Ellen lives a few streets over and needed a new door... as most folks know, the original doors are hollow-core 1-3/8 interior doors — not really suited for exterior use... especially 50+ years of exterior use.
She has the same model as we do (and the same as Chris/Sara and Lindsey/Jeff and Chris/Laura, Glen/Molly and Judith/David...) so it was a fairly familiar fit. However, in a past repair, someone had jacked up the framing a good bit which necessitated a good bit more repair work around the jamb, including sawing out the old bore-locations and replacing with new redwood... (tip: this is how it's s'posed to be done... leave the Bondo at home, kids).
Ellen also opted for both the top and bottom plates. As an avid cyclist (and grandmother of rowdy kids), protection at the bottom corner from kicks and tires will be nice.
She likes it so much, she's started to dress like it. ;)
... and there's a good bit more landscaping and construction going on around the house, too.
On the side of the MicroEichler, there was an under-used space that needed a purpose. I had been wanting to put either an outdoor shower or a potting area (we need to latter more than the former) and both could have benefited from a flat, even surface. It gave me the perfect opportunity to further test the new CaliBamboo BamDeck and perfect the install technique with the Camo Marksman driver. Ironically, the key to success was with a competitor's product.
[Facia still needs to be installed, but the structure and deck-top are complete...]
Judith and David needed a new door... it's good thing they lives across the street. This was one of the most convenient, yet time-intensive installs yet. Convenient in that the workshop was 150 feet away... time intensive in that I've never put so many coats of paint on a door before (*it took 1/2 gallon of paint to get full, opaque coverage — about 8 coats).
They also have an original electro-piezo entry buzzer that they wanted to retain, so I was able to restore it — and the jamb around it for better-than new appearance and mortise a deadbolt and plate for full security.
The first step was stripping the frame of the existing stops (I replace them with new wood on every install) and five decades of paint. Once back to the original redwood base, the process of reconstructing the jamb could begin.
All in all, although a bit more in the time-department that we initially bargained for, it's a very nice upgrade from the previous state.
(*for a number of Home-Depot-related reasons, we did not use the tried/true Behr Premium Plus Ultra on this door... and paid the price in multiple coats. On the next install, I might try their Marque line which guaranteed one-coat coverage... a guarantee I'll gladly take them up on.)
It was a double-Dutch-door week with the install of Mendi and Mike's door... and now Monica and Ron's. Interestingly enough, they were coincidental and also identical — Monica and Ron's actually served as a template for Mendi and Mike's since theirs was an entirely new creation (new post, etc.). We scheduled the install for Tuesday and I finished off the painting yesterday.
Monica and Ron started with a solid enough door... which is unusual. They had it replaced 8 or so years ago but when it came to priming and painting the door, the top and bottom edges were left raw and unpainted and the elements degraded the door and it began to delaminate. Ron also really, really, really wanted a doorknob with an escutcheon.
Neighbors and friends, Mike and Mendi, were in need of a new door — two in fact (their bath exterior door is next)... and hit me up while on summer break. However, theirs is a bit more complex. It's a good thing Mike was there to lend a hand yesterday in the install even though, throughout the process, it became clear that it was actually Mendi's door. It was a nice chance to try a fresh install with some new materials.
Their previous door was not original and was converted to a Dutch door at some point by sawing it in half. Worse, it was an 80in door with a 4in filler strip at the top (the original was an 84in door). Worse still is a pesky detail in our carport models that the strike posts seem to not be anchored to the concrete below and are sitting directly on the concrete. This is the second time I've encountered this (first, with Erin's door) and it amazes me that these doors are still functional... nothing short of a toe-nail (or an L-bracket added much later as in this case) seems to be anchoring these posts to the ground. With one swift kick, Mike took out the post. This was fine as the post had seen better days anyway.
If you've been watching the project, you know that the pool project has been successful, but a bit time consuming... not necessarily because it's been difficult, but because it's been out-of-the-ordinary and many stock solutions haven't been available. Plus, I'm pretty picky.
If you haven't followed along, here are the short-strokes:
We finished deck #1, but it failed and we ripped it out.
