Other stuff I've made

I've made a lot of other things over the years. Everything I made involved learning some new skill or technique, or doing something that I'd never done before. Sometimes things worked out great, sometimes they worked adequately, but every time was a learning experience. "Making things" in general is a great experience, one that is at the same time emboldening and humbling: for every problem I solve or project I complete, I am at once proud and confident in my ability to deal with any challenge that life throws at me, yet chastened in the knowledge that whatever it is I've done, thousands or millions of people have done it before me, often better, and that my hard-won new skill doesn't even amount to the first notch in a real crafstman's toolbox. It's like, I did well, but I didn't do that well.

This isn't meant to be a comprehensive list, I haven't put everything I've made here (that would be weird). I couldn't do that even if I wanted to, because I'm not so good at remembering to take pictures of things when I'm done. These are just the things that I look back on fondly, and think, "that was kind of cool". And have pictures of.

A front addition on my in-law's house

I mentioned this a couple times in the main part of my workingclasshouses blog, but I rebuilt the entire front part of my in-law's house. It was an old house, over a hundred years, and the original front entrance had the front door, a closet, and a criminally unpleasant toilet room. This entrance had been built on (my best guess) what was originally a front porch. It didn't have a real foundation, just some basic cement blocks that went down a foot or two into the ground. Over the years, it sank; the floors were crooked, the bathroom door wouldn't close, there were plumbing issues. It had had these problems for years, when a final plumbing issue pushed my father-in-law to decide it had to be replaced. The quotes he got from professionals were prohibitively expensive, so I offered to do it myself for the experience. And I did it, the whole thing, from pouring the foundation footers to shingling the roof, and the plumbing and electrical and everything in between. It turned out pretty good.

front entrance addition on houseThe front entrance I rebuilt on my in-law's house (before the porch was finished)

The set for an elementary school production of "The Lion King"

It was suggested that I volunteer to make the set for my daughter's school musical, so I did, and ended up making three movable pieces. They had to be lightweight (because kids have to move them around the stage) but sturdy (a bunch of kids were going to be standing on them at the same time). They're since been repainted and used in another play (I think "the Jungle Book").

front view of set built for school playThe front of the set

final decorated view of set built for school playFinal decorated set

back view of three piece set made for school playThe back of the set

A bridge

I built this bridge across a drainage stream in my in-law's backyard. I already had access to the steel joists, so it was a relatively straightforward job to make forms at either end and fill them with concrete, then add boards for a deck. The bridge ran into a problem after several years when too much rain washed away the dirt under one side, causing it to sink two feet. This picture is from when I was raising it back up, with two screw jacks. I did it in stages: lift, fill underneath with rocks, lower on to rocks, move the jacks, repeat.

a bridge I built across a streamI am literally a bridge-builder

Stairs down a hillside

Nothing truly special, some simple stairs down a hillside, but they made the whole back part of the property accessible.

some stairs I built down a hillsideSome stairs I built