The Big Think

April 30, 2007

Studio Construction

Filed under: Studio Construction — jasony @ 10:03 pm

The main floor is installed!

I spent all day today finishing up a 16×5 foot section of the main studio floor. It was tricky because I had a lot of little cuts at odd angles and had to rip the floor pieces to get in next to the walls. Those final pieces can be a real trick and I had to go to Lowes and spend $6.50 on an edge puller. It’s an angled piece of thick aluminum with pads on the bottom. You slip the last pieces of floor into place next to the wall, hook the edge of the tool over the small expansion gap remaining, and pound on the raised lip on the other end to pull the piece tight. Works like a charm.

I still have to do the isolation booth floor tomorrow, but that shouldn’t take more than a few hours (more tricky cuts followed by lots of easy rows). I got very good at installing unaltered rows of laminate and could lay down a 16′ section of wood in about three minutes, but once I hit the angled pieces and final rows next to the wall the pace slowed down considerably due to the amount of measure, cut, try, recut, retry, trim, retry, tweak, etc, etc. One piece took me about 20 minutes by itself!

I did a pretty good sweep job of the floor and Erin and I sat down on it tonight admiring my work. I can’t believe I’ve done all this myself.

After the iso booth floor is in I have a decision to make. I bought a bunch of faux wood floor trim to go along the wall and cover the floor expansion joint (remember I pulled out the original trim). I set a piece down tonight and stood back and realized that I don’t really like it. The color isn’t right and the silly stuff is just cheap foam with a faux wood paper veneer. I’m not even sure if the pneumatic nailer will work with it or if it’ll just nail straight through. I don’t think I’m going to use it. This really bums me out because my alternatives are:

1. buy premade wood trim from the lumberyard for about $200
2. buy raw oak from the lumberyard, spend three days machining it and making my own trim, and then attempt to match the stain of the floor. Spend two days sanding trim, then polyurethane over several days, then install.
3. buy preprimed wooden trim that matches the crown moulding, paint with oil based paint, wait a week to dry, mask off floor so I don’t get gooey leftover paint on the floor finish, and install the trim in about a week

I really, really, really just want to install the cheap stuff tomorrow and move on but I can’t bring myself to do it. I think after I sleep on it I’m going to return the foam trim and go the primed wood/paint route. It won’t cost me anything as I’ll get my money back for the other trim, but it will take another week until it goes in. Oh well, I still have to make the curtains and paint the doors so it’s not like there’s nothing else to do.

I counted up the days that I’ve been working on the studio. I broke ground on the project by dismantling the equipment and tearing up the carpet on March 26th. We went on our trip and I had a few days of work to do when we returned from California. If I just count the number of days that I’ve been in the room building, sheet rocking, mudding, painting, etc- the actual working days- I have been at this project for 46 days! Amazing. I told Erin that if I had known how long it would take and how many trips I’d end up making up the stairs (over 1000) I think I would have reconsidered. But now as I near the end I’m so glad it’s almost over. It looks fantastic.

The Dinosaur Workshop

Filed under: Technology — jasony @ 10:11 am

This is really amazing.

April 29, 2007

Studio Construction

Filed under: Studio Construction — jasony @ 10:28 pm

The floor is going in!

I spent today learning how to install a wood floor. It takes a bit of practice to get everything lined up, but once I got the hang of it things went pretty swiftly. I had to install a layer of sound absorbing fabric underlayment first. This layer acts as a thin pad between the plywood subfloor and the new wooden floating laminate. Again, not very hard to do but takes a few minutes to get everything lined up.

Once that was done I just started at one side of the studio and began laying down rows of wooden floor material. The first two rows are a real pain because it’s all so light that the pieces want to come apart or get misaligned. Even though she’s sick, Erin volunteered to hold one end of the slats while I worked on the other end. By the third row the whole assembly was heavy enough to stay still on its own, so Erin was able to go back to the couch and sneeze/snooze.

All told I got about 3/5 of the floor installed and man, are my knees tired. Today I worked on the easy part- no weird cuts, just laying the pieces down and snapping them together. Tomorrow I have to do the most difficult part of the floor. There are weird sloping cuts that have to go around the 18 and 9 degree angles of the iso booth. Not sure how I’m going to do that.

It’s only half finished but it looks fantastic. Every bit as professional and beautiful as I’d hoped. Unfortunately, laminate isn’t as strong as 1″ thick wooden planks, though. I had to move the compound miter saw station from the ply wood to the new wood floor when I started to run out of room and during this transition I managed to dent the new floor slightly. The CMS is on a sheet that’ll hopefully keep this from happening further, but it was a good lesson. Luckily the damage is pretty slight, and I figure that it’s going to happen sooner or later. I just wish that I could have waited until I got the whole thing in first! Ah well. you’d be hard pressed to see the damage unless I pointed it out.

