box and set it inside.

I glued a stack of firewood to this new base and the logs to one another until I had a good layout.

I left four logs loose so I can arrange them on top at random.  No one would be the wiser just looking at the firewood box.  :D

Whenever I want to operate the switch, I just lift out the wood stack.  It lifts out without the aid of tweezers, but my big hand blocking the view would have defeated the purpose of a photo.  :D

Here are all the pieces together.

I have more plans for the branch that you'll see later in the build.  A fitting memorial for a beautiful tree in front of a beautiful house, both of which are no more.

The Artist's Studio - lots of progress

by brae  

Since the front opening trim had been cut and sorted, it was time to finally glue the ceiling board to the main structure.  Scary to be completely out of dry fit!  :O

I added one nail to help hold the dividing wall in place since my cut ended up being further off than I had hoped.  I had drilled a pilot hole into the wall and ceiling board to keep the mdf from splitting.

I wired the two recessed can lights.  The roof is now ready for final finishing - just awaiting the shingles from the supplier.

With the ceiling on, I tested fit of the front edge moldings.  I knew they would be too long before I added the ceiling board.  Instead of trying to sand or shave off a tiny bit, I just mashed them into the foam base until they fit under the ceiling.  Haaaaa!

To finish the front opening along the top edge, I cut a strip of 1/2" x 1/2" balsa.  I used balsa because I had it on hand, and my scroll saw made a clean cut through it without any crushing along the edges.  :D

To make this piece level across the top of the ceiling board, I will need to mount the right front molding slightly away from the lead edge of the wall at the top.  I'll add a tiny shim in there when I glue it all in place.  Interior trim will mask all of this moon business (Six Feet Under reference -- translates in otterine lingo as 'craziness').

The structure will have a clean, finished look when viewed with an open front.

I glued the left siding template in place.   The right side template needs to be recreated from the start.  I failed to press it in time to dry after painting, and the wood has never straightened correctly since even with attempts to fix it.  I sanded and sealed the left siding once the glue dried.

I snipped the bracket from the back of the water fountain and tacked it in place over the wiring access hole with mini hold wax.

I glued in the plain wood trim at the top edges of the dividing wall.  You'd never know there was a gap.  :D

The main half round beam will remain removable with the front bathroom wall.  It's easily held in place with mini hold wax.  I painted this Country Grey by Americana to match the paper instead of Warm White to match the trim.  I thought a bright white vertical line in the middle of the Studio would be distracting.

I'm stalled until I finish recreating the right siding wall, so I'll sign off here.  :D

Finishing the front opening edges

by brae  

Who knows why the Studio is uneven along the front edge of the floor even though the walls measure the exact same depth.  Perhaps the individual floor boards are misaligned overall.  It's nothing that can't be fixed.

To finish off the front edge of the floor, I used window/door frame strip wood from Manchester Woodworks.  It's used to make windows and doors.  It measures 3/8" by 1/2" and fits over 3/8" wood cleanly.

The frame wood blends well enough with the wood floor and gives an even surface to attach the main front deck.

I used the same frame wood to finish the front edge of the right front wall.  The trim extends 1/16" past the front edge.

As noted before, the left front didn't match up to the right, so I added a 1/8" thick strip of balsa to build up the wall.

Now the frame wood sits on top of this shim and extends 1/16" past the front edge.

The main deck and side deck sit around the frame wood.

Between the edge of the building and deck, a strip of walnut fits in the gap.

On the right side, the double layer of walnut trim wood makes the deck flush with the side wall.  It all fits now!  :D

On the inside, trim wood will finish the lead edge of each wall.


by brae  

I used two Houseworks 8-light windows for the Studio skylights, though I had to widen the original openings in the ceiling to fit them.  I painted the exterior portion Warm White by Americana.  I put the board on a towel to keep the painted windows and wood ceiling from being scuffed as I worked.

The windows don't come with window inserts, so I cut inserts from acrylic sheet.

To hold the window insert in place, I framed the interior with strip wood.  This was easiest to do before installing the ceiling board permanently.  I left it natural to blend with the ceiling treatment.  I sanded the wood smooth and sealed with satin varnish before cutting the pieces to fit.

I then added flat trim around the window openings, also natural with satin varnish.   I tried to cut them as best as I could with the Easy-Cutter.  Being that there is no paint to disguise the slight gaps at the corners, I'll just have to live with it.  I suppose a little wood filler might help...I'll have to pick some up next time I'm at the hardware store.

From the outside...

And, from the inside.

I have the half round trim for the dividing wall cut and painted; the trim that will hide the gap above the wall is also cut and sealed.  Neither is installed yet.

Wood stove, part 5 - stove pipe and primer

by brae  

Continuing work on the wood stove.  For the stove pipe, I used the wooden dowel that came with the HBS Loft kit.  I measured against the outside wall to get the precise angle the pipe would hit the ceiling and used my scroll saw to make the cut.  The scroll saw has a nifty angle guide for just these types of cuts.

I tested the fit in the Studio to determine where the pipe would rest on the top of the stove.  I made this cut with the scroll saw as well.  There's another guide that can be tightened anywhere along the surface for straight cuts.

Looks like it worked!  :D

Using 1/4" art tape, I made a lower collar for the pipe.  This will add a little visual interest to the top of the stove.

I put cardboard to block the door opening for painting, curling some excess behind the scrap to hold it in place.

I cut another piece for the top.  It doesn't have to be precise since I will paint the interior by hand.

I sprayed all pieces primer grey.

I had attempted to start with an undercoat of flat white, but it didn't really take.  It bled through the grey in some areas, but this is just the first coat of primer anyway.  Once this dries, I will do a fine sanding and await another suitable day for spray painting the final color.

I've also painted the Chrysnbon radiator for the bathroom.  I first sprayed it primer grey and then covered that with Krylon Satin Almond.  It's a not a perfect finish, which is actually pretty great for a radiator.  I'll do a bit more aging once this paint dries, too.

My plan is to have the stove Satin Almond as well.  But, if all else fails, there's always powder-coated black to mask the imperfections!  :D

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