February 18th, 2003


Winter Wonderland

Massive snowstorm yesterday, approaching blizzard conditions. Not really sure about the accumulation because of all the driftage, but it was probably around 16" or so. The drift on the side of the building (which is covering the lower portions of my office windows, so I can easily measure it's height) is at least three feet high. Yeesh. Anyhow, I had to do some serious digging this morning to get the truck out of the driveway. The roads were in pretty good shape, though.

The storm was intense enough that we closed up around noon. The roads were passable until I got to 102, which hadn't seen either a plow or a sander. Rt. 2 was the same. Still, I managed to get home without incident, although it took longer than usual.

Since I had the afternoon free, I did some more work on the bookcases, cutting the rabbets for the back panels on the sides and the back edges of the header and footer pieces. Took awhile, because I needed to run each piece over the sawblade three times to cut the rabbet to the proper width. I'm using a 60-tooth carbide blade, which creates huge piles of very fine saw dust, so now everything in that half of the basement is coated with a thin film of dust. I need to buy or build some sort of dust remover. Hmmm, I do have a HEPA unit that's really just sitting around doing nothing. Maybe I'll use that until I get something more suitable.

Anyhow, all the cutting for the cases is done. Now it's time to assemble them. I've mentioned before that assembly is problematic for two reasons. First, the Cases are 93" tall, and my basement is only 84" tall, so I can't stand them up down there, which is only a minor problem. The big problem is getting the assembled cases upstairs. The distance between the bottom of the basement stairs and the basement wall is only about 3½', and the stairs are enclosed with open studs. There's really no way to bend the cases around the posts at the bottom of the staircase to bring them upstairs. I don't know if the studs are load-bearing, but I think it's safest not to remove any as an experiment.

I did have one potentially brilliant idea on how to get them up the stairs. The cases are 31" wide and 9½" deep. The stairs are 36" wide, and are of open-tread design typical of basement stairs. If I removed a stair tread, the resulting opening in the stairs would be more than enough for me to slide each case on its back through the stairs, and then I can turn it on its side and carry it up. Of course, it would be hideously unsafe to do this in a Wile E. Coyote sort of way, because I just know that I'll try to step on the missing stair tread and fall through.

The alternative is to carry all the parts upstairs, and then assemble the cases in the living room. The only real disadvantage is that I'll also need to stain and varnish the cases in the living room. This isn't as bad as all that, because I really would only need to do the exteriors that way, and I can put down a drop cloth. Hell, that's the way Deb and I stained our bookcases way back when in our old apartment. I wasn't planning on doing the interiors until they were installed and the face frame was attached, anyway. Come to that, the only bit of exterior that's even going to be visible will be at one end, so why am I doing the exteriors again?

There is an indirect advantage to doing the assembly in the living room. The living room is the next room to be painted and renovated, so this would get me started on cleaning it up for that.
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