Stone House Reno 5: moving the tools out

June 25, 2009

The end of June

All my life the end of June has been the time to say goodbye, take a rest, and start on a new project.  I suppose it’s fitting, then, that today I moved the tools out of the stone house we’ve  been renovating since my retirement in the fall of 2004.  My shop, refuge, and storehouse for the last thirty-five years has now officially become a dwelling.  One floor still needs some sanding and the whole thing needs varnish, but the days of muddy boot tracks to the bathroom have now come to an end.

I’ll miss the time I could put visitors at ease by chiming the house rule as they came in through the door:  “No boots in the shower,  but they’re optional in bed.”

Bet’s done her best to remain tolerant of my mess for the last few months, but I tend to believe actions more than words, and the two hours of frantic vacuuming upon each arrival at the farm for a weekend sent a clear message:  it was time to get on with it.

She even helped me move the tenon cutter out of the living room.  It’s a heavy relic from a pre-war factory, and the only way to move it without destroying the floor turned out to be by winching it up to one of the timbers I had installed as a room divider.  Once I set it on a heavy plywood dolly with a chain hoist,  it was pretty easy to move around.  We managed to wiggle it out through the front doors (weeks of work on those doors) and into the bucket of the waiting loader.

Today two saws, a jointer, and my prized Poitras shaper made the trip to the barn.  This made me sad.  It was like leaving the comfort and security of my childhood home.  Funny, the beds, the food, two computers and a television are still there, but it’s the shaper I miss.  And I haven’t even had the thing for that long, only about three years.  But it’s had a hand in everything good or interesting I have done in this renovation:  the flooring, the cabinets, those muntined glass doors Bet insisted upon, the passage and entrance doors, the windows, the baseboards, the stairs, the crown moulding over the doors and windows, even the ceiling and window paneling – it all came off that shaper.

So now I face the grueling task of cleanup.  The floor is littered with scraps of walnut from the stair-railing project and a lot of pine shavings from the final door casing in the bathroom which went on this morning.

Oh well, once that’s done I get to drive my floor sander around for a day or two.  The old Clark drum sander is far from my favourite tool, but it’s heavy, loud and powerful, so it should stave off nostalgia for a little while until the varnished-floors regime becomes oppressive and I lay out the foundations for a new shop.

For other articles in this series check:


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