Friday, December 23, 2016

The handrail project and some other stuff...

I have not posted in a while, but it's not because we are not still working on things.  It's just that projects seem to go more slowly these days.  So here is an update to let you know what we've been up to since August.

The Handrail Project

The outdoor stairs that lead to the main entrance of the house needed a handrail.  We decided to go with aluminum and once he got the stock, Dean got to work fabricating the rail.

It all started with a length of 2 1/2 inch diameter aluminum tubing.

Dean welded caps on either end.

Then he cut the uprights, and headed to the stairs for a rough fit.

With two of the three uprights welded in place, it was back out to the stairwell to check the fit again.  There were MANY trips to and from the garage and the stairwell during this process, and my job was to help carry and hold the railing in place - and snap photos of course.

Another trip to the stairwell to check for plumb and level.

With some "feet" welded to the base of the uprights, and holes drilled and de-burred, it was time to install the railing.

Dean used a hammer drill to make holes in the cement steps.

and then mounted the railing using bolts.

And there you have it.  

But wait, there's more!  

From the start of this project, it was our intention to incorporate some lighting into the railing in order to illuminate the stairwell at night.

Fall turned to winter as Dean researched and implemented the lighting part of this project.

We decided to use a strip of LED lights mounted to the underside of the railing.

So the railing came down again and back out to the garage for modifications so that it could be wired for lighting.

Holes were drilled, and fittings and light strip were installed.

strip of LED lights

Then back out to the stairwell for final installation.

This flexible conduit carries the wire.  It attaches to the fitting at the base of the upright.

These little metal tubes are butt connectors that are crimped in place to hold the wires together.

And then the connection is covered with with heat shrink tubing.

The heat gun is applied and the tubing shrinks down to make a secure covering.

The excess wiring was tucked up into the base of the upright and the railing was re-installed.

Come Spring time, we will dig a little trench to hide the conduit.

Now that this end is wired, we are ready to wire it to a power source at the house.

And here she is all lit up!

It really lights up the stairwell!

Shed updates

Over the summer we added another shed to our expanding compound.  This one is designated to be a utility shed and will house the lawnmower, etc.

We built it using mostly lumber that we had harvested and had milled last year.

But we ran out of siding material so had to go visit our saw mill guy, Hank Somero, and purchase some from him.

The extra deep overhang on the right side will provide a sheltered spot to park the ATV.

We added some windows and doors.

For the area above the main doors, I wanted to put in a narrow multi-paned window.  Here is the beginning of the frame for this.

And here we are installing it.

And here it is.  There is no glass in it yet.  Wonder how long it will languish in this state before we finish it?!

How about some doors?

And a little help from the inspector!

This door looks well constructed.

I did another little decorative project on the shed formerly known as the generator shed, which now that the generator no longer lives there, has become my garden shed.

I was inspired by something I saw at a garden tour this fall.  Here's a poor quality photo of the idea.  These are clay pots mounted under the eaves of this shed.

I started by putting up a board to mount a level first row.

Here are some of the pots.

Dean suggested I use these washers and drywall screws to attach the pots

Here's what happened to the first two pots I tired to mount.  I was using the power drill to screw in the dry wall screws and was not able to control the pressure very well and over tightened the screws which caused the bottoms to crack and fall out.  I finally figured out that using a hand screwdriver was the way to go.

That's better.  But now I had to go buy some more pots.

Finally got it finished.

And since I had some extra greens from making my Christmas wreath, I tucked some of them up between the pots.  So festive!

Come Spring time - or some warmer weather, I will put a little clay colored paint on those washers.  Maybe some birds might like to build a nest here?

That's it for now.  Happy Holidays and hopefully more projects in the New Year!