... now, let's get this done.
One of the elements that's been delaying the project has been the choice of a new decking material. Previously, we had used cumaru — an "ironwood" that failed miserably. While beautiful on install, it swelled and destroyed itself. That was just one of the overall problems (cupping, splitting and maintenance were also significant concerns) and it left me searching for an alternate decking solution.
We had considered many, including a few systems that allowed for a stone or hard surface installation (if this fails, this is up next). Making the installation a tiny bit more difficult is that the pool looks best if there's a lip over the edge about 2in to hide the track and liner edge... again, nothing is easy, but I think we've found a solution.
In searching for a composite decking material, I came across CaliBamboo. It's difficult to find a composite that doesn't look like fake wood. I don't mind artificial or synthetic materials, but to make them look like their natural counterparts is somehow antithetical. CaliBamboo's BamDeck if a composite of HDPE plastic and bamboo fiber and the boards are double-sided... and neither are grained to look like wood. Instead, the texture is a striated surface similar to brushed concrete and it comes in a variety of appropriate colors, including one very close to the Burnt Hickory color we've used for the fence. In this install, however, I'll be using one of their planks that they market as a fascia board (again, nothing's easy)... the "square edge" which is a solid, non-grooved board. It's also available in the charcoal color we want.
[The test deck immediately after the last screw was installed and after a wash-down with water.]
I ran some prototypes this weekend to test some install techniques and I think I've got one that will work well.
Next up: Ordering another truckload of decking material and trying a few other installation techniques including a narrower 1/8in gap with the Camo Marksman Pro-X2 that's marketed for PVC decking.
I'll be working up a detailed Installation post (+ videos, etc.) when the full installation happens. While flush with fantastic marketing, CaliBamboo has very little from a DIY, first-hand POV standpoint. My hope is to highlight the material as well as the process of installation. I'm sure I'll discover a few things along the way. I'm already impressed with how the material is working.
[The end cuts have been very clean so far. I'll try to slightly ease the edge on the next round with a 1/32in round-over router pass. It also mills quite well... even better than wood in many cases.]
About CaliBamboo There's lots of things to like about the company including their overall verve (nice to their employees + nice to the community/planet). The direct-sales aspect isn't ideal, but I understand why they need to do it this way (contractor pricing vs. DIY pricing models vary greatly). Everyone I've worked with there so far has been top-notch and many seem to be very long-term employees, even in sales (which is rare). Also, the idea of shipping decking all over the place isn't great, but if the material works, then it'll be worth it. I had 4-5 trucks show up with cumaru and ended up having to dispose of it in the end, so there wasn't much gain in using that material.
About BamDeck BamDeck is a composite decking material made from 60% bamboo fibers and 40% HDPE plastic. In addition to the non-wood-grain surface and double-sided option, one of the things that really appealed to me was the solid-surface nature of the product. It's consistent through the board versus many composites with a top layer of color/texture. This means that the cut-ends look better — and it's possible to rip or mill a board. In fact, with this install, I will need to dado out a groove for the lip mentioned above (a powder-coated 2X2 aluminum L) and it mills quite well... better than wood, really. They make a newer product called 3G which is a hollow-core product that is actually stronger than the solid (and a lot lighter ... good for roof decks), but the ends are open and it's not a look or performance suited to our application (water collection, etc.). The 3G-wide has a texture-side which matches the Eichler thin-line paneling, too! If we put a roof deck on the MicroEichler, we'll likely use the 3G wide.
Important to note is that the boards I used for this prototype have been outside for a nearly year already in full-weather-exposure and haven't changed a bit. No fading, no torquing. With a hose-off, they're as good as new. Meanwhile, I've had to oil the adjacent mahogany deck twice and sand it once (but I got the mahogany is a fantastic price, so...).
About Camo Camo is one of many hidden fastener systems on the market today. One of the things that makes it unique is the way it attaches. It is very similar to top-screwing and the forces are even on both sides of the board and the screw penetrates the board to hold it in place. Some of the fastener systems are screwed through on one side and friction-fit on the other (Ipe-clip) which creates uneven force — not ideal. Others rely on the clip only which means the boards could actually slip out of the clip.
