Sunday, June 7, 2015

Shedding layers

I'm really, really bad with my hands.

OK, OK. I guess that begs an immediate explanation.

I'm talking about carpentry skills. Plumbing skills. Electrical skills. Home improvement skills. Skills that elude me because they require the use of my hands (as well as a tape measure. That's another issue entirely: my head for figures is limited to calculating batting averages and yards per carry).

I once had a woodshop class in junior high school where one of the assignments was to use a hand plane to make a perfectly level edge on a strip of lumber that was held firmly in place in a vice. I planed and planed and planed, stripping off beautiful curly shavings without ever getting the edge level.

Our utility shed, before its sorely-needed restoration
 Not until I had planed off about two inches of the wood, that is. Seriously. My frustrated shop teacher eventually had me glue the finally acceptable piece of nearly level wood — now about a half-inch thick — to another strip of lumber to use in whatever the project was. Waste not, want not, I guess.

I think I got a C- in a course that just about everybody else was acing.

The point being, I'm dangerous with home improvement tools in my hands. You do not want to see me within the city limits with a hammer, nails and a saw.

Which brings us to our current project. We bought our 95-year-old house a little more than a decade ago. The property included an utility shed, probably about as old as the house, that was in considerable disrepair.

Now we're getting somewhere. All it needs is a new roof.
The plan was to replace some of the rotten boards and move on. But the years passed and we lived with the eyesore.

Until now.

Given my carpentry skills — or the lack thereof — we decided to go with a contractor who knew what he was doing. We hired Lee Brady, and the next thing we thought was why didn't we do this years ago?

Suddenly, the shed — and a variety of other nagging projects — have been completed, or nearly so. Doors that didn't quite close or latch are now behaving properly. A mantel we bought five years ago is now installed. Trim and lattice work make the place more appealing.

When Lee gets done, about the only thing left to do is to prime and paint the shed. I enjoy painting and I think I can handle that.


Before: The front of the shed — everything is a little unhinged.

After: I can't believe this is the same building.

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