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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Baby gate door for the baby’s room

I picked up a baby gate this morning on freecycle. It’s a weird cloth one like I’ve not seen before. The prior owners evidently used it to keep dogs where they belong so as soon as I got it home the thing got disassembled and the cloth got tossed into the washer.

Dirty baby gate
Dirty baby gate

I took this and made a door for Bella’s room. We need a door to keep the cat out of her room but we don’t want to use the current door as it stops the room from heating well as it blocks  the cold air’s path to the cold air return.

Bella's new door
Bella's new door

The door frame is just 1″x1″ wood scraps from the snowshoe building adventure. I used the existing door hinges so when we get tired of this, I can just re-hang the original door.

simple wood construction and using the original door hinges
simple wood construction and using the original door hinges

One feature I did add is an auto-closer. The door closes behind you, so you don’t have to worry about leaving it open so the cat can sneak in. He LOVEs her room. Probably because he’s not aloud in it.

Bungie auto-closer that can be quickly taken off so the door can be left open if needed
Bungie auto-closer that can be quickly taken off so the door can be left open if needed

Overall, I am only ‘meh’ about this door. It doesn’t quite close all the way. I think the cat will be able to push it open too easy and get trapped in Bella’s room. It doesn’t look bad, I just wished it looked better. It’s got a bit of a torque to the frame as well.We will probably use it until the cat becomes a pest about it, and then I will need to re-build it a little bit differently.

I think original baby gate frame will become closet clothes hanger rods. Re-use all the pieces, right?

The best laid plans of Mice and Men

Ok, I am sleeping in the living room right now. I figure after a year and a half of living in a bedroom, I can sleep in the living room for a month, right?
 My queen sized bed is in storage in Wisconsin. I bought a really nice Coleman queen sized air mattress for the time being. I want to build a bed frame that will allow me to have ample storage underneath it. Ok, my idea of ample storage is to put my table saw and other tools, plastic storage bins, and so forth underneath it. In my typical fashion, I want the whole thing to be easy to move – either by folding up, or easily disassembled (my idea of easily disassembled might be a bit more involved then other peoples as I can take the dash out of my 83 Mercury Cougar XR7 in 7 minutes and 38 seconds – ALL of it).

This basically means that I will need to strap the pieces to the roof of my Ford Escape as I don’t have a trailer to haul a sheet of plywood.

I am going to make the frame out of 2x4s and 2x6s and use that pre-cut shelving material to surface the ‘deck’ of the bed frame. The whole thing is going to be about 30 inches tall, so I have 24 inches of clearance underneath. That will put the bed at nearly 40 inches tall.

My ultimate plans are to wrap the frame in oak 1 inch material to make it look nice. It is either going to be a big 4 post bed, or have nice tall bed posts. I have a ceiling fan to work around – it will actually be INSIDE the bed frame if I end up doing the 4 poster idea – how is THAT for fancy?

Anyway, off to Lowes to see how long I will be eating PB&J sandwiches…

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The extra holes are to cut weight, right?

 I got half of the frame assembled tonight. It was getting dark, and I was trying to hurry, and I couldn’t figure out why this thing wasn’t folding very well. I put it down, and the problem jumped right out at me. I drilled one of the aluminum braces incorrectly.


 I was trying to get this piece done before dark last night, and measured my 5 inches from the end hole from the wrong hole. Oohps. That is what I get for hurrying, right?


 The frame assembled with the hole in the right spot makes the frame look right. I have the wrong hardware for assembling the frame. I got pan headed screws instead of flat headed screws. I have to go find the right screws. Once I counter sink where the screws go, and drill in the nuts so they can be pressed into the braces and stringers, this should fold up nice and tight. Lowe’s didn’t have the right screws, or at least, I didn’t see them 10 minutes from closing time when I bought the ones I have. At least nuts and bolts don’t go bad, and you always seem to need some.


 It looks like I am not getting my holes square in the middle and straight. I could either replace the bad pieces, or shave off where they are rubbing. I think I am going to shave them for now. I can always make new braces in the future. I do wish I had a drill press though. I would make a quick jig and I could bang out these holes perfectly so fast. One of these days…

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