The Kitchen Construction that Took Three Years
If it weren't for some fine volunteers, it might never have been done!
monica@monicamartin.com
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Ah, home sweet home... and also business sweet business.  Diehl and Monica Martin live over the store in this little building at 713 Blount Avenue, in Guntersville, Alabama.  The House is very old - we do not know when or where it was built, but it looks to be of 1920's construction.  It was moved here by Mr. Arnold Bradford in 1950, and then after the last of the Bradfords died, was bought at auction and somewhat reworked by Ms. Goldie Brasfield in about 1990.  Diehl and Monica bought it for the wonderful business location in November 2002, and moved in on Christmas Eve 2002.  They remodeled as fast as they could while living there, and running a photography business.  

The main first floor bathroom was done first, then a couple of upstairs bedrooms were made livable.  After that came the business spaces, and in a matter of of six months there was a showroom (made from a bedroom), a studio (made from the combined living and dining rooms), a computer room, and a small den.

Next, the second building (behind this one, and not shown here) received some attention, and Diehl's engineering office was finished, and the second large room made useful, as a combination server room and storage space.  Much progress was made.  However, there was still an unsold house in Huntsville to be dealt with, and the photo business was taking time enough to slow the remodeling.

In August of 2004, the house in Huntsville finally sold (at a loss - real estate can sometimes be a nightmare) which freed up a lot of time.  However, in September of 2004, Diehl was diagnosed with cholangiocarcinoma.  Well, initially they thought it was pancreatic cancer, and gave him less than three months to live.  The fine folks at UAB hospital perfomred a Whipple Procedure, removed all of the cancer and half of the rest of Diehl's insides, and then there were the radiation treatments and chemotherapy.  That took many months to recover from, and only since the Summer of 2005 has there been a real assurance that Diehl was going to have a few more years to continue.

In February 2005, due to the incredible medical expenses, Diehl took an engineering job at AEgis Technologies Group in Huntsville, Alabama.  It took nearly a year of paying 50+% of take home pay to pay off the debt to the hospitals and doctors, but it finally is done.  

At that point, there was some thought of continuing the remodeling.  Now you may have noticed that there was no mention of a kitchen in any of the above lists of things fixed up.  Indeed there was an old and nonfunctional kitchen in the main building, and a somewhat functional tiny apartment kitchen in the outbuilding, which they had been using for nearly 3-1/2 years.  So that was the next project, and it was begun.

Ah, some days (weeks, months) are peculiar.  The project was begun, and with the help of Diehl and Monica's daughter Marie (from Dallas, Texas) and good friend from First Baptist Church, Phil Robeson, helped remove the old cabinets.  Diehl removed the siding from the wall outside of the kitchen, and reworked the electrical system, removing an old panel and installing a new one.  All looked good, until in February 2006, Diehl got sick again, and progress stopped.

Enter the Volunteers.  Diehl's immediate supervisor at AEgis Technologies Group, Derek Strembicke, suggested to some friends from the office that the kitchen could be done in short order, if enough people would volunteer some time.  And so began the project you see here.

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This is the old kitchen window, as viewed from the now enclosed back porch.  All of the cabinets, the window, and the siding would have to be removed in order to get inside that wall for electrical and plumbing work..

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This is the old kitchen looking south.  The cabinets are ones built in place, and seem to date from 1950 when the house was moved here.  The nailing schedule would have held the roof on any house in any storm.

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This is the old kitchen looking east.  You can see the enclosed porch through the door and window.

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This view is inside the kitchen looking southwest.  With the doors removed, the shelves become visible.  To remove them, it took crowbars, mauls, sledgehammers, and a lot of strained muscles.

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This view is inside the kitchen looking southeast.  Notice that the windows are now gone.  It was amusing to watch the process:  we would remove a window, drag it to the curb, and that one would be gone before we got the next window to the curb.

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This nook cabinet filled the space on the northwest corner, and sits between the wall and a masonry chimney left over from when the house had coal stoves in each room.  How long ago was that?

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This view shows what it looked like once Marie Martin, Phil Robeson, and Diehl finished removing the cabinets.  Notice the various backers included in this view.  There is old sheet metal, pseudo-tile, wallboard, wood, and who knows what else.

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The floors were just as interesting.  There were locations for two or three previous kitchen sink drains, plus a mixture of every kind of tile, linoleum, vinyl, and a layer or two of odd wood.

