Making, Crafting, Creating... aka Whatcha workin' on?

this week’s job at a different millionaire’s lake house on a different lake:

the cabinet on the right came with the house so ours has to match its look. but there’s a huge post in our way and ours needs to house a grill and side burner.

end of day two, fully framed with birch plywood and some 2x4s to hold up the grill

end of third day, faced with the same rough boards left over from siding the house

finished cabinet has inset doors and we put the holder for the grill and the burner in place. other crews will run the gas lines, finish the wood to match, and lay a matching stone top on it


Amazing craftsmanship. I’m in awe.


thanks! I don’t think I’ve explicitly said it yet but my boss is the project leader on these works. he designs everything. I make most of the cuts and do give some design input here and there, some of which he actually uses. beyond that I facilitate everything and act as another set of hands, and I usually catch at least one big mistake per job before he makes it. I’ve always built projects for myself and fixed things, so I really love this kind of work.


Before & after shots of an old farm wagon that I helped my son’s scout troop restore.

Most of the community seemed really stoked about it, but a few were nostalgic for the “before” version even though it was basically a pile of tetanus supported by termites holding hands.

For the record the wooden parts we replaced were actually part of an early rebuilding effort circa 1980s rather than part of the original farm wagon and we did our best to create something that was actually more period accurate than the existing version, but I guess you’re always gonna get a few haters.


Anyway I had fun doing it. Last step is to install the buckboard wagon seat.


Sounds like a good gig.


Once again, great work!


It’s deeply impressive. And if you’re making the cuts, that to me is the impressive part.

I have to figure out how to make this cut. A 200-year old cedar that blew over earlier this year, that has magnolias growing out of it. I’m not sure how to do it yet. The trunk is about 10 feet around, and the remnant is about 25 feet tall at the highest point.


Call an arborist?


The quotes I’ve gotten for cutting it all down are way beyond what I can afford. And no local woodworkers or mills are interested.



Well, that sucks… have you tried looking at arborist youtube videos? Maybe you can find some good information there?


You’re writing “arborist” and I think I’m not understanding what you might mean. Isn’t an arborist for living trees? The cedar is dead and has two magnolias growing out the center. It all has to come down.


I thought arborists would also do take down of dead/dangerous trees? Am I wrong on that? :thinking: If so, substitute whatever the proper profession is for dealing with problematic trees (dead or alive).

But either way, I’d still think you’d be able to look up advice on youtube to deal with such a situation, if getting it dealt with by a professional whatever-youd-call-it is too expensive.

Although, does this situation impact a right of way or a powerline, or could it in the future? Maybe try the county or power company?


Ah, yes. We’re on the same page. Sorry.

I’ve perused some YouTube videos and asked some pros. There’s a power line nearby the top part, but the power company isn’t interested in helping out. They’ve told me it’s cheaper for them to fix it if something goes wrong than to make a habit of proactive tree-cutting for anyone who needs it. :man_shrugging:

I’ve cut down a lot of trees, but the massive trunk makes this one more difficult. It likely requires a bucket truck to rope it off so it can be eased down. It was a gorgeous tree when it was alive and whole. The Nov 2020 hurricane took it apart.


Frustrated Parks And Recreation GIF

That seems foolish… but I guess I’m not surprised…

I hope you figure this out, though. What a pain!


Firepit heat deflectors are all the rage but they are crazy expensive so I made one for around 70 bucks.

It actually works at keeping the heat around the fire instead of going straight up.

Heat deflector 2.0 is going to have a hinged opening to easily add wood or rearrange the logs. I’ve been looking for an excuse to get a cheap Harbor Freight welder.

The bonus is a saucepan with cider or hot chocolate or a coffee pot will sit on top and stay warm.

The last picture is just showing of my quality log cabin fire.


Totally off topic, and I frustratingly can’t find an audio link, but your stories of working these cool lake house jobs reminds me of the excellent Vinyl Cafe story, “A Trip to the Cottage.”
If you haven’t already heard it, and can find the audio, highly recommend a listen! Might even be a good job site soundtrack :joy:
(It’s a story of Dave and Morley getting to stay at a lake cottage in exchange for some renovations work that goes hilariously awry.)


Is this it?


Yes, that’s it!


Looks like a bit-by-bit-from-top-to-bottom job from the pictures1).
At least down to the main trunk to make things more manageable.

Off the top of my head:

  • Maybe ask the local (voluntary) fire brigade to turn this into a training exercise. They should have the equipment and are usually quite keen to try it out. Something, something boys & toys, but why not channel that into something useful.

  • Some professional climbers2) do this kind of job.

  • Strip naked, douse tree with petrol and light it, then dance around the pyre laughing maniacally3)


1) Not exactly the real thing, is it. Can’t tell the height, can’t tell the distance to the house… Now plans and elevations with dimensions…
2) PONS online insists on calling them rope access technicians. Which sounds kinda… off to me. On the other hand, a literal translation of Industriekletterer doesn’t cut it either.
3) Not the most effective method, granted. Maximum points for style, though.


Yep, I think this will involve whittling it down piece by piece til it gets down to about 8-9 ft. Then a cut a few feet up and some wedges to insure it goes away from the house.