Can You Hear Me Now

Posted by Steve Cuddihy On Saturday, June 25, 2016 0 comments
In my last post I thought I had finalized the stud wall frame, however I have had to make a couple of changes, albeit minor. When I started pulling the speaker wire through the frame, I realized I hadn't left room for the center channel speaker which will reside below the HDTV. I had to remove one of the shorter studs below the recessed box are to accommodate the necessary gap. I also had to move the electrical line over to the next stud.

When it's all said and done, below the HDTV I will have a front left and right speaker plus a center channel. There will also be a rear left and right speakers to complete the 5.1 surround sound. Do I need to have 7.1 sound? Would I notice a difference in a room this small? We opted to stick with the 5.1 sound, which is more that what we currently have setup.

The last change I had to make the the stud wall, if your keeping score, this is change number three. I purchased a couple of 2'x2' DRIcore subfloor boards as we will use this product for our basement flooring. It will get my flooring material off of the cold concrete. It will also give us a moisture barrier and the floor wont be as cold to walk on any longer. All this for losing a half inch of space, what's not to like? So, after realizing the bottom of the Sheetrock will need to be a half inch higher than the flooring, I needed to have a second sill plate to the bottom of the structure. There wouldn't be any wood available for me to screw the Sheetrock too if I didn't scab in a second level of boards.

So that's it, the wall is finalized now. I have my speaker wires run, a CAT6 network cable from the server room is in place, and I've added steel plates to protect the wires running through the studs. I'm not sure what those are officially called. They prevent you from drilling into your wires after you cover them up with Sheetrock.

There is one last thing to work on for this blog post, moving the light switches to the new wall by the door. After removing the old cover for the switches, it looked like a mess. I have three lights here, one for this room, one for the light just outside of the door and one to control the lights on my garage. Two of these lights are three way switches, so many wires!

 Let's see, this one with the two orange wires controls the ceiling light in this family room.

 The other combo switches with the blue wires control the outside light and the garage light. Everything is moving over to that fancy 3-gang blue box.

So dirty and messing inside. These three light switches are also had two fuses running to them. The separate one being the garage light.

Ahh, it's so clean looking now and no more combo switch. The outside switches are my two 3-way switches and the center single throw switch controls the light outside the door.

Framing The Stud Wall

Posted by Steve Cuddihy On Monday, June 20, 2016 0 comments
The best of my planning for this project, I have to keep reminding myself to take photos as I progress. So when I realized I hadn't taken any project photos yet, I had the 2" insulated foam board in place. I needed nine feet of board and the 4'x8' boards left me a foot short, thus I had to purchase to sheets to span the wall at $25 a piece. At least I'll have a little extra for the next wall that needs insulation. I also have the new electrical line routed through the foam board and a few upright boards in place. Quite a bit of work before I took the first photo of the day.

The studs went up rather easy. Nice and simple, however, once I was completed, I realized I had made an error. On either side of the area for the HDTV, I left a seven inch wall frame, however, in the corner of my studs, I did not leave the seven inches of wall. The left opening will house decorative items with shelves, but I need it to be uniform.

It was a simple retrofit correction, but it looks so much better already. I scabbed in another full height stud to complete the symmetric look. It must have been a cold night as I have three bundles of wood waiting for me to carry over to my fireplace on the other side of this room.

One last photo of the stud frame. I have also expanded the electrical box from one outlet into two outlets, giving me four plugins for the lower wall. I'm also routing power up to the television area and will have a single outlet the top portion of the wall. You can just make out the wire sitting on top of the 2" foam board. It will sit there until I build the recessed box is in place.

This was the first real progress I have made on the new wall construction. I have just purchased speaker wire and will get that in place. Then I need to deal with moving the light switches as they are currently behind the wall.

It's Demolition Time

Posted by Steve Cuddihy On Sunday, June 12, 2016 0 comments
So it begins, a bit of demolition to prep the wall for the new addition. I didn't recall taking a before shot of the floor, but thankfully I did. I'm building the new wall out about eleven inches total. Since we live in a partial basement, the foundation splits up the basement walls. So the top portion of the wall will be eleven inches and the bottom portion of the wall is about six inches out.