I couldn’t help myself so I spread out the new carpet and held up the fabric for the curtains. Big smiles all around.

Tomorrow I’ll put in the rest of the floor and start working on the trim. I think that I will really and truly be finished with this project by the end of the week.

Sir Stephen

Filed under: Science,Space — jasony @ 9:57 am

Way to go Floaty-Stephen!

April 26, 2007

Studio Construction

Filed under: Studio Construction — jasony @ 9:57 pm

I don’t believe anyone actually reads these. (there, I just said that to Erin and I’m writing here for posterity. laughing all the while).

So today was Finish The Window Day, and man, is it finished. Two days ago I got the inside window casing installed, then I painted them with the oil-based paint. It was mostly dried today so I went ahead and installed the middle fabric-covered pieces (with the dessicant). I aaaalmost put a small plastic lizard model between the panes of glass, but couldn’t bring myself to do it. Once those pieces of glass are in place, nothing short of a complete tear down of one side of the window assembly will open up the space. By necessity, the window has to be pretty firmly anchored in place. I hope that the booth doesn’t shift much or there will be shards of glass on my floor. (crossing fingers). There’s about 1/8th of an inch of play around the glass (1/16 per side), but with all the caulk, silicone, and the firm pressure of the weather seal I hope the 1/4″ glass can take it. It’s pretty thick so I think I’m okay.

The outside glass went into place without a hitch (Erin holding while I hit the edges with silicone), then I cleaned, cleaned, cleaned both sides to within an inch of their lives. Again, you can’t get to the inside of the glass once it’s all closed up. That glass pane is ridiculously clean. Not a speck of dust, oil, or smudge on either side.

I then installed the other side (with another OCD-worthy cleaning) and nailed the outer trim pieces in place. I decided that it was too difficult to screw the trim in place and make the inside accessible what with the thinness of the trim pieces, so I’m well and truly committed. Maybe if I had had an extra set of hands. After all was installed I filled nail holes and hit the outer trim with final paint. It looks great! I challenge any professional window to do the job better.

So now the window is complete and, man, is that thing solid and sealed! There’s weather stripping, silicone, and caulk on all four mating surfaces and I feel quite confident that the air in there isn’t going anywhere.

Did a final full cleanup of the plywood floor and took the trash out. I also got most of the tools out of the way because… it’s floor time! I have to make the attic door, sew the curtains, and apply the window tinting, but all that can happen after the floor is in (lots of dust in the air when I cut the floor).

Taking the next couple days off but Sunday I’ll start putting that dang floor in. I estimate three days for the floor and trim and another day for the curtains.

The end is nigh!

New Monitor

Filed under: Computing — jasony @ 1:52 pm

I’ve had my new Dell 22″ monitor for about four days now. It’s not much of a long term test, but I wanted to post how much I’m loving it. Not a lot of bells and whistles (read: multiple inputs), but I only need one: DVI. I love this monitor! Bright, crisp, tons of space. Some very minor edge lighting when the screen is all black (such as during a preview or movie) but it’s hardly noticeable. And at only $279 this thing was a slam-dunk. I’d like to get a second one for work but that’ll have to wait a bit.

If you’re in the market, I can recommend it highly. We’ll see how it lasts over the long term. I expect 5-7 years of good performance from my monitors.

Oh, and my eyes don’t hurt from looking at a CRT display any more. And the power consumption is MUCH better.

Doll Face

Filed under: Computing — jasony @ 10:36 am

Amazing CGI

April 25, 2007

Studio Construction

Filed under: Studio Construction — jasony @ 10:42 pm

The window is going in! Today I picked up the two sheets of quarter inch glass for the booth window. Even though they were relatively small (16×27), 1/4″ thick glass is heavy. I secured it in the back of my truck on the carpet kit just to make sure it didn’t slide around. The fit is perfect. Well, okay, not perfect. My window opening is askew by about 1/8″ over the height of the window, so I measured my glass to be 1/8″ shy in that dimension. It’ll be a nice fit once the weather stripping and silicone is installed.
I spent the rest of the day installing and priming the inside guides for the glass. Just picture a frame all around the inside of the opening. This frame has weather stripping running the side all around its circumference that the glass rests against. Install the glass leaning up against the rubber seals (with a bead of silicone to bed it to the frame itself). Now reverse the process for the other side. I’ll build a whole separate wood and rubber seal system and squish the glass up against the first system. Now make two of them and you have two windows separated by 3 1/8″ of empty space.