The Camo tool comes in a few models that vary the gap/spacing between deck boards. The most popular version — the Marksman — leaves a 3/16thin gap which is a bit too wide. They have a Pro-X1 which is 1/16th gap (to narrow) and an Pro-X2 with a 1/8th in gap... which is probably ideal. I have that tool on order, so we'll see how it goes. The screws are unique to the system and are part auger, part double-thread screw. They also come in a few finishes and lengths. I used 1-7/8in epoxy coated on this prototype. Since the pool is salt-water, I'll might at least use their 316-Stainless screws on the boards closest to the deck, but the brittleness of stainless steel mixed with the expansion of the planks worries me, so I might re-think that. Since the deck does not absorb water, the epoxy coating might be best if the screws are made of a steel with a stronger tensile strength.
Detail Images and Notes
[Given the needs of my technique, having a few drills and drivers on hand with various bits will be essential. I think I'll need three: a driver, a pre-drill for the screw, and a pre-drill for the screw-head. ]
[I tried a few depths and sizes and the winner is 13/64 for the head and 9/64 for the shaft. The head needs some free space to the outside or it will tend to mushroom, but it needs to taper down quickly so that the grabbing effect can take place — and not be too deep. While the screws themselves are capable of self-drilling, a small path helps things along, so a slight pre-drill helps. Maybe my first million dollars will be made designing a Camo pre-drill bit to do this 2-step process all in one... it wouldn't be too hard and would be very similar to a tap-bit (from a tap/die set)... Hey, Camo: Let's chat. I've already drawn it up.]
[If not pre-drilled the hole will tend to mushroom or bulge which is bad for a few reasons: aesthetically, of course, but it also effects structure.]
[If not pre-drilled and if you go too fast, blow-out of the back side is a significant risk. I pulled up the boards after the first test to see how they handled the installation.]
[When pre-drilled, not only does the top-side look better, but the bottom stays secure and does not blow out... obviously, this is a good thing. You can see the two-sided nature of the boards here as well as the pollen the boards have collected. This washes off easily. The boards one year later look seriously good. In contrast, the redwood joists are actually newer than the deck boards and have already weathered.]
[These are the test boards that have been sitting out in the open (hello, El Nino) for about a year. They haven't even been swept... you can see some pollen residue in the grooves of some of the boards that easily washes out with water.]
[One of the things I've learned so far is how much of a mess the boards make... and it's not something that will bio-degrade, so a good clean-up is necessary. When sawing, the boards smell a bit like mahogany... I'm guessing that's the bamboo. I'm cutting with a newly sharpened Freud 50T carbide 10in blade. I might opt for a blade designed to cut PVC decking.]
The original Eames fiberglass chairs were, of course, groundbreaking in many ways: an innovative uses of materials, an interjection of color into businesses and homes, the creation of a "system" of shells and bases... and doing it, originally, at a fairly modest cost. Today, the irony is that these original examples are quite sought after and carry a high price tag. Our friends have a few "rope edge" chairs that are even more sought after, so scour your grandparents' basements, kids.
Avery contacted me to restore a few of her Eames fiberglass shell chairs. She had picked them up at her old University... undoubtedly bound for the skip. Being commercial chairs, they were originally fitted with stacking bases which are the least covetable of the variants. To use other bases, the shock mounts need to be relocated. We've done that before, so we took on the job.
These came to us in fairly rough shape. Someone had tried to relocate the original mounts unsuccessfully and in the process did a bit of damage to the fiberglass. They had used a variety of glues to try to adhere and re-adhere the mounts, but — as I mentioned to Avery: no worries — it's all part of the restoration process and price.
In short: We took the chairs in, (1) removed the old mounts, (2) ground off the original and re-applied glues, (3) affixed new mounts, (4) rejuvenated the surface, (5) fixed the damaged fiberglass spots, (6) balanced the bases, and (7) gave them a final polish... all in all giving new life to the chairs.