The Latest Renovation Project Updates

The closet is mostly done at last!
Wallboard, plaster, paint, wallpaper, trim, and even the new storage cabinets are all done for the walk-in closet/laundry room.
Sun, 30 Jun 2024 16:55:00 EDT

A quickie to say I'm still here...
After many weeks of battling the flu, I'm finally able to slowly get back to work. Should have more on the status of the closet/laundry room soon.
Mon, 29 Apr 2024 14:55:00 EDT

Just a quick progress update on insulation work and new attic hatch plans.
Most of the exterior wall insulation work is now finished, with just one wall in the closet/laundry room to take care of. I also made good progress on figuring out how to make a proper hatch for attic access, and just got an update that the new VW Vanagon work is moving along well. Progress!
Mon, 22 Jan 2024 10:50:00 EST

All attic insulation has been installed at last!
The remainder of the un-floored attic has been covered with another 10-inches of AttiCat loosefill insulation, so now it's time to get all the bins re-organized and put back in the attic once and for all.
Thu, 11 Jan 2024 11:30:00 EST

The bedroom and closet attic floor is done, and we're ready for a new year of projects!
The attic floor is complete, and that takes care of the last of the rough carpentry work for the house. The rest of the attic insulation work will be completed in the next week or two, then it's time for interior finish work at long last.
Sun, 31 Dec 2023 17:25:00 EST

The bedroom and closet attic raised attic floor supports have been built.
The carpentry work to add another 10-inches of floor height to remainder of the attic has been completed, so we can finally get the rest of the attic insulated!
Sun, 12 Nov 2023 16:35:00 EST

The bedroom and closet ceilings are up.
I managed to get in a supply run for sheet goods, so the ceilings are done and it's time to get back to the last of the attic work!
Mon, 23 Oct 2023 10:30:00 EDT

All household wiring has been completed.
With interior rough carpentry wrapped up, I was finally able to take care of the last of the household wiring work... which was started in 2006. It's about time!
Fri, 29 Sep 2023 07:25:00 EDT

Bedroom rough carpenty is finished!
The partition walls between the bedroom and walk-in closet are built, and now I just need to do a little work on the closet ceiling before getting back to the attic.
Wed, 13 Sep 2023 07:30:00 EDT

More good progress on the bedroom & closet.
A couple more items were taken care of for the bedroom ceiling, then the last of the old flooring and ceiling tiles were removed from the closet and the new underlayment has been installed.
Sun, 20 Aug 2023 14:20:00 EDT

Making progress on re-building the bedroom.
The bedroomn ceiling joists are leveled, and new truss work is underway in the attic so I can cut a new access hatch opening.
Wed, 09 Aug 2023 17:50:00 EDT

Six weeks of sorting through everything we own is finished.
Other than some yard work, we've spent the last few weeks going through all the stuff from the attic, and pretty much the rest of the house as well, and getting it all sorted out, re-organized into bins, and donated lots of stuff we don't need. This will make it much easier to get working on the bedroom and closet now.
Sat, 22 Jul 2023 16:55:00 EDT

All the attic work over the living room is done!
The attic floor has been raised and the new space filled with R-49 insulation before putting down the new floor. Time to get after the Spring yard work.
Wed, 31 May 2023 17:50:00 EDT

The living room ceiling is ready, and work has moved to the attic.
The first layer of the living room ceiling is up, so work has moved to lots of stuff to be done in the attic before it gets too hot up there.
Sun, 02 Apr 2023 14:55:00 EDT

Rough carpentry is done for the living room.
I completed work on the tokonoma framing and got the tokobashira installed, then worked with the local Building Department to get another inspection so it's all ready for finish work.
Fri, 17 Feb 2023 18:35:00 EST

More work has been happening on the living room ceiling.
Including the installation of all the recessed lighting, the HRV ductwork, and the header for the fusuma doors. We're makin' pretty good progress.
Wed, 25 Jan 2023 18:55:00 EST

The living room ceiling is level!
After five years of a plastic sheet for the living room ceiling, I've finally finished the carpentry work to level the old joists. Next we can get the lights installed, then get going on a new ceiling. Happy New Year!
Sat, 31 Dec 2022 18:10:00 EST

A small update to fulfill a reader request.
Six years ago a reader asked if I could provide the measurements for the DYER Dhow sailing dinghy floorboards. I took care of that request at long last!
Mon, 21 Nov 2022 18:15:00 EST

