Broekie Lace

In South Africa, we call Victorian iron fretwork “Broekie Lace“. I have no idea why.

Anyway, we found this lamp post outside Brad & Lynn’s house. He didn’t want it (he has plans involving security cameras), so plans were made, mostly involving a chisel and a rather large hammer.


Back home, some more plans were made, this time involving an angle grinder, and a somewhat smaller hammer and chisel.

S6301611r S6301614r

Does the number 374788 mean anything to anybody when it comes to cast iron fretwork?

Wire brushed and painted.

(yea, crappy photo. Difficult with the light and on-camera micro-flash).

The 12mm plank at the top is level. The brickwork definitely isn’t. Once all the woodwork is in I’ll fill the gap and paint it and you won’t know it’s there… I hope.

2010-11-08: Edit to add another pic.

Kitchen cupboards.

I started building kitchen cupboards somewhere around August 2008 — well before we moved in. Well, I finally fitted the last cabinet doors — the two on the pot drawers under the prep bowl.


And… our first tomatoes of the season have shown up.


While the cocktail tomatoes are first, I have no idea what other kinds of tomatoes we’re going to get. They all came up from the worm compost that I spread in that part of the garden, so it’s a conglomeration of all the tomatoes I’ve used the past year or so.

Undercounter lighting

I wanted to use low-voltage LED undercounter lights in the kitchen. I liked the strip lights from LED z Shine, so I phoned a rep, who promised to get back to me and then… things went quiet. Contacted them recently, but they don’t deal direct and suggested I go to Eagle. The guy at Eagle was particularly non-helpful, said he’d have to order the stuff in and made it clear that he didn’t really want to do that.


So the other day in Cape Town I walked past an electrical store (RG Jack in Bree Street) on my way from the toy store. Popped in, found this 220V fluorescent strip light. It’s rather expensive, almost R600, except they then give 55% discount so it’s R255 out the door.


It’s also rather bright :-)

Now I still need to add two switches, one for the undercounter light and one for the downlighters that still need to go into the glass cupboard.

Sunday at home

Last Sunday I decided that I had to get my lazy bum in gear and finish the kitchen wiring.

Before and after. I built a 3 way multiplug into the appliance garage so we can leave the stuff plugged in, just pull it out to use it.

The plugpoint on the left is special. I originally bought it to use it in the bathroom, because hair dryers etc often have two pin plugs. But Tanya’s hair dryer has the “euro” connector that doesn’t fit into that socket. So I swapped a single socket into the bathroom and put this one here so that I can plug the wall-wart to charge the bamix.

All of this took longer than expected, and since I had been monopolising the kitchen the munchkins were hungry.

So Tamsyn made french toast. Using three eggs per person, so we had scrambled egg afterwards :-)

And we started a batch of ice cream but that will be the subject of another post.

Supper was my stoo on the left and vegetarian parsnip stew on the right. Both were great.

Happy Anniversary

Today, a year ago, we took possession of the house. It’s been… a journey. A long one, and we’re still on it.

Maybe it’s time for the long awaited kitchen sink backsplash post. Frank finished the tiling and grouting last Friday, but I’ve been somewhat busy, so blogging had to wait.

Drip tray hardware from A&D Distributors in Maitland.

We invited some people over on Saturday evening, so the rush was on to finish the bathroom shelves (only way I get things done, invite people over :-)

These rods are also from A&D…

..and this is what they look like installed. Since this particular wall consists of tile over shutterboard, I just drilled a hole and used a 6mm bolt from the other side to hold the rod to the wall.

For the shelf on the other side, I used two lengths of 12mm aliminium angle, cut and filed and drilled. This is where I noticed that the whole thing is completely out of square, the tiler could have done a lot better.

I still have to change the bath… *sigh* but it’ll be nice when it’s done. And Tanya wants “her” light on the same circuit as the downlighters, there’s a DB in the ceiling, I just have to get up there…

I would have liked to go and see the Kontiki rafts, but driving to the Fruit & Veg in Bellville to buy snack-ey party stuff, and putting up the shelves, took my whole day. OK, I also spent an hour at the range early on Saturday but that doesn’t count :-) Found a pretty good 7mm TC/U cast bullet load. Subject of another posting, maybe.

Monday evening sunset, straight off the camera, no Photoshoppery.

Drip tray over sink, part 2

These are the top and bottom sides for the wall units from Lansdowne Boards. No mistakes or inconsistencies here (for once), this is how they do it.

Of course, if they put the slot for the backing board on the other side, the holes for the cam system would end up on the outside of the unit. Which won’t be visible. In this design, the cams end up inside the unit, which is visible.

Doesn’t look too bad though.

I still havn’t figured out how to avoid holes in the backing board. Using their hanging system, one ends up with two holes in each upper corner, and two holes across the bottom. Using what I did here, I ended up with four holes. I guess bodyputty and paint is a solution…

Drip tray above kitchen sink

The drip tray hardware comes from A&D Distributors in Maitland. It comes with instructions, but I decided to ignore their recommended dimensions in favour of centering the (222mm deep) drip tray in the (300mm) deep cupboard unit.

