The House Move

It’s all go at sellershome.com . Join me on the journey as we build a houseful of furniture pieces together with other woodworking projects you will need when you make and build all of the pieces you will need for a growing family home. It’s not new to me and I did learn a lot from my many mistakes through the years of raising a family, making beds and bunks, dining tables, bench seats and more. I did all of this whilst keeping my business live on a single-income wage for over 40 years too.

Prototype on the right.

Progress on the house redevelopment is continuing, and this week the builders took over the hub of the house to extend the kitchen and dining room and to combine them into one. Walls were dropped, floors came up and then the ceilings came down too, all intentional developments. Quite an upheaval but everything in there needed more than a facelift. We are adding a utility room and a second bathroom into the equation, just for good measure while the construction (actually demolition) is underway. What once stood as walls seems to take ten times the space when dropped. First the negative and now for the positive.

The walls came down in part but the major one is the wall to the right which undergirds the whole of the back wall of the house.

This opening space prepares me to think about the dining, kitchen, living room furniture I will need. I have already isolated some elm beams that I am thinking of saving for the dining room table legs. Lots and lots of dormant buds in the form of burls give this its own intrinsic texture. Now I am on the lookout for some tabletop wood to complement the legs. This should be fun!

Elm, oak, ash I bought from a friend in 2019.

My work on the lounge furniture pieces has gone well so far. Currently, I am designing smaller pieces including a waste bin, wall clock (with a true mechanical movement), coasters, a small chairside table and toy storage boxes. I am also fairly settled on a new design for a TV stand. All of this coincides with the conclusion of the downstairs building work being carried out. But I am planning to make some hall pieces next, so I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself. I will need some shelves, a coat rack of some kind, places for shoes, mud boots, etc and then some decorative pieces too.

One of my wall clocks made in 2006.

Here is a clock I made 15 years ago from quarter-sawn American oak. There is something uniquely special about making a clock case of your own design and then too taking it into the house and hanging it on the wall in time for Christmas. The pleasure for me was two-fold – the whole process of designing it and making it – and then the pleasure of giving it. In this Hermle eight-day clock movement I wanted the Westminster chime, and then something that needed winding every 8 days so that it could be wound each Sunday as a ritual with the Monday as a buffer for forgetfulness. Surprisingly for some, it is as perfectly adjustable to high levels of accuratcy as well as being perfectly charming and elegant. Well worth the effort of making for so great a reward in service.

John’s latest piece in figured elm.
The elm sections will work for table legs at least.

I have some elm wood I have been saving for the dining table. I am not one hundred percent sold on this, but I am as near as it gets. Johns’s rocking chair in the Craftsman Arts and Crafts style above came from the same tree and I am wondering about a rocker from the same wood if I have enough space in the new dining kitchen too.

Concrete and rubble make for loads of dust but demolition breaks ground for the new and improved version of a living kitchen hub.

Construction work is always a messy business because bricks and mortar come crashing down and puthering dust gathers in pockets of air movement beyond even the confining limits of still-standing walls and doors. I must say though, despite the demolition, everything has been done in quick time and in very good order. The jack hammers and brick cutters took their toll on the quite of the street for eight hours but no more than the chainsaw and lawnmowers that seem ever present in suburbia. It’s an unfortunate thing that the back of the house is inaccessible to any kind of heavy equipment so the piles had to be hand wheeled from rear to front to remove it. A skip load has already gone and a second skip will be filled this week no doubt. It was nice to see the old cabinets go. The were beyond a good paint job and a new kitchen is underway (not by me this time) though; I am certain I would have enjoyed it, but time simply does not permit.

Even the rubbish piles are always neat with our builders.

I think even the removal of the piles of bricks, piling for collection, the dug holes and the cut bricks all bespeak the quality of the builder and his team. We have a way to go, nine more weeks, but the end result will be a new area ready for me to design for.

The garden is coming along fine and these new fruit beds are already filling with produce.

