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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Chapter 71 - The Hook for the Indoor Fire Pit, The Ceiling to the Left Hand Room

November 22nd - 26th 2013

This chapter is for the installation of the hanging ceiling hook to hold the kettle over the fire pit.  From my research, usually there is some kind of room for cooking over a coal or wood fire in an open pit.  As previously mentioned, it is not usually also a sleeping area although I have found some evidence that it could be.  I’m still undecided on what I’m going to do with mine.

In the meantime, the ceiling beam had to be prepared.  The kit furnished a beam that just needed some widdling but I decided to use a branch I had found when I started this kit (the other branch I found I used in the music room).  I cleaned it up (this one smelled but not as quite as badly as the other which was still fresh), sanded it, painted it and then went thru the usual stages of varnishing, sanding and varnishing.  While waiting for varnish to dry, I could put together the other objects needed for this room.
The original branch.

The branch now carved down and knotched.

The hook is attached to a traditional piece of bamboo.  I preferred to keep everything black and painted the bamboo black instead of brown.  The fish required some shaping and sanding, then some carving.  It came out pretty good considering the size of the fish.  I did find a few tools that did the trick but I don’t own tiny sculpting tools so I just used the exacto knife.  When I finished with it, I painted it black as well (I guess the fish is actually supposed to be ghisa) then varnished that and the bamboo rod.
Shaping the fish.....

...then sculpting and carving it a bit.
 While those were drying, I went back to the branch and figured out a way to attach it as an overhead beam.  It was slightly shorter than the kit’s piece so I sawed off a tiny block from the kit’s beam and glued it to the left side of the wall.  That way, I could have the thin branch end resting on it.  I generously glued both sides and let them set overnite. I also decided to attach this room to the hall and finish the second floor unit.  I won’t attach it to the house just yet as I still have to install the final stair section in the hall.  But that comes later.
Glueing the beam into place.
Glue the room into place. Best way to keep constant contact and use a vice.
Once the fish and bamboo were dry, I worked on wrapping the hook from the kit around a smaller piece of wood and glued the string in place.  I then glued on the overhead rope and the metal mid support and hung the hook in the room.  I think the fish looks pretty convincing.  Perhaps I shouldn’t have varnished it so much, altho I can still dirty it as I suppose hanging over a charcoal fire it wouldn’t be so shiny.  I painted and attached the handle to the tiny pot.  I will probably fill the pot with some kind of contents at a later date.
Fish, hook and stabilizing rod in place.

Testing out the whole assembly.

The final part of this chapter was building the ceiling to this room.  Since we still have some work to do in it, the ceiling is just positioned and will be glued down later.  While positioning it tho, I found that the beam on the right unattached - the ceiling is a tight fit.  So I had to cut another small block to support the right side of the beam too.  As long as it holds it up, I’m ok with it.
adding a little support.
This ceiling had the beams running front to back instead of side to side.  It’s nice that there is a little variety as each ceiling up to now has been exactly the same.  I won’t be drilling a hole in this ceiling as I don’t think a lamp or lantern would be hanging in this room if there is a fire pit in the center.  I’ll make a lamp instead to install from the back wall.
Penciling in guide lines to install the ceiling beams.

These running back to front.

Finished ceiling and fire pit assembly.
Next up - the fire pit.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Intermediate Work: Lighting the Front Portico, A Wall Clock

Hope this is the Chinese symbol for Good Luck.
October 22nd - November 21st 2013

Well, we should be careful what we wish for.
I was laid off from work a few days after I wrote the previous posting.  What was annoying is that they knew who was going to be laid off long before then but instead of giving those people a head’s up, they told me at the last minute.  I had already purchased plane tickets to visit my family in the USA (for only a week thinking I had to be back to work) and now not having a salary makes that purchase a little out of our budget.  Well, guess we just need to learn to make the best of bad situations.

I finished today the project I had started before my mini vacation and that was lighting the outside porch area.  I had done some quick research on the type of simple outside lamps to make.  I installed the wiring to the back (which is not normally displayed anyway) drilling some holes in the cross beams to accommodate the wires and then covering the wires with some straws I had found from a cheese packet I had bought.  These straws are much thinner than most that’s why I liked them.  Anyway, I also used an old breath mint holder to keep the battery hidden somewhat.  I don’t think the back is too much of an eyesore. 
The lanterns were made with some pieces of leftover wood and paper.  I fixed the lights in front using some of wax adhesive and glue. Done.
Purchased LEDs and switch.  A recycled mint case to hold the battery.

First I had to paint the inside white. I have no idea why I didn't do it originally.

Painted the case white and the battery fits in perfectly.

Drilled holes from the other side....

...and holes to pass thru the cross beam.  Then connected the lights.
Some straws to hid the wires somewhat. Painted them white as well.
Cut some balsa wood for the lamp bases.
Soaked some wood strips to cover the balsa wood's irregularity and bent into place.

Painted base and some leftover wooden pieces applied to paper to make the lamps
Just used some wax adhesive to fix the LEDs in place.
Finished front portico.
The “wall clock” was actually an old swatch watch which I had purchased years ago so the battery has long since been dead.  The watch was pretty beaten up but I liked the inside face as it had a chinese character on it (I suppose something to do with the year of the Pig since that is when I bought it) and I liked the gold backing.  So, I had to hammer the watch into pieces to get it out.  I did get cut in the demolition but did manage to glue the hands back onto the face (using a button to support the back).  I liked it in the front foyer to welcome guests. 

Destroyed Swatch Watch. Manged to save the hands too.

Using a button, installed watch pieces so I could attach the hands to the front face.

Front face of the watch, now clock.

Clock in the front foyer.
Now that I’m not working, I suppose I can dedicate myself to more on the house build.  But I’m finding it hard to concentrate.  Oh well, I guess I’m lucky that I do have a hobby.