I want the backsplash to extend up behind the drip tray, so I sat with Julian and designed a unit with a cupboard at the top and a backless bottomless area at the bottom.

I also realised that this would happen, and told Julian how I wanted it done. (Because of the curve of the saw blade, getting the slot for the backing board deep enough on the top (left in the picture) of the shelf means that the cut extends. I was quite prepared to have the cut stop above the shelf, I would then route the last bit by hand).

But as we say in Afrikaans, “‘n Halwe begrip het ‘n goeie woord nodig.” In the case of these guys, I think the good explanation has to be punctuated with a baseball bat for things to sink in, though.

Looking good…

Dealing With Idiots, part five thousand and … something.

So I ordered the last of the kitchen cabinets from Lansdowne Boards. These took a while because we were still deciding what we wanted to do, and I had to wrap my head around the drip tray that I got from A&D distributors.

Collected the stuff last Wednesday. Found that they had only supplied two of the three units (but all four doors). No wonder they gave me a large, unexpected off-cut — that was of course supposed to be the third unit.

Returned the offcut to them for making into unit #3.

That was last week.

Over the weekend I found that the double doors for the Colossal Cupboard were too small. The formula is : door width = cupboard width divided by two, less 4mm. Taking the 1mm edging into account, that means the wood for a door for a 750mm wide cupboard should be 369mm. The drawing shows 369mm, the cut list shows 369mm, but the measuring tape shows… 365mm. This creates a rather unsightly gap between the two doors, of course.

Took that back on Monday, nicely asked the fellow to have my kitchen unit ready by Wednesday.

Wednesday came around, I phoned. Nosir, maybe by Friday.

Are they nuts? I ordered this stuff weeks ago. They stuffed up. All they need to do is to quickly cut and edge a unit, one unit, and that will keep the customer happy. So what do they do? Sweet Fanny Adams.

And they’re still sitting on the replacement shelves for the one bookshelf where they got the holes skew. Something to do with them having to buy the chipboard for the replacement unit, which of course they are loathe to do. I suspect they can just massage the replacement white units out of someone else’s order, but few people order mahogany…


/me goes back to listening to Lily Allen with a vengeance.

Small World

I should have blogged the start of this story when it happened… I had the dominos, and I had a gas bottle, and I even had some spare flexible gas pipe, but I needed the bits to make it all work.

So I went by the Gas Appliance Centre in Lansdowne Road, with a domino in hand. Girl behind the counter (whom I can totally go in for, except she smokes) takes one look at this, says “yea, you need a hose barb female with a *mumble* thread, they come from the factory with a *mumble-something-else* thread, we have a tap, we can fix it… but we’re out of stock… come back in two days’ time”.

So after checking back a few times they get the fittings into stock (this place is sort of on my way to / from Lansdowne Boards so it’s no hassle). And I buy the two fittings, a T connector, a regulator and a bunch of pipe clamps.

All of this is currently doing duty making the gas dominos work over at the house (there’s still a bit of a leak I need to sort out though).

In the course of this all I spot that they also have cast iron woks, but small ones. Which is a Good Thing, since this was only days after Tanya bought me the Le Creuset. And I spot the corrugated vent pipe they use to vent gas geysers to the outside world. Figuring I could use this to join the miss-applied sewerage pipe to the extractor fan, I ask for a small bit of it. And she says “yea, my brother has off-cuts in the back of the bakkie, I’ll ask him to leave a bit here for you”.

And since then I’ve checked in a few times but the transfer from back of bakkie to under counter had not yet been made.

Which brings us to the other story. I removed four fans, actually, I lie, I removed two fans and the previous owners left us two fans which they removed or never fitted or whatever, from the bedrooms. That still leaves two fans in the house, previous owners were serious fans of… fans. Anyway, stuck the fans on Gumtree. A month or so later this girl phones, says she wants two fans, and she’ll send her cousin or friend or something to collect. No worries, say I, and I stick the fans in the back of the car.

So this morning a fellow pitches, says he’s here for the fans. And he drives a Gas Appliance Centre bakkie. Ahah!

So now I have the bit of corrugated pipe I need to finish the extractor fan installation :-)

Prep bowl

We bought a nice prep bowl at the Muizenberg market.

Then I redesigned the kitchen, and the counter became too narrow for that prep bowl.

Then we started looking for prep bowls to fit the narrow counter, with little success.

Until we went to the Hout Bay craft market, where we found these two bowls:

We both liked the left-hand one more than the right-hand one, but due to the way the clay is fired to get the finish, the right-hand one is slightly smaller.

So we went back home to measure. And I figured that I could make the shiny one fit.

The hole is just inside the cupboard front edge, and it overlaps the batten at the back, but the bowl curves, so it fits, with a centimeter or so to spare.

And then I could fasten the top to the base cupboards, and fit the tap. Yay!

Supper last night was spaghetti Bolognese, Michelle’s recipe via Alosha. And I mixed some speculaas dough, it’s in the fridge, will stick it in the oven tonight.