Friday, March 17, 2017

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Want to build a gag manniquin?

It's been a year since my last blog posting, so I'm not blogging all the time ,as you can see.
Only when I build something that might interest some people do I post it.

Well, one day I saw these almost life-size gag dolls sitting in a furniture store and they looked pretty stiff like just having broomsticks for limbs. But I liked the idea of it and was told that I could have one for 250 bucks. I thought that I could make one myself and it would be a lot of fun doing so. Using material you can get anywhere at hardware places, goodwill stores and keeping your eyes open at swap-meets, garage sales etc would keep the cost down, and besides the hunting for stuff you can use makes it fun.

As you can see, I'm using PVC piping for the arms and copper tubing, wood dowels to make the joints. I'm sure that there are other ways of doing it, but this is what I had available in my workshop/garage. I decided to use a thrash-can for the chest. What you see on the bottom picture are the arms that have full motion capability.
Adding some flesh to the shoulders!

Her you can see the pelvic/hip  area with the legs attached. It is also connected to the bottom of the torso.with some movement possible.

Filling the pelvic area and the buttocks with this hard foam you can get in any hobby section. Cut it with a wood hand saw and use a rough file to shape it. Don't glue it using PVC glue, it will melt! I used 
foam insulation in a can, Use rubber gloves, because it is real sticky stuff and hard to get off your hands. The buns came out way too big and performed a reduction bun 'surgery' at a later stage! Isn't this a fun project!
At the Golden West swap-meet we like to visit on the weekends, I found a rubber Arnold Swartzennegger mask which I filled with foam from the can and my grandson's rubber ball for brains. Don't worry he doesn't even miss it. The mask was a buck and the hair 3 bucks at the swap-meet.
MMM...The head looks way too big! Note the shoe stretchers used as feet.
Yes, those are used kid-size shin/knee protectors for the shoulders. I also decided that I had to make the limbs larger to match the size of the head. A little PVC glue and tubing works wonders.

Luke was so happy with his new size, 6ft 10in, that he hugged me. Yes I decided to name him Luke. But now we had a hard time finding fitting clothes at the goodwill store. Hardly anybody is six ten!

Luke is tall and  by-golly he is going to be MACHO! Look at that chest-hair!! To be macho you also need kneecaps by the way. You didn't know that, did ya
Here is Luke drinking a beer. I gave him a manly six o'clock shadow and he is tickled pink
Oh, by the way, Luke's Mexican friends call him Lukas, Lukas el Mechudo.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Second Bathroom Remake

 The bathroom had a big mirror glued to the wall, like many bathrooms have. I wanted to save the mirror, to be reinstalled after the installation of the granite top. So of course, the problem is how to get the mirror of in one piece without damaging it! So I went on the internet to find out. There are a lot of crazy suggestions out there on this subject , but the one that stuck out as sensible I used with success. Starting at one of the top corners, take a flexible 'feeler' like a springy metal wire or ruler and use it to locate one of the globs of glue that holds the mirror to the wall. Mark the mirror with a wax crayon where this spot is. Now use a wooden wedge (you can buy a package of wedges at the hardware stores) and wedge it snugly between the mirror and the wall, taking care not to put too much pressure on the mirror! Too much force will break the glass, so easy does it... Now use a hairdryer to warm up the spot you marked holding the dryer about six inches away and making tiny circles. With the other hand push the wedge in slowly as the glob of glue starts softening up. Eventually the glue will let go, sometimes with an audible pop. Use your feeler tool for the next glue spot, etc. etc. I bought some handles with suction cups on the ends at Harbor Freight, not that I'm advertizing for them but they were real reasonable. You need these handles to lift and move the mirror, it will be heavy! The round marks on  the wall is where the globs of glue were. The glue is some kind of tar I think.
After removing the old light fixture I'm running new electrical wiring to the two new locations (see hole).

 Well, one fixture is installed temporarily To see what it will look like.
 To save on expenses I decided to reuse the existing cabinets and just spruce them up with some trim on the edges of the doors and drawers. If you do this and decide to paint the cabinet than there is no need to use expensive wood for the trim. I found that regular baseboard trim would work fine in my case. Now is also the time to put self-closing hinges on the doors. Make sure that the trim you pick is not too thick, otherwise you will have problems opening the doors fully!
 As you can see the granite installers have done their job. When you look for granite, don't buy a whole slab. Ask were the remnants are (from people that did pay for a whole slab) and pick one you like, making sure  it's big enough for what you need. Granite comes in two thicknesses, at least here were I live. Sometimes it does not make a difference in price when you use a remnant. I picked the thick granite.

