Cherry Armoire

The cherry armoire is complete, after many months of work. It is installed in the mudroom. The unstained (natural) cherry matches our kitchen cabinets and should darken over the next few months.

Armoire (click on pic for better view; click again for enlargement)
Woodsmith Plan Cover Finished Armoire
Cherry Armoire

Using plans that I bought from Woodsmith, I built this cherry armoire for the mudroom. I spent many hours over a few months making it starting with rough-cut cherry, cherry plywood, and maple that I bought in New Hampshire at Northland Forest Products (Another option was Highland Hardwoods, down the road, or Seacoast in Sanford, ME, or Goosebay Lumber.) The lumber was 13/16-inch thick and needed to be planed. Cost was $750. All the details are in the plans. I made a few modifications, omitting the LHS shelves in favor of two coat hanging areas and making four drawers instead of three to allow one lower drawer to pull out in front of the adjacent sitting bench. Here is a movie of the finished product; below are hi-res images that you can click on for full resolution.

Armoire (click on pic for better view; click again for enlargement)

Some details. I used my new sawstop table saw to cut accurately and precisely. I used the new Pantorouter to do the drawer rear dovetails. I used the old table saw with a 1/4-inch dado blade to cut the front drawer joints, the drawer bottom dados, and all the frame dados. I used the pantorouter to cut the mortise and tenon joints. For two reasons some of the mortise and tenon joints are not the greatest (misalignment) due to inconsistent thinning on the 13/16 rough cherry using the planer and lack of precision on my old table saw. On the drawers, I used 1/2-inch maple for the sides and 3/4-inch cherry for the fronts. To make blind joints, I omitted the dovetails in the front and used a modified quarter-quarter-half method; see pic. I did not stain the piece; I applied 3-4 coats of water-based varnish, based on Bob Thomason’s advice. The varnish worked well, but the 3-4 coats were necessary.

Christmas 2019

Season’s Greetings!

There are many pictures posted for viewing; see selections below or click on the link.

Daddy and enthusiastic Miles
Miles Arthur Carlsen With Parents, Mel and Eric
Jay. Celia, Olive, and Shelly
Nora, Joe, Dave, and Emily

There are many pictures posted for viewing. Just click to see the catalog.

Melanie, 32, and Eric, 34, welcomed Miles Arthur Carlsen, 0.4, in August 2019. Miles is a charmer, is growing fast, and is a big smiler. Melanie, who returned to her job as a speech language pathologist at the Perkins School, and Eric, who is lead animator at Northern Light Productions, bought their new home in Maynard in June 2019. Miles is a real beauty.

Emily, 37, and Dave Faulkner had another busy year. Emily continued as Director of Events Marketing at Boston Magazine. Dave joined the Fulham Group as Culinary Innovation Director. Emily and Dave live in Reading, MA. Dave’s daughter Nora is now in her first college year at U Mass Lowell, and son Joe is a junior at Reading High School.

Celia, 41, continues to teach art at Gates Elementary School in Acton. She and Jason Shelkowitz, who teaches music at Sargent Elementary School, have two delightful daughters. Shelly, 7.5 years, is engaging and inquisitive. Olive, almost 5 years, is charming and growing up too fast.

Ann, 68, loves retirement, reads continually, and manages our family activities. She rejoined the First Parish Choir, is now walking everyday, and loves rocking with her new grandson.

Fred, 69, still works part-time at Lincoln Lab after his retirement in April 2017. He is still enjoying swimming, hiking, and buying useful woodworking equipment. Ann and I love being near our family.

All our best to you in 2020.

Wood Shed

The completed wood shed with about 1.5 cord of wood piled by family slaves.