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The view from the porch how shows just what a peculiar building this is.  There are planks on the inside walls, but the stud spacing and condition is - well - random.  It appears that this part of the house was built from salvaged lumber, which still has nails from some previous use.  You can see the old supply lines and drains lines from a sink which apparently existed before the house was moved.

The electrical panel in the upper left was indeed live, and in use.  It was inside the kitchen cabinets (!)  and had hot lines dangling from it which had been cut off many years ago.  That was both very ugly and perfectly unsafe.

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Here is where one of the previous sink drains was.  There are holes all over.

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Progress!  Notice the new electrical panel on the floor, waiting its turn to be installed.

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So now it is time to make room for the new electrical panel.  This is in January of 2006, and Diehl was still feeling good.  So here he is using a Skill 77 circular saw and a demolition blade to cut out unused wood and nails to create a new cavity.

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What the saw does not remove, brute force will.

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There is almost enough space for a new box.

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And up it goes.  This is a subpanel which will power all of the old work in the house, as well as the many new kitchen circuits, and also the timer for the sign in the front yard.  

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The old panel apparently once was the main power panel for the house.  It had four screw-in glass fuses, and two pull-outs with cartridge fuses.  Nothing was labeled, except the the pullouts, for which the labels were incorrect.  Although there is number 14 wire for most of the circuits, the fuses, which should have been 15 amp fuses, were larger than that - a good old fashioned safety hazard.  

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And here is that same panel, with a few new labels to show what powers what.  Note that you can see where the shelves in the cabinet were, and that the box was inside that cabinet.  This is Not A Good Thing.

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This is the back view of the old panel.  Those old cables are a mix of old steel BX cable, and cloth covered rubber.  In both cases the insulation is brittle, and will not stand much bending.  This caused a few challenges all by itself, since these old cables still have to serve the old work from the new electrical panel.

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Here, Diehl is wiring a new junction box to tie the old work into the new panel.  

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This shows the junction box and how it works.  The cables from the new subpanel come in from the bottom, and the old work lines come in from the top.  The smaller circuits were connected with wire nuts, and the large circuit was connected with large wire clamps and covered with electrical tape.   This happened at about the last time that Diehl felt good.

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Volunteers have arrived!  Here we see Amber Heimbeck (Aegis co-worker) and her husband Martin removing drywall and flooring from the kitchen.  Note that behind that wallboard is horizontal planking.  

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Martin's brother Christian (visiting from Germany) worked that day too.  What hard workers these folks are.  Now Christian showed up in flip-flops to do demolition work...

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Martin and Christian have already removed much of the wallboard.  The flooring was next.

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Look!  This was under all of that wallboard and flooring.  Amber, Martin, and Christian removed all of the covering and hauled it out to the curb in one afternoon.  That is simply amazing.

But wait, was there originally a larger window?  And what about that narrow door opening?  And why do the boards change color (much newer wood) at about the seven foot level?  We suspect that the house was built in stages over several years, and there are mysteries hidden here.

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This view is just as interesting.  Note the hole where there apparently used to be a circular fan in the south wall.  Why is there newer wood below the window?

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Look how neatly they stacked everything when they were done.  Note also that the masonry chimney is plastered, and not covered with sheetrock.  

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Monica found an old Mercury dime in the woodwork near the broom on the floor.  It dates from 1943, and is in decent condition.  OK, who lost the dime, and when?

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This view clearly shows the wiring to the junction box.  We decided to leave the old supply lines from some previous sink in place.  That asbestos covering is perfectly safe if you just leave it alone.

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This is the new subpanel, before all of the kitchen circuits were added.  David Thomas, (Aegis co-worker, not pictured here) helped with the wiring of the three-way lighting switch shown here, as well as with preparing the attic for the plumbers. 

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Derek Strembicke (Diehl's immediate supervisor at AEgis Technologies Group) and Lee Woods (co-worker) came and stripped out all of the old electrical boxes and cable from the kitchen, and then placed all of the new boxes, and ran all of the cable to the subpanel.

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We unpowered the subpanel at the main panel before Derek and Lee did all of this.  There they are fishing cables for a new lighting circuit.

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After Derek and Lee spent much of a day running cables, Diehl hooked the cables up to the subpanel.  Everything was labeled as the cables were pulled, so it was a straightforward matter to make a logical arrangement of the circuits in the subpanel.

