Sippican Cottage

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A Man Who Has Nothing In Particular To Recommend Him Discusses All Sorts of Subjects at Random as Though He Knew Everything

Four Days Of Windowbox And Counting

Now back to that window box.

We need a plan, and the boat plan won’t do. But it’s going to take longer to draw a plan than to make the darn thing. Let’s just grip it and rip it, shall we?

Alrighty then. Here we are, ready for a sheet of MDO. Now all those people who offered you all the advice about indestructible windowbox construction aren’t going to like my sawhorses. That’s because, Ladies and Gentlemen, everyone has a different plan for sawhorses. It’s like DNA. No one has your exact formula, unless of course you’re OJ Simpson.

Now I admit, my sawhorses are made from packing crate lumber and cobwebs. I’ve been given plenty of advice on how to improve them, all of it unsolicited. But then again, I made them shortly after Reagan had his first inauguration, and they’ve been stored outdoors for a good part of the interval between then and now, and used, abused, and knocked about considerably quite regularly, and I’m still using them. Many of the people who offered me critiques on them have passed to their reward, while my horses are still going strong. I endeavor to attend the funerals of these kind souls, who tried to save me from the shame of inferior sawbucks, without being asked. My wife always wears a red dress, and I whistle during the eulogy, generally.

I once visited The Orange Place, and saw to my consternation, pre-made sawhorses. The horror! I thought it was illegal to buy a sawhorse. At least from a zen point of view, if you don’t make your own, how can anyone trust you to make anything atop them?

At any rate, the two by fours atop those horses are cut from trees that weren’t planted yet when I made them, and they still don’t wiggle in the joints. The two by fours keep the sheet we’re about to cut from collapsing when you’re 90% done crosscutting it, and drawing snickers from your neighbors. They’ll be over offering advice on sawhorse construction, if you falter, so use the studs.

Right there is the the majority of the elaborate toolset you need to make this thing, dear reader. The saw goes back to John Kennedy’s inauguration. A tape measure, a ruler, and forty year old circular saw. Okay, set the circ-saw depth to a little over 1/2″ depth of cut, and cut the panel in half length wise. You’ll be left with two four foot square pieces. They’ll be easier to handle than the whole sheet.

Cut a 9″ wide strip off the side of the half sheet. Save it for later, now cut single pieces 7-3/4″ wide, 7-1/2″ wide, and 4-5/8″ wide, all 39″ long. Like this:

Now, the piece might not be precisely 39 inches long. Why? Because when you ripped the 9 inches off the sheet, the saw blade took a little for himself. It doesn’t matter. Whenever possible, we’re gonna use the articles themselves to measure, not a ruler, and save trouble. I’ve never understood this measure twice cut once business. I’ve heard it all over the place. Books, TV shows, radio, on t-shirts and mugs. But let me tell you friends, in the real construction world, things move fast. And in the real world, the real motto is: Measure twice… Hey! what’s taking so long? Why didn’t you measure correctly the first time? You’re fired! Something like that.

Use one of the strips you just cut for a ruler to measure four 1 by 3 pine strips like you see above (read yesterday’s essay to find out how big a 1 by 3 is.) I put the glue in that last picture for a reason. We’re gonna use it, because it can’t hurt. Make sure you get exterior glue, the interior stuff isn’t water resistant. It’s the nails and screws that hold this thing together, but let’s give the adhesive a fighting chance, and get the right stuff.

Hey, we’re actually doing things now. You must be exhausted. The sun goes down early this time of year, when it’s not in your eyes. Take the rest of the weekend off, and return tomorrow for day of rest amusement, and Monday for the beginning of the end of the beginning of building the windowbox.

3 Responses

  1. in the real construction world, things move fast

    The guy I worked for in the physical plant at seminary used to work construction. He said when you were building homes you were supposed to know how big the window openings were supposed to be and not waste time measuring. Also, for loading stuff in you had to carry 2 sheets of 1/2″ ply.

    I have a lot of respect for guys who work construction.

    I liked the old “head, heart, hand” header. But the new one’s good, too.

  2. The foreman of a framing crew can generally instantly yell out the dimensions of all the components of any door or window opening based on the “rough opening” dimension on a plan, among many other dimensions.

    Construction is generally a logistical exercise now. How to get what you need when you want it where you need to place it. The skill is in making money at it, generally, and not hurting yourself.

    Ruth Anne made me edit my header, as there was too much stuff in it. She was right to do so, but there’s no way I’d tell her that.

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