 Just installing the sinks using clear silicone glue. Clean it up with rubbing alcohol.

 After prepping the wall I started painting the wall green so it will look good with the existing dark green ceramic floor tiles.
 Working on the plumbing. Don't use the old plumbing. It's does not cost that much, so it makes sense to put in new plumbing.

 While all this stuff was going on in the bathroom I was also re-doing the mirror by giving it a new look with some trim. This trim is glued, using silicone glue, to the rim so that the edges of the mirror and trim line up. I used those plastic spring-loaded clamps to hold the trim while the glue is curing. Lay the mirror on it's back on some support when you do this. As you can see I decided to make the trim look old by crackling the paint using 'Crackle' made by Behr Premium Plus no.755. Follow the instructions and practice on leftover pieces of wood first. Below is how the mirror was held against the wall while the special mirror glue is curing. This glue will not hurt the mirror finish. Use a long screw into the stud.
 A added touch with a hand support for the old folks! Remember eventually you will get old too!
 OK it's all done and I hope you'll like it and that this will help you with your bathroom makeover!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Bathroom Remodel

This is how the bathroom looked before the makeover. It has served us for a long time and it is time to re-do it! I'm going to do everything myself, to save on expenses, except for the new granite top which I'll have done by Granite Fabricators.
When you go shopping for granite, you will quickly find out that  these granite slab yards are only interested in selling you the whole slab! For a bathroom that would be way too much granite. So the secret is to find yards with remnants (yards with in-house fabricators have remnants), or find a fabricator that has remnants.

I have decided to start out slowly by re-doing the wall opposite to the vanities first. I already have bought the vanity cabinets and ordered some extra side panels which will be installed at the bottom for decoration. No need to remove the tile (I tried, it 's too much work and it tears the wall's gypsum board.), so I'm going to glue the paneling  with construction glue to the tile. In the meantime I already have installed the panels on a plywood backing, so it is ready to be installed.

  This is how I did it, with bracing against the old vanity cabinets, since they're goners anyway.

I forgot to photograph the making of this panel, but all I did was glue the three decorative panels on  a plywood backing, nailed the trim on, and painted it.

Next is the installation of a second medicine cabinet. Yes, my wife wanted her own and also her own electrical outlet on her side! So I already have outlined where the hole will be made and I'm checking where the studs are that need to be cut. Make sure they are not weight bearing studs. The closet is on the other side of this wall, so I'm good.

After you find the stud you can now find and remove the nails on both sides of the wall with the help of a strong magnet. The ones I'm holding here I bought at a swap-meet one time, because they fascinated me? You throw them in the air and they make a funny  noise. I know it sounds dumb, and it is... But here they are and they came in handy!

OK, the section to be removed  is out exposing the stud. I'm going to use sections of 2x4's to frame the opening, so  mark a cut line 1 1/2" below and above the opening at the stud.
I used a reciprocating saw to cut the stud out.
Well this is now ready to be plastered to cover-up all the screw holes.

What you see here is the old hole where the old medicine cabinet was located and it needs to be moved to the right
You can also see that the big wall mirror has been removed (disposed off at the Goodwill Store).
Two separate framed mirrors will take it's place with lights above them.

.Using the same procedure as explained before you're looking at the new compartment hole for the new medicine cabinet with the old one still not closed up.

It is all closed up now and plastered. When you plaster a wall you ruin the orange peel texture which is easily fixed with a spray can of 'Orange Peel' available in any hardware store.

Orange Peel texture is on and the wall can be painted now.

The new mirrors are hanging with the lights installed above them. All that needs to be done is run the electric wiring (hire an electrician if you are unfamiliar with electricity!) to the new lights from the old flood light (so dated!) which will be removed. Since my house has a flat roof with absolutely no access to the ceiling crawl space area (there is none), I had to cut a hole in the ceiling to access the electrical wiring.  If cutting a big hole in the ceiling gives you goose bumps, be unafraid my friend, all can be fixed!