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Notice a new addition:  Bob Cattaneo (Dependable Bob, the plumber) came out with a helper and installed a new drain system and vent stack, hot and cold water lines (with ball valves in the basement so the kitchen may be shut off without shutting off the rest of the house) and a new gas line for the stove.  Bob does seriously good work, and this should give no trouble whatsoever.

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Near the bottom of the picture, sticking out of the floor, is the black iron pipe and valve for the new gas stove.  We have wanted our old stove back (the one we had in Fullerton, California, and left behind in 1988) and there is one just like it sitting in a box on the porch.  It runs on gas (YES!!)

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Another view of the gas line.  Bob used an existing hole in the floor, as there were plenty to choose from.

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This shows the electrical panel with the cover removed, all wired up.  Neatness counts!

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Here is probably the most uncommon thing of all.  Note that there are clear and correct labels for each end every circuit.  Why can't electricians do that when they build houses?  

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Here we see Lee Woods screwing down a plywood panel to cover up the hole where the window was between the kitchen and the porch.

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This is the back side of the patch that Lee Woods put in.  Not only are those 2x4s in there to stay, they are perfectly vertical - unlike anything else in the house.  Lee brought along his laser level to make sure it was Just Right.

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Here we see Lee putting down the moisture barrier which separates the old wooden floor from the new plywood which will provide the new floor surface.  That keeps moisture from the basement from readily seeping into the plywood.

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All it takes is lots of hard work, a cutter, and a stapler.

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Here Monica is helping Derek Strembicke move around the plywood for the flooring.  The notch on this end is to go around that masonry chimney.

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The tongue-and-groove plywood must be properly seated to eliminate any play, and to keep the floor from squeaking.

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Notice that Diehl is considerably thinner in this picture.  After a couple of months of being sick, he has lost a bunch of weight, and cannot do much, but he figured that he was up to sitting on the floor and screwing down plywood.

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Cheese!

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Here, Derek Strembicke is about to make a massive gypsum dust cloud.  He is about to cut a channel in the two layers of drywall on the ceiling, in order to make a notch for an electrical cable to power the light over the kitchen table.  Notice that he has screwed a 2x4 to the ceiling in order to provide a guide to make a straight cut with the router.  The dust cloud was fabulous, and took a box fan 20 minutes of blowing out the kitchen window to make it go away.  But the channel was cut, and everything fit.

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This is the ceiling fixture and the channel to the wall over the electrical subpanel.  Notice the straight line!

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Here Derek had a tricky job.  Because of the way the wood runs in the wall, it was necessary to notch the wall board a bit to make the turn into the wall cavity.  The metallic sheathed cable is stiff, and in this case, the 14-2 cable just barely made the turn.  Hooray for Derek!

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Once covered with wallboard, the channel will disappear.  And it is up to code to do it this way, too.

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Here that cable enters the switch box in the kitchen.  All set to wire.

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Monica drove up to Lowe's on the top of the hill, and brought back 20 sheets of 4x12 foot drywall.  That stuff is heavy!  The nice thing about having a 3/4 ton truck is that it doesn't sag under the load.

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The first day of drywalling started with a feast put together by the Depth-Finders Sunday School class.  Here Dick Danhoff from and Richard Moebes from the class are lining up to eat.

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Paul Oldham from the Depth-Finders Sunday School Class is shown installing a patch in the old ceiling, to make it so that the new ceiling will be flat.

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The photo studio served as a mess-hall, and a no one went hungry.  Here are Paul Oldham, Tom Buckner (co-worker from Aegis), Dick Danhoff, and Richard Moebes.

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Putting drywall on the ceiling is an all-hands evolution.  The first piece went up on the South end of the kitchen.

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The drywall required lots of screws to hold it on the ceiling.  Here we see Milan Buncick with the screw gun, and Danny Cutts (Chris' Dad) both of whom are co-workers from Aegis.

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Being tall helps when holding drywall to the ceiling.  All four are standing on temporary scaffolding, waiting for the first screw to be put into the second piece of drywall.

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Batteries!  Bring more fresh batteries!  Here Danny gets the honors while Tom confers.

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That ceiling-mounted electrical box from about a dozen frames ago looks right in lace with the new drywall mounted over it, and a hole cut just to fit.  That was harder that it looks.  Any good work looks easier than it was.

