Saturday, February 26, 2011

Back To Scratch

I didn't realize how long it has been since I last posted! This gorgeous weather we've been having has had me distracted. I've been spending large amounts of time in the garden or just on general outside projects. We often times don't really have a spring to speak of; it just goes from winter to HOT, so these actual spring temps are great.
Yesterday was quite windy and cool though, after a stormy, rainy night, so I decided to go back to the ol' pantry projects. I had received the sanding discs I ordered but was waiting for a not sunny day to come inside and use them. When I first saw the discs I thought, this ain't going to work. If you held them just right in the sun you could see just the vaguest sparkle of diamonds; it didn't seem near enough to grind concrete. But, those are some powerful little crystals. I only went up to 400 grit (the pack went to 2,000) but it produced a very nice, smooth surface. The 50 grit knocked down the rough areas and then I just worked my way up. I suppose if you used the entire spectrum of grits you could produce a virtual mirror finish.

I know these are not really good shots of the surface, and the sealer is not on yet either, so it doesn't really show how polished it is but I was quite pleased and actually surprised that they did as well as they did. I was afraid nothing was going to fix that surface but it even took down the uneven areas in addition to polishing. It was a major pain in that you MUST use the pads wet, so you have to keep water standing on the surface. This keeps the dust down but throws a slurry of fine concrete over everything. You use the pads with a stiff backing pad and screws onto a 4" side grinder. I did cover the cabinets with plastic sheeting but it was a freaking mess. I would only recommend this remedy if there is no other choice. I spent all afternoon cleaning the pantry and kitchen area but it did fix the counter top. It is nowhere near perfect but it is acceptable now, even for me and ya'll know I can be a bit picky. Once I have the concrete back splashes installed I believe it will look pretty good.

After cleaning everything I installed yet another shelving unit above this window. I am also going to install a few hooks to the underside of this shelf to hang drying herbs and such.
Now, to install the flooring. I am very excited about that. The back splashes will be poured outside and then just set in place so there will not be any more messes in here and not affect the floor.

I have also been working on the garden gates. The other side is up and installed. I now just have to set the hinges and hang this side; which I am about to do today. I am real happy with the way these gates have turned out. Completed pictures soon! I wanted to show my method for plumbing this post though. I know it's not rocket science but some people have never done it before. I pulled a string line down the fence to line this post up by and painted my marks for both side on the ground. With the other side of the gate up I simply measured from the inside edge of the hanging leaf to the inside edge of the post to make sure I had enough space for the next leaf. Always measure at the bottom of the post and then plumb up. As you plumb you will have to keep checking the bottom and adjust a little, as plumbing will move the whole post a little bit. Two kickers, which you go ahead and nail on before you start plumbing, hold the top both ways. This is a very easy and simple method.

Now, if you can ever get your hands on some of these things, called turnbuckles, you will bless my name every time you use them. Bless in a good way, that is! These things make setting posts or plumbing walls a snap. You just get the post halfway plumb and then nail on the turnbuckle. Then, turning the threaded part there, push or pull the post into alignment. They are about 3 feet long but made to nail onto a 2x4 of whatever length you want. Oh, and they have that hole through they foot to stake them to the ground but you can also turn them the other way, which the turnbuckle itself nailed to the top of the post. We usually use them that way on walls.

Now, back to work!!!


Woody said...

I'll be looking for a turnbuckle now! The finish on my pour turned out alright. I had never finished concrete where anyone would care any thing about the finish. The fact that it is the cap stone for our front porch made me nervous. I was waiting to see how you remedied your counter finish. What will you seal it with?

Jenn said...

Those sanders did a GREAT job. I didn't think you would get anything like the smooth finish you ended with. Nice to see it finish so well.

Who's your furry friend? Does he travel with Jack?

edifice rex said...

Hey Woody! Get you several!
Since this counter top is in the pantry and associated with food, i will put the beeswax/ linseed oil finish on it. That gives it a real nice satiny feel.
If your concrete cap is not quite as smooth as you like you can get a 'rubbing rock' (it's like a brick with a handle) or hell, just use a brick! and rub in a circular motion to smooth the concrete. Now, that does give kind of a fuzzy finish but it knocks the high spots off. You can also buy these diamond disc one at a time for a few dollars, so you could go over it with say, a 200 grit pad for a pretty smooth finish.
It looked like in your pictures though that it was going to have a fair smooth finish when you got through.

Hey Jenn! I didn't think I was going to be able to get that good a finish either! lol!
But, those diamond blades and pads work wonders.

The pup is my little dog Chigger. I haven't mentioned her yet because I wasn't sure if she was going to stay but she is a sweetheart and very smart. I think she is going to work out well here.