Isabella has a barn, e-i-e-i-o

Sing with me!

Good thing my carpentry is better than my singing.

Today I didn’t get around to any blacksmithing, but I think I have a pretty good excuse!

Bella inspecting the new barn. She was asking if I had pulled the proper permits
Bella inspecting the new barn. She was asking if I had pulled the proper permits

My pallet started looking like a barn today.

The barn and the tools to make it
The barn and the tools to make it

I kicked around the plexi roof and after a bit of trial fitting, decided it would work quite well. I started by cutting the lower sections of the roof and worked out a frame to hold them. The fame has a slot to hold the plexi. Once painted, I will silicone the plexi into the frame to keep it from popping out. The frame is also notched to fit over the sides. This will help keep the wood dry so it won’t disintegrate in the weather.

Set up to cut plexi on the table saw. It slides on the table and roller stands.
Set up to cut plexi on the table saw. It slides on the table and roller stands.
Thin slot for the plexi, thick slot for the wood.
Thin slot for the plexi, thick slot for the wood.
Notch so the upper plexi overlaps the lower plexi making a roof that will shed water
Notch so the upper plexi overlaps the lower plexi making a roof that will shed water
The lower section of plexi roof installed
The lower section of plexi roof installed
The whole roof installed
The whole roof installed

I figured out how I am going to do the door. I will make a slider door. Well, two actually, as I am going to split the door so it’s more symetrical. I will put two metal rails on the toy barn, and 2 hoops per door to hook over the rails. Think shower curtain.

I actually broke down and spent money on this project. I bought 2 gallons of barn paint for $15 each. One red, one white.

How perfect! Barn paint - it was the cheapest exterior paint I saw too.
How perfect! Barn paint - it was the cheapest exterior paint I saw too.
The outside getting painted, the front removed for cutting a door.
The outside getting painted, the front removed for cutting a door.
Door cut, front painted.
Door cut, front painted.
The outside is basically done. Just needs some trim & door painted and added yet
The outside is basically done. Just needs some trim & door painted and added yet

The neighbor brought over a bit of carpet. How plush! A carpeted play house.

Clear toy barn roof
Clear toy barn roof
View from inside the play barn through the 'glass' roof
View from inside the play barn through the ‘glass’ roof

So the things left to do:

  • Create a ridge to stop the plexi roof from sagging
  • Paint the interior
  • lay carpet
  • make a bench/work table along the back wall
  • make the door
  • make the door slide rails
  • trim the outside
  • paint the outside trim
  • maybe make some blacksmithed corner brackets for looks
  • make a wood shed on each side – this will ‘squat’ the barn visually so it’s not so tall looking.
  • make a silo – it would hold the coal for blacksmithing.
  • make a mini fenced area for the pretend farm animals.

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Bella’s play barn phase one.

A trailerload of pallets & shipping crate, half tore down and ready to re-use.
A trailerload of pallets & shipping crate, half tore down and ready to re-use.

I was offered a bunch of wood at work, pallets and a shipping crate. Once I got them home, I got to looking at that shipping crate and thought that I should make something useful out of it.

Like a play house for Bella.

So I started planning one. Rolling the idea around in my head. I came up with a really fancy idea of a little house, porch, shed, etc. Then I decided I wanted to make all the hardware with my blacksmithing skills. It kinda went overkill in my head. Then I decided that a barn would look really cool with hand made hardware. So, a barn shaped object is now the plan. Water and Ice for the roof, maybe a few shingles from the bundle I found in the garage. A sky-light so I can see in and check on the trouble brewing in the play barn.

Well, not really the plan, as there are no plans. Just cut wood until the pieces fit together nicely. I picked the nicest pallet – a solid red oak one it turns out – and tossed it on the ground. That’s how big my barn will be.

I measured the pallet, and the broken down bits of shipping crate. I grabbed a piece of soap stone and drew out a ‘barn’ shape on a sheet of wood. Katie liked it except it was too tall. So, adjusting it down, I laid two pieces down on a saw horse and measured out my barn sides.

A pallet as the base of the play house
A pallet as the base of the play house

A few minutes with a circular saw and I had my two ends! I screwed them to the pallet. I scrounged a few 1-bys to hold the two end walls apart. I cut another sheet down to the side walls. I screwed them on, and it’s looking pretty good, if I say so myself.

I screwed the two pieces together so I could cut them both at the same time
I screwed the two pieces together so I could cut them both at the same time

 

I got to looking at the roof, and I think I am going to make the whole roof out of some dark smoke colored Plexiglas I have. Water proof & easy to see inside.

