The Dog That Almost Wasn't

Gettin' My Butt Whupped!

I apologize for the inconsistent posts, I have not had time to keep up with them lately. My schedule has hit crunch time and my days on the job and in the shop are looong. That leaves me with no time to sit down at the computer. 

This isn't the good kind of "I can't keep up" because my business is growing and it is time to hire help, this is the bad kind of "I can't keep up" because I have simply fallen behind.

Schedules started colliding a few weeks ago when I got sick and couldn't keep up production. Now I am just working my butt off to catch up and I am determined to do that. I am working both on the jobsite and in the shop. I leave the client's home by dinner time, but I am working in the shop, doing bids, and design until 10pm - 1 am. That makes for a long day.

Some projects can be moved back, some are driven by a deadline, and for some other contractors are waiting on things to get done so they can do their part. This is the reality of business sometimes and it is something to keep in mind if you are thinking of "going pro" with your woodshop.

A Near Tragedy...

One of the projects that I am working on is Lucy's bench. To maintain privacy of the client, I named the project after one of their dogs - Lucy. This is in part for privacy, instead of using their family name, and also because I love Lucy. 

Lucy and the old bench.Lucy is a toy poodle and, if I remember correctly, is 14 years old. She is half blind, deaf, and weighs about as much as a piece of notebook paper.

If you take a look at Lucy standing on the old bench, take note of the vents below her on the face of the bench. These are important, because the one she is standing over is a return air shaft that goes all the way to the basement. 

I have the old bench torn out now and normally have simple frames with screen covering the gaping HVAC duct work holes. This keeps Lucy from falling in and keeps the curious cats out as well. But as I work on the flooring and ductwork I remove the safety screens.

While I was down on the floor, working on the floor patch, Lucy came up on my right. She was trying to squeeze between me and the gaping holes. Well, you know where this is going, just as I shifted my body and happened to notice her at the same time, she got bumped into the gaping duct opening. 

In my youth I may have been able to claim cat-like reflexes, but not so much now that I am older. But those reflexes returned just when I needed them and I snatched the end of her hind leg as she tumbled head-first into the opening. Yep, it was that close - tragedy averted. 

Gotta Get Back To The Job

The moral of the story is to always take extra steps to insure the safety of the client's animals. If you ever get with a group of contractors, ask about animals getting trapped in the jobs, there will be plenty of stories.

Well, I have to check on some custom fabricated HVAC fittings and continue finishing the metal screen inserts for the bench. I will leave you with a few production photos.


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What's On The Bench...

Old handrail and bookcaseOne of my current projects is not a full remodel, but a replacement project for a handrail, bench, and bookcase.

The house was built in the 1920's and the original design elements expressed much of the Arts&Crafts period. Many of these elements have been replaced over time as the house has been remodeled. Most of these changes occurred in the 1960's and 70's. 

The clients wanted to do something new that would brighten the room. They wanted to replace these items, not get rid of them, and they wanted the look to be more period appropriate. I gave them some ideas and even went shopping with New handrail and wall.them to look at handrails.

The job progressed in a couple of stages. First, I tore out the handrail, bench, bookcase, and plywood wall. Then I replaced the handrail and installed sheetrock in place of the plywood. 

We had talked about the bench and bookcase and I had given them rough ideas, but I did not get out any solid ideas until a few days ago. I presented a couple of ideas in SketchUp and they made a decision. SU makes an impressive presentation.New handrail and bookcase.

Today I will be working on an Arts&Crafts inspired bench that should look more like an original part of the house design instead of something uninspired that came from Oak Express.

So you will have to stay tuned and catch the progress photos as I step into the next phase of the project.

This project has been a fun one. Handrails are always technical with the angles and every cut is critical. This job has been calling on all of my woodworking skills to achieve a successful installation. I am looking forward to completing the bench and getting it installed.

I also start working on the Scott Morrison videos again. Since my schedule hit a big crunch I have not been able to sit down and edit the footage. Sorry to hold you guys up on these videos, but once I take money from a client, there is an impending obligation to fulfill. I went almost a week without posting anything at the ACW or LumberJocks, after getting sick I have been laying catch-up and I have not had the time to sit down at the computer.

That's all for now, I need to head out and cut some wood.

Your friend in the shop, Todd A. Clippinger.

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