My New Blog: TF Workshop

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Travertine Backsplash #5

We started installing the diamond tiles into the focal point behind the stove. I haven't been able to spend a lot of time on it this week, so I am just adding a few vertical lines at a time.

I started with a vertical line down the center, and taped the tile in place. The yesterday I added a couple more lines on each side, and today the same. Here is a picture of them taped in place.

This is not the fastest method to get the tiles on the wall, but it is fairly easy, and allows me the chance to make sure everything stays aligned. Spacers and tape use in this fashion allow you the opportunity to adjust the tiles is needed. I will likely finish off the full-size tiles tomorrow, and do the cuts on Saturday.

If I tried to do it all at once, I think the movement would be tough to deal with. I would likey use a high-tack adhesive such as loctite power-grab

Here is my new favorite "tool": the tool bucket organizer by Husky Tools. It took me a couple of hours to get this thing organized, but I believe it saves me 20% of my time by not running back and forth to the garage. My youngest son bought it for me for my Birthday - a $16 very well spent. Also, it helps stop those frustrating episodes of me not being able to find a tool I need.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Travertine Backsplash #4

We installed the tile along the stove wall, as well as the rope molding that will frame the focal point of harlequin tiles. This post is mainly pictures...

We used the tile adhesive with rope molding, and held it in place with spacers and blue masking tape.

Here are a couple of photos once that tape was removed.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Travertine Backsplash #3

I started installing the backsplash tile this morning. The eight hours of cutting this weekend is finally starting to pay off...

Here are a few of tips I use for setting the tile:
  • Put the tile on a board so it does not scratch the counter
  • In tight spaces I prefer to put the morter / adhesive on the tile, rather than on the wall. It is a lot cleaner.
These tiles are 1/2 thick with up to 1/8 variation, so I am using a 1/4 x 1/4 notched trowel. I set up the layout so that the outlet would end up even, and I would not have really small pieces along the windows.

Here is a picture of most of the wall laid up. I still need to cut a number of thin strips to go under the window sill.

Note that the outlet is stick out a bit farther than the tile. I discovered boxes that have adjustable depth, which work really well in this case. Here is end of the kitchen shot:

This is where I left off to go watch the Beavers - my alma-mater - hopefully win the college baseball world series. Go Beavs!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Travertine Backsplash #2

Today I cut the brick pattern tiles, which are 3" x 6". Continuing on from yesterday, I cut the long pieces in 6x6 tiles, then cut them in half. Doing it this way helps keeps them square.

Here are some of tiles, showing both the lighter and darker patterns.

Here is a picture of the cutting fixture I made to create the pieces for the harlequin pattern behind the stove. The guide on the right goes over the fence to keep it straight as it moves back and forth. The piece at an angle, along with the c-clamp, sets up the cut. I will use this sled for various cuts during installation.

Here is the pattern laid out on a piece of plywood, with the rope tile framing it.

In total, I spent about 6 hours on the tile saw today, and 2 hours yesterday to make all these pieces. I bought the tile for 3.50 a sq ft. If I bought all of this pre-cut, the minimum price would be $15 a sf, and more likely around $20. All this adds up to about a $400 savings for 8 hours worth of work. This would have been a long haul if I didn't like doing it...

[Click here for full Photo Set]

Friday, June 22, 2007

Cutting Travertine for the Backsplash

I started cutting the travertine for the backsplash, (Click here for cost details). As you can see in the picture, it's pretty rustic.

The tiles are 18" x 18", but still cut fairly easily with the wet tile saw. I found that if I flipped the tile over and cut a couple of inches, then flipped it back and cut the rest of it, I didn't get break-out at the end of the cut (see picture below).

I cut the tiles into three 6" wide pieces (actually 5 7/8"). Tomorrow I will cut these pieces into the smaller tiles for the brick pattern.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Installing the Range Hood

I completed building and finishing the mantle part of the range hood, which is the "base" with the fan unit. I installed it just in time for my DW to cook dinner for Father's Day. The pictures show it in place with the venting and power hooked up.

The power unit is 250 CFM at full speed and 125 at half speed. It seems to pull the fumes out out fine.

The 7" flex-tube worked really well for connecting the unit up to the elbow. I would have liked to just bend the flex-tube to 90 degrees and connect it, but I could not get it to bend tight enough.

Once in place, I wrapped everything with metal foil tape. Don't use duct tape for ducts - it sounds silly, but it fails over time. Metal foil tape is by far superior (click here for more details).

I sealed every joint with tape. If you have ever removed the ducting for an old vent hood, you know there is a lot of grease and dirt. The assembly I took out had likely been in there for 30 years, and was nasty. Anywhere there was a seam, greasy oil had seaped in. I can't change the laws of physics, but I can try to combat them...

Next I need to build the removable beadboard panel that goes above the mantle.

Installing Cabinet Door Grills

I was able to get the pewter grills cut and installed into the cabinet doors. Since the grill required for four small doors cost almost $100, I bought a good pair of compound wire cutters to do the job (shown in the picture below) - and they worked well.

The grill tends to fall apart at the edges when you cut it, with the smaller pieces flying off in random directions. Adding the masking tape to the perimeter fixed the problem. The small pieces that come out can be easily re-insterted. If I do it again, I will solder the corners.

The sharp edges of the grill make it bascially stay in place, but I used silicone caulk to hold it fast. The paint and batteries held the grill flat. We plan on putting glass behind these.

Here is the back side of the door. If you click on the image, you can see the caulking.

The final picture shows the top of the hutch, which turned out like we were hoping.

Click here for the details on buying the grill.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Travertine for Backsplash - $240

Here is the inspiration picture for our backsplash. It is from one one of the houses in last year's PDX Street of Dreams.

We decided on travertine instead of tile, because it has a more natural look. Home Depot had a special on a relatively rustic pattern, so we bought 3 boxes of the noche (brownish) and 1 of the ivory (lighter). These tiles are 18" x 18" and 1/2" thick.

Here is a picture of the travertine:

The cost is $3.50 per sq ft, totalling $130. We are going to cut these down into 3" x 6" pieces for a brick pattern, plus the diamonds for above the stove.

We are going to use the counter granite (tan brown) as the small accent pieces in the harlequin pattern. This is the concept drawing:

We brought bronze rope edging to frame this pattern to set it off. These were 6" long and $3 apiece. Twenty of them cost $60. The epoxy grout is going to be about $25, and the adhesive around $25 as well.

Total cost is about $240. If we were to buy the tiles pre-cut, we would be at $15 a sf or more, making the project top $750 in cost. So we will have about $500 for 3 hours of cutting on the tile saw.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Toaster Setup in the Kitchen Island

One of the features I wanted for the kitchen was a pull-out toaster shelf. With four kids, there was regularly some sort of mess with the toaster at breakfast. The shelf is sized right for the toaster iteself and a couple of loaves of bread. As shown in the picture, we just pull it out and plug it in, without moving it at all. My DW put a tray down to keep the crumbs under control.

I really like the way the cherry stained drawer and shelves go with the green cabinets.

Here is a picture of the cabinet with the door closed. I still need to install the doors on the cabinets to the left.

I was able to get a low-profile pull-out under the applicance lift. It holds the mixer and blender accessories.