Thursday, May 10, 2007

Beam me up. Har har.

When contemplating a home improvement project, there are three distance phases:

  • Phase 1- Concept

    "Honey, if we're going to stucco the house, we should have stone lintels over the windows like an Irish cottage. That would rock."

  • Phase 2- Modification due to budget

    "Holy crap, there is NO way we can afford stone. But I found this cool company on the Internets that makes faux wood beams. They'd be perfect"

  • Phase 3 - Settling for something else (due to the intrusion of reality).

    "They want HOW much just to ship a fake wood beam? Ok, what have I got sitting around the yard that I haven't burned yet?"
I really put entirely too much thinking into what should have been a pretty straight forward problem. How do I make it look like the windows have antique beams above them. I contacted companies that sell old barn beams and tried to figure out complex cuts so that they would fit into the window frame. I stressed myself out because I couldn't make it work. Eventually I had to walk away from the problem. Too much thinking. Thinking bad.

They yesterday I picked up a scrap piece of 6X6 left over from the roof project. I held it over the window and heard the sound of Angels blasting trumpets. I could use chunks of WOOD!!!!

I know, it seams pretty obvious to YOU. But I'd been trying to figure out ways to cut materials to replicate a lintel exactly. Using an actual beam would not be perfect, some of the existing window frame would be visible, but it would certainly work, and time is a big factor here.

And since our budget won't allow for buying real 200 year old hand worked beams I had to come up with my own. The solution was simple and very effective. A super tough wire wheel on a 4" angle grinder. The wheel strips away the softer wood fibers, leaving the harder wood in a great raised pattern. It's just like sandblasting. I also took chunks out at random spots and rounded the edges to give the appearance of having been hand worked with an adze.

Voila! Instant antique beams. They look great and didn't cost an arm and a leg. Rossana loves them and now wants to know if I could do the same to the main beams for the roof. That would be about 20 times the work. Plus the beams would be dark whereas the rest of the roof is pretty light colored. Maybe I could use a lighter stain. We'll see. I'm just grateful to get something off my to do list.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007


According to Wikipedia, today marks the anniversary of the attempted theft of the crown jewels of England in 1671 by Thomas Blood (yes, that was his name).

Have a read, it's short and simply amazing. This guy not only tried to steal the Crown Jewels, he told the King the jewels were only worth 6,000 pounds, not the 100,000 they were valued at.

Then he talked his way into a pardon!
He're to you, Thomas Blood. And your 15 pound balls.