I’ve been back in the groove recently, and have a grim sort of determination to get this office together. It will be done in Plymouth as it is online…
Like almost every job I undertake, this one spiralled out of control. What began with me tearing out the bookcases in the spare room resulted in a skeletalised and partially de-plastered mess. Every step brought additional challenges and although progress was slow, things are finally coming together.
The shelves were removed in anger, but life got in the way and it took quite some time before I got round to first plasterboarding the exposed concrete blocks and skimming the damaged plaster. I haven’t even mentioned the wallpaper which appeared to be structural at this point. Removing it revealed more and more damaged plaster, and I had to get creative with the solutions.
Removing the wallpaper also revealed an interesting message from some of the previous owners. Who knows who it’s referring to. If it was closer to Halloween, it could have been a pretty sinister occurrence.
The wallpaper appeared to conceal several areas of blown plaster which required some excision and repair. I ended up using a combination of patch plaster and skim coat to fill the defects which ended up with a reasonably good cosmetic result. Some of the cracks started small, but the areas of problematic plaster extended far beyond my initial impression. I ended up re-plastering quite a lot of back wall too, although thankfully not the whole thing.
The room is going to finish up magnolia with a green feature wall. One of the walls will be home to multiple instruments, and two others will be given over to shelves. They’ll have a natural finish, with black heavy duty brackets. Integrating the stair bulkhead in an aesthetically pleasing way will be challenging, but that’s the main reason I started this project.
Let there be (LED) light!
This is a very niche project, but since when have I had a mainstream interest? One of my colleagues had a rather specific problem. The lightbulb powering her arrow pointer (used to demonstrate points of interest on slides, like a computer cursor) had blown. These things aren’t cheap, and to make it worse, there were supply issues. This one was an incandescent bulb, and a third party LED replacement would be around $300. On a whim, I unscrewed the bulb cover and shined the light on my phone into the module. The arrow lit up like new. The next step was to disassemble the bulb holder and find a suitable LED torch which was compact and powerful enough.
I wanted something reliable so found a well reviewed Olight rechargeable torch and got some Sugru silicone glue. I removed the brass bulb holder and the torch fitted quite nicely into the remaining opening. All that was left was to secure the torch to the plastic housing, then to test it after curing for 48 hours. That might have been overkill, but I intend the assembly to be a long term solution so it needed to be as robust as possible. The other advantage of using Sugru is that if necessary, it can be removed without damaging the original parts. I was working with some expensive equipment so having all the changes be reversible was a definite advantage.
I’m happy to report that the new LED pointer module is working admirably. If you recall, the competitor’s solution was around $300 for a reasonably slick product. Mine is a little more homemade, but the grand total for the parts was about £24, and that was buying a better torch than I needed. I wanted to guarantee it would be powerful enough to give a decent result, but next time I would take a gamble on a cheaper and slightly less powerful torch. As a proof of concept though, it worked wonderfully.
Back against the (climbing) wall
I reached into the cupboard this evening and blew the chalk off the old (relatively new) climbing bag and gathered up our shoes. The last time I was bouldering was over the Jubilee bank holiday, and it certainly felt that way. My hands were burning. My arms were aching. I was home. Most of the routes were too much for me, although I did manage one blue (an intermediate level problem) which was quite satisfying. It’s going to take a while to get back into it but I’m looking forward to the challenge.
Speaking of climbing, I better get back to Hyrule…