Hide those stairs! An outlet! A Basement Light! Next stop New Years Eve!

_MG_0344 _MG_0349 _MG_0350 _MG_0353

Since the Microshop project will go on a brief hiatus after today, I wrapped up a few loose ends. The main thing I needed to take care of was to put a light in the basement, as the old basement light was behind the new wall. So one more trip to Lowes to get a fluorescent fixture. I also wanted to start addressing the under-stairs area, so I also picked up some more pine paneling. I started on the stairs as soon as I got home, because honestly, wiring is not one of my favorite activities. But I had to get that light in, which I did – and also wired up an outlet in the Microshop.  Routing the wires through raceways will be an exercise for another day.

Besides a few other things I will need to do to the room, things are enough under control to start thinking more about building the guitar itself. One important thing is that the room has to be humidity and temperature controlled, so I put in a thermometer/hygrometer, and started up the humidifier to start working on the overly dry conditions.

One final thing as a nod to the reason for all of this – I hung the guitar blueprint on the wall. I was not imagining it would be so big! I was going to put it on the short wall, but it didn’t fit. So, it went on the back wall. Since the blueprint is full size, I guess that proves the Microshop is big enough to actually build the guitar!

Tomorrow is New Years Eve! Maybe I can make my number in the Microshop this year!

It’s the walls that make a room

_MG_0321 _MG_0330 _MG_0336 _MG_0339 _MG_0342

Today the Microshop grew up and became a room. With time winding down on free vacation days to work on this (New Years Eve and Day being otherwise spoken for), I went into high gear. A quick run to Lowes in the morning to buy some pine paneling for the walls. I got home to a nice surprise – the basement was magically cleared of all the junk that was blocking access.  Candi did one of her patented “waumps” where mega cleaning happens quickly.  Thank you Candi!

I started by sanding the walls, applying primer, and then finally paint. Then I put down a bit more subfloor, and then I got started on the walls. The cleaning that Candi did really helped tremendously, because it’s pretty challenging to do framing with absolutely no room whatsoever.  It was still a puzzle, but I managed to build the wall frame on the floor and lift it into place. Then I cut and mounted the pine paneling and voila suddenly a room popped into existence . For extra credit, I used the scrap lumber to build a short second wall that really helped define the room. It’s really rewarding when you end the day with a room that didn’t exist that morning!

With one day left to work on the Microshop during this stretch, I’ll spend tomorrow finishing the electrical work – need outlets and I need to move the basement light outside the room. The Microshop still needs a ceiling and decent floor, and I still have plans for under the stairs, but the end is definitely in sight. Maybe tomorrow I’ll even put the guitar blueprint on the wall!


Let there be light!

_MG_0308 _MG_0314

Another full day working on the Microshop. I spent several hours wandering around Lowes getting ideas. In the end, I bought some DRIcore subflooring, paint, some 2×3 studs, and a fluorescent fixture. And also a shop vac, hey why not?
It took longer to prep the walls for painting than I expected, after removing the pegboard, I re-discovered that one of the walls was completely unprepared sheetrock. So I didn’t get to the painting today, as I had to wait for the spackel to dry.
Next up was putting in the fluorescent fixture and wiring up a switch to be mounted later.  Mounting the fixture was complicated by the fact that there are pipes mounted to the ceiling joists, so I had to use 2x3s to lower the mounting surface. The light quality is very nice with a sunshine color balance, and I can already tell this lighting will be key.
And although I had hoped to paint the walls first, I wound up putting down the subfloor instead. This was complicated by the fact that there were some 2x4s sticking out from under the adjacent subfloor. I had to cut them all so the new subfloor edge would be flush. Putting in the subfloor itself was very easy, as it’s just tongue and groove. It is very likely that the subfloor will spread to more of the basement.
Tomorrow I hope to finish the painting and maybe build a wall.

More work on the Microshop


Today I spent almost 8 hours working on the Microshop. It’s getting to the point where I can start to visualize what I’m going to do. Mostly, I’m still moving junk around, but some sense of organization is starting to emerge. First thing was to remove the stud in the alcove which I accomplished with a chisel as I could not find an adequate saw. Once that was done I was able to fit 30 smaller AkroBins + 10 large ones in the space. That quite a bit of organization potential. I also decided to better define the space by moving the workbench to be perpendicular to the wall. I started to clean items with soapy water, but there’s a ways to go before things are “clean”.
I’m starting to formulate a plan of next steps – which includes wiring up an outlet and providing some decent lighting. I also have an idea for a removable wall so that I can better control the climate of the area.

A Microshop Location


After giving some thought to perhaps making the music room into a shop, I have decided that instead, I’ll try to convert the small area under the basement stairs. There already is a small workbench there, but the entire area – actually the entire basement is just a huge mess. There’s no room even to move anything out of the way – so this is going to be challenging. One positive thing is that I inherited a large number of AkroBins from a work reorg – high quality plastic bins previously used by our manufacturing department. So at least I have the potential of putting a large number of things “away”.
Today I started by doing my best to gain access to the area by moving the mess around. I managed to mostly clear off the junk on the workbench, start organizing the items stashed under the stairs and basically do enough to make me believe that I might be able to use the space. I found a small alcove in the wall formed by not completing the wall years ago. It was behind some Sheetrock just leaning against the wall. I figure if I remove a stud, I can put a good amount of acrobins in there.

Guitar Kit For Christmas!


Merry Christmas! Today I received the truly awesome gift of a high quality dreadnought guitar in kit form. I’ve been thinking of trying to build a guitar for awhile, and had considered taking a course and/or trying one of the guitar kits from Stewart-McDonald or Luthiers Mercantile. I’d probably be on the fence forever, so I’m grateful that Candi pushed me off the fence by gifting me the Stewart-McDonald Dreadnought Kit. The word “kit” probably makes you think you just glue a few pieces together and you’re done – but nothing can be further from the truth. Yes, some of the most complex steps are pre-done, for example the top has already be joined and gauged, the sides are bent to shape, and the fretboard has fret slots. But thats about it. Getting a fully functional guitar out of this kit is still a enormous amount of work, and there are many skills to learn and tools to buy.

First step, however is finding a place in this small and very cluttered house to dedicate to a guitar workshop. The area will need to be temperature and humidity controlled. I have had a plan to build a workshop in our woods, but that project is still off in the future. So, I will try to set up something somewhere in this house that will work, and try to get it done before I return to work on Jan 2. And this blog seems like an ideal way to chronicle the whole journey.

The dzPlanet blog checklist

Here is a list of things I would like to do to this blog, both major and minor. When I accomplish / figure out something, I’ll link to the solution.