1 House 100 Years

Preparing For The Centennial Of A Place That Matters

Category: This Place Matters

More Than An Old Toolbox


An odd thing about collecting is that oftentimes a day will come when you realize that you have a collection. It’s not something that you planned. It just suddenly appears, seemingly out of nowhere like crocus blooms in the spring. “Hey! I’ve got a collection! Where did that come from?”

Such is the case with my toolbox collection. I have five: a Sears Craftsman toolbox from when I bought my house, a Kennedy toolbox that I bought at an auction, two old wooden workshop-made toolboxes that my mother had used to fill with Christmas decoration displays, and this one.

It is my current favorite and was likely made in the woodworking corner of someone’s garage. I saw it at Riverside Mill in Weldon, North Carolina this past fall, and knew right away that it was for me. Who made this toolbox? What projects had been created with its contents?

The mismatched metal pieces may be leftover parts from different projects, but someone had taken extra steps to shape the lid, perhaps with a factory-made toolbox in mind. The tool tray handles are smooth and angled slightly outward, tempting the eyes and urge the hands to explore and create.

This is a toolbox for hand tools. This is a toolbox for special projects. This is a toolbox that is a tool in itself as it has the ability to set the mind back to a simpler time of craftsmanship and to focus experience and imagination towards building something new.



New Year, New Projects!


With the start of the new year comes the start of a new major project…or at least thoughts of a new major project. The weather has been too cold to start anything major now that all of my big tools have been moved out to the unheated garage.

Nevertheless, it has been very nice to walk through my practically bare living room and dining room and enjoy the newly restored and refinished floors. The house definitely has a greater feeling of being a warm and welcoming home. I must admit that I am enjoying the ” minimalist look” too!

Hopefully the “Before” and “After” photos above tell this story well. You will see that there has been very little change in the rich, aged color of the wood, however there is a definite improvement in the appearance, particularly since there are no longer pieces of plywood covering up the holes!

A good friend has often said, “John, your house will tell you what it needs next.” Last winter it was telling me (in a rather unpleasant way) that it needed a new heating system! With that and this major floor project completed, my house is now saying, “Laundry room, please.”


These photographs were taken in 2014 before, during and after the repair and refinishing of my living room and dining room floors.

By the way, WordPress let me know that this is my 100th post!

What I Have Learned About Staining and Finish a Floor…(Beyond the Fact That This Has Definitely Been Worth All of the Extra Work!)


After all of the scraping and repairing, there was sanding and touching up, it was time for staining and finishing. It was a challenge to hold off on moving to the staining and finishing, since those were the final steps would tell me if all of this work was worthwhile.

Could my old floor be saved? And if it could, would it live up to my hopes and expectations? The biggest investment up to this point had been in my time. The cost of boards and sandpaper were really quite small when compared to the amount of time I’d invested.

“Gunstock” was the stain color which was the closest match for the old original aged finish. A test area was very useful to ensure a good stain selection. It was a little more reddish-brown than golden-yellow, however my finish coat gave it a golden-yellow tone for a practically perfect match.

Quick Tip: Collect a lot of old T-shirts ahead of time. You can use them for wiping everything down before applying stain to remove any remaining sanding residue. They are also useful when wiping away extra stain.

“Photograph 1” was taken about halfway through applying stain to the living room floor. The morning sunlight really enhanced the appearance of the work in progress. There was that warm and welcoming color that I had been looking for at last! I felt good about my choices.

Quick Tip: Foam sponges are great for stain application because they come in various sizes and can match the width of a floor board and can even be cut to fit the width very easily if needed. They also minimize any bubbling and are good for “spot staining” if needed.

Although one coat of stain was perfect for the old original boards, the new replacement boards needed a second or third coat to help them match and blend in better. Green painter’s tape was perfect for isolating boards that needed some additional work with staining to blend in better visually.

Because the original floor boards had color variety due to some showing the pine heart wood and others showing the effects of light and foot traffic, it was helpful to make some of my new replacement boards slightly darker than others. This helped them to blend in much better visually.

Although I normally hesitate to recommend any particular product by name, an exception to this is with my final floor finish, Waterlox tung oil. This was the same product I had used for my red oak countertops and has proven to be great for a surface that is frequently wet.

“Photograph 2” shows the living room floor after one coat while still wet. “Photograph 3” shows the dining room floor after one coat and also still wet. Some of the glossiness diminished after drying, particularly on my new replacement boards. Overall though the appearance changed little after two more coats.

“Photograph 4” shows the dining room after all three coats have dried adequately to allow brief sock traffic. Although it would have been possible to apply all three coats over a period of three days, I chose to have a “day off” between coats for better drying and fume dissipation.

Quick Tip: Ventilate! Ventilate! Ventilate! That means plenty of fresh air flowing through with doors and windows open!

The staining photograph was taken in November 2014, and the finishing photographs were taken were December 2014. There was about a one month period between staining and finishing. This was more due to my work schedule than any requirements of the products used.