The bamboo work is done!
It's finally all contained (again) with much heavier root barrier. I also dug up the low-voltage wiring that was in the area, then got a set of LED up-lights placed along the bamboo when I was putting the landscaping back in order.
Fri, 21 Oct 2022 16:50:00 EDT

Been working on bamboo roots again.
Not a big update, other than to admit I've wasted another Summer screwing around with bamboo roots. I'll update the site with more info in a week or two when I've finished the project.
Mon, 12 Sep 2022 18:50:00 EDT

Just a quickie - we got the car back!
We finally got the Cabriolet back from the shop! With it quite hot outside, I've been working on wiring upgrades inside for a few days. The site also got a tweak to how it shows this RSS XML document.
Tue, 02 Aug 2022 19:05:00 EDT

Okay, this should do it for now.
All the old project information and photos, along with the details of parts for the specifications pages, are now updated to the site. The Kester House & Garden renovation project site is finally in-sync with what we're working on!
Sun, 24 Jul 2022 18:00:00 EDT

Yep - Another week and another site update!
Still working on getting old project information updated into the proper pages based on when things happened. I did manage to get all the recent Stanley tool purchases collected and photographed to bring the Vintage Tool Gallery pages up to date, and that seems worthy news for this week.
Sun, 17 Jul 2022 12:20:00 EDT

Another update in less than a week!?
Lots going on with the site, although most of it is getting old project information updated into the proper pages based on when things happened. I've added new sections about maintenance & repair work on the HVAC systems and the shower valve, then updated the Living Room and Bedroom pages with details of replacing the linoleum tiles and plywood underlayment.
Sun, 10 Jul 2022 17:40:00 EDT

Once more, I'm still here and actually worked on the web site again!
At long last I'm determined to get our site back on track and up to date. Plenty of stuff to plow through about our big trees getting removed, and work on the bamboo.
Mon, 04 Jul 2022 16:20:00 EDT

Yes, I'm still here and actually worked on the web site!
It's been a few years, but I went through every page and cleaned up some script and external links to get the site ready for updates once again. More to come soon, I hope.
Fri, 10 Apr 2020 16:45:00 EDT

The "Moxon" vise is finished just in time for Spring yard work.
The bench-on-bench double-screw vise is done, so the Joiner's Bench page has been updated with that information. The Vanagon is also back from the shop, so now it's time for weeding and pond work, then I can get busy on the living room and bedroom renovations.
Thu, 18 May 2017 13:55:00 EDT

The VW Vanagon Synchro is back on the road, and a couple new hand planes.
The front suspension on the VW has been repaired. Good progress has been made on the "Moxon" bench-on-bench double-screw vise as well, so look for another Joiner's Bench update with that information soon. I also add a couple more vintage Stanley planes to the collection after quite a dry spell.
Tue, 09 May 2017 10:55:00 EDT

As promised, an update with some actual content!
I've added bunch of new stuff regarding the Joiner's Bench project. I made a goofy contraption to lift the bench dogs from a row of blind dog holes, and it actually works!
Sat, 15 Apr 2017 18:05:00 EDT

The first update for 2017... better late than never.
This update is mostly housekeeping, with a new 2016 News Archive page, Project Timeline refresh, and some behind the scenes work to ensure external links are working. More coming soon.
Tue, 21 Mar 2017 14:50:00 EDT

A quick final update for 2016 - Happy New Year all!
Yes, I know I haven't updated in months once more, so I wanted to just give a quick status of things before the end of the year.
Sat, 31 Dec 2016 14:40:00 EST

Just a quick update for July, with photos of the nifty new mail box post.
Not much work on the bench this time around, but I've been making good progress on the bamboo containment project, and dealt with our funky old mail box.
Mon, 18 Jul 2016 07:10:00 EST

Another update at last, delayed due to a very busy Spring.
Lots of yard work and good progress on the joiner's bench have delayed site updates for a while. With many little tasks completed however, I finally got all the photos organized and managed to publish another detailed update to the Joiner's Bench page.
Sat, 11 Jun 2016 15:15:00 EST

Finally! Got a site update done for 2016.
Yes, I've managed to blow-off updating the site for many months, but now things are current once more. I've updated the Joiner's Bench page with lots of information regarding the installation of the leg vise and sliding deadman that I performed over the Winter. I've also done the yearly site maintenance of archiving all the news items from 2015 at last!
Tue, 08 Mar 2016 13:25:00 EST