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Some helpers tried their hardest to stay well behind the camera.  Here we see Rodney Krepps and Milan Buncick (both co-workers from Aegis) who were particularly good at staying behind the camera, but Monica figured out a way to photograph them anyway.


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The next night, we had another drywall party, this time with David Thomas (Aegis Co-worker who worked his way through college doing drywall work) as well as the three tall guys from the Depth Finders Sunday School class.  Here we see David, Paul, and Richard ready to start cutting drywall to go on the walls.

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The drywall was cut to size on the ground, and then hauled up the steps, through the back porch, and into the kitchen.  That is David at the door, with Paul on the steps, and Richard watching.

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The drywall was then held up to contact the ceiling (to leave a gap at the floor) and screwed to the wall.

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Diehl was tasked with shortening the bit for the drywall cutout tool, so he annealed the shank of the bit, and ground the end off.

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Ah, what would a tool guy do without a pair of vise-grips and a bench grinder?  

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Dick Danhoff did yeoman duty putting in drywall screws.  This particular night we went through several pounds of screws.

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David looks like he has done this before.

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The cutting of drywall went on well after darkness.  The majority of the walls were drywalled in one evening.  That is Paul doing the measure-and-cut honors.

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The next evening, a different crew continued and finished putting up drywall.  Here David Thomas (Aegis co-worker) is cutting a panel to size.  It rained this evening, and so the cutting was done either in the garage or in the kitchen.  

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Score, pop, cut, trim!

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Tom Buckner (Aegis co-worker) came out tonight, arrived early, and worked late.  Here he is seen screwing down drywall.

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Charlotte Ingram (Aegis co-worker) also came tonight, and did it all.  She is one hard worker.  Here she is shown screwing down drywall.

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Charlotte was tasked with making sure every single screw was set right.  So she got to QA everyone else's work.

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The masonry and hard plaster chimney was drywalled, but there was no way to use screws on it.  This was a job for Liquid Nails.  Here Tom is seen applying the fine adhesive.  This is very sticky stuff.  Much like the foam in a can, if you get it on you, it is a part of you for a while.

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Some artistic liberty was taken with the application of the adhesive.

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Charlotte was tasked with making sure the drywall was well seated against the chimney.  Pound harder!

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Once the drywall was applied to the chimney, David used gaffer's tape to make sure nothing moved overnight while the adhesive cured.

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Tom was given the  unenviable task of removing the old beryllium-copper weatherstripping from the back door frame, so that the hinges could be removed.

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The old weather stripping is springy and brittle, with tough little nails holding it down every inch and a half.  Tom got the job done, but soon discovered that wearing gloves would be a really good idea, as the edges are sharp.

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By the end of the evening, the drywalling was completed.  That is the South end of the kitchen, all ready to tape and mud.

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Here is the North end of the kitchen.

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To complete the evening, David stayed after Tom and Charlotte left, and taped and mudded everything not requiring a ladder.  He showed us a couple of professional tricks for patching holes.

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The Three Tall Guys from our Sunday School class returned to tape and mud drywall jounts.  Here is Paul Oldham, who is having entirely too much fun with his makeshift drywall mud board.

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Richard Moebes and Paul Oldham are deviding the labor, with Richard making sure all of the drywall screws are below the surface level, and Paul installing drywall tape in the southwest corner.

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Dick Danhoff joined in also, mudding every hole and joint.

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Get down!  Get down!  Richard had a lot of drywall screws which were standing proud and had to be pounded in.

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By now, Diehl is too sick to do much but watch and appreciate.  It was not cool in the least, but the cancer fooled his body into needing a big sweatter and watch cap to keep from feeling like he was going to freeze.

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Another night, another volunteer has shown up to get the job done.  David Thomas (a physicist from Aegis Technologies group) came back for a couple of extra evenings to do the finish drywall work.  He really has "the touch."

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The new kitchen is "only" 150 square feet, but there are lots of details to be attended to.  

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By the time David was done, every joint and every corner was a thing of beauty.

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So now all of the drywall work is complete.  All that is required is paint.

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Did someone mention the need for paint?  Two more volunteers from Aegis Technologies Group spent a full Saturday putting the primer and first coats on the ceiling and walls.  Here JoAnn Walton (from Human Resources) is finishing the brush work on the primer coat.

