Sunday, February 22, 2009

I am now a person who can produce a mortised hinge. Let there be no doubt on this point. I have produced three of the things, and they work perfectly.

I had my doubts I could do it, but I watched this nice American gent explain it, and then had a go. He no doubt enjoys the advantages of squareness and perpendicularity in everything he does, and these characteristics are nowhere present in my shed. But I actually improvised a plumb line to make sure the hinges were all in alignment, then got to work with my chisels.

Fortunately it was a hot, windless weekend, otherwise the ad hoc scaffolding I used for supporting the door would have collapsed at the first blast of wind. In fact, a little zephyr chanced by at one point, and the door, which was only hinged at the top at that point, showed its eagerness to swing, reminding me just what a precarious operation it was.

My little pink and green screwdriver, inherited from my female predecessor at an English school, was invaluable for getting the screws in snugly. Thanks Kelly!

I managed to get all three hinges completed before the scaffolding collapsed in a heap.

Three latches complete the door. Nothing can describe my feelings of satisfaction in having accomplished this very commonplace task.

The weeping plumb is now at the peak of its blossoming. Here are just a few of the many, many pictures I took. And to think that I used to laugh at old men who earnestly take pictures of blossoming trees.

The birds have been thrusting their beaks into each flower in turn, so hopefully there should be a crop of plums for making the plum drink that warms my winter evenings.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Shed project 3

As I mentioned before, there are no right angles in my shed, and likewise there are no level surfaces around it. Therefore setting up a ladder and shinning up it requires a certain degree of fatalism.

The ladder did once take a plunge into the orchard next door, lying with its feet up in the air, but fortunately I didn't go with it. There but for the grace of God...

The 2 be 4 method of construction is a real wonder. As soon as you nail the boards on, a horribly rickety structure is instantly transformed into something remarkably solid. The tasteful arched windows came off a bookshelf that I had retained in the face of opposition for lo, these many years. After I painted the frames the same colour as the rest of the shed, for some reason the phrase "Taj Mahal" kept ringing in my head.

Here is my shed, roofed and painted, with another local shed in the background. The older shed has a larger quotient of 'wabi-sabi' than mine. I did think about tiling it in the traditional style, but I have even less of a clue about that than about 90 degree angles.

Today I spent a few happy hours constructing a door that wouldn't be out of place on a barn, or maybe a castle. Indeed, I can hardly lift the thing. I bought a couple of hinges, then took them back and got some bigger ones which also look inadequate for the job. The question of right angles impinges especially heavily on the issue of hinging heavy doors, and I confess it puts me in a bit of a funk. There's also the matter of attaching a gutter and drainpipe which also strike me as highly technical procedures.