This was the week I took a break from my routine and “stuff” and went on vacation with Judy. As you have read, we spent the week in Lake Charles, LA. The weather has been great and besides some good eating (mostly Keto acceptable of course), I spent the week helping Judy’s uncle get a few projects accomplished. Her uncle is a bit particular so, as a project met his satisfaction, a new one or two was added to the list. This continued until I think I wore him out watching me go.
First on the list was building a wood duck house. He didn’t come out and ask me but said that he would try to get Chad to help him the next time he visited. I told him he didn’t have to wait and I could help him. He replied that he hoped I would say that. After looking at the ones he already had and some plans on the internet we headed to the lumber store. Ooops, the boards in the width we wanted were too long for the car, even with the seats folded down. The trip was not wasted though because we obtained the other materials we needed. Luckily, the lumber yard is not far from his house so it was a quick return to get the boards.
This was an easy build but the biggest challenge was using the tools or should I say lack of tools uncle has available. At one point, I was cutting with a jig saw blade held in vice grips and stabilized with a carpenter pencil and duct tape. Needless to say, that hole was pretty ragged. We mounted the completed house on a pole overlooking the bayou, behind uncle’s house.
Being very pleased with how this house turned out, uncle told be it would be nice if we built another to replace one at his camp. We had most of the hardware but we were a little short on wood. Since the wood we were using was pretty expensive, I decided to improvise by gluing some boards, he already had, together. This worked just OK because the boards weren’t perfectly flat, but hey, the birds wouldn’t care.
That evening, while we were waiting for the glue to dry, uncle says if I don’t mind he has a few more projects that need completing. The recently hit mailbox needed to be replaced, a screen door needed a new latch and a latch on a gate wasn’t working properly. He suggested we get an early start and that he would buy me breakfast on the way to get the needed materials. Now how could I pass up a free meal and shopping right!
Next on the list was the mailbox. His current setup was a box post combination, so I had to do a bit of Vince engineering to make the existing post work with a new box. On top of that he wanted a bigger mailbox and of course it had to look great. Luckily, the store carried a mounting plate and I was able to get it to work with the existing post. Only thing was we didn’t get long enough bolts on the first trip. So back to the store we go. Bingo, they had the bolt I needed in the same diameter with the correct length, so no need to redrill holes. After having all the right materials, the box went up fairly quickly. When it was completed, uncle said he would like to fix the opening on top of the post where a cap once existed. There was a piece of plastic left from the old box mounting and I was able to cut a piece that covered the opening. But I had no way to secure it. Yup, back to the store we go for plastic cement. The pieced was glued and left to sit overnight with a few bricks providing pressure to the joint. Here you can see the almost completed project.
Next on the list was putting a latch on a screen door. This was only tricky because of the tools I had on hand. Using a dull hacksaw and some plastic siding for shim material, the project moved along pretty well. I just had to use a few different kinds of screws to make sure the latch was secure; self tapping metal screws in the door, wood screws in the building and a combination of materials and screws in the door frame.
The final project for this trip was the latch on a fence gate. This gate gets lots of use and the frame of the gate is made with soft wood. Over time, use has caused the screws to hollow out the surrounding wood, so just tightening the current bolts didn’t fix the problem. I decided it would be easier to fill the hallowed area with wood epoxy than replace the board. After the epoxy dried, I drilled the material and installed new bolts with locking nuts. I expect this fix will last a pretty long time.
I had fun getting all these things done. Only thing is now Judy has been wondering why projects at our house don’t get completed so quickly. I bet I will be a busy boy when I get home! V