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Here we see April Woolweaver (the Aegis FSO) doing brush work on the primer coat.

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After the primer coat came lunch, and then the first coat of tinted paint was applied.  JoAnn was very quick with a roller.

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It was amazing to see the transition that a day's work made.  April called it "instant gratification."

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After all of the painting was completed, three ladies from our Sunday School class came out to clean up the mess, so there would be less dust and debris to track into the rest of the house.  Here we see Judy Butler, Loretta Oldham, and Christine Hunsaker.

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Diehl got to do the honors and install the outlets, switches, and the cover plates.  It makes such a difference in making the room look complete.

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Oh Derek!  Don't you know that posing for Monica's camera can make for such interesting photographs?  Derek came out to clean up the subfloor and to apply the latex primer which is necessary for the floor levelling compound to stick to the wood.  He struck this pose, and Monica was ready with camera in hand.

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Derek Strembicke returned to fill in gaps in the flooring by using a portland cement based floor levelling compound.  Herre he is seen mixing the powder and water, using a large drill motor and a mixing paddle.

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Here we see Derek spreading the floor levelling compound, which it turned out set up much faster than any of us anticipated.  By the time five minutes had elapsed, the cement was already setting up and producing copious amounts of heat.

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The southwest corner of the kitchen floor was filled this far, and no farther.  This experiement turned out to not work as well as we had intended.  On the other hand, we now know a lot more about this particular product than we did before.

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Richard Moebes came back to help with finishing off some electrical changes which were required in the basement.  here Richard is installing a new box in which to terminate an unused cable, while Diehl looks on.

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Here Richard is putting a cover plate on that termination box.

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The lighting in the basement is not great, but with the aid of a portable flourescent light we were able to see what we were doing.

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This newly-installed box is the junction box where the cables from the new electrical panel and timer will be attached to the existing cable from the light which shines on the busines sign out in the front yard.  Completion will wait until the wall with the new electrical panel is coverred, so that there will be a place to mount the timer.

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Amber and Martin Heimbeck returned to begin the process of installing the new cabinets in the kitchen.  The cabinets had sat in the storage room behind the garage for 3-1/2 years.  Here Amber and Martin are lining up the cabinet tops with a laser level. 

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Charlotte Ingram is seen here with a laser level determining that, yes indeed, the floor is not level.

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Martin consulted with Diehl about some minor detail in the cabinet locations, as shown in the documentation that came along with the cabinets.

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Martin and Amber carefully measured and placed lines on the floow showing where every part and piece should go.

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Here Derek and Martin can be seen hauling a boxed cabinet through the back porch and into the kitchen.  It was soon discovered that there were enough spiders living int he boxes that the boxes should be opened outtside the house before the cabinets were brought in.

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Here we can see Derek helping align the base for the pantry.  The base is a separate piece, which was not expected.

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Derek and Martin carefully positioned the pantry on its base.  The pantry was the first cabinet placed, as its position formed a baseline which the other cabinets had to line up to.

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Rebecca Trimm and Amber Heimbeck (foreground) and Charlotte Ingram (background) pre-drilled the holes in the cabinets for mounting the cabinets to the wall.

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Everything had to be properly figured out before being done.  Measure twice and cut once.

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David Thomas came back and helped Diehl put the lights ontop of the cabinets.  

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Here, David and Diehl are adding the second switch to the box by the door, so that the power to the cabinet-top lamps could be turned on and off. 

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The light fixtures were placed on top of the cabinets.  The indirect light from these fixtures is wonderful, leaving virtually no visible shadows.

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Diehl made sure that the switches were nice and straight in their box.

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Diehl added one additional outlet box between the doorway and the first cabinet.  This allows a bit more versatility in plugging in appliances, in this case perhaps a microwave on a wheeled cart.

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The hole in the wall lined up nicely with the electrical box in the wall behind it.

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The box went into the hold like it grew there.

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All done!  

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This is the new "skin" which covers the side of the cabinet.  The skin is actually thin oak-faces plywood, finished to match the rest of the oak on the cabinets.

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Dick Danhoff carefully cut and attached the skins to the cabinets.  He had exactly the right fine wood working tools and lots of experience in using them.  Thanks Dick!

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Everything must be "just so."  

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After the skins were attached, Dick came back with a matching color stick and filled and buffed each tiny nail hole.  In the end, it is impossible to find the holes.

