Chapter 2: Getting Rolling

I have a tendency to wait until I'm good and ready before attacking a project, which often means things get delayed while I think and plan and collect parts, then I suddenly explode into a flurry of activity. It's probably not the most efficient way to do things but it's worked for me for nearly half a century so I think I am not likely to change.

J-channel glued to walls

The first step in making the walls look like boilerplate was to glue j-channel around the walls 3 feet off the floor. I'm going to leave the lower 3 feet of the walls bare because they'll mostly be hidden by cabinets and sinks anyway; I'll just paint them. The j-channel is PVC and is attached to the wall with 'goop' adhesive (my favorite!) and a bit of tape to hold it while it cures. I did this yesterday, before I headed home for the evening.

Today I stripped the tape off the j-channel and got my tools ready.

The right tools are important (larger)

Since I have plenty of softbox hot-lights I figured I'd use studio lighting while I worked; besides a 750watt halogen will help keep me warm. It's below freezing outside but with the reddi header running and some Rammstein coming out of the speakers, it's danceable.

I took 4 of the 4-footX8-foot panels and cut them in half using a circular saw, then put tape at the top of each piece, used a caulking fgun to apply a good swirl of construction adhesive to theback of the panel, then braced it in the j-channel and held it in place with tape. When all the prep-work for something like this is done in advance, it's easy going for one person. If I weren't using the j-channel, I'd be trying to figure out how to hold a 15-lb sheet in place with one hand while fumbling for a screwdriver. To me, one of the most interesting and fun parts of a project is to design my process so that I have to expend a minimum of "stupid effort" - as someone once said, "a genius is someone so lazy they do everything right the first time." I'm not a genius but since I work alone I have to make all my processes workable for a single hand.

Light switch panel

All told, mounting the panels took a matter of minutes. I left wide gaps between them because that's where the overpieces of "bolted plate" are going to go. That'll also make it easier to position and attach them. In some places, like at the edge of the wall, I cut the panels on my table-saw to make the edges very clean and square; the overpieces on the edges will be formed to look like they are welded, by taping, gluing, and caulking them. That's the plan, anyhow.

I'm going to make a switch-plate that looks like a bolted-on steel plate.

The header fills up the window

The last bit of prep-work on the walls was to mount a plywood panel over the window; it'll serve as a way to mount additional stuff on the wall, as well as a way of blocking light from coming in.

All told, today's spurt of work took about 4 hours, most of which was making and installing the window header. Tomorrow I am going to get more adhesive and see if I can make the overpieces and install them. My idea there is to cut strips 4" wide on the table-saw, then drill them down the edges with a forstner bit, and glue in oak button plugs to make "rivet heads." If I am careful I can cut all the pieces, clamp them together, and drill them in a stack; that should save me a lot of time. By the end of tomorrow the walls should be ready for paint!

At least I've gotten started!

(Chapter 3)