I built a wood shed on the side of the garage at the Beaver Brook camp in the spring of 2019. The large movie shows the phases of construction. A few tidbits. I used two portions of the old deck for the floor. The new construction consisted of a roof held up by 4×4 posts on concrete piers just sitting on the ground. The ledger board for the roof joists was screwed into the garage studs after I removed the clapboards. I added a plywood roof that was under the clapboard and covered with ice shield and shingles. The ledger also had plastic rain guard flashing on top (2″ under clapboard) and bottom (2″ under ledger). Length is 12′. so there are three 4′ bays with the third partially covered at its base by rocks. The roof has 1-in-12 pitch and is 8′ on slope, so plywood sheets do not need cutting and 40″-wide ice shield can overlap and extend up the garage wall. I bought a Paslode framing nailer that worked well. On the sides, I used old pipe that I found in the yard behind the garage. Before the camp’s well was installed, the pipe extended into the lake as a feed for gray water. The materials were from Hammond Lumber, probably $800, but I did not keep track of expenses.

Fogg Island Trail Opening

Following the annual Maine Audubon Loon Count in Lynch Cove, Peter Kallin invited me to an excursion to the south end of Long Pond where the Seven Lakes Alliance was opening a new trail on Fogg Island at the south end of Long Pond. See the Fall 2018 newsletter for some more information.

Some pictures of the trip are here.

Beaver Brook Culvert Install

New culvert (same 12″ diameter but deeper for better drainage and good stability for vehicle traffic) was installed on 7 May 2019.

Before, Looking South After, Looking South

As to the current situation with the culvert, I took a few pictures pre-install and post-install and posted them here.   The culvert is pierced on the lake side of the road (under the board). The pool exists on the land side of the road, but the water is flowing freely but slowly to the lake under the road. It seems like the considerations are:

  • Make the road passable (for heavy vehicles) for the 12 camps beyond the culvert
  • Not undermine Godomsky’s and West’s properties. The pool away from the lake and the water passage under the road are between these two properties.
  • Not affect the pond adversely
  • Get the repair done as soon as possible.

Summary: Culvert replaced between Lot #27 and Lot #28 Beaver Brook Estates

Christmas 2018

Greetings and Happy New Year!

There are many pictures posted for viewing. Just click to see the catalog.

Melanie, 31, continues as a speech-language pathologist at the Perkins School. She and husband Eric Carlsen, who does video animatation at Northern Light Productions, are living with us with house hunting on the horizon.

Emily, 36, married Dave Faulkner in a ceremony in Madeira (a great destination for a wedding!) in April 2018. Emily was promoted to Director of Events Marketing at Boston Magazine, where she received the inaugural Big Brain Award. Dave is executive chef for the State Street Bank. Emily and Dave live in Reading, MA with Dave’s two fantastic teenagers, Nora and Joe, whom we are very much enjoying as members of the family.

Celia, 40, continues to teach art at Gates Elementary School in Acton. She and Jason Shelkowitz, who teaches music at Sargent Elementary School, have two delightful daughters. Shelly, 6.5 years, is engaging and inquisitive. Olive, almost 4 years, is charming and growing up too fast.

Ann, 67, loves retirement, reads continually, and manages our family activities. She kept our contractor on track in the recent remodeling job.

Fred, 68, works part-time at Lincoln Lab after his retirement in April 2017. He is still enjoying swimming and hiking. Ann and I love being near our family.

All our best to you in 2019.

Structural Engineering for Proposed Garage Modification

I need a structural engineer to detail and certify a modification of a garage with trusses. Here are the sketches. The idea is to put two flow-through dormer pairs in the second story of the garage, which has an existing apartment. The trusses need to be accounted for, but the sketch I saw on line seems to be a good method. I am still looking for an engineer to detail and certify the plan.  Also, I am considering the alternative of one pair of shed dormers, if feasible, and, in addition, a deck in front, and a telescope pier from the garage concrete level for stability.

Please see the other charts for general plan.  I added more detail on charts 4-6.  My idea is to retain the truss bracing outside the existing room on the second floor, but to replace the roof part of the truss.  Thus, new windows would be above the existing knee wall.  This will require bracing.  My main concerns are whether this is possible and whether there is any way to make other modifications to eliminate the portion of the truss external to the existing knee wall.  If this is possible, then there could even be a deck extended out from the existing room.  I also want to consider one shed dormer on each side instead of two.  I also want to consider a telescope pier that would extend from the concrete slab to the roof.

