So I realize I have failed as a blogger over the past two weeks. I let things get away from me and have seriously neglected my vast audience of readers. In the past two weeks I have been crafting and been busy though I promise. For instance, last weekend, we traveled up to Columbia, SC for the USC vs Kentucky basketball game. Let me just say, “GO BIG BLUE!” It was quite a game. But lets get back to business.
The barn door is in! It slides and works. We love it. After sealing the side I stripped the paint off of, I painted the other side trim white. That way from the outside it looks fairly normal.
Outside of room.
Inside door surface.
The track itself went in fairly easily. All of the bolts found their way into a stud except the far right one. I had to replace it with the world’s largest toggle bolt and then paint the head to look black like the rest of the hardware.
We love it and would not have it any other way. We simply do not miss the old builder’s grade double doors that were falling apart.
I promise I will be posting more often. I have jewelry updates, more craft room photos to share, and many posts about things to come. There will be a week in March when we will be in Mexico for a trip, but we will have posts about that when we get back home too. Until then, keep an eye out for more posts on a more regular basis!
My latest ongoing home improvement project is replacing the builders grade double doors into the master bedroom with a sliding barn door type setup. The original doors were maddening. They were falling apart, and took up too much floor space when open. They also stuck some when closed which made opening them a loud procedure.
This is the hardware I chose from Amazon. It is affordable and has free shipping, which is great when you think about how much it likely weighs. It will work well with the 36″ opening I am working with.
This post is mainly though about preparing the door itself, and there will be a separate entry about installation. I had a few old heart pine Charleston doors in the garage. I picked one out, and this is to be my sliding door.
I love chippy old lead based paint. The issue is, I already have a focal point piece in the master that has it- my old pie safe. It is one of my most favorite pieces of furniture. I picked it up at a country auction a few years back, and it is gorgeous. The door, though also beautiful, has green and pink chippy paint and it was too much of the look so close together. So the decision to strip it was made.
The stripper I used was Klean Strip Premium Stripper. Folks, this is an outdoor project. One must wear thick chemical gloves, a mask, and eye protection as this will likely burn your skin. The good news is, it works. You slather it on the door, wait 15 minutes, and scrape with a plastic scraper. I had to do this 4 or 5 times, as the door had so many coats of old paint on it. It had Green-> Pink-> Yellow-> Turquoise and finally the wood was underneath.
This is what it looks like as the paint starts bubbling up with the chemical stripper on top.
Here is the progression from coat one to five. The final picture is how I have left it. I didn’t want to take away all of the paint. The step after stripping is to wipe it all down with mineral spirits to remove any traces of the chemical. I also then wiped down the door with tung oil (my favorite reclaimed wood finish).
The wood underneath is beautiful. I can’t wait to show you all how it looks on its track and being used. I have to modify the door frame some, and then paint the other side of the door. I am painting it a solid semi gloss white to match the trim in the house, so that from outside the room, it does’t look out of place. It will be nice once it is all complete, so we can have a bedroom door again rather than the old curtain we are currently using. The Wifey will certainly appreciate it. Thats all for now– Look out for part two of this project!
In my business, I use china. All of the china I craft with comes from Historic Downtown Charleston, SC. The picture above is but a sample of what I have at my disposal. I would guess its 1% of my total stockpile. Now when I say it comes from Charleston, I mean thats where I find it. More specifically, I dig it out of the ground. I go under houses and in their yards to find my pieces of history.
In the times before curbside pickup, people really only had one option for their household garbage and debris. That option? The Yard. They would have pits where they would dump their trash. A nice word for the area of dumping is called a “Midden.” This is where I find the china. What are some other things I have found in various middens? I have found bottles, buttons, coins, doll parts, animal bones, oyster shells, tools, silverware, and even once a Megalodon tooth! It is amazing what is just under the surface. The other thing that blows my mind is the immense variety of patterned china that surfaces. So many seemingly unique styles.
China is my prize. Almost all of it is 19th Century. I have even found some from the 18th Century: All just in the dirt.
The reason I have all the china out in the first picture is because it is about time to ramp up production again. I go through periods where I need to replenish finished products and now is that time. I will be making necklaces, bracelets, rings, cufflinks, hairpins etc. all over the next week or two. I can’t wait to show you all the completed projects. Thanks for reading!
This, my friends, is my new toy. The Taurus 3 Ring Saw from the Gemini Saw Company. Let me tell you, this is a beast. Up to this point, to shape any broken pieces of porcelain, I would use clippers that risked cracking things in half. Now, I can cut out any shape I want! It changes everything. I am going from circles and triangles, to dogs and whales!
I am so excited! Now, I make stencils and trace them out directly on the china with a paint pen. For those of you who don’t know what the ring saw is-it’s a diamond saw blade that can cut in any direction because of its round design. It is also a wet saw which keeps everything cool. These types of saws are made for the stained glass world, but it is quite useful for porcelain. I feel much better cutting things now, and I waste less material by cutting out instead of destroying all the bits around it. This allows me to use the leftover bits of china for jewelry projects like bracelet charms.
I decided to see if I could cut out the shape of a Brittany Spaniel…
I give this machine a big thumbs up. It revolutionizes my production abilities. I am going to create a rating system to use now and in the future. Five Hammers =Perfect. One Hammer= Don’t Bother.
So The Taurus 3 Ring Saw is awarded…..(drumroll)…..
Five Hammers out of Five! It is amazing!
Thanks for reading and remember tomorrow is Wednesday. That means it is the first edition of “Wifey Wednesdays.” Alli will be taking the helm and posting tomorrow!
Welcome to the first post of the HandyGent! I have finally decided to start my own blog. What do I have to offer, you may ask? I am a man who creates. I thought folks may enjoy a Craft Blog from a man. Simple as that. The journey I want to take you on involves my various craft projects, home improvement adventures, organization, and tools.
First off, my name is Max. My wife, Alli, is the best and most supportive spouse one could ever hope for. Keep an eye out for her guest posts! I am thinking about calling them “Wifey Wednesdays.”
Our two dogs are our pride and joy! Hank and Sadie are the best Brittany dogs you will ever come across! No bias here! They are the inspiration behind our business name. They also come with us to many of our craft shows. Without them, our lives would be pretty boring. They even have their own instagram account which has more followers than I do. Their Instagram.
In 2013, I moved to Charleston, SC. I was working on renovating historic houses in the downtown area. This is when I seriously became a home improvement geek. I learned as much as I could and was able to overcome the fear of attempting a project I have never even thought about before. I learned how to work on plumbing, electricity, remodeling and many other things. While working , I began to find little broken pieces of porcelain in the ground and under the house. I soon realized that these were little shards of history. The houses I was working on were all over 100 years old and what I was finding was old broken china from past residents which they had discarded into midden pits in the ground. Most of it is pre 1900! And thats when the crafting seriously kicked in.
I started making jewelry out of it all. I was finding so much china. Over the next two years, I expanded from making just necklaces. I now make bracelets, rings, cufflinks, hairpins, and so many other things! My wife and I started calling the business Breton Trading Company. We began selling at local craft shows and continue to do so. I am always working on new ways to use the historic china.
Another thing that came as a result of my work on the old houses is my love of reclaimed wood and materials. I love how the old wood looks when given new life in new ways. I love upcycling!
I do hope everyone will enjoy following me along my journey. I plan on posting about my crafts, my wood projects, home improvement endeavors, and any other adventure I find myself on. Thanks for reading!