Monthly Archives: March 2013



I met Raven in town at B&N for coffee. We headed for the Restore (RS) to see what was available. I found some good finish nails for the cabinet faces to be used discretely under the doors and drawers. Raven picked out some nice handles for the cabinet doors, only six matched and we need seven.  I picked out a similar one to practice with gun bluing patina, but I’ll need to soak it in lacquer thinner to remove the plastic coat.

We stopped by TJs for lunch supplies and headed for the Home Depot. We checked out exhaust fans, more research required on the codes, picked up some clear goop for sealing the sinks and grabbed a few color swatches to match the cabinet doors light yellow.

As I made an appointment with Luis to check Raven’s truck we stopped at his place in Geyserville, as he opened the hood the air filter was sitting on the engine not installed. That explains the strange whistling sound, put it back in, no charge, thanks.

Raven cooked lunch of lentil soup and a half cheese sandwich, perfect.  She put another coat of clear on the ceiling and front wall, that’s a lot. As we forgot, I stopped up town for 5 stainless screws at Harry’s. Raven helped me hold up the hand sink as I applied the liquid nails adhesive after pre-drilling the 5 screws, secured and cleaned with water and paper towels.



I’ll use the clear stuff tomorrow for a thin coat on both sinks after this dries.

I dug around the shop as I know we have more drawer fronts with that handle Rave likes, pirate booty Tom and I got off a sunken boat the night before they crushed it. Tom Becker get’s the credit here, thanks. Found 3, just enough, I installed them, looking good!


I installed the two florescent lights above the windows.  Raven noticed the Formica counter is bubbling, not good.  I can pull it up with some difficulty, as I bought the 3M 77 red bottle, they didn’t have the better black can. I pealed back half of it, found all the clamps and a couple 3/4 ply sheets to hold it down, adjusted the clamps, oops, it stuck again, pealed it back easier and snap clamped it open. I pumped in some liquid nails and spread it thin with a plastic putty knife, added the plywood and all the clamps, cleaning the edge with damp sponge.

Time for Raven to head home, I put away the tools, set up the saw horses in the garage and set the counter in there to dry. We shall see. If it doesn’t take I’ll peal it off, belt sand the wood and add another sheet as I have enough Formica to do it again. If it takes I’ll do the same on the other half.

A good day.



Another vardo day, quite a bit done. As my table saw elevator is broken, I spent a lot of time getting it apart. The left hand threads are stripped with what turns out to be a double nut holding it in. After much a do I got that apart but the knob was held on with a split pin. That was harder to get out than it should have been, drilled and finally. As I’m still waiting on a part from Sears it’ll wait but it’s good it’s apart.

Meanwhile raVen painted the inside of the vardo with water soluble clear coat, a second coat on the front wall, all of the ceiling and the back door wall.

I worked on the benches, glued and finish nailed on the hidden back and  side. I filled and sanded the partitions with wood putty, using the belt sander to true up the edges, then hand sanding the tight inside corners.  As the table saw is down, I can’t cut the 3/4″ extensions for the partitions, I’ll wait to finish the bench fronts for that.

raVen and I worked together gluing the main sink in using construction adhesive, sponges and paper towel to clean it up.  Weighted lightly in place with the cabinet shelf and doors. We’ll use some clear sealant next.

Raven asked how can we seal the floor and wall around the table area, we decided the vinyl coving would be best. I cut the pieces on the band saw at a 45 degree angle, then trued them up using the lapidary sander (a belt would do as well). Raven used the vinyl floor adhesive to glue it down, best to put the adhesive on both parts. Paper towel and water to clean it up. The pic shows the coving, but also the new painted front wall. Looks professional.


I cleaned up. Raven cleaned Gary’s old espresso machine, funny, Cafe Roma, is the name for the gypsy people, the Roma, how appropriate.


A nice machine and a good days work.

3/17/2013 Happy Patty’s Day!


St. Patrick’s Day! We got quite a bit done this weekend.  We headed to town early as coffee was in order, *Bucky’s then Restore, Raven found a bunch of magnet latches for the cabinet’s at 40 cents each, score.

Thought on that, we’ll need additional toggle swing latches for on the road but the magnets will be sufficient while parked.

We stopped at Whole Foods for a grass fed corned beef, Community market for herbs and honey.  Next stop APE appliance shop for a good hose. The washing machine hoses were all way long, no good, let’s go for a 1/2″ faucet hose and the 5″ galvo 1/2″ nipple I need for the hot through wall fitting. We stopped at Wells Fargo Center to check out the Farmers Market, Rave got a bag of rose petals free for a friends baby pillow.  Stop at Shelton’s for lavender and chamomile, more pillow herbs. Home a little after noon, not bad.

