Sunday, September 6, 2009
Home Renovation - The Bookcase Project
My day began shortly after seven o’clock with me finishing up trimming the tall shrubs around our house. After that, Barbara and I mounded up most of the wood chips from a tree stump in the backyard that we had ground up last week, following getting a couple of trees removed the prior week. Yeah, I was surprised that my wife wanted to work in the yard.
The condition of our garage has been an embarrassment to both of us for too long, so once we were done with the wood chips we started piling boxes of odds and ends into the back of my truck to haul to the dump. Our painter had left the lids on the empty paint cans following our recent room-painting project so they had to be set aside for another day, as the lady at the landfill won’t allow sealed paint cans past the checkpoint. Yeah, I could have hidden them in plastic bags, but I didn’t.
We did stop by the hardware store to buy some wood stain to use on the crown molding that was delivered Friday afternoon to our then messy garage. We couldn’t get an exact match, but found something close enough and then drove on to the landfill to unload half a pickup load of “junk.”
Barbara and I stained the crown molding and the pieces we’d asked the lumber company to cut for use as book-stops. These are wooden slats about forty-eight inches long and 3/4 of an inch wide and perhaps a ¼ inch thick. Once that chore was complete, it was time for lunch.
Dot Bell came over after lunch to show us a new outfit she would be wearing Sunday evening at a reception in her daughter’s home in Germantown, TN. She also wanted to see what we’d done to the house during recent weeks of painting, flooring, carpet replacement, and rearranging. Dot liked what she saw, especially the living room which is now more conducive to sitting and visiting than before.
I had just left the house to go cut Sarah’s yard when Barbara phoned to let me know Keith Thomas was on his way over to miter the crown molding for us. Keith has all the “man toys” to make quick work of mitering, and he used a newly purchased electric brad gun to nail the crown molding in place. He even cut the book-stops to the lengths I needed and ripped off a couple of strips of plywood for me to add as a cover plate on top of the bookcases. He might have been at our house an hour, but I spent the next couple or so hours staining and installing the cover and the book-stops. Without Keith’s help, I would not have finished the bookcases Saturday.
I should mention the bookcases were custom built for our prior house on 8th Street, but we dismantled them and moved them to our present home, before we sold the 8th Street house. The late Oakley Hooker made them for us when we closed-in the carport in the early eighties. In our old house, the bookcases were on either side of the arched entrance inside the new den off the living room.
At our present location we had placed the bookcases in our master bedroom with one on either side of the doorway leading into the master bathroom. When our renovation project began, we had to dismantle the bookcases and cabinets once more. Rayanne suggested they might look good on a different wall as a side-beside unit.
Once the new carpeting was down, we started reassembling the bookcases as Rayanne had suggested. I was concerned that they might not mesh or marry well, but I was able to use my somewhat limited carpentry skills to line up the pieces rather nicely.
I was doing okay until I decided the upper portions need to be screwed together. The well-seasoned wood was giving my somewhat dull drill bit a run for its money. I don’t have a C-clamp anymore, so I was using one hand to pinch the sides together and pushing the drill with all my might using the other hand.
I failed to consider the drill would eventually push through both pieces of wood. A longer drill bit would have probably run my middle finger through and through, but the one I was using only got part of the way through the bone in the middle joint of my middle finger. Boy did that ever hurt!
The longest wood screw in my arsenal wasn’t long enough for the job, so I drilled a larger hole and inserted a bolt with a washer and nut. With everything as snug as possible, we set the bookcase against the wall and secured it. I don’t know who’ll move it next time, but I’m predicting it won’t be me.
Barbara is all smiles with the appearance of our newly ‘crowned’ bookcases, and the books-stops are a nice touch. And, my drilled-into finger is healing nicely. However, there’s a section close to the first joint that doesn’t have any feeling in it. Happily, I made it through the project without serious injury, which is yet another reason for smiles and thankfulness.
- Wayne Carter
- I'm a native of Pontotoc, MS, and graduated Pontotoc High School in 1960. I received a BS degree in Mathematics from The University of Mississippi in 1965. My wife Barbara and I have two children and five grandchildren and one great grandchild. We make our home in Pontotoc.