  Here are the two ceiling pieces removed to gain access to the new lights. Make sure that the access hole is rectangular so that you can frame the hole with wood leftovers.

 I installed a new panel for some reason that eludes me right now (you can use the removed one if possible) and had to popcorn texture it. You can buy this popcorn texture in a spray bottle (expensive) or in a container (cheap). I went the cheapo route of course and had to use my fingers like a mad eccentric artist trying to match the texture as much as I could.

There we go. It's done. I don't know why the picture shows up as pink but that is were the repair is.

If you ever have to paint the kick board next to the carpeting, use masking tape like shown. Push it down with your fingers and a spatula as deep as possible.

After having done the installation of mirrors, medicine cabinets etc. it's time to start ripping and tearing. My wife has suggested to only remove one sink first so that we at least have the use of the other sink to wash up. Good idea.

Used a circle saw with concrete cutting blade to cut the counter top in half. It went through it like it was butter

For people where electricity is a total mystery I  would highly recommend that you hire an electrician to do the following. Remember electricity is dangerous and can be deadly!

I can now finally run the electric wiring for the two new outlets. What you do is locate and mark where the studs are and remove a piece of the gypsum as shown, making the hole big enough to run the wiring passed the studs. I used the spring wire from an old car window sunshade, you know the ones that are very tricky to fold up when you first use them, to run the wire. See the white wire in the picture.

 Here is a closeup of the wire, which is the flat, indoor, three conductor (black, white, bare) copper type. Do not notch the studs, that will weaken the studs which is not good when they are weight  bearing studs. Maybe I'm nitpicking, but there is plenty of room to plug the holes. Use 1/2" plastic cable staples to secure the wire.

Here you see one of the new outlets. Make sure that the proper breaker is in off by plugging a lamp into the outlet you plan to tie into and notice when the light  goes off when you flip the outlet breakers. Make sure both outlets (top, bottom) are not powered. The outlets in your bathroom have to be GFIC protected due to the close proximity of water. Now is the time, with the breaker off, to find the first ac outlet in the string that is dead, which is usually the one located closer to the breaker box. In my case it was located in the garage. That is were I installed the GFIC outlet. Now every outlet in the string, including the new ones, are now protected.
The white wire hooks up to the wide prongs, black to the narrow prongs and the bare wire to the green screw. Remember if you have no power afterward, check your GFIC to see if it tripped
Alright, the moment of truth has arrived! I'm installing the vanities and I must admit, never done this before!
But there is always a first time. Just do it and use common sense.
I have decided to install the vanities 1/2" up off the floor for two reasons:
Your should know where the highest point of the floor is (remember I haven't remove the other sink yet), because most floors are uneven.

And last, I'll install some decorative footings on the carpet at the end that need room due to the thickness of the carpet. So I killed two birds with one stone!

The wall also was slightly slanted and the studs to which you attach the cabinets were lined up at the most impossible areas of the vanities. So again killing two birds with one stone so to speak, I used a plank, attached to the studs,  to which I will attach the vanities. Make sure by using levels that the plank is perfectly level. Everything has to be meticulously level in three axises. Do this by attaching the back first to the (level) plank, then  shim the bottom so the remaining axises (back to front and sideways) are level. Use c-clamps to help you install the next cabinet.
You have to attach the cabinets to each other as you go; level the cabinet, clamp it lightly to the previous one, readjust for level with the shims ans clamp it tight. Now screw the cabinets together.

Now I'm finally done! It was fun and a learning experience. A lot of time you have to stop and think things out. Search the internet for answers, use Yankee ingenuity and plain common sense.

Ordered the granite top and below is a picture  how the granite installers make a template first so the top will fit.


They use thin slats of wood that they glue together with a glue gun.

Well. here is the finished bathroom. The granite installers installed the top counter yesterday and also drilled the holes for the faucets, and today I installed the faucets, sinks and all the plumbing that goes with it. The counter-top edge is beveled and the back-splashes have a half bull-nose trim. We saved a lot by doing it our self.

We love our new bathroom! I hope  this project inspires you to give it a try yourself! Remember make the colors you choose coordinate, also contrasting shades are important. Don't pick wild colors, you tire of them real quick.When you adhere to those rules everything will fall into place...

Till my next project. Let me know what you think.
Take care.