The front and back scewed to the pallet & two pieces for the sides
The front and back scewed to the pallet & two pieces for the sides

So, the front end is to come off, and the door cut. Some small windows cut into the sides. The floor needs to be put in and maybe a small sit/work bench along the back wall.

Just needs a roof & doors & windows!
Just needs a roof & doors & windows!

I am contemplating a working hay-mound door with a pulley to a pull cord across the top of the inside of the barn. Hinged door main door? Maybe a slider? 1 piece or two? All good questions. The answers will likely come after I cut out pieces and seeing how they fit together.

That’s just how I roll..

Bella’s Cute of the week #4

So here is the last photo in the first half of this series. Just look at those blue eyes!

Bella & Dandelion
Bella, Dandelion & Arrow Head

If she’s not the cutest baby ever, she’s at least gotta be in the running.  One would think such an adorable baby would make the photographer’s job easy, but you need some mad skillz to crawl around ahead of the baby, backwards, directing lights,  reflectors, shade, and an unruly baby who got bored with the whole picture taking business about half an hour ago..

Sub Irrigated Planter (SIP)

Tonight I made a sub irrigated planter. These are pots that hold water under the dirt and let the pot get watered from the bottom up. Supposedly this gives you better roots as they grow deep, towards the water as opposed to staying near the top.

I built mine using recycled ‘stuff’. The pot is a round plastic tote that was on the deck when we bought the house, so it’s a bit weather beaten, but still in good shape. The tray is part of the plastic back from a rear projection TV I am parting out for parts for other projects. The fill tube is a bit of PVC pipe. The wicking fabric is the only part I actually bought for this project.

Cut out black plastic from the back of a rear projection TV
Cut out black plastic from the back of a rear projection TV

I traced the bottom of the tub onto the black plastic, and made a larger circle around the tub circle to cut along. I then cut tabs up to the tub circle.

Bend the edges 90 degrees so they form legs
Bend the edges 90 degrees so they form legs

I used a heat gun to heat up the plastic and bend the tabs up. These will for the legs of the tray to hold the tray above the water.

It doesn't have to be perfect, just good enough.
It doesn't have to be perfect, just good enough.

 

Cut four slits
Cut four slits

I cut 4 slits a little wider then the saw blade of my jigsaw.

Feed 2 pieces of Thermolam (or somesuch) through.
Feed 2 pieces of Thermolam (or somesuch) through.

The fabric gets cut into strips and fed through the slits.

Make sure the pieces are long enough to touch the bottom
Make sure the pieces are long enough to touch the bottom

Make sure the fabric is long enough to extend all the way to the bottom of the tub. They need to be able to touch the bottom so they can wick up every last drop of water.

Drop the wicking base into the container
Drop the wicking base into the container

The tray gets dropped in feet first and tweaked to fit. This was just a tad to big, but I got it worked out to fit.

Drill a hole for the fill tube
Drill a hole for the fill tube

I then used a hole saw to cut a hole for the fill tube.

Put all the pieces together
Put all the pieces together

The bottom of the fill tube isn’t flat, it was cut by drilling may holes – this makes sure that water can flow out the bottom easily.

The bottom may not sit perfectly flat or well, but that's ok
The bottom may not sit perfectly flat or well, but that's ok
Drill an overflow hole just below the bottom of the wicking tray
Drill an overflow hole just below the bottom of the wicking tray

It’s important to have an over fill drain hole. You don’t want water to get up to the dirt level or you will drown your plant roots.

Put some pea stone around the edges to address the varied height of the tray
Put some pea stone around the edges to address the varied height of the tray

My edges where less than perfect, with a low spot, so I used pea gravel to add some drainage and make sure that the dirt stays above the water level.

Fill the center with damp potting soil making sure to get good contact with the fabric
Fill the center with damp potting soil making sure to get good contact with the fabric

Dry potting soil won’t wick water from what I’ve read, so make sure the dirt is moist.

Fill the rest of the way and plant
Fill the rest of the way and plant

I used most of a new bag of potting soil, and some old stuff that I had but never used. This is a large container, so I am hoping it’s big enough for more than one tomato plant.

I now have a large pot that I don't have to water very often
I now have a large pot that I don't have to water very often

The pot is to go on the deck. Tomatoes and basil. Hopefully they do well, right out the kitchen door.

 

Tonight I made a sub irrigated planter. These are pots that hold water under the dirt and let the pot get watered from the bottom up. Supposidly this gives you better roots as they grow deep, towards the water as opposed to staying near the top.

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