2013 News Archives

This page contains the news updates from 2013, in order to keep the Welcome page from getting too big as I continue to add updates to the renovation project and web site on that page.

click to enlarge
Finishing the bathroom was the major accomplishment of 2013 (1 photo).

2013 Projects
The House: Early 2013 was mostly about yard work, then in the Summer and Fall my time was spent finishing up the bathroom before turning my attention to working on our cars in the late Fall and into Winter. It seems the older we get the faster the weeks go by.
The Site: The KesterHouse site got even fewer updates than the previous year, although I did manage a few listed below.

2008 News Archives.
2009 News Archives.
2010 News Archives.
2011 News Archives.
2012 News Archives.
2014 News Archives.
2015 News Archives.
2016 News Archives.
2017 News Archives.
2018-21 News Archives.
2022 News Archives.

Old News Updates

The House: With lots of heat and thunderstorms throughout June, much of the month was spent working on the finish for the bathroom counter and building the cabinet that goes under the counter. The counter was set up on a pair of sawhorses in the genkan where every other day or so I'd wet-sand it and apply another coat of finish. A couple more coats and it should be ready for installation.
We also had to replace the pond pump, since the old one finally gave up after a few years, so that took a while to find a replacement model and get installed. The pond and fishies are all happy now, and we've pretty much been spending our time weeding then enjoying grilling out on the decks between rain showers. We also got the docks and boat in the lake, so we've managed to take a putt around in the Islands 12, but have yet to sail this season.
The Site: No update to the Bathroom page yet, but I did get the information about the new pump, as well as a reader requested set of plans for the foam fractionator onto the Pond page in the Garden section. I also refreshed the search index, since I hadn't done that for the last couple updates.

The House: It seems a few days of leaf clean-up turned in to a few weeks, but at last all the leaves and sticks have been collected and the leaf machine has been put away until this Fall. I also managed to get a couple more shrubs pruned down that I didn't get to last time, so now all the woody plants in the back yard are in good shape. By mid-May, the candles on all the side yard Pines were starting to pop, so I also took a week or so to get all those pinched back as well. I really need to decide if I'm going to try and move the Blue and Black Spruce out of there (the White Pines are crowding them a lot), or just cut them down. The White Pines are starting to look pretty good after a few seasons of candle pinching them in to Niwaki, although they could still use more branch thinning. They got a pretty heavy trim last season, so I think I'll just leave them for this season so they can recover a bit before doing another heavy pruning.
The other garden chore I spent some time on was trying to deal with a bunch of Creeping Charlie (Glechoma hederacea) that was starting to take over the front yard. My neighbor lost his entire yard to the stuff a couple seasons ago, and simply replaced the entire thing with sod after hitting it all with Round-up®. I'm not ready to go that far yet, so I spent a few days crawling across the yard with a little spray bottle of Round-up® and hit the individual plants as best I could. After a few days, there's now a bunch of brown spots that'll need to be re-seeded, but I think I got it all, so that's good. Other than the usual weeding in the rocks around the pond and engawa & tsukimi-dai, the yard is pretty much in maintenance mode now.
The Site: Didn't do much this time around... I picked up a couple more old Stanley bench vises, so I added a couple new photos of those to the Original Condition Photos section of the Vintage Tools page in the Miscellaneous Tools album. I also scored the Astragal Press link opens a new window re-prints of The Stanley Catalog Collection vol. I & II, as well as The Anarchist's Tool Chest from Lost Art Press link opens a new window, so I added those titles to the Hand Planes Reference Materials section of the page.

The House: After tinkering with old tools and cars for most of the Winter, the weather has finally warmed a tad and I've found some time to get back into the wood shop. As I said in my last update, the first project I took care of was to complete the sode-gaki  sleeve fence and get it installed at the far end of the engawa. With the fence finally out of the shop, I also took the time to assemble a couple of bat houses and get those mounted before we got too far along in to Spring. I built a pair of 4-chamber nursery style houses based on the designs from the Bat House Builder's Handbook link opens a new window (see photos above), and got those mounted in the yard at the beginning of the month. Hopefully I got them up early enough that the local bats will find them this year, although it may take up to 5 seasons before they move in. For more information regarding the benefits of attracting bats to your yard, please visit Bat Conservation International link opens a new window.
Next on the list was the new wooden dock section, so I got that put together over the last few days. We're still waiting for the legs to show up then we'll get the docks in the lake. For now, I've got the assembled 4-foot by 12-foot wooden framed section waiting down at the lake, so at least it's out of the shop. I'll mount the decking boards after we get it installed to save on wieght while we move it into position, and plan to stain it at the end of the season after all the pressure-treated lumber has had a chance to dry out a bit. With all those distractions taken care of, I think I can finally get back to actually working on the house... after I spend a week or more cleaning up all the leaves and sticks I never got to last fall.
The Site: In addition to the bat house assembly photos above, I've updated the engawa page with a new section and plenty of photos regarding the assembly and installation of the sode-gaki  sleeve fence. I've also updated the search index and Project Timeline page as usual.

The House: I know - it's been a few weeks since I've done an update. This has been a pretty quiet Winter of house work, so there really hasn't been much to add to the site. I did get outside on the few days we've had above freezing and managed to get some repairs taken care of on the old VW Vanagon Synchro. We also got hit with a couple "Snow-icanes" this Winter that buried us with snow as well as lots of drifting due to the high winds. We did not lose power at all, and the snowblower made quick work of the clean-up.
Other than working on the cars (and a week or so with the flu in February), the only real tinkering I accomplished was to restore a couple of old bench vises, as well as add a few more tools to the collection of old Stanley hand planes. There aren't too many I'm still looking for, although I managed to get some of the more hard-to-find tools over the past few weeks including a No. 83 scraper, a No. 63X spoke shave, and a No. 61 block plane.
With the car work finished up, I cleaned out the green-plastic garage a bit in preparation for getting back to carpentry work. I still need to finish up the sode-gaki  for the engawa, then I'd like to get a couple bat houses made so I can get those placed before we get too far along in to Spring. I've also been talking with the neighbors about building a permanent wooden dock piece for the lake that we'll then mount the removable "Alumi-dock" to when the time comes, extending the whole thing out into the water another 10 or 12 feet.
The Site: I've updated the Original Condition Photos section of the Vintage Tools page to include the new block plane, scrapers, spoke shave, and vises. I've also added some finished photos of the Chas. Parker No. 40 and Athol Machine Co. No. 70 & No. 71 bench vises to the Bench Vises section of the Shop Equipment page. The search index has also been updated to include the specs for the new tools.