Hungry now, broiled BBQ chicken sandwiches with tomato and wild garden arugula, served at the vardo table. Started the corned beef to boil 3 hrs.

Raven started finishing the D side counter fascia with another coat of water soluble varnish (WSV). I pulled out a bench and crunched numbers to figure out the best use of materials we have to finish facing the benches, found some 1/2″ marine grade left over from my boat V berth, an odd angular cut. Raven wants radius cut wood to match the hand sink divider to separate the benches from the counters but there isn’t enough stock here for that. We settled on a partial even width, cut at an angle to match the wall. I cut them out, slightly warped so put them on the bench braced and clamped to straighten out over time.  Raven covered the counter faces inside and out and the drawers with WSV.

I looked everywhere for the red brass valve and pipes, finally found them where left on the gas line out.  I didn’t get much done, though the beef and fixings is done, we split it up for tomorrow as Raven headed home.

This morning I went to town for coffee, more teflon tape, a close 1/2″ nipple, an angle bracket and another 3/4 hose to 1/2″ FPT for the water system,  a $5 off coupon helped.

Getting home I used the brass gate valve connected to the 5″ galvo nipple to the hot water in. Adding the close nipple to the valve new hose connection to the hot water out, plus extra teflon everywhere. I drilled a new hole to add the plastic spigot with the reused plastic through, attached a 1/2″ pipe to pex connector and tied this to the city in line with another cut 30″ piece of pex tube. L brackets with hose clamps to secure the spigots outside.


We have running water, cold and hot on demand, complete with a hose supply from the well or pumped from the bottles.

Here is a shot from out side:


Wow! I called my water engineer neighbor John over, he was impressed.

Next I cut the pieces for the bench faces and fit them loosely together.  This too will work.


The upright arcs are 3/4″ low to the top of the bench, Raven wants them higher too to match the electric wall panel, I’ll add a 3/4″ piece to the bottom to bring them up. it’ll be fine. I put them back under the clamp to loose the warp. Put the benches in and tools away, a very productive weekend.



Conversations at the lunch table, what’s a good heatproof hose? I only need a foot from the water heater to connect inside. Greg suggested a washing machine hose, good call. Larry agreed, a good hose that will not fail is imperative in a home, that will do here  as well. Worth the extra money not to fail.

3/10/2013 Hot and cold running, mostly


Another productive day on plumbing. Teflon tape is good.  I tried some pipe compound on some leaks, not great and messy.  The Teflon just works, but you have to consider which way the pipe will thread and put it on clockwise looking at the open pipe.

Checked things out this morning, need a couple 5″ long 1/2″ nipples to go through the wall with 1/2″ female couplers to fit the outside cold to hot faucets. Also need a really short nipple to replace the main cold valve as the new one has a female thread. Went to town and picked them up at Garrett’s.  I went with grey plastic for the throughs, but black iron couplers are way cheaper for the couplers and will do the job with phosphoric paint outside.

Getting home I found the 7/8″ spade drill that fits the through pipes, checked the old pictures for electric lines, not too clear, went through easy and checked with a screwdriver, cleared the insulation and punched a starter hole, then finished the holes from the inside. The pipes fit through nice. Replaced the bad main cold valve with the new one with pipe compound, nope, re did it with Teflon, tight.

Had a heck of a time lining up the outside valves upright using the pipe wrench balanced on the electric toggle latch as I tightened the inside 1/2″ to pex connectors, got it.  I added the inside pex lines to the cold out and hot return.

Thought on that: If I can make the hot out and in lines open able inside with the pump removal, the rest of the entire D cabinet, plumping and all can be removable for cleaning to meet the health codes. Mind the stove needs to be disconnected.

Ultimately, replacing all the leaks with Teflon fixed it inside. I had to go back to town for outside hoses and standard 3/4″ hose fittings, also picked up the right size LP gas adapter to fit the 1/2″ to flex gas line.

I fit it all together, tied the outside heater plumbing together less the heater, fixed all leaks. Attached the heater with stove and all gas lines, turned on the heater and opened the hand sink on hot. WE HAVE HOT WATER INSIDE! On turning it off the pump kept running, leak outside, dang, the heater is still leaking at the hot out.  We are so close. Here is a shot of outside system.


Another of the inside with the pump on, not leaking. Mind it’s spaghetti but a few clamps to fasten it to the frames will clean it up.


