2008-09-21

Weekend wrapup

The vegetable garden seeds from Peaceful Valley came in last week. I'm thrilled about starting that project, but so far I've had the self-discipline to FINISH WHAT I START and the seeds are just sitting on the table while I do more urgent chores.*

This Saturday I supported Juli with a visit to her mother's house for her mother's 88th birthday. I played Wells Fargo wagon and delivered Juli's old TV and installed it. It was easier than a bathtub, but not as easy as a cross cut saw.

On the way back we toured Ikea to take a look at their wardrobe and storage units. I now realize that they aren't going to work for my room. The old plan was to rip out my existing closet and relocate it on the side of the room using Ikea components. Unfortunately, the room changes dimension in inconvenient ways if I do that, so the idea I'm kicking around now is to keep my closet where it is, but change the door (maybe trade it out for full width sliding doors) and redo the interior storage so that it's more usable.

I've updated my To Do list: Sunday I made forward progress by starting the stucco repairs around my bedroom French doors and in the area where I removed the old electrical box. Juli helped by cleaning the yard and providing moral support.

For the stucco work, I ended up putting a scratch coat on the largest area, but patching to completion about half of the smaller areas near my French door. I ran out of energy and stucco before I could complete all the way around the door, so the remaining half got a scratch coat. I'll do the final coat later this week, if I'm lucky. I don't do a color coat because I'll paint the stucco.

I posted Notes on how to Stucco almost 2 years ago. These projects really creep along at their own pace when you fit them into your "spare" time. I've since gained confidence in my stucco technique, and I'll share how I do it. I don't know that this is the right way, but it's my way.


Here I am applying the scratch coat. I've feathered the edges of the hole with a cold chisel and hammer, vacuumed out as much dust and loose debris as possible, and then coated the edges with a concrete glue. The hole spans a stud bay, and I've attached house paper under expanded metal mesh (EMM). I made a mistake in not overlapping adjacent panels of EMM in one area - In this case the edges of one kept popping up through the wet stucco and I worried that the small gap between the panels would promote crakcing. I ended up using some galvanized wire I had lying about to tie the two panels together to address the popping up issue.

I mixed the stucco up in a wheel barrow, and this patch took about 1/2 a bag.

My techinque for applying the stucco was to load up an old wooden float and then hold it against the EMM and mush the concrete into place. I dropped a lot on stucco on the ground doing this. Put down something that will allow you to recover the dropped stucco and reuse it - I had a piece of melamine-coated wood from my junk pile.

In tighter quarters such as in the narrow gap between door frame and stucco edge, I used a narrow putty knife to apply the stucco instead of a trowel and in narrower quarters yet I used my gloved fingers. The type of glove I'm wearing (rubber on the palm and fingers , cloth mesh elsewhere - Atlas brand) is nice for concrete work. Just don't plan on using your bare fingers for very long and dose them with vinegar when you're done.

An hour or so after I was done applying the stucco I used an awl to make the scratches in order to promote adhesion in the final layer. The blue tape covers an electrical make up box which connects my new electrical supply with some old house wiring.

*A previous president of my company was once meeting with me and excused himself to take a phone call saying, "There's nothing more important than our conversation, but this phone call is more urgent." I thought that was a true enough statement about many choices in life.