More Updates: Woodstove, Counter Top, Shower Stall, and Much More

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We’ve been hesitating to add any blog entries because our progress has been pretty scattered. For example, right now we are currently working on multiple projects: we’re installing our water filtration system under the sink, working on the stovepipe installation for the woodstove, and installing our shower stall. We haven’t finished any of these projects, so instead of waiting until they’re done we figured we’d give you yet another amalgam of updates. So without further ado:

Cabinetry

Let’s start in the kitchen. We were lucky to have a couple cabinets donated to our build, both made of maple! We installed those using 8″ long bold bolts that we used to hold it to the floor. Making sure that everything is lined up was a delicate and timely process, but we made it!

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Leveling the cabinets to make sure everything is in line with the wall.

We also have wall cabinets! Same deal: they were donated (luckily they all matched!) and we modified them slightly so they would fit. You wouldn’t know that the back left one had 5″ spacers we had to cut off of the sides, and the right one had a plate holder on the bottom. Smooth sailing.

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It’s starting to look like a kitchen!

 

Counter Top

Another thing we did complete was our counter top! It’s made from beautiful cherry wood. We bought three long boards of cherry, planed and sanded them down, attached them using biscuits and glue (internal pieces of wood mortised between each board), sanded them some more, and then finished them. We also had to cut the long piece in half in order to make two smaller pieces for the corner.

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Our two counter top halves before adding finish.
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The short half (against the back wall) with drying finish
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The long half with the sink hole cut out.

Additionally we made a cabinet within the short wall between the kitchen and tub surround. Anything to save a little space!

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We built boxes out of plywood and put them in the cavities and adhered them with wood glue.
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It only took a couple clamps to hold them in place…

 

Woodstove

The woodstove itself and its accompanying wall mounting-shelf are installed. It was a weird install, since we had to line up six screws and their cylindrical metal spacers simultaneously and then screw it in. It took a few tries to get it to work, but now it’s on the wall. Success!

 

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Tada! The woodstove has tiny screws that hold it onto the frame on the bottom as extra support.

Next we cut a hole in our roof for the stovepipe. Then we installed what I eloquently refer to as ‘the plunger’. It’s essentially a silicone, heat resistant gasket that seals the stove pipe as it exits the roof. From there we needed to wait until our stove cap came in in the mail.

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We’re not huge fans of cutting into our roof…
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The eloquent plunger.
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Due to the small amount of space on the wall for our woodstove we chose to line it up exactly on the roof seam so that there’d be less risk for leaks. The plunger bends around it and stays there due to the metal lining in the outer ring.
We also installed our LED light strips along the ridges of the house that goes behind the woodstove.
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The LED strip is the metal part in the background of this picture. In the forefront you can see a piece of trim hiding the electric wires behind the loft beam.

 

Shower Stall

We started by building a short wall between the shower stall and the kitchen. We then put wall siding on the side with the kitchen and then kerdi board within the bathroom stall. It was expensive material, but definitely worth it. Kerdi board is a very lightweight material that is made of polyethylene fabric and a foam-board core. It is often used today for tile and tub surrounds. The reason we decided to use it, besides the weight that is, is because if installed correctly, kerdi is completely waterproof. That means no water can get behind our walls and ruin our day! After we screwed the Kerdi in place, we mixed up some thin-set concrete over the screw holes and around the faucet inputs as per instruction. Then we had to order stainless steel sheet metal (which was a process in itself, which was fitting seeing as how complicated the whole finding-a-tub process has been.

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We had a hard time holding in the wool as we installed the wall panels, so we ended up using tape to hold it in. It worked for the most part. The orange board in this picture is the kerdi. It’s very lightweight and was easy to install. The plumbing pipes sticking out were for the hot water heater we were going to install in this wall. However, we decided not to go with the propane model and settled on a different model that we’re putting under the sink.  See below for details.

Next, we had to cut some holes in the steel to fit it around our outputs. Stainless steel is a very tough metal that infamously gets harder the more you work with it through a process called “work hardening”. Talk to any metal worker in the states and ask them what metal is their least favorite to work with and you will almost always receive the same reply: stainless steel. As you heat up and cool down stainless a number of times, the steel actually hardens and becomes more brittle, which quickly wears out drill bits and tools. Aside from that, the chromium coating that makes stainless rust resistant can evaporate under high heat and form a toxic fume that is never safe to expose yourself to. It can cause something called “metal-sickness”, which is known for causing light headedness, and even vomiting.

We actually did end up making some simple straight cuts of our own using an angle grinder (and a face mask!) just to make the fit and finish of the panels easier, but we decided to leave the tough stuff for the professionals. For the panel that would be covering the faucet handles, we took our steel to a local steel fabricator and let them use a plasma cutter to punch out the circles we had traced on our steel. It turned out perfectly! Best $60 we ever spent!

After we got the panels cut to the right size, we adhered the steel to the walls using a high-stregnth, waterproof silicone adhesive. Next we’ll be adhering the corner pieces, which are L-channel sheet metal, and then we will install the tub! We ALSO have to set up the gray-water system, meaning drilling a hole through our beloved subfloor, before we install the tub. Yay confusingly tricky problems! We’ve had our fair share of those…

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Here we were installing the top and right metal panels. In order to keep them in place while they dried for 24 hours, we put plywood against the panels and held them in place with short wood boards. It looks ridiculous, but it worked!

For the shower stall we also built a stand for our tub. This will help keep it from bending and make sure it stays securely in place.

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Another one of our strange contraptions, but this is what the tub will sit on. The legs of the sink we ordered will sit on the wooden dowels in the corners, and the plywood will support the weight of the rest of the tub.
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Works perfectly!

 

Kitchen Water System

This is a bit too complicated/intricate for me to explain (therefore a bit boring for you), so I’ll keep it simple. We planned to fit our hot water heater (a mini-tank 7 gallon water heater which we picked because it didn’t use propane). We discovered that our sink basin wasn’t quite big enough to fit the hot water heater, so we improvised by cutting a hole in the side of the cabinet, reinforcing the sides, and creating a platform for it to sit on next to our water barrel.

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Not pictured: the ledge outside of the cabinet that the heater sits on. To the direct left of this is our water storage barrel.

We also installed a Doulton water filtration system. From there we plan to drill holes into the water barrel that will hold our potable water and insert piping leading from the filters underneath the sink.

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Pipes pipes everywhere! By extending the cabinet’s interior we have more room to run even more pipes and install our water filtration system, pictured on the right.

Outlets and Such

And lastly, when we’ve had time we’ve been installing our outlets and light-switches. It makes the walls look a lot nicer when there aren’t random blue boxes with wires hanging out of them everywhere.
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Drew built this over the kitchen window (on the back wall) using some old cabinet shelves we had laying around. He did some beautiful work!

We still have a lot to do, but at least we’re making some progress, piece by piece!

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2 thoughts on “More Updates: Woodstove, Counter Top, Shower Stall, and Much More

  1. diane July 17, 2017 / 3:30 pm

    this looks so awesome!

    Like

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