Friday, May 27, 2011

Waiting for Dinner

 In the season when it is not daylight savings time here, dinner time is at 5PM  (if you are a cat in residence).  Then when we spring forward, it also jumps to a normalised 6PM.  But it being late autumn here now, the magic time is definitely 5 o'clock.  And Pook is pretty good at telling time.

Today was an exciting day, we unveiled the newly finished island.  We used a special oil wax imported from Germany called Osmo Polyx oil-wax, and it came up lovely.  Ian has put a few coats on the top and also did a single sealing coat on underside and side edges.  The oil-wax brought out the grain and warmth of colour on the timber top.  I am glad we did not stain it, we really did not have to.  Un-finished it did look really bleachy and pale (see previous post).  But finished with this oil-wax,the Tassie Oak planks have come out really beautiful.

The finish has taken a few days to apply and to dry.  And with some chilly and drizzley weather, it has not dried super fast.  So we taped cardboard around it.  This was meant to be primarily a cat deterrent.  I was not sure how effective it would be.  But Ian thought the animals would not jump onto a surface they could not see.  Day One supported this theory.

However, on Day Two I came back from an errand late in the day and out of the corner of my eye and to my horror, I saw a cat leap from floor, up and over the barrier, and land on the surface !  Yikes !  I shooed the offender off (as carefully as I could manage) and thought perhaps not much harm was done, because it was mostly dry by that time.  And the cat wasn't there very long.  But I did not see any smudges in the finish.

When Ian got back from his errands, I learned that the cat I saw clear the cardboard hurdle was not the first to do it (she probably got the idea seeing Winston do it first ?!).  Hmmmm....On close inspection, we found two places with very light paw print indentations.  Not very noticeable to someone not looking for them though.    Still, so much work has gone into this !  So another light coat went on yesterday.  The cardboard got put up again, without the gaps in the corners as before, and put a bit higher too.  And we watched the animals more closely.

All in all, it is looking really nice and we are very happy with it.  Full curing takes a few weeks, during which time we need to take a bit of care with using the surface.

We also painted the bar stools.  They are IKEA ones and we did not like how the white looked.  I got spray paint in Colourbond colour Monument (a deep charcoal) and Ian has spent all week painting bits and pieces of the seats and frames.  Weather not making it a very speedy job.

But the colour is fab !  Looks fantastic with the island frame.  Very smart and perfect perfect perfect.

So another job come right and the kitchen well and truly is nearly done.  Only one small job to complete, painting the window trim in the transom window frame.

Pookie had to wait until very close to 5.  He looks the picture of patience.  Or maybe tenaciousness !

Not Pook's dinner...but a photo of our first bread making here.  Looks gorgeous, and tasted good too !

Monday, May 16, 2011

Island Engineering

Hi There, it has been awhile since I have been online and posting, due to a mysterious leg ailment after return of my last work trip overseas.  It is improving slowly but surely, not that we understand its cause yet (though we can count a few things out:  DVT, sciatica, etc).  But case notes have duly been prepared and more when the next trip out happens, as I will be paying good attention to note things now forward !

Meanwhile, Ian has been busy for a month or a bit longer...and nearly three weeks full-time plus on this project.  The Kitchen Island.

Ian working on island in his workshop
This needs a bit of explanation.  I wanted an industrial style island for our kitchen, something with chunky industrial wheels and rivets on steel.  Actually I did not mean Ian had to make this.  But he talked me into it, saying, "don't you want me to make the island ?"  He is a skilled metal craftsman, and I knew anything he made would be amazing in its engineering and very good quality.   How could I turn down such an offer ?  But I knew he was busy and would be for some time.  I asked if he was sure he wanted to do this, I got convinced and we agreed.  Ian would make our  kitchen island.

To determine the ideal size, to be big and useful, but still allow for the flow and spaciousness we wanted in the kitchen we marked out the dimensions on the floor using white electrical tape. The tape moved a bit in this direction and that over the course of a few days while we worked out and agreed the size.  110 x 120 cm...not quite square (making it 120 square would have taken more space we wanted to retain. and why make it smaller than what you have to, just to be square ?!)
One of the big front wheels, looking very rusty

Island outside, waiting for its move in

We did a lot of looking on line and even bought some awesome chunky castor wheels from the USA, that are either new old stock (or very well preserved) or made from old molds dated 1939.  We got one pair for the back wheels.  Online in Australia, Ian found a set of large wheels and two of them are on the front.  They look like bigger versions of the wheels in the castors.  Ian bought a lot of steel rod and heaps of bolts, which he machined to make into rivets for the design I liked.  He even found perforated steel mesh for the doors to the cupboard under the top, here it is called meatsafe mesh...but to my delight it has small holes punched in it to make the mesh, exactly what I wanted !
It's In !  And Winston and Pookie found it.

The island had to be touched up and finished inside.  because, to get it in, doors had to be removed from the house, and parts had to be taken off the island.  All good fun. I did not think it would get in, and had to go away and let Ian work that.  When I returned it was in.

The island lower shelves need a paint job.
Cupboard doors not on yet, but Pook loves it !
lower shelves now painted, and old big wheels are too

The cupboard and bottom shelves needed painting, getting primer and coat of dark almost black paint.  Some areas on the steel frame needed touching up too.  They are painted a hammerfinish paint, in a gunmetal colour (dark charcoal).  The meatsafe mesh is painted black.  The big wheels were really needing a coat of paint and got done in a dull grey colour that seemed similar to the front castor wheels (which needed no extra paint, they looked great).  I brought back old bronze finish hinges and old fashioned cabinet catches from US store Restoration Hardware., and they look nearly black.

Ian and I went to the lumber yard and picked out oak planks for the top work surface., these were cut and dressed to the right size and Ian has secured them to the island with hundreds of bolts.  Doing such a neat job it looks like a seamless timber top surface, (rather than 8 separate planks).
Inside cupboard door, very spacious

The cupboard doors are a real piece of engineering.  Each one has been hand cut and welded together, you see three 90 degree corners and one with two angles of less than.  Apparently welding these to be straight and correct was not easy.  Each cupboard door frame took nearly a day to make !  (Ian was very glad to have this job done).

Close up view of doors on and wheels all painted

Today it is ALMOST finished.  ONly job to do now is the apply a finish to the timber work surface. We will order that tomorrow, looks like a special oilwax finish is a good choice.  Until then we will be very careful with what goes on top !!  Still, it is lovely having the extra space !  (even if Pookie does think it is for him, he has become quite the kitchen cat).