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Here our daughter Marie is cutting an access port so that we can put a new electrical cable to the second floor.  She is cutting the face board using a Makita reciprocating saw, while standing on a six-foot ladder.

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Ah, the sawdust is falling now.  This is the sign of progress.

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Diehl is seen pointing out which direction the drill bit needs to be angled in order to make a hole in the right place in the floor of the closet in the next floor up.  He didn't actually drill this evening, but he stood around and looked like he might.

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Now where does that hole need to go?  This was a monumentally inconvenient place and direction to drill, and working at this angle from the ladder was a royal pain.

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Sometimes a flashlight will help to make it possible to see where things need to go.

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Notice that Marie is wearing proper safety glasses.  In her other life, she is Doctor Safety, super-hero in charge of making other people wear their safety equipment.

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Now take a look at that drill bit.  While it looks like one continuous very long drill bit, it is actually an 18-inch bell-hanger bit on top of an 18-inch extension.  It was barely was long enough to make the hole go all the way through from one ceiling to the next floor.
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Mike Thompson cut the big hole for the stove vent hood with a reciprocating saw.

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This is what the hole looked like onthe other side of the wall, where the vent hood would go.

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Next, Mike drilled the hole for the electrical connection for the vent hood.

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Mack McCord  enlarged that hole for the electrical hookup, since things didn't quite line up the first time.

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Diehl used the specialty tool to remove the aluminum outer covering from the electrical cable.

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Next, that cable was stuffed through the hole in the wall where...

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Mike positioned the vent hood into place.

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The first pass didn't allow enough room for the vent, so it had to be disassembled and the holes enlarged.

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Once the holes were large enough, Mike and Mack attached the vent hood to the cabinets.

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Some of the fine folks from Aegis came back, and did the last bit of spacing assistance for the cabinets. Here we see Amber Heimbeck, Martin Heimbeck, and Derek Strembicke.

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Lee Wood participated in the final cabinet spacing push.

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Mere we see Martin with the wedges for spacing the cabinets from the walls.

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Say cheese, Amber!

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Everything is coming together!

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Bill Clingan and Stan Hurst helped run coax cables between the buildings, so that Diehl could use the ham radio equipment in the house.

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All of the cable came in bulk, on big reels.

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Here we see Bill attaching the cable from the outbuilding to the outside of the wall.

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Feed me more cable!

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Now the cable has to go up the wall to the eyebolt on the eave.

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This is about where Bill has his encounter with the wasps which had built a nest behind the vinyl siding. Whatever you do, don't jump!

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My best friend from high school, Tom Curlee, came and spent most of a week helping in any way he could. Here Tom is installing the crown molding on the kitchen cabinets.

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Tom fabricated structural blocks like the one he is showing on the right, in order to provide the mechanical structure to make sure the crown molding stays in place.

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Everything was installed with a brad nailer, which he borrowed from a cousin who lives in Aniston.

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Besides the brads there was a layer of wood glue to assure that nothing moves.

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Tom installed the support brackets for the upstairs cabinet which holds the ham radio equipment.

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Notice that to support the fold-down desk while the brackets were installed, Tom used a portable stand.

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Richard Moebes helpd by assembling storage cabinets so that we could get things put away.

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Who would expect such a thing to come knocked down? There were too many screws to install.

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Richard smiled his way through it all.

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Tom replaced an antique lighting fixture in the stair well, and so we now have light upstairs.

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How do you install a vent for a vent hood in an old building? Well, it took a bit of planning. Mack McCord and Mike Thompson did the work, and this sequence shows how it was done.  First a hole had to be cut in the ceiling where the vent pipe would go.

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Next,Mack used a specially fabricated seven foot long drill bit to drill the starter hole in the roof, directly above the hole in the ceiling.

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Mike provided a man-lift (fork lift with a special basket) to get Mack up on the roof.

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Mack then lined things up with this long piece of vent pipe.

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Mack used a big hole bit to make the hole large enough for the vent pipe.

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He's almost through.

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Next, the shingles had to be tweaked to make it so the the vent jack will fit.

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Mack insterted the vent pipe from the top.

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And then Mike caught the vent pipe as it came through the ceiling.

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Mike checked everything for fit.

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Mack installed the vent jack in the roof.

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Now the vent pipe had to be pushed up from below in order to get it through the rubber fitting on the vent jack.