The old tile removed very easily. I'm just removing enough to get my wall frame in place. Later on I'll remove the rest of the tile. I've never understood the logic of the original tile placement by this door. The previous owners had furniture over part of the tile. We had done the same, mainly because we rarely use this door.

I only need to remove the lower portion of the wall. There isn't any insulation on any of the lower walls in the basement, so I'm slowly adding it to all of the walls I've redone.

I'm also removing part of the ceiling to the first floorboard. It is exactly where I want the new wall to go up, so it couldn't have been in a better place. This is it, all of the demo that needs to happen for the new wall to take shape.

I'm ending this day by screwing in the first board to the cement floor. Treated lumber in case there is any moisture. Trust me, we have had water in the basement with very heavy rains.

A wider shot of the completed demolition with the first board in place ready for the the new wall.

That is it, day one is completed. Not a very complicated day, but just enough to get the project up and running. Next comes the frame building and insulation.

Family Room Remodel Project

Posted by Steve Cuddihy On Wednesday, June 8, 2016 0 comments
We all have one, the place we gather to binge watch our favorite shows, watch a new ore favorite movie, Friday night family night, entertainment, and even a place for a nap. It's a place in our homes where everyone in the family loves to be in. The family room, TV room, theater room, I'm sure there are more names for it depending on different parts of the country. 

Well, we had one of those family rooms, however, no one enjoyed being in the room. It was awful, ugly, disorganized, cluttered, incomplete, cold, depressing, and on and on. When my oldest was two, we painted the room though we didn't like the color. So we painted a second time, and even a third time. All three paint colors we were disappointed with, so we stopped and left the room as it was, incomplete. My oldest is now 17 and we have revisited this room at last. 

Before I show you the before pictures, I'll let you see my vision for the room.

I started drawing ideas for the room about a year ago. I drew a couple slightly different designs, but always came back to my original idea for the wall. This is Phase 1 of the family room remodeling project. Turn a boring half basement wall into flat wall with a recessed box that can house a 65" HDTV with surround sound!

About the before it is, the awful, unorganized, cluttered family room. It also was the exercise room, there is a fireplace out of frame to the right, two worn out couches, a gaming center, a collapsing stereo cabinet, piles of DVD's and video games. It's also a side entrance to the house, which is never used as an entrance because the doors are just barely functional, all completed with carpet scraps for flooring.   

See the blue taped rectangle on the far wall, that is where the recessed box will reside once Phase 1 of the project is completed.

What else are we doing with this room?

Paint the walls a color we like.
Replacing both outside doors.
Add Crown molding.
Install DriCore flooring to add a moisture barrier and reduce the coldness.
Purchase a new couch.
Build a bench/table behind the couch for more TV viewing locations.
Build a cabinet to house the entertainment components.
Build a dry bar/hutch.
Install wall speakers.
Install recessed ceiling lights.

Am I missing anything? I'm sure there is more as we go along.

I have drawn out my stud wall so it can house a recessed HDTV. A second recessed box that will have two glass shelves to display decorative items. I also need to add space for a left and right wall speaker with a center channel speaker in the middle. I need to expand power to the bottom and to the recessed box and add a panel for the speaker wires, HDMI ports, NIC, and cable. Lastly, move the light switches from the front of the wall to the side of the expanded wall next to the door.

I've noticed in this drawing, I haven't left a space for the center channel, but trust me, I will add a space for it. I'm a little bit further ahead in this project than where I am in this blog, but I will soon catch up in the coming weeks.

With that, it's time to end today's blog entry and start some demolition. 

Floating Corner Shelves - Part 2

Posted by Steve Cuddihy On Saturday, June 4, 2016 0 comments
Today I'm working on the outer shell of the Floating Corner Shelf project. I didn't get as far along as expected since I totally goofed up my first run of cuts through my Shop Smith. However, the second attempt was successful and I did a minor design change on how the outer shell will come together.

