Just a bunch of Crazy…

You know those days or weeks or months, maybe sometimes years, that you just feel that you are never going to catch up. I have been feeling like this for the past month… All the project we have planned lately have been taking a lot longer than planned, we think the project will take a day or two but in the end it takes a week. Plus one project can not be finished until another project in finished first. So long story short, SORRY I did not post anything on Monday… And today is just a progress report because the projects I did have planned are still not completely finish. I am a slacker lately…

The main focus lately has been the basement because we want it to be in working condition again. If you missed the previous posts of why our basement is a mess, check out this post. We do have cement now but everything and I mean everything is dirty… There is a thick layer of dust everywhere, you can smell the dust (it’s that bad). So my focus has been cleaning, cleaning, cleaning. Let me give you a tour before I started any cleaning. 

When you first come down the stairs and look to the right you would be looking at this

Messy-laundry-room

And this…

Messy-laundry-room-2

Now let’s turn around and look the other way.

looking-into-storage-room

On the way to the storage room, we stop at the bathroom (there is no after picture because all I did in this room was vacuum).

messy-bathroom

After touring the bathroom, we get to this mess…

messy-storage-room

So I started in the laundry room and vacuumed everything. Then I cleaned everything will soap and water. I did not wash the walls yet… Here is the room now, still not pretty but cleaner

cleaning-laundry-room

Laundry-room-after-cleaning

Like I said earlier, I just vacuumed the bathroom because we are going to finish gutting it before we do a deep clean, so no updated photo.

The biggest project was the storage room. And before things got better, I was feeling like they got worse.

durning-cleaning

For this room, I vacuumed and washed everything, plus I moved things around. It was a lot of fun, not really, but the room is clean now! Here is the view from the bottom of the stairs.

hall-looking-into-storage-r

cleaning-storage-room

One of those added projects was creating the storage bench for our tools and paint supplies, tutorial coming soon.

Storage-room-after-cleaning

Anyone else doing some deep cleaning? 

Re-Cementing Basement Floor

It’s a happy day at the Taylor house!! Why you ask? Well if you have been following along with our latest adventure, you would know that we have had some plumbing issues in our basement. And we have had holes in our basement floor for months… That’s right, months! But now the holes are all filled, YAY! No more watching your step in our basement, well you probably still should because there could be a random toy on the floor. But the canyons and pits in the concrete are gone, sorry I am just so happy…

Let’s start with a story. The other Friday night we were sitting around trying to decide what we were going to do on Saturday. Then we got a phone call from my parents wondering what we were doing Saturday because my dad now had an opening in his schedule. Meaning he could come help us with our cement earlier then planned. Of course we said “YES come help us” but we were not completely ready… (we thought we had another week to finish the last little details)

cutting-concrete-with-saw

See, we had finished removing the last of the concrete (by cutting it out) but we had not removed the dirt. We needed to remove the dirt so that we could add the last drain, finish the plumbing. Plus we had not measured the area to know how much concrete we would need. So as soon as the kids where in bed, I was downstairs removing the dirt. This took me about 45 minutes because I had to dig under some concrete that we could not remove because the bathroom wall was sitting on it. Next I measured the area that needed new concrete. After I took my measurement and figured how many square feet we needed. Then I went online and used a concrete calculator to figure how many bags we needed.

Side note: We were debating on renting a concrete cart from a local concrete company that would already have the concrete mixed. But they would only allow us to have the cart for 2 hours and we knew we would need more time than that. Why?? Because we would have to bucket the concrete up and down the stairs. So we decided to cement the classic way, by mixing the concrete in a wheel barrel. 

But back to figuring out how many bags we needed. We decided to get 42 (80 lbs bags) because that was how many came on a pallet. Which would make loading really easy, just put that pallet in the truck bed and drive home then return whatever we did not use. 

Saturday morning come around and we were ready to begin. My parents got to our house a little after 9 am and my dad started on adding the last drain to the plumbing. While he did that and grandma watched the kids, Eric and I took the truck to Lowe’s to get the concrete. After waiting for 30 minutes, that’s right I said 30 minutes plus they knew we were coming because I called that morning. We were a little frustrated because who knew Lowe’s only has one person that can drive a forklift… Once we finally had our concrete, we headed back to the house. My dad had plenty of time to finish the plumbing plus fill the hole in with dirt. So we were all ready to start re-cementing. 