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Communication from top to bottom was ahndled by talking through the pipe.

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Mack aited while we fetched things for him.

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Passing things up and down was handled using a long painter's pole.

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Here mack has installed the vent top, and is adding the goop to prevent water from going where it shouldn't. After several real rain storms, we know that it doesn't leak.

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So here we see the vent hood all hooked up and ready to use.

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Here Mack is adding the last screws to hold the vent together.

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Thanks for bringing by the fork lift, Mike!

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This is the left side of the wall between the kitchen and the back porce, with all of the internal plumbing, electrical work, and venting completed.

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This is the right side of that same wall. Notice that every electrical run has a label.

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The wiring for the vent hood took a circuitous route to get there, but meets code just fine.

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Things are improving. Look, there is now a refrigerator in place, and the sink looks ready to install.

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Here is the opening for the stove, all set to go.

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Mack McCord and Mike Thompson cut strips of wood to various thicknesses in order to allow the new plywood which would cover this wall to lie flat. The old studs are of random thickness (made with obviously used lumber) and this was the only way to make the new wall flat.

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Here Mack is attaching one of those strips of wood to the wall. This is the last we will see of that section of wall.

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Here we see Diehl replacing the GFI outlet that the counter installer from Lowe's broke. Fixing what they broke just was not their problem, it would seem.

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Here Mack McCord and Mike Thompson are seen putting the first of the sheets of plywood onto the wall between the kitchen and the porch. In this picture they are working around an electrical box which connects the old work to the new electrical system.

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Once that panel was in place, Mike had to trim a bit to get this panel fact to fit in the hole.

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When Dependable Bob, the plumber came and tried to install the sink, it turned out that the counter installer that Lowe's sent had not cut the sink hole large enough for the sink to go all the way down. Lowe's is pretty non-responsive about such things, and so Diehl got the honor of reworking the hole so that the sink would fit. We had almost returned the (until then) unused 1-inch long carbide bit that week, and were very glad we had been slow to do so.

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Diehl's tool of choice for fixing the hole for the sink was his old router, and he did the entire fixup freehand. We were more than a little surprised that the plumber did not seem to be able to deal with an under-sized hole, and seemed surprised at the choice of a router to fix the problem. It is the obvious choice since it cuts parallel to the laminate, and so would not risk ripping up the laminate as would a saw.

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Derek Strembicke is seen here trying to get the sink to fit in the hole. Again.

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That sink had to be tried for size several times before it fit just right. Derek did the honors of trying and retrying the sink for size.

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Bob Cattaneo finished the hot and cold water plumbing, and did the full installation on the gas stove.

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Mike Thompson cut and installed the plywood to fit the wall between the back porch and the kitchen. There were an abundance of holes which had to be cut, as there were electrical boxes, plumbing cutouts, and the stove vent to be accommodated.

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Cut, trim, and make it fit.

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The last piece was the hardest to fit, as it had to match on four sides instead of just three.

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Here we see Mike doing the last bit of fitting to make the plywood material fit into the wall opening.

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Here we see Richard Moebes and Diehl cutting door trim pieces on the chop saw in the back yard.

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The trim went on well, with a full day's work. It had to be built-up in pieces, as the trim needed to fit both the unusually sized original doorways, and be trimmed to fit between the doors and the cabinets. The door trim now looks like it grew there, and matches the rest of the trim in the house.

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Here, Diehl is using the air nailer to install floor trim. Reuben Fryer had already primed and painted it, so the installation went very quickly.

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The counter installer that Lowe's provided made a big gash in the floor material, and the fine folks at Lowe's never did send anyone out to fix it. The hole goes all the way into the plywood underlayment.

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Diehl fixed the hole using a repair kit, and you cannot tell now that there was ever a problem.

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The kitchen is being used now. Here is our daughter Marie, making pie crust on the kitchen table. That table belonged to Monica's grandmother, who had it cut down to coffee table height. When we got it some years ago, Diehl made a new post for it and refinished it.

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This view shows the completed kitchen, with Diehl making filling for rhubarb pie, for Christmas 2006. After all of that destruction and construction, the kitchen is finaly ready to use. Note that the kitchen has wonderful indirect lighting, and is a real pleasure to use.

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Thank you all for helping!


There is still some text to insert with a number of these pictures. I will get to it at time allows.


Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!