Sunday, January 26, 2014


I've spent the last couple of days replacing the flooring in our back porch.

Ever since we've been in this house (that's about 25 years now) the back porch floor has been a shitty crappy piece of particle board. It lasted surprisingly well, but it was ugly, and finally it started crumbling away where it got repeatedly rained on and created a hazard to life and limb.

I'd have liked to use matai for the floorboards, to match the rest of the house, but alas that would have cost about a bajillion dollars. I considered kwila as sort of an equivalent, but that's also a little bit pricey, and a pain in the arse to lay as all your nail holes have to be pre-drilled to prevent cracking. So instead I just used H3 treated pine decking, which is cheap as chips.

I foolishly thought this would be a simple job, the work of a few hours. Then, once I'd managed to lift the remains of the chipboard to get at the framing below, the true horror of the situation was revealed.

There is nothing about this floor that is straight, square, or level, and the framing was... let's just call it minimal, which does kind of explain the slightly trampolinish nature of the old floor. However, I beefed it up substantially and now it's good and firm underfoot. It's still not straight, square or level though.

I haven't decided yet whether I'm going to stain and varnish the floor, or just paint it. Probably just paint I think, as frankly, the timber isn't really all that attractive.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Adventures With Brush Pens

Since the last time I used Faber-Castel "Pitt" brush pens, they've increased their colour range markedly, including a range of greys. I bought a Warm Grey III to try it out, along with a black and a sepia pen. I quite like them, though they don't have the response or size-range of proper sable brushes.

Black and Warm Grey III

Dark Sepia and Warm Grey III

Sunday, January 5, 2014


Today, Annette and I went to a little antique/junk market out in Woolston. It was pretty solidly packed with people browsing, which did nothing good for my crowding anxiety, but I managed to restrain myself from fleeing or descending into a red-eyed berserk frenzy, so that was good. There were a few things there that I would have bought, but I only had twenty bucks in cash money, so that restricted my options a little bit.

I did buy this home-made knife that somebody made for themselves once upon a time. It appealed to me because it's so clearly not the work of an expert cutler: the two halves of the antler handle are slightly different lengths, for a start.

I suspect it might have been cut down from an old meat works knife, though I can't be sure. The steel is decent, and it takes a very good edge. The blade is only 120mm long and quite thin and springy, so it will make a good vege knife; it's a bit broad for easy boning and the like though. I'll have to be a bit careful about the handle; natural antler doesn't much care for being left wet.