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Sunday, October 17, 2021
  • I had a friend who, when asking for directions, would become so enthralled by the respondents’ mannerisms, hair style, or clothes, that they were never able to hear the directions. I have a similar affliction in restaurants. I’ll study the menu ...
  • Have you ever heard someone say, “That’s an accident waiting to happen”? I’m not entirely on board with that saying. When I see a jobsite with extension cords and air hoses strewn about, a table saw surrounded by off cuts, or someone ...
  • The Sketchbook. A builder’s journal: #43 First Aid
    I am in the habit of using my fingers to smooth beads of caulk. The other day while doing just that I expertly drove a splinter into my finger. I have a no-excuses, get-the-splinter-out-right-away policy. The faster they’re out, the less time ...
  • The Sketchbook. A builder’s journal: #42 Of Mice and Moulding
    There was a time when I lived in the houses I was restoring. The oldest of these was a 1787 center-chimney Cape. I was sitting in our temporary kitchen/living room, reading a book and having a cup of tea when a rat the ...
  • The Sketchbook. A builder’s journal: #41 Energy Policy Act
    The Energy Policy Act was established in 1992. It was enacted in 1994 for residential buildings, 1997 for commercial. One aspect of the act regulates flow rates for toilets, faucets, and shower heads. The act followed a Massachusetts ...
  • When I met my friend Andy on the first day of kindergarten he was drawing fire trucks. He always had a drawing of a fire truck in process. By the time we were in fifth grade his detailed pen-and-ink illustrations were being used as ...
  • A few weeks back, the Colby Art Museum had its first Community Day since the pandemic hit. The museum is always free, but on Community Day they throw a party. There was food, a great street band from Portland, art activities ...
  • The Sketchbook. A builder’s journal: #38 Wrapped
    Here are two items that have been in the forefront this past week. I’m immersed in exterior repairs and painting. Working on one side of the house at a time, I set scaffolding and work top down. Since the interior is gutted and will be ...
  • The Sketchbook. A builder's journal: #37 Vertigo
    In Alfred Hitchcock’s 1958 film “Vertigo,” the character played by James Stewart has an extreme fear of heights, acrophobia, and a false sense of rotational movement, vertigo. I suffer from neither of these, but am no fan of ...
  • The Sketchbook. A builder’s journal: #36 Limited
    Ordering windows recently, I was alerted by my supplier to Window Opening Control Devices, WOCDs. A WOCD is a mechanism that restricts a window opening to less than 4". The intent is to afford fall protection. If the base of your ...
  • The Sketchbook. A builder’s journal: #35 On the Level
    I used to have a two-foot steel level with glass vials. It was made in the ’50s. When my son was 3 years old he took his little wooden hammer and knocked out the vials. I remember looking over, seeing what he had done, and ...
  • The Sketchbook. A builder’s journal: #34 The Boys in the Boat
    The summer of 2010 I was in one of Come Boating’s pilot gigs with a men’s crew. We were chatting and adjusting foot braces. Someone made a joke about retirement and another joined in, saying how that wasn’t ever going to ...
  • The Sketchbook. A builder's journal: Diagonals
    A few years ago in the paint aisle of a lumberyard I came across three women huddled over a tape measure. Two were explaining to the third how measurements were broken into smaller pieces. It was a math tutorial and fractions ...
  • The Sketchbook. A builder’s journal: #32 Cut List
    Some tasks just aren’t flashy. After weeks of steady, yet not visibly exciting progress, my inner diva needed some sparkle. I’ve been working on framing a large porch and came to the point where I could start setting posts. The 17 6x6" ...
  • The Sketchbook. A builder’s journal: #31 Pounding Rocks
    This past week I needed to create a passageway through an existing foundation for a new sewer line. The foundation is mortared stone with a masonry skim coat. Lacking X-ray vision, I had no way of telling what was below the ...
  • The Sketchbook. A builder’s journal: #30 Dig It
    Shark Valley, located in Florida’s Everglades National Park, has a great 15 mile bike loop. Two things make it great. The abundance of wildlife and that it’s flat. Flat terrain is my idea of a perfect place for a bike ride. Wildlife includes turtles ...
  • The Sketchbook. #29 A builder’s journal: Post Father’s Day
    My father wasn’t what you would call “handy.” He was a city kid. I’m sure he would have been happy renting and having a landlord take care of repairs, but that didn’t mesh with my mom’s plans. Instead, he took on the task of keeping ...
  • The Sketchbook. A builder’s journal: #28 Power
    The other day, strange sounds were emanating from throughout the house I’m rebuilding. It was a mix of pitiful mewing, dove-like cooing, and quiet hooting. At times it came from upstairs, at others from the basement. I did what ...
  • The Sketchbook. A builder’s journal: #27 Clarify
    My current project is the rebuild of an existing house. I’m fortunate to have a local historian passing along photos of the house from the early 1900s. Not only are they heartening and fun to see, they’re also a great help in determining ...
  • The Sketchbook. A builder’s journal: #26 Redwood or Red Wood?
    Ten years ago, I needed to present a sewer and water application at a meeting of the town’s Utility Board. I’ve been to my share of meetings. This one was memorable for two reasons. First, I was totally beguiled by how the meeting ...
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