If you have not read part one, you can view that here.

My original design for the project was to stay true to the single wall floating shelf plans. The inner skeleton would attach to the wall. The outer shell, would be one piece that completely covers the inside. In Part 1, I referenced two different designs that I believed I could improve on. Both of these plans built the inner skeleton, attached them to the wall and then built the other shell piece by piece with the frame attached to the wall the entire time.

For my skeleton frame, I used 1x3 pine. The length and width are 46" x 28" with the depth around 9 1/2". The short boards are all cut at 8".

For the outer shell, I started with 1x4 pine select, cut the boards down to 3". 2.5" will cover the inner skeleton frame and a quarter inch for the top and bottom plywood boards.

I'm making rabbet cuts for the top and bottom plywood to sit in so it gives me one piece to slide over the frame. And this is where I did my goof up. My first run through I did my rabbet cuts on the flat side of the boards instead of the ends. I guess when you're engineering on the fly, there is bound to be an error or two.

For the design change I referenced above, I have decided instead of making the outer shell all one piece to slide over the skeleton, I'm splitting in up into two pieces. The reason behind this is my corner walls are not perfect 90 degrees. So I will need to trim some of the boards to account for this, so having two separate slide shelves will work out better in the long run.

The plywood on the long side will cover three of the squares and will go on first. The short side will also cover three squares, including the corner section and go on second. The long board I left an extra 1.5" but had to cut the extra wood off, as you can see in this photo, to allow the short side plywood to sit flat.

As we pan out, we are nearly set to attach the 1/4" plywood to the front pieces. I am going to use the end pieces as they are, so I'm concerned once I attach the plywood, it will be a bit flimsy. If that is the case, I'll attach a couple of short boards to the front pieces to give the plywood some support.

That is all for today. Part three will include attaching the plywood pieces. It may also include painting as that would be all that is left, aside from attaching the project to the walls.

Floating Corner Shelves - Part 1

Posted by Steve Cuddihy On Wednesday, June 1, 2016 0 comments
I had received a Pinterest message from my lovely wife about floating corner shelves for my daughters room. I was intrigued with the idea since I've seen plenty of floating shelf plans and ideas. Yet I hadn't seen plans for floating corner shelves.

So I researched the project for some ideas. Surprisingly, I only found a couple of websites that had corner floating shelves. In reality, it was two DIY blogs and both used 2x4's for the inside structure. So, I centered my original plans around 2x4's on paper.

In this crude drawing of plans, the only part that was set in stone was the outer dimensions. The 46" by 28" shelf length was here it stay. Everything else was a guess and up for debate once I started the project. After looking through my available pile of project wood and the logistics of it, I decided that the 2x4's was not going to happen. It seams a bit overkill, plus I felt I could do better than the two web plans I stumbled across.

Instead I opted for 1x3 pine for the skeleton of the project. I had most of it on hand and it made the shelves a bit more precision on my part. As I started cutting the wood and laying it out on my shop floor, I was happy with the decision to abandon the 2x4's.

I have the Kreg Pocket Hole jig that I love using for as many of my projects as I can. This project was another perfect use for it since all of the pocket holes will be concealed by the outer shell. Now I don't have the fancy, quick release Kreg jig. Instead, I've always used one of my Rockler wood clamps to get the job done.

I'm making two shelves total, with seven 7" boards per shelf. Six of the boards will have two holes each and the seventh board will have two on one end and two on the other end. This will be the inside corner  to make a sturdy square.

From here it's time to clamp all the boards together to complete the skeleton of the project. I had to use my Rockler wood clamps again to keep the boards in line while I placed the screws into the boards.

And that's two inside brackets completed. The shelves really went together easy and are quite sturdy since I decided to make the inside corner connect with my pocket hole jig.

In part 2, I'll need to decide on the outer shell. How to connect the front board to the top and bottom pieces of wood that will complete the shelf.