Friday, November 07, 2008

My Current Project --- Eleven Photos

A Place For Jim's Junk
~One Mans Trash Is Another Mans Treasure~
Click on all photos to enlarge - © 2008 jim otterstrom

This post consists of the above photo, and ten more below, with comments.
Using mostly recycled and scrap materials, I'm building a badly needed tool shed as an addition behind our 'Temple Of The Lost Civilization' hop arbor.

The shed will actually be a small multi-purpose room. There will be a workbench along the south facing wall beneath the big window, shelves and storage for most of my tools, and the brick patio area will also serve as a hangout when friends come over to solve the world's problems over a few good beers (More likely we'll forget the problems and just enjoy the beer).

The Beginning
Last summer I built the floor with deeply discounted planks from the local lumberyard that were too twisted and split for retail sale. With some strong persuasion I got them to screw down flat to joists (Which are sitting on concrete piers) I recycled from the old porch we tore out in 2004 (Notice our first dusting of snow on the floor). Shortly after building the floor I also laid the red-brick patio you saw in the first photo. This first wall was tilted up a few weeks ago (Nobody said I was fast).


Taking Shape
The walls were framed from a pile of salvaged 2x4s I've had around here for years, supplemented with another batch of twisted studs I bought dirt cheap, and forced into position with a big pipe wrench as I nailed them down. I did need to buy 12 new studs to finish the side walls. The rafters are recycled deck boards from our old porch but I had to buy 4 sheets of plywood to sheet the roof. There were some fiberglass shingles left over from re-roofing the house 6 years ago so I only had to buy two bundles to complete this roof (Note that the front wall was re-thought and the window moved closer to the door since this photo).


South Facing Window
I dragged four of these great windows home from somebody's remodel job over a decade ago and finally got to use one of them (The window header was made from two salvaged 2x8s). This is where the workbench is going to be and the window will provide a well lighted space for me to work on my plethora of little hobbies & crafts (Freeing up the kitchen table). I think that's why the cute chick is washing my new panes for me, so I'll spend more time out here and she can have her kitchen back!


Speaking Of Hobbies
This front, opening window, will serve as ventilation and also includes an outdoor counter where a few friends can sit and nurse a beer (Believe me, that does happen around here). And, I decided to take advantage of the afternoon sun by building some small bottle windows up in the west facing eves. One of those crafts I've been longing to put into practice, seeing how I've saved up some hundreds of old bottles over the years too. Did I ever mention that I'm a pack-rat by nature?


Bottle Windows
The windows were made to fit the framing of the wall so they're not all exactly the same size.

I built box frames from 2x4s and then cut a piece of plywood to fit inside each frame. After tracing the profiles of the desired bottles onto the plywood I cut out the bottle-shaped holes with a sabre-saw before nailing the pieces into place.

I decided that a hot-glue gun would be a quick & easy way to hold the bottles in place until I mixed the mortar (After a frustrating attempt with black silicone caulking, which, I already knew, sets up way to slow). Then mortar was applied heavily to both sides (One side at a time until they set up a bit) and sculpted around the bottles to finish off the windows.


Bottles In The Wall I blacked out the front window here so I could give you a better idea of how the bottles look with the afternoon sun shining through them.


Don't Fence Me In
~How The West Was Lost~

Call some place paradise and they'll fence it in...

I collected all these fence company signs, and many more, over a quarter of a century ago. The greater portion of them are embossed tin, but a large number of the oldest ones are heavy enameled porcelain on steel.

For me they're a perfect and artfully graphic metaphor for the scourge upon the land we call civilization and progress.

Most of them are also reminders of a now historic time when we shared party-lines with phone numbers that had word prefixes such as Dickens, Diamond, Plaza, Capitol, or Exbrook. Some are really ancient, having only four or five digit numbers, with no prefix at all.


More Relics
The purple-tinged 1937 Ford headlight lens I found many years ago in a junk store (For a couple of bucks) will now serve as a porchlight and the extremely rare 7up screen will help keep flies out of my little studio/shop. I've had the screen about 40 years, and they used to be everywhere, but I haven't seen another since I rescued this one from an old saloon door in the late 60s. The siding above the counter is old redwood planks I hauled home from some ruins, the fence signs are screwed to weathered recycled plywood, the entire shed is wrapped in left-over tar-paper from a neighbors playhouse project, and eventually the other walls will be sided with well-weathered gray pickets salvaged from several hundred feet of discarded picket fence I purloined from another neighbor who replaced it with chain link (The same wood that frames the 7up sign).

If you could enlarge the picture enough you'd see that the rusty little sign left of the 7up screen, from an old rail yard fence, has the phone number 201-14. How old is that?

The Ford script underneath the '37 Ford headlight was made for me by Craig, one of my beer-drinking buddies, who also happens to do lost wax casting as a jewelry maker and sculptor.

It was made for my 1942 Ford Pickup which had a rare size script that Ford only made that one year. I was so taken with Craig's fine work and generosity, that, when I sold the truck, some decades ago, I couldn't part with the hand-made script.

You Like It, It Likes You
How many of you are old enough to remember these screen door ads? Back when advertising slogans were simple and little mom & pop stores could make some extra money selling soft drinks while getting a free screen door in the bargain.

When, as kids, we collected those discarded bottles along dusty dirt-road shoulders and turned them back in for penny candies and 5 cent soda pop.
Back when we looked forward to the future and all the modern conveniences that were about to transform our sleepy simple rural existences into lives of leisure, abundance, and luxury.


Way, Way, Back...
...where movies and photos were black & white, and all my fond memories are fading to sepia tone.

~From The Archives Of~

Earth Home Garden, The Temple Of The Lost Civilization, and The Last Outpost Bar & Grille.

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10 Comments:

Anonymous wildside said...

Really like the sunlight filtering through the bottles in the wall. All in all, the whole thing, very creative, Jim!

4:40 AM  
Blogger CatHerder said...

OMG that is SO AMAZING!!!! I love it love it love it! I am a huge believer of recycling, and that is recycling at its best. Send those pics in to Mother Earth News!!!

10:38 AM  
Blogger Tabor said...

I love the way you recycle. I also admire your ability to create something wonderful with such labors. Ain't life grand?

1:35 PM  
Anonymous Craftzilla said...

The bottle windows are awesome! Nice job, what a cool project.

9:23 AM  
Blogger Jim said...

Thanks everybody, I'll post updates as the project evolves.

10:58 AM  
Blogger clairesgarden said...

fabulous!! and I'm needing a new shed....are you available??

11:42 AM  
Anonymous Jason said...

You both are doing great job. Keep it up.

10:20 PM  
Anonymous Jack Taylor said...

Yes great job. keep it up.

4:12 AM  
Blogger Juli said...

everything's done so wonderfully ! i truly hope to put the bottle windows to use here soon, maybe in the greenhouse somewhere.

I'm so glad i happened onto your blog.

9:04 AM  
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10:49 PM  

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