Beyond the brick walls the garden seems a little later this year. With a wet and cooler start to our spring, and lots of rain and cold, things are not popping quite so soon as the last two years, but the greenhouse is a wonderful addition and is now in full use. The vegetable beds and growing boxes are filled with emerging plants of onions, shallots, garlic, potatoes and much more. My tomatoes from my window sills at work are well under way in their new home and the yellow flower-heads promise an abundant cropping of tomatoes.

From my last year’s crop.

Potatoes are a mainstay to my homegrown and last year I supplied about 8 months of my needs while having enough left over to plant this year’s crop.

The new living room. Two of the new pieces in view, a cherry rocking chair and the new coffee table, also in cherry.

The sellershome.com is progressing well and with the first three pieces in place I feel an increasing excitement at what seems to be my five-year plan to make a houseful of furniture and woodwork to teach people to do it themselves as I have done throughout my life. Yesterday we were all laughing at my making a tile-top family dining table in a day when we needed an emergency table. That was 25 years ago now. One Saturday morning, knowing I needed a table by the evening for dinner guests, I went to the lumber store, bought two-by stock of southern yellow pine and a sheet of 3/4″ birch plywood, some tiles, adhesive and grout, and by four-thirty the same day the table was finished and installed. No joinery was compromised, I applied three coats of waterbased varnish that lasted perfectly well. I even installed a dovetailed silverware drawer in the end that was never convenient for the person sitting there but very handy for setting the places. What did we laugh about? Keeping the grout decent by scrubbing with tooth brushes! Where is the table now? I took it along to Goodwill.

15 thoughts on “The House Move”

  1. Hi Paul,

    Where do you buy clock parts? I enjoy building clocks but have struggled to find a good place with quality offerings.

    Thanks!

  2. I’m enjoying your journey very much on this home. Have you thought of saving a few bricks to possibly incorporate into a piece of furniture?

    Little by little I am making furniture for my home as well. It’s a lot of fun to make it. I wish I were quicker but such is life.

  3. Peter Marshall

    Paul , I enjoy the variety of woods we have available but there is something very special about working with Cherry . Your Rocking chair and coffee table are such beautiful examples …

  4. I have a mantle clock that I enjoy and my grandkids stand amazed by it. The 3 year old will point and just smile as it chimes. I will look forward to the clock build as I know two adult children who will love one each.

  5. Robert Sexsmith

    Paul As most cities at least in Canada, you have to do a lot of paper work before you can start remodel your own home then pass inspection.
    I have son that does finish carpenter work and designs many thing for houses he works in.
    Health permitting I try to work with him. It is a proud time for me to be on site and see what he has done.
    By the way Elm wood is not used it Ontario, you bur it as fire wood but the deashed, sad to think about good wood you can not use.

  6. It is fascinating to hear you mention using elm wood. Here in Vermont we used to have Elms lining Main Street. Once, as a kid, I was running on the side of the highway following a parade. Suddenly I was stopped in my tracks, I had run full on into an Elm tree ( Starbucks is there now ). I remember feeling hurt and embarrassed and ran home , crying I think.

    I remember that I never heard of anyone using Elm wood for anything, it was always Pine, Spruce, Maple and others. Of course some people did use it but I did not realise it. Recently a friend asked me to build him a reversible tabletop/bench picnic table for one. To cover the screw holes I used grapevine root wood and rose bush wood plugs made from carved dowels, as well as some kind of wild bush wood. The grapevine root wood worked well.

    The Elmwood used in your son’s rocking chair is stunning.

  7. Robert A Pate

    It is sad that a good many American Elms were destroyed by the Dutch Elm Blight in the fifties and sixties. Many American towns had their streets lined with the beautiful wine glass shaped trees. The trees were so notable that people named their communities, like Elmwood Park (near Chicago, IL), after the trees.

    I have to admit a bit of envy in seeing your elm wood loaded on the trailer. Under your hands, I’m sure they will make beautiful furniture. I know that you will treat them well in their after-life.

  8. Hey Paul, When are we going to have a glimpse about the furniture you made for your home at the sellershome website?
    Are you finishing all the furniture(-videos) first before you post them all online?

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