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Proposed Addition

See the top-level specifications in this pdf file. And update for Rome Planning Board here.

See the updated, draft building permit application here.

See the plan for the enlargement of the septic field here.

Here is a movie of the stairs and the loft, up to the ceiling.

Teak Garden Bench

Based on Norm Abram’s plans in the old Yankee Workshop, I made his teak garden bench from a design he got in England. He said he actually went to England to measure an existing bench. My build took about six weeks. I saw the exact bench in the final scene of the movie Notting Hill. I will install the bench in Maine come springtime.

Garden Bench (Click on pic for better view)Click again for enlargement
Notting Hill
New Yankee Workshop PlansFinished Bench

I spent $2000 to buy rough-cut teak at a place in Rhode Island. I needed 5/4, 6/4, and 12/4 boards, and this was the only place I could find them. As it turned out, they had almost what I needed, but I had a buy a little extra. And there were lots of scraps from the angled pieces. All the rough boards fit into the van. I also stopped at Burns Tool Center, just down the road in Tiverton, to buy a second set of planer blades, which the guy at the teak place said I’d need due to the hardness of the teak. And I did have difficulty planing the wider boards. As it turned out, the planer lacks sufficient power to plane any board wider than 4-5″, so the blades were not the culprit for difficulty in planing. When I finally got to the seat portion, I was supposed to plane to 7/8″ thickness, but I stopped at 1 1/4″ due to lack of planer power. In fact, the 1 1/4″ thickness seems quite nice.

The instructions in the Abram’s book are pretty good. Here are some details.

  • I used my Pantorouter for all the mortise and tenon joints. I chose tenon widths for combinations that I had, which differed slightly from the ones used by Norm, but all the joints were tight and gorgeous. The pieces could all be mounted on the pantorouter, with the larger pieces needing external support.
  • I made two measurement mistakes on depths of two tenons, so I added a piece to fix each one. I tried to make the grain in the right direction. They fit perfectly, but you can still see the seam. So be it.
  • On one hole for a screw, I drilled too deep and pierced the slab, so I added a teak plug that fits well and is secure. So be it.
  • I followed the directions to make and assemble each end, which took a long time—lots of planing, cutting, sanding, and filing. I took Norm’s advice to clamp the identical pieces, but even then I had to be quite careful to sand at right angles. I used water-activated epoxy for the joints and pinned them per Norm’s method. That’s overkill I think with the high-quality pantorouter joints. I learned to clean the glue seepage at the joints, but there are still obvious blemishes.
  • The seat slabs are thicker than Norm’s recommendation of 7/8″ thickness. I didn’t want the planer to do all the removal, so I made them 1 1/4″ thick. See pic above.
  • I attached the seat slabs from the bottom, rather the recommended top. I put four screws in each slab. Should be fine and avoids need to fill screw holes with teak plugs (which I ordered and did not use).
  • I made the rear slats essentially rectangular, with sanded edges. Each slat has rounded ends to fit the mortises in the rails. See the picture above. I even made a chamfer for the lower end due to the 12.5-deg angle offset on the slats. No glue.
  • Slat Detail (Click on pic for better view)Click again for enlargement
    ChamferNo Chamfer on Slat Top
    Teak Garden Bench (click on pic for better view; click again for enlargement)

    Christmas 2020

    Season’s Greetings!

    missing Photo Oct 31, 5 41 08 PM.jpg
    Daddy Chef Dave and happy Chef Benvolio
    missing IMG_6238.jpg
    Miles Arthur Carlsen With Parents, Mel and Eric
    missing KnightShelkowitz.jpg
    Shelly. Celia, Jay, and Olive
    missing Photo Oct 25, 7 54 47 PM.jpg
    Nora, Emily, Voli, Dave, and Joe
    missing AnnFred.jpg
    Ann and Fred

    Melanie, 33, Eric, and Miles, age 1.4, reside in Maynard. In the spring, Melanie changed jobs to work in Acton-Boxborough Schools as a speech language pathologist. Eric remains at Northern Light Productions, as Lead Animator, diligently working remotely. Miles is mobile, talks so much, and remains a charmer.

    Emily, 38, and Dave Faulkner welcomed Benvolio Faulkner Knight on 3 June 2020. Voli is an extremely happy baby and gets attention from everybody. Emily continues as Director of Events Marketing at Boston Magazine. Dave is a star of YouTube videos as Chef’s Bonus and is Culinary Innovation Director at the Fulham Group . Emily and Dave live in Reading, MA. Dave’s daughter Nora is now a sophomore at U Mass Lowell, and son Joe is a senior at Reading High School.

    Celia, 42, 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, 8.5 years, is in third grade, and Olive, almost 6 years, is in kindergarten in Carlisle.

    Ann, 69, continues to love retirement, reads continually, and manages our family activities.

    Fred, 70, still works part-time at Lincoln Lab and enjoys swimming, hiking, and woodworking.

    Due to some strict quarantining this past summer, we were lucky to spend some time together in Maine. If you are interested in more photos, here’s a 3-minute slideshow (download is 200MB).

    All our best to you in 2021.

    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

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    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