Quick Ikea Hack

We have done a bunch of Ikea hacks here (TV Stand, book cases in the study)  This one was a quick fix for an annoying setup.  We had no real place to put our two printers, and we are still working on storage for paper.  We were using a vintage coffee table for the printers and the paper was packed in a corner.  This is not our most ambitious hack but it does solve a lot of problems!







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Giving the dining room a make over

Our dining room set is from the late 1940’s in a duncan phyfe style. As far as maintenance and update, twice a year we oil it but that is it.  We reupholstered the chairs when we moved in but have done very little to it since then.  That is until last week.


After years of polishing there was a significant buildup of wax on the handles and knobs.  After looking at some old black and white photos from the 1950’s we began to realize just how dingy they were. We began by taking all of the handles and knobs off and soaking them in warm soapy water.  To help clean the metal we used a little Barkeepers friend with an old toothbrush. This is where things went a little wrong… as we began brushing the handles beautiful brass was revealed, however as we began brushing the knobs we realized that they were actually pressed steal.


We wanted to keep as many of the original parts as possible so we looked into having the parts brass plated.  And then we tried spray paint.  As you can see the results aren’t bad.

Our breakfront.



And the curio…WP_20150216_007

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The Study gets a door

As soon as we decided to use our side room as a study/library we realized that it needed a door for some privacy.  After overcoming some initial skepticism about the hallway becoming the “hall of doors” or the door making the hallway darker than it is already, we went and purchased a 15 light glass door.


Dry run, showing how cool it will look….

After getting home the door lived in the corner for a couple months as we completed other projects. (We built a patio for our fire pit that I still need to post on!)  Finally we were ready to hang the door.  Luckily the door opening was 32” wide and standard height so we didn’t have to take it out or make it wider to fit a door.  Because all the molding was already up and painted, and because we didn’t have to change the door opening, we opted to hang the door ourselves.

This was something we have never done so there was some nervous looks before we used the router to make the mortises for the hinges in the casing…


Success!  Dry run of the door up. This is from our kitchen and you can see the bathroom door to the left and the basement door to the right.  Hence the “Hall of doors.”

After successfully hanging the door it was time to take it to the workshop and paint it gloss white.  We tried out a new product Floetrol to prevent brush strokes, after several attempts we got the combo right and the results speak for themselves!


Door back up, this time for good!

You can’t have a French door without a box lock right?  We wanted a vintage lock and handle but we couldn’t find one that we liked so we went with this one from a box store.


I used my new laminate router to notch out for the strike plate.  We did something different with the strike plate.  Because the door is going to be open most of the time, and because it is in a high traffic area we painted the wood inside black so it looks just like shadows and you don’t have to look at bare wood.


A pretty cool trick if I do say so myself, I guess I need to do this to the bathroom plate as well….

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Crown Molding for a Friend

WP_20150117_002I recently showed my buddy how to put up crown molding in his small bathroom. We had to work around a vent that already existed and imperfect walls (House was built in the 1800′s!)  We solved the problem of the vent by bumping the crown molding out.  This gives access to the vent as well as allowing the crown to go all the way up to the shower tile.

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Busy Weekends.

A couple projects completed this weekend and a mystery solved.  We have had trouble with our exterior illumination for a while now, it has gotten so bad that we play a little game called Pole Light Roulette. Where we see if the light will actually go on!

The game has gone on since we bought the house five years ago primarily because we couldn’t decide on new lights to put outside.  Well that all ended this weekend when we finally found a set at Lowes that we liked.

First up was the light next to the front door.  The original fixture (well the fixture that came with the house at least) had been painted multiple times and was showing its age.


Whoever previously painted it also painted the bricks around it, leaving a nice neat little outline where the light had been.  The solution was to take one of the vinyl mounting blocks and cut the back off so that it would sit flat on the brick surface.  I also had to switch the mounting screws to 1½ inch screws to make up for the added space.   But the result speaks for itself.


Next up was the Pole Lamp.  The bain of my existence.  It worked for probably the first month we owned the house, then it worked sometimes, then it gave up working all together.  I was convinced that the fixture was bad.  First up we painted the pole a satin black to match the new black fixture.


What followed was a scene reminiscent of the National Lampoons movies, everything as wired up, everything tested correct, we through the switch and….nothing!  Nothing!?  The next four hours (not maing this up) was spent trying to figure this out.  We switched light bulbs. We tested the fixture.  We tested the wire. We opened junction boxes.  And then we found this…


And then almost as if by magic this happened!


Relaxing after a victorious days work!


A preview of things to come….


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How to spend a relaxing evening…

Several years ago we picked up our HP Laserjet 2605dn printer, it was on sale at an amazing price.  And to be honest it has been a workhorse for us, it survived two moves and has survived living in our work zone of a house.  That is until a couple months ago. 

It all started rather oddly, the red ink began to print pink!  Thinking it must be out I quickly ordered more, but this did not seem to solve the problem.  After taking to the web I discovered that this was a common problem and I would have to clean the laser inside the printer.  A task I did not look forward to.  Alas it was not to be necessary as a buddy of mine had the exact same printer (which was working fine) and after hearing of our woes he gave his to us.  All was well once again. Until two weeks ago when the new printer began printing pink…

What follows is a pictorial presentation of my cleaning of the printer…

WP_20140526_007With the side panels (which did not as the directions said “easily snap off”) and back off, things become serious.

WP_20140526_008Even my most advanced tools did not make the process any easier.  You can also see the online tutorial I downloaded for this task.

WP_20140526_012Success!! The black box thing holds the four lasers and the reflective panels that had to be cleaned.  Nothing really came off of them, which worried me immensley that this whole process might be for nothing but the two printers work perfectly now…

I found this link afterwards, far better than the black and white, mislabeled guide I printed out: http://www.reeves-hall.net/tech-gadgets/fixing-washed-out-colour-on-hp-color-laserjet-2605/



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