We decided to have the wheel barrel in our basement that way we could pour the concrete into the holes. We mixed one bag at a time (making sure we followed the instructions on the bag). We used a garden hoe to mix the concrete in the wheel barrel. After the concrete was mixed, we poured it into the holes then used a trowel to fill and level the concrete. Because we have jagged edges from using a jack hammer to remove the concrete. We will be putting a finer concrete over this concrete to fill in all the holes.

adding-new-concrete-to-base

The process of re-cementing was not that hard and the kids even came to help.

kids-helping-add-concrete

recementing-basement-floor

Here is our basement floor after filling everything in with new concrete.

new-cemented-floor

There is the added drain in the storage room.

added-floor-drainThen the bathroom!

new-bathroom-floor

For this project we used a total of 22 bags (80 lbs each) which means we took back the other 20. And again we had trouble with Lowe’s. Sorry to be negative toward Lowe’s but the service at our local store is not good and this is why we choose Home Depot over Lowe’s. Sometimes Lowe’s has products that we can not find at Home Depot, like the Quikrete concrete mix we used for this project. 

But enough about hardware stores, let’s finish talking about re-cementing our floor. The project took us a little less than 3 hours and that was with four people helping (Eric and my brother would bring the bags down the stairs and mix the concrete; my dad and I did the leveling but sometimes my dad was mixing the concrete). Most concrete takes 28 days to fully cure so we will let the concrete sit for at least a month before we add the finished coat. 

What do you think of our new concrete floor? Or how about the whole project of redoing our underground plumbing? I still think all this work is worth the $3,000+ we saved from doing it ourselves. 

You can see our other steps to this adventure here:

  1. Fixing our sewer line
  2. Jacking up some concrete
  3. New Plumbing
  4. Cutting some concrete

How to Make a Simple Rolling Pin

Do you ever see something that is so sweet that you want it? But you don’t want to spend that kind of money? This is how I feel about rolling pins. There are some amazing handmade rolling pins out there but I cannot bring myself to spend that kind of money on a rolling pin (the money would be better spent on something else, like food)…

Then one day it hit me, I can make one! How hard could it be? Turns out it’s pretty easy but I did not add the detailing some people do. Oh have you watched the videos on how to make a rolling pin or wooden bowls? Or is it just me that watches random wood videos… Anyways the machine that is used is amazing! It’s called a Wood Lathe (the process is also called wood turning). It’s one of those machines I would have if I had a work shop and the money for all the tools I wanted. I guess I will have to keep dreaming of that… OK now let’s get back to making a simple rolling pin, one that anyone can make. 

Let me show you how it turned out and I did make a second with a little more detail.

homemade-rolling-pin

Materials:

1.5-2″ Wooden Dowel (we used a 2″ maple)
120 Grit Sandpaper
320 Grit Sandpaper
Mineral Oil (found in the pharmacy, less than $3)

NOTE: You could use beeswax with mineral oil to sill the wood. Here are a couple brands that have really good reviews, here and here.

STEP 1:

Select a 1.5-2″ wood dowel and cut the dowel to the desired length you want your rolling pin. Some stores will cut the dowel for you.

We purchased a 2″ maple dowel from our local wood working store for $16. The dowel was 36″ (3ft) so we decided to cut the dowel in half, that way we could have two rolling pins at 18″. 

STEP 2: 

Sand the dowel with 120 grit sandpaper then with the 300 grit sandpaper. 

make a rolling pin

STEP 3: 

Clean the dowel making sure there is no dust from sanding. 

STEP 4: 

Apply mineral oil to the dowel making sure to cover the entire surface. Think of it like apply stain to the wood. Let the dowel sit overnight. 

Mineral-oil-to-make-rolling

Here is the difference between one dowel with mineral oil (bottom) and one without (top). See how it brings out the colors in the wood…

difference-of-wood-without-

STEP 5: 

Lightly sand the dowel again with the 300 grit sandpaper. Wipe clean then apply another coat of mineral oil. Let the dowel sit again overnight, apply a third coat of oil if needed. The rolling pin is ready to use. 

diy-rolling-pin

**Like all rolling pins it will need to be re-oiled occasional. And never put it in a dishwasher to clean or sit in water. The rolling pin above was only wiped with a dry paper towel to remove the flour.**

Pretty simple right? But let’s add a little more detailing to the rolling pin. How about something like this?

Simple-rolling-pin

To get this look, you will need a chop saw. After completing step 1, move the chop saw blade to a 45 degree angle. Mark the end of the dowel into 8 equal parts. I decided to use our apple slicer which has never been used to cut apples because I always forget… So if you have an apple slicer lightly press down until you have little cut marks in the wood.

Apply-slicer-used-for-rolli

If you notice in the picture below, I pressed some areas a little harder than needed. 

rollig-pin-marked-in-8

Now time to cut! Place a marking straight down on the saw.