Good progress on the Joiner's Bench.
It's been a few weeks without a site update, so this one has lots of new stuff about the Joiner's Bench. That page is getting pretty big, so I added a Table of Contents at the top with links to all the sections within the page. I've also added new sections regarding completing the bench top construction and installation, adding the tail vise and planing stops, and over 30 new photos detailing the progress thus far. Enjoy!
Thu, 12 Nov 2015 09:00:00 EST

Had to Replace my Motherboard after Upgrading to Windows® 10.
The thing was just getting old and I'm sure it wasn't due to the upgrade, but I ended up spending a couple weeks getting a new system board and rebuilding my computer. With everything working again (better than ever, I might add), I did a minor site update with a few photos of recent vintage tool purchases, and details of how to get Estwing®'s International Series hammers in the U.S. That is all.
Tue, 08 Sep 2015 12:30:00 EDT

Yet another update to the Joiner's Bench project.
Yep, still pluggin' away on the bench. This update includes the latest progress regarding the bench top assembly. That is all.
Sat, 08 Aug 2015 14:40:00 EDT

Just another update to the Joiner's Bench project.
Not too much going on with a little time spent enjoying the holiday weekend, although I did update the Joiner's Bench page again with the latest progress regarding the tail vise frame assembly. That is all.
Mon, 13 Jul 2015 13:00:00 EDT

Hand is working a little better, and back to yard work.
I updated the Joiner's Bench page again with the latest progress, although that project will slow down a bit now as I get back to yard work at last. Still need to rebuild the string trimmer motor and get the pond going for now. That is all.
Wed, 24 Jun 2015 11:45:00 EDT

Still fiddlin' with the Joiner's Bench.
Had a second surgery to get the right hand working better (not impressed so far), which put me out of commission for much of May. I did manage to get a couple more updates up for the Joiner's Bench project, and I can start doing yard work again soon. That is all.
Wed, 27 May 2015 14:10:00 EDT

Making Progress on the Joiner's Bench.
The right hand is working well enough that I could get back to the shop over the last few weeks, so I've made some fair progress on building the joiner's bench and updated that page with lots of photos of the work so far. With the snow gone at last, we also had a couple big trees taken out, and added some photos of the crane at work for that project to the home page. Enjoy!
Mon, 04 May 2015 08:40:00 EDT

Et cetera pages repaired!
So after I spent all that time re-organizing the Etc. section and breaking up all those vintage hand tool pages, I was looking over the site at a friend's house and saw all the Etc pages were unavailable. The Apache server my host uses reserves the "etc" folder name, so I had to go through the site and rename all those links to get everything working again. Sorry for the mess - it should be fine now after you do a page refresh.
Mon, 09 Mar 2015 12:50:00 EDT

Quick update with new Garage Plans available.
Still stuck inside with my injured hand and huge piles of snow outside, I spent a few days re-working the garage plans so we can see about getting the three month permit process for that thing under way this year. That is all.
Wed, 25 Feb 2015 09:20:00 EST

Site re-organization completed.
With all the snowstorms (and more on the way) and no way to get any project work done with my injured hand, I re-arranged a bunch of stuff on the site. I added a new Et cetera section to the navigation menu, and broke up the old Hand Planes page into a bunch of smaller pages with Hand Tool specifications, Vintage Tool image galleries, and Hand Plane tuning stuffs all on their own pages now. Hopefully that will make it easier and faster to navigate the site if you're interested in vintage hand tools. That is all.
Fri, 13 Feb 2015 09:25:00 EST

Have some snow!
Three snowstorms over six days gave us nearly three feet of snow... with more on the way this week. The driveway is clear and the plastic garage didn't collapse or blow away, so that's good at least. Getting the stitches out of my hand has been delayed again until the 4th. That is all.
Tue, 03 Feb 2015 09:45:00 EST

Hand work delayed due to bad weather.
Getting the stitches out of my hand had been delayed until 28th, and now that's pushed off until February since the doc's flight back to Boston has been cancelled due to our Winter storm. Just been reading a lot, and put together a cost and materials breakdown on the new joiner's bench project page. That is all.
Mon, 26 Jan 2015 18:45:00 EST

