Jul 01

Tree Felling

We had a 40′ pine die over the winter, so we needed to remove it. I didn’t fancy paying a tree service, so I started reading up in tree felling theory and practice. I had a plan to cut it down:

I figured I would tie a rope up as high as I could get, tie that to a come along that is hitched to a pickup. I needed to be safely out of reach, too. So I used a pole saw to cut the lowest branches off, and then I sent the boy up in a climbing tree stand.

We used a Franciscan slip knot and I had 100′ of rope to play with. It turns out we could only get 17′ up the tree: just shy of halfway. Using the trusty Pythagorean theorem, I figured on the truck being 55′ away, about 5 yards from the tree top.

I then cut a wedge out of the front, and a felling cut in the back. The tree was about 14″ in diameter, and my trusty Echo CS310 has a 14″ blade, so we were good. At the end, I had a hinge of about 1.5″, and it just stayed there. The rope had a good amount of tension to help control the fall, but it wasn’t falling. I got a crow bar to help the process along, but the wood was soft , so it still needed more help. Fortunately I also had brought a BFA Hammer and my axe out. I started hammering the axe into the felling cut, and about when the axe blade was entirely in the tree, it slowly began to fall exactly where we had wanted it to!

Mar 06

Kitchen Remodel

We bought a house with these great travertine tile floors, but unfortunately the subfloor isn’t cut out for tile. At least half of the tiles are cracked. We also had a refrigerator that barely fit in its space, so here’s the plan:

  1. Lose the cabinet above the fridge – we don’t use it anyhow.
  2. Move pantry into the corner where the fridge was.
  3. Remove the tile, replace with bamboo.
  4. Replace tile in front of back door.
  5. While we’re at it, replace the 15 year old fridge and the sub par dishwasher.

Step 1&2: remove cabinet; relocate pantry.

Step 3: Tile removal isn’t horribly slow… They used a LOT of mortar, but it’s got 1/4″ hardiboard under it. They went crazy with the screws. In about 2 hours, I removed almost half of it!

So in a weekend I got it all ripped out, and then I began the bamboo laying:

And this is where things stood until the 12th, due to work and birthdays.

Then I managed to get the remainder laid, although that took until the next weekend, really.

Step 4: Replacing the tile in front of the back door wasn’t so bad, but like the rest of the house, the subfloor had a little too much movement for my tastes. I decided to remove the subfloor and sister some 2×4 lumber to each joist as a stiffener, and then replace the subfloor with some modern OSB subfloor.

view looking from the back deck

view from the kitchen

Now, I forgot to get a picture of the nice new OSB subfloor, but I did get a shot of the ditra underlayment and the tile laying process.


test fitting

first batch of mortar

final pieces

Step 5 actually happened before the tile laying… I had to panic and install much of the bamboo to beat the appliance delivery, but I made it with an hour or two to spare!

French door fridges look like they want to hug you!

New, silent dishwasher

Philip approves!

Dec 25

Christmas Dessert

We made a Bûche de Noël for Christmas dinner. A rib roast will be the main coarse.

Older posts «