I still need to add the city supply to the red inside valve. We have a water system, so close to tight. I brought in the heater and pump for freeze protection though it shouldn’t be a problem. The plumbing is very near done.

Another pic of the outer system with the gas line:



Good day. We have running water!, it leaks but we have running cold water. I’ll have to swap out a couple valves and add some teflon tape here and there but it’s working at both sinks. The drain line is mostly perfect though the hand sink doesn’t want to stay flat as the connecting hose is a little twisted, minor tweak but no drain leaks.
Let see, I started with gluing down the main stainless sink counter with the 77 spray contact cement, 2 slats were all it needed to hold it apart for alignment as it doesn’t flex. When tacky I set it up and dropped it in place, good. I tried fitting the faucet but it wouldn’t set flush, the holes are just a tiniest bit close. I got out a small grinder bit attached to the drill and enlarged the stainless holes, then put on a rotary rasp and flaired the wood to match, it fits flush. As I had the drill set up, I cut a bit of clearance in the sink frame with the rotary rasp.
I installed the main faucet and added the new hoses, attached a couple valves and pex connectors with the copper fittings I made a few weeks ago. (After all I found the new valve in the box to fix the leak)
I searched the garage for the PVC glue (found Gary’s espresso machine you might like), gave up and went to Bosworth’s for another can. I glued up the check valve, it’ll wait to dry.
Time for pex joints, using the cheap HF cutter I started cutting tubes to length careful to get them square. They’re hard to fit to the Flair-it connectors, wiggle and push using the door mat towel to protect my hand and knees. Up from the pump, a tee fitting, one to the main sink cold, another tee and to the hand sink cold, tie in another tee and 2 valves for the city line and hot water supply. Tie the two hot waters together with a tee for the hot return, yet to be drilled. I’ll need to make a sketch for the post and the auditor.
The pex connections are fine, the valves are leaking some, swap valves and teflon tape to fix. The pump works great, pressurizes the system and shuts off, until the leaks kick it back on, but it’s a good pump. I need to drill holes for the heater out/in lines and pick up a couple 5″ nipples for the throughs.
Hot and cold running soon, and a perfect drain system. Pics to be added tomorrow.


Next to do: Trim back the stove counter plywood to fit the metal in the front as it overlaps, glue down all the metal to the plywood, secure the main faucet with valves. I need to stop at RS for a couple flex hoses, 50 cents instead of $5 each. I just put the valve in the car, sure is raining. The heater will need extender brackets to keep it 2″ off the wall. I think I have enough iron for that.
The plumbing needs to go in from the pump to the sinks hot and cold lines including a city supply with shut off valves. A huge amount of details in that last sentence. I think we have enough fittings.
You have a ton of finish work to do. That water base clear coat is a godsend.



Another Sunday and a bit of vardo work. I had a trip to San Jose and Raven had a jam session so it’s just me today. I folded the piece of aluminum last week at work to form the stove counter. It needed a bit of trimming I did Friday night but the upper piece came out short. The good news is I made a mistake at work and folded a piece too long. Today I transferred the measurements plus the extra and re cut it on the band saw, now it fits right. I’ll leave the laser paper on for now.


I also removed the right side wood panel and re cut the slot for the gas line to match the lower cutout in the metal.


After that I worked on a switch mount for the pump on off switch. I found a nice medium gauge (16?) piece of aluminum sheet, drilled a big hole to fit the switch on the drill press clamped, marked the switch width, viced the hole side to the mark and hammered it over using a sheet of stainless to keep the pressure even. I center punched and drilled two holes to fit 8-32 screws using the countersink to debur the holes. I got out the pump and cords, attached the pump and quick connect electric and laid it all out inside the cabinet. I removed the counter face and drilled holes to attach the switch to the frame. Measured 1 3/4″ screw length, counter sink for the sink counter, I’ll need to go to town for that.  Made a mental list of other stuff, went to town, picked up the screws, 1/2″ hose barbs (qty 2) for the check valve, passed on the gas line adapters until I’m sure. Gas and grocs, home.

I split the main to transformer electric line for the switch (off switch before the transformer to save electricity), cheap wire there, tinned it to keep it together then soldered the returns (heat shrink and Etape) and crimped in eyes for the switch. Attached it all together threading in the screws to the wood with counter sink holes in the frame as the screw heads will be covered with the fascia. I found some zip ties, drilled the frame and secured the transformer and main cord. Time to plug it in, it works, the switch under the counter controls the pump on and off, waaamp, very cool. A dim picture in the dark.


Still looking for the pipe glue for the check valve, 2 jars, it’s here somewhere. A good day.