But wait! What to do with the empty space between the windows? There’s a small crack running the circumference where the gap between the inner and outer walls is. If I leave this untreated you’ll be able to see the gap between the windows, and there’s no guarantee that a small spider or something won’t take up residence between the panes. So I’ll install rubber weather seals in the 1/4″ gap. And then I have to treat the gap to make it look nice. So today I went to Hobby Lobby and picked up some nice fabric that more or less matches the alkyd paint that I’m doing all the trim in. I cut some 1/2″ plywood to match the gap and wrapped it in blackout material and the new off white fabric (the white blackout material had to go on first because the white fabric is so thin and you’d be able to see the plywood through it). Before I wrapped the plywood trim pieces up, though, I cut 2″ holes 3/8″ deep in the plywood. These holes will be under the fabric on the inside facing surfaces of the window. What are they for? Why, for the dessicant, of course! Have you ever seen those little packets that say “DO NOT EAT” and come with all your electronic stuff? Those packets are full of a moisture absorbing material. Since the space between the windows will be so well sealed (airtight, I’m hoping), any moisture that gets in there could cause the inner surface of the windows to fog over. So I hid ten packets of dessicant underneath the fabric. This old studio trick will hopefully keep any fogging away. I’ll just be sure to clean the inner surface of the windows EXTRA well before I install them. Once the glass goes up there’s no removing it without tearing the window frame away.

Finally, I did some touch up painting and put a coat on the cutout sill. I also painted the main door frame and touched up some nail holes. I added some thinner to the rapidly diminishing supply of trim paint so now it’s not all goopy. I hope I have enough to paint the doors and finish everything!

Tomorrow I’ll install the window gap seals and inner trim and start the glass installation. It’ll be a few days until the paint on the door frames is dry so I’ll have to step lively and watch where I lean.

UPDATE: I forgot to mention that while I was at Hobby Lobby I came across a black-laquer-painted giant word “CREATE”. It’s made from wood and is about 5″ tall by 15″ long. For only ten bucks, I figured it’d go great in my studio (it was on sale for $5!). It really fits the whole “I made this” vibe I have for that space. Very nice.

April 24, 2007

You Don’t Know the Power of Hot Air

Filed under: Humor and Fun — jasony @ 10:48 pm

A Darth Vader hot air balloon. excellent!

Studio Contruction

Filed under: Studio Construction — jasony @ 10:01 pm

Spent today putting up the rest of the trim around the booth window and the window sill for the wall cut-out. I also started milling up the oak for the sealed window system. 16 pieces of 5/8 x 5/8 solid oak. I’ll enclose both of the windows on each side (around their perimeter) with these pieces and squish some window trim/weather strip in there. You’ll see what I mean from the pics.

Tomorrow I go and get the 1/4″ glass panes for the windows and start the installation. That’s a full day job there, followed by several days for the paint to dry.

April 23, 2007

Studio Contruction

Filed under: Studio Construction — jasony @ 10:41 pm

Finished the trim around the attic access window today. I also cut out the sheet rock on the side of the vocal booth and built the window frame for the double paned vocal booth window. It’s made from MDF and is very nice. There’s a 1/4″ gap running the entire inner circumference of the frame so the two halves of the frame stay isolated. After that was done I cut and installed the trim around the outside of the window.

Tomorrow I’ll go and get the two panes of 1/4″ glass that will be the booth windows and start milling up the oak for the glass suspension system. I have to figure out a way to isolate both of the panes of glass while sealing off the inner space from air penetration. I also have to decide how I’m going to make one of the windows removable (in case a friendly spider or bug gets between the panes) while still maintaining the integrity of the window.

If I’m lucky I may get to cut and install the lower ledge to the main cutout on the computer wall. I bought a piece of 3/4″ MDF today and I’m using that for all this final trim stuff. If I have enough it’ll even serve as the raw material for the instrument rack I’m going to build. I’ve been pondering how to clean the wood floor once it’s in and happened across a laminate cleaning kit at Home Depot on closeout for only $15. The wood floor will take a few good cleanings until the construction dust settles down. I’ve noticed distinct footprints on the wood from the sheetrock dust that’s everywhere whenever I lay a few pieces out to get a sense of how the place will look.

Once all of the trim work and window contruction is done I’ll put a final coat of oil paint on the trim and window frame and then figure out a way to spray the doors. Then the floor goes in. I hope and pray I’ll be ready for the floor by this weekend.

Incidentally, I’m typing this post while using my brand spanking new 22″ Dell E228WFP flat panel monitor. Part of the equipment upgrade part of the remodel is a pair of 22″ flat panels. I thought I’d get one now and see how I like it. Verdict: it’s great! Bright and clear with great color and loads of room. I liken it to sleeping in a king sized bed after years of sharing a queen. There’s lots more space to roam around in, and the extra widescreeniness is oh-so-beautiful. It uses MUCH less electricity (I calculated that it’ll pay for itself in about 6 years through electrical savings alone!) and it’s totally quiet – the old CRT had that annoying high pitch whine. Plus the old monitor was boiler room HOT. It put out enough heat to warm up the area around my desk. This new baby will be a most welcome addition. I plan on getting a VESA arm (they’re on sale over here) and mounting it on the wall once my desk is in place.