I am looking for engineering details and a plan.  What is required for the basic approach and what is required for the options?  To be specific, I am interested in the following.  If you are interested, can you give me some notes on jobs similar to ours or estimate time required for the following?
  1. Idea #1: Two sets of dormers with flat ceiling, each 10′ wide, existing knee wall extended upward.
  2. Idea #2: One set of 20′-24′-wide shed dormers, front and back
  3. Option #1: Extend floor beyond current knee walls, which I presume requires significant truss bracing
  4. Option #2: add front (lake-side) deck
  5. Option #3: add telescope pier for 11″ celestron, equatorial or alt-azimuth mount



Hurricane Irma Aftermath

On the day after hurricane Irma passed Melbourne, we visited Mom’s house and found it in uncompromised condition. The yard, however, was littered with debris and some branches, as the pictures indicate.
This morning’s updates on the hurricane from NHC are shown on this image. irma path.
By the end of the day, the wind had essentially abated. This was after a wild night with lots of rain (12″ total) and wind until morning.

Hike and Picnic in Carlisle

Shelly, Olive, and I had a picnic in the woods. Watch the picnic movie.

Igloo Today!

3-day weekend event capped with Monday’s Igloo build.

Friday night, 10 Feb 2017
Forecast deteriorates. Abort Sunday’s planned hike of Flume Slide and Liberty Spring trails. (Matt said it was a good decision as Lea and his drive to Vermont was slow.)

Saturday, 11 Feb 2017
new tires on Prius V, then played with Shelly and Olive.

Sunday, 12 Feb 2017
4-hour walk around Wayland, with intermittent snow. Then lots of snow late and over night.

Monday, 13 Feb 2017
5:30 am: It snowed heavily, probably 10″, on Saturday and Sunday. Monday dawned with a further dusting. Why not make an igloo using the grandshelters Ice Box kit?.

6:30 am: Except for the forecast wind, the conditions are right to use my igloo kit to make an igloo in the yard. We have enough snow, and it’s wet snow—good for the igloo. We’re sheltered enough to not have the wind be a problem, I think. I need help, at least a second person. If anybody is interested in braving the conditions to get to Wayland (Jon, Emily, Maren, and Luke excepted since the journey from 8 to 10 Trinity Place is short), I am going to try whenever I have a partner.

6:36, Melanie: Looks fun, Dad!! I wish we could help, but Eric and I are both headed in to work. 🙁

9:35, Emily: Dave’s suggestion : “You should start a publication with that name…Igloo Today.”

10:01: readership will vroom—once i post the pictures. i am ready to build. any takers? dad

1:05: We had the neighborhood kids for awhile but intrepid Jon was the only stalwart. Time for a break after 3 hours. We might finish…before dark. How to get from inside to outside is a problem. That’s why 2 are required, but the inside person still has to survive until the job is done. We’ll see what happens.

1:30: Solo work. tiers 4-6. Cut hole in base to crawl in and out. Kids visited one more time. Still no top. Routine is go outside and throw snow inside, then crawl in and use snow for more blocks. Repeat.

3:00: Jon returns—just what I need encouragement and help. I go inside with form; Jon shovels snow. A few difficulties with alignment and cracks, but progress continues through 6th tier. Then, as in instructions, remove the outer panel and end plate. Jon piles snow on top. I pack. It works! Final crest, 7th tier, I hold inner panel at top and Jon piles snow.

4:05: Igloo completed in elapsed time of 6 hours. Definitely a team effort. Neighborhood kids worked packing and shoveling for awhile. Jon had two important stints as Shoveler and Former. I managed to build alone after cutting a door in the base and throwing snow over the growing walls to load the form from the inside. A massive structure, 10′ in diameter. Finished product shown.

5:00: load the sleeping gear. Cocoon of Tyvec, and nested bags. Cardboard boxes to close off door.

7:15: Ready for bed in pajamas and down slippers. Add down quilt and pillow.

5:50am, next morning: 13 deg F outside this morning—and cozy inside. I did load up on the bedding since I wasn’t hiking very far to get to the igloo camp, but I slept from 7pm to 5:30am in extreme comfort, with only one call of nature in between. (The cardboard on the floor blocked the door at night.) 6 hours of work and, voila, you have a bedroom for 3. Any takers? Reservations required.