Placing-marked-dowel-on-saw

I found that I liked the edge of the dowel to be even with the hole that the blade enters (cover the hole).

placing-dowel-onto-saw

Then make the cut. Continue this around the whole dowel until you have 8 cuts (you could do more or less). Then do the same process for the other side of the dowel.

making-a-rolling-pin

cutting-a-rolling-pin

After cutting go back to step 2 and complete all the steps to finish the rolling pin. 

make-a-rolling-pin

And that’s how to make a simple rolling pin for less than $10 each. What do you think?

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One Way to Cut through Cement

Sorry but today we are talking about cement again… and we will be again soon, sorry but that’s what happens when you have plumbing issues in a basement. Do you remember the day we talked about our new plumbing? Well I talked about us changing our minds and wanting to add a drain in our storage room. This way we can move our water heater into that room. But before we fill in the holes with new concrete, we wanted to finish the plumbing. We only wanted to re-cement one time. 

redo plumbing

Last time when we remove the concrete, we used a jack hammer but this new area would be hard to lug a jack hammer around. Plus the area is small not worth renting a $100 jack hammer. So after some research, we discovered that we could use a standard circular saw with a concrete blade and cut through the concrete. After cutting through the concrete then you would take a sledge-hammer and break the concrete up. This method would give us a straight cut into our concrete plus it would only be the cost of the blade (we had everything else on hand)

So when I was at the hardware store one day (I am there a lot), I picked up a $15 diamond concrete blade. Then that weekend we went to work, making sure we had our face respirators and safety glasses on…

Let us give you some tips before we even start this project because I wish we would have known them…

TIPS:

  1. Buy the $30 dollar blade first! It’s a better blade and will save you time…
  2. This method is dusty so tape off everything and open windows before you begin. And make sure you are wearing a respirator.
  3. This one we were told after we finished the whole project so we did not try it but this is how my dad does it. Have a water hose right next to the saw and have it on just a little bit (like the saw that is used to cut tiles). This will help with the dust. 

 Well I hope those tips will help you if you are cutting through concrete and please let me know if the water helps…

circular-saw-used-to-cut-co

Another thing we did do was have our shop-vac on with one of us trying to vacuum up as much dust as possible. OK, now let’s get back to the process.

First, we taped off the water heater & door into the bathroom with plastic (we had to stop halfway through and tape off everything because dust was get everywhere plus open windows). Before we started cutting we taped the floor for where we would be cutting, to give us a guide. After installing the concrete blade, we started cutting along the tape line, there will be sparks and have I told you lots of dust…

After cutting the first line we discovered that the $15 blade was already going dull. So another trip to the hardware store for a better blade. Lesson learned again, purchase the better one first because the $30 blade cut a lot better. But it did start acting up towards the end. We pushed through finishing our cuts only for us to discover that our blade was defective and the piece that holds the blade to the saw had broken. That’s why the blade was not spinning all the time, the hardware store was amazing and took back our defective blade. 

After cutting the area we took a sledge-hammer to break up the cement, we did also use our rotary hammer. Do you see how dirty the plastic is that is covering our water heater? And you should have seen our hair… it was a double wash day.

sledge-hammer-concrete

But of course this project turned into removing the work bench also because we were having a really hard time breaking up the concrete under the bench. We were hoping to get around not removing it but its one of those things that will have to be removed one day, it just happened earlier than planned. I feel like that has been happening a lot lately… The bench did come out all in one piece and we are hoping to reuse the wood.

Removing-work-bench

But the bench had a lot of our tools, painting supplies, and other random house supplies on it. SO now our basement is even more of a mess…

Messy-basement

But here is our cement under the bench, almost ready for plumbing…

cutting-concrete-with-saw

We found there to be pro’s and con’s to using the circular saw and the jack hammer.

Circular Saw:
PROS
– Cuts straight lines
– Gets the job done
CONS
– Dusty, dusty, dusty
– Takes more time
 
Jack Hammer:
PROS
– Faster
– Gets the job done
CONS
– Not a straight cut
– Heavy
– Hard to get into some areas
 
And here is a picture that shows the difference between the jack hammer & circular saw cut.
 
Difference-between-jack-ham
One more excited unexpected thing that happened. After we had finished and we were ready to close the windows. Someone happens to put their hand right through the window while trying to close it, we had a time trying to get it open. Do not worry he was wearing gloves, thank goodness! But now we are adding another thing early to our list, replace the basement bathroom window. Right now this is what you would see if you came over…
 
Broken-Window
Hope this helps if you are breaking or cutting cement in the future. Now we can finish the plumbing and then fill in all the holes in our basement, YAY!!! What projects are you working on?
 

See the other steps of this adventure here:

  1. Fixing our sewer line
  2. Jacking up some concrete
  3. New Plumbing
  4. Re-cementing our basement floor