April 22, 2007

Battle Cry!

Filed under: Humor and Fun — jasony @ 11:33 pm

What Is Your Battle Cry?

Yea, verily: Who is that, rampaging across the freeway! It is Jason, hands clutching a mighty sword! And with a bloodthirsty grunt, his voice cometh:

“I’m going to smash you for such a long time, Buddha will explode!”

What’s your

battle cry?
UPDATE: fixed the link. Sorry!

Dove vs. Facebook

Filed under: Technology — jasony @ 12:18 pm

Dove “beauty” versus Facebook “hunkiness”. thanks Barry.

April 20, 2007

Studio Contruction

Filed under: Studio Construction — jasony @ 11:51 pm

Touch up day! Lots of “final punch list” paint touch ups, which involved opening five different colors of paint and constantly washing paint brushes. It’s amazing how nice the walls look now that every line and corner is perfectly drawn and all the construction scuffs and dings are gone. I’ll probably end up doing a little more after the floor goes in. I spent a couple hours on the ladder painting in the #$#Q@! neat line along the caulking that covers the crown moulding to ceiling/wall interface. My neck is sore.

I also decided to go ahead and build the booth window before the floor goes in, so there’s another couple of days. I don’t want to put the floor in and then mess it up with construction debris when I rip the sheetrock out that covers the hole.

Oh, and the ADC to DVI adapter cable came today. This will let me use my Mac G4 with a flat panel display. Which I also ordered today! It’s a 22″ Dell flat panel. Eventually there will be two, but for now I’ll use my 19″ CRT. It should be here early next week. Can’t wait!

Taking the next day off to go play Wii with Sean. I should have the studio done by this time next week. Really. I mean it. Stop laughing.

April 18, 2007


Filed under: Computing — jasony @ 11:13 pm

I have used computer software to file my takes for well over a decade, but this is the main reason I still don’t trust those e-file systems. A bit of printer paper and $2.40 to send it registered and I’m good, thanks.

Studio Construction

Filed under: Studio Construction — jasony @ 9:58 pm

Kind of a light day today. I’ve been getting dirty and paint-covered every day for a couple of weeks so I scaled back today. I did manage to get the 4-gang light switch box completely wired. All six switches are now wired up. There are 3 X-10 controllable Switchlinc Relay switches and 3 Switchlinc Dimmable switches. Each has a nice status LED light and the dimmable ones allow you to set the ramp rate. The dimmed lights brighten quickly in about a second. The glass lampshades on the sconce lights are on but I still have to tweak the direction of the 4 track light fixtures.

All told the lights make a very nice environment, and the fan is MOST excellent.


Filed under: Technology — jasony @ 3:07 pm

Grrr… the Robomower was out back doing its thing when it suddenly stopped. The base station started beeping and I went out to see a “wire cut” light flashing on the unit. Dang. Somehow, in the middle of the mowing cycle (convenient, that), the wire decided to go wonky somewhere along its length. Its 300 foot buried length. So now I have to either dig up the wire or lay a new one. What a pain. Back to the old mower for a few weeks until the studio is done.

Technology saves time? Sometimes I think it does, but then it banks it and demands all your time back at a later date (see: reformatting hard drives, fixing dishwashers, et. al.)


Filed under: Hobbies — jasony @ 7:38 am

The new Cirrus third generation SR22-GTS is out. Drool.

April 17, 2007

Studio Remodel

Filed under: Studio Construction — jasony @ 11:10 pm

I feel like I’m in the home stretch here. Caulked the crown and painted the door (one side as a test. Verdict: not so good. I need to borrow a sprayer. I also installed the ceiling fan and was almost done when I realized that the main mounting holes for the motor were STRIPPED. AARGH! So instead of dismantling the whole thing and taking it back I got all inspired and went to Home Depot to buy a tool I’ve always wanted but never had a reason to buy: a tap. I got a #10 tap bit with a manual handle for less than ten bucks. Came home and retapped the #8 holes with #10 threads and it worked! Satisfied grunting ensued.

I then took a couple of hours to install a couple of X10 switches for the fan and it’s all good. They’re programmed with the right codes. Once the studio is together the lights and fan will come on automatically when the you enter the room. Happiness.

Tomorrow I have to do a minor correction to the attic hole and install the trim around the opening. Then I’ll work on the main light switch box that has 4 switches. Not sure how that’s going to work.

Cat Not Included

Filed under: Science — jasony @ 10:30 am

Do-It-Yourself at-home quantum mechanics.

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