A minor update with a few site code tweaks.
Hand surgery went very well last week, and I'll have the stitches out on the 19th. No time in the wood shop of course, but I managed to hunt and peck out a little tweak to this XML page and created an XSL so it'll finally show up in Chrome. That's about it for now.
Wed, 14 Jan 2015 03:30:00 EST

Crush injuries are no fun!
Well, I dropped a boulder on my right hand ring-finger on Dec. 30th, so it looks like I'll be out of commission for a few months to deal with reconstructive surgery and recovery therapy. I did manage to get a new page put together for the English Joiner's Workbench project, but it'll likely be a few weeks before I can make any more progress on that. Despite my accident, I still wish all a happy and healthy New Year!
Fri, 02 Jan 2015 10:40:00 EST

A quick update before the holidays.
Just a minor tweak before the end of the year, with a few more pictures and information for some newly acquired vintage tools and woodworking books to the Hand Planes page in the Original Condition Photos, Vintage Hand Tool Data, and Reference Materials sections. Enjoy, and Merry Christmas!
Fri, 19 Dec 2014 10:45:00 EST

A site update at long last!
After more than a year I've finally gotten a site update done! New sections include the completion details for the bathroom, as well as a new section on the Et cetera page regarding our old Volkswagens.
Thu, 09 Oct 2014 13:50:00 EDT

A hot and rainy June
With all the heat I spent most of time working inside on the Bathroom counter and cabinet. I also managed to get some work done on the pond with a new ShinMaywa pump installation.
Mon, 01 Jul 2013 09:10:00 EDT

The leaves and sticks are all cleaned up at last
Just a quick update now that the yard is clean, Pine candles are pinched and the grass has even been mowed. Time to get back to carpentry work!
Sun, 26 May 2013 18:00:00 EDT

A new bamboo sleeve fence as well as a pair of bat houses for Spring
With better weather I've cleared a few projects out of the wood shop, including assembly and installation of a Sode-gaki sleeve fence for the engawa, and a couple of bat houses for the yard.
Thu, 18 Apr 2013 11:15:00 EDT

Tinkering with old tools in the shed this Winter
While waiting for the weather to become a little milder, I've spent some time restoring a couple bench vises, and picked up a few more vintage Stanley tools. Not much else going on for now.
Sun, 03 Mar 2013 15:35:00 EST

Updated the Engawa & Tsukimi-dai page to current status again!
The decks are done, so I've added a few new sections, starting with the Screw Hole Plugs Installation section on the Engawa page, and lots more information there about staining, the new grill, all the new outdoor furniture, and even the custom furniture covers. All that pretty much brings the site up to speed with the current status of the house renovation.
Mon, 31 Dec 2012 16:25:00 EST

Finally doing updates on the site again!
This update is small as I get back into it, and only includes a new Shop Tools & Equipment section on the Et cetera page. I had to get a replacement bench vise from storage, and found a Parker 1073˝ sitting in there that I just fully restored. Have a looksee at the new vise, and I'll get the rest of the site updated soon.
Fri, 07 Dec 2012 11:44:00 EST

Updated the Engawa & Tsukimi-dai page to current status.
The decks are ready for plug installation, so I added a new Final Tsukimi-dai Decking Installation & Trim Work section to the Engawa page. We've also done a good amount of weeding and some much needed maintainenece work on the karen-sansui, so there are some fresh photos of the results on the Welcome page.
Sat, 14 Jul 2012 23:40:00 EDT

Just a quick note to say I haven't forgotten about the site.
It's taken a long time to get the personal computer migrated from XP to Win 7, but the new system is useable at last so I wanted to make a quick update to the site. The only content update this time around consists of moving all the 2011 News items off to a new 2011 News Archive page.
Mon, 25 Jun 2012 10:20:00 EDT

After upgrading all the home computers, I'm finally back to updating the web site!
The old Windows 2000 servers finally gave up, so I've upgraded to new hardware and Windows Home Server 2011. Getting everything working took a few weeks, but all seems well at last. To celebrate, I've finally updated the web site, and even added a little something about the Continued Engawa & Tsukimi-dai Decking Installation.
Thu, 29 Mar 2012 17:40:00 EDT

Updated Engawa section with information regarding decking prep & installation and 12v lighting.
Wiring had to go in before the decking could go down, and decking had to be hand-planed before it could go down. Information and photos about both projects are up, starting with the Installation of the Engawa Decking section.
Thu, 17 Nov 2011 12:30:00 EST

