Sunday, October 1, 2017

Murphy Gets a New Kitchen

Yea , it has been a while since I posted any updates . Truth is I have had my hands full and other things were taking my time . Motivation was jut not there . But here is this summer's project .
This is Murphy... he got a new pine floor last fall
This year it was time to tear out the old kitchen as it was getting long in the tooth .
Then two layers of linoleum flooring and Lauan underlayment had to come off .
The first one comes up .
Then the second one has been screwed with square drive screws that need to be pulled first .
Comes up slowly
Got the floor cleaned up .
Then the old window needs to be relocated .
New window framed in .
The new window hole covered with poly to keep out the rain .
After I got all the cabinets out and tore out all the drywall, the plumber and electrician did their bit to rough their stuff in . . .
. . . I insulated with rock wool , and got the new window installed .
And hung the drywall solo .
Then I spent a week taping the wallboard joints
More mud .
and more mud
Murphy was happy to have company during the day too .
After Murphy's owners did a bit of weekend painting I started moving the new cabinets in trying to sort out a giant jigsaw puzzle . . . .
. . . . and started hanging a few boxes .
It's all starting to take shape .
The fridge spacing took a bit of struggling to get right as the walls were not square or plumb .
The unit with the glass doors over the fridge space went up and down about eight times before I got it right.
Then the crown molding provided with the kit went up . . . only the customer was not so keen on the looks , so I removed the crown molding .
And we opted to go without it and just fill in the ceiling gap with the straight filler provided by the vendor .
Just getting that bit right took several days work and some creative language .
Murphy's owners went on an extended weekend so he came home with us instead of going to the kennel .
Picked the hottest day in July to do the shingling around the new window so I set up a temporary awning with some cardboard from the cabinet shipping boxes .
With the fan in the window blowing on me it was just manageable .
Looks almost like I knew what I was doing .
Dressed up the inside with a bit of fancy trim .
Then it was time to play with the island . These were three old shop cabinets that were built by the customer's father that they wanted to use as part of the new kitchen . They were different enough that we agreed a permanent installation was probably not the best solution . Having the unit removable provided some advantages should they eventually sell the house they could take it with them . So I bolted the three cabinets together and put the whole thing on casters .
Here is the general idea with the movable unit up to the fixed island . In the middle of it all the tile man need the space for a week to do his thing .
After the tile guy was done I had to figure out how to make a finished end on a cabinet that originally would have been buried per the vendor's specification . Had just enough of the flat panel to dress it all up .
So when the movable unit is removed it looks presentable .
Then the plumber showed up with the cast iron farmer's sink . So I had to do a bit of modifying to the cabinet to support it as unlike traditional sinks it is an undermount and you can't hang it from a stone counter , so I added some structure under it to carry the two hundred pound weight .
Then it was time to play with the butcher block counter tops for the island , These were some old  two by seven foot slabs of two inch thick workbench top also built by the customer's father . I found a shop that could run them through a big belt sander and remove forty years of grime . Then I had to cut them to length and re assemble them to fit our needs. They were held together with some glue and long threaded rods .
Bought a seventeen inch long drill bit to try and drill the twenty four inch wide boards and hope to meet in the middle .
Got lucky on one end but ended up having to break apart the weaker joints to allow me to drill through them all separately. It is amazing how far a long bit will wander of course over seventeen inches .
Re-glued and bolted the pieces together .
Sanded and oiled , here the smaller unit for the movable part of the island .
The bigger top for the fixed part of the island had some holes that must have held a bench vice at some point . So I plugged those with some birch dowels for contrast .
Sanded and oiled .
It just barely fit in my van. Finished weight on the 48 x 57 inch piece was also a couple hundred pounds .
After I got it to the job-site I installed a lag bolt in the wall and cut the head off. . .
. . .  and a corresponding hole on the side of the bench top to help support the cantilevered part of the bench top .
Finished product .
And the movable bench in its place .
The soapstone counters were installed .
Soapstone counter over the sink makes good contrast .
Dining room side of the island .
Job finished .


  1. Un gran trabajo Mike, congrats. Regards to Murphy.


    2. Yes, it did seem to take forever. Gets a bit hard doing work like that alone. Sometimes I could use a helping hand. But hiring someone is usually a lot more trouble that it is worth with all the legal BS, workman's comp insurance, tax withholdings and all that other garbage.

  2. Man, you never take a break, do you? You launch from one major project to another. I really admire your stamina but I don't see how you hold up.

    Then again, when the year's over, you can look back and see what you have accomplished. It's an impressive list.

    1. It was a big bite to chew for me. Especially since I did it by myself. It is nice to look back on the results when it is all done and you do have a sense of accomplishment. But while you are doing it, it is just a long, hard, hot, sweaty painful at times slog, interrupted with the occasional inevitable oh-crap, how am I going to solve that problem now? And I don't have the stamina I had twenty odd years ago. Truth be told I am sorta burned out.

    2. I know exactly what you mean. I bought several hundred pounds of animal feed in crocker sacks just before Irma. I had to take it out of the truck, and haul it to the barn on my back. The next day my knees were so swollen up I could hardly walk.

      Who did that song where the refrain was "what a drag it is getting old."

    3. That would be The Rolling Stones.... Getting old sucks.. but I suppose it is better than the alternative. And wouldn't you know it I got mixed up in another project... will post about it soon.

  3. That is a nice kitchen! I like the moving island. Looks like you really give good service when you work I bet you're like me and have kept eh same customers for years and years!
    Looks like you wanted to keep the dog!

    1. Hey Kev, glad to see you stopped in for a visit. I'd keep that dog in a NY second if I could. He is the sweetest dog you have ever met. I can't believe they found him at the pound cause his previous owners didn't want him anymore. Yes at this point almost all of my jobs are for repeat customers. This customer has kept me busy on this house as well as his previous one. And there is more yet to do.

    2. I've got a customer just like that, done two houses and an office development for him so far. Now he wants to change out all his floors for oak!

    3. It sure is nice when a customer trusts you enough to have you back again. Must mean you did something right. My trouble is I have been at this gig for thirty five years now and I am worn out and tired. My body simply don't have that much to give anymore.