OK then - enough with the website coding!
It's done at last - performed a major site-wide update to allow Lightbox style image viewing to function properly on most mobile devices. This included upgrading from Shadowbox v2 to the latest Shadowbox v3.0.3, and then lots of code tweaks to get it working the way I want. As usual, pages will need a refresh to enjoy the changes. Some actual content updates are on their way, now that I'm satisfied with the new code.
Thu, 03 Nov 2011 14:50:00 EDT

I have CDO. It's like OCD, but with the letters in alphabetical order - like they're supposed to be.
Still working on lots of site code. Noticed that Google +1 developers broke the internet last night for Internet Explorer users, so I patched and updated all my pages this morning to deal with it. Thanks Google!
Wed, 26 Oct 2011 12:15:00 EDT

Just a quick site update of some behind-the-scenes code stuff.
This one took a while, although it's not a lot of noticable stuff: changed some of the social networking links (added Twitter and Googles +1 buttons), tweaked page titles site-wide for better search results clarity, and updated JQuery to the latest version. These changes will require a page refresh to show up.
Sat, 15 Oct 2011 11:45:00 EDT

Updated Engawa section with information about the landscaping around the tsukimi-dai.
Like I said last time, I wanted to get this landscape update done before I got too far into the decking work, so that's been updated with a new Landscaping the Tsukimi-dai section on the decks page.
Tue, 11 Oct 2011 22:40:00 EDT

Ready to start decking installation on the engawa & tsukimi-dai project. Engawa section updated.
I've completed the landscaping around that area (although still need to do the update for the landscaping) and am now doing some fiddling with the low-voltage lighting fixtures. Added an update regarding the Engawa Trim & Detail Work and the Copper gutter installation.
Thu, 06 Oct 2011 12:20:00 EDT

Still making headway on the engawa & tsukimi-dai project. Engawa section updated.
Roof and framing work are completed, with a large update and fresh photos beginning with the Engawa Soffit Work through some information regarding Dealing with Decking on the Engawa page in the Exterior section of the site.
Thu, 22 Sep 2011 12:30:00 EDT

Work continues on the engawa & tsukimi-dai project. Engawa section updated.
Currently working on the engawa roof rafters and soffits, with updated information and photos in the Engawa Roof Rafters section of the Engawa page in the Exterior section of the site.
Tue, 09 Aug 2011 23:20:00 EDT

The engawa & tsukimi-dai are progressing nicely. Engawa section updated.
Work continues on the exterior decks, with a major update to the Building the Engawa & Tsukimi-dai section of the Engawa page in the Exterior section of the site.
Sun, 07 Aug 2011 08:00:00 EDT

Bathroom tile floor completed, work underway on engawa. Bathroom section updated.
Project work over the last months has shifted from finishing the bathroom to working outside on the deck, although I finally took some time to take care of the final bits of the Bathroom Tile Floor section and update the site.
Sun, 31 Jul 2011 20:00:00 EDT

Toto Nexus toilet installed, baseboard still in progress. Bathroom section updated.
Still no yard work yet thanks to a lower back strain. Updated the Bathroom page with a new Toilet Installation section, since I'd managed to get that installed before my back went out. The site's search index was refreshed and I added a couple more photos to the Hand Plane Gallery section of the Hand Planes page.
Tue, 17 May 2011 10:00:00 EDT

Bathroom floor tile applied, baseboard installation under way. Bathroom section updated.
Spring might actually be here at last, with the Plum and Cherry trees in full blossom. Bathroom floor tile is installed, so the site received a sizeable update of information and photos to the expanded Tile Installation section of the Bathroom page.
Tue, 03 May 2011 11:50:00 EDT

Work continues on the bathroom tile, site coding updated.
While it remains chilly outside, bathroom tile work is nearly complete. The site received a lot of behind-the-scenes code updates, as well as further refinement of the Hand Plane Data section of the Hand Planes page.
Fri, 22 Apr 2011 13:00:00 EST

Pulling out the wet saw for tile work. Updated the Bathroom page.
Weather has warmed a little, so heading out to use the wet saw to try and get the bathroom tile done before it's time for yard work. Added a new Tile Installation section to the Bathroom page, along with a few photos of the latest progress.
Fri, 18 Mar 2011 10:00:00 EST