Projects, fun stuff, etc.

Booger welds galore! I made a homemade skid plate for Project Cherokeeper

Project Cherokeeper -- my 1997 Jeep Cherokee XJ -- needed a little protection for its soft belly. The aluminum transfer case is totally exposed and if it hangs up on a large rock, it can crack. And if that happens, neither axle is moving and I'm going nowhere. Here's how I built my own.

This Old Fixer-Upper, part 4: the Bedrooms

The upstairs bedrooms where the first rooms to get the renovation they so badly needed and deserved. 

Project CheroKeeper: fender trimming & hood vents

The technique for cutting the sheet metal is an old, tried-and-tested process in the Jeep XJ community. Just search youtube or any jeep forum and you'll see the same method each and every time. Trim the sheet metal up front, and "cut and fold" the sheet metal for the rear fenders. What I did was I tried to trim off just a enough so that there would still be a little tiny metal fender flare left. This meant cutting right along a bend in the sheet metal - which also meant the shape/profile of the fender arches would remain mostly stock - or, in the case of the rear, cutting up to that bend and folding the sheet metal over at that point. This also allowed me to keep the windshield wiper fluid reservoir hidden between the outer fender and the inner fender. After trimming the sheet metal, I cleaned them up with some truck bed liner paint, and the end result looks great and functions beautifully. 

Project CheroKeeper: cooling system overhaul

This story, chronically my attempt to overhaul the jeep XJ's cooling system and overcome a mysterious overheating problem, was orignally posted to the website cherokeeforum.com. I ended up replacing the entire cooling system except for the heater core, and in the end it's vastely improved yet the motor still runs a little hot in the summer. 

IKEA Hack: Using IVAR for an Open Wardrobe System

We're so happy with our IVAR open wardrobe system from IKEA, but we had to "hack" it first!

ivar ikea hack wardrobe stain paint cloths hanger

How to build a woodworking workbench and tablesaw outfeed table

For all the woodworking projects going on during the home renovation, I needed super solid wood bench. I also needed a solid support and outfeed table for my small tablesaw. Here's how I built it.

Update: The $50 paint job, 18 months later

A year and a half after I painted my truck with Rustoleum and a paint roller, how has it held up?? (Hint: I won trophy in a car show!)

How to install tongue and groove panels on a ceiling

For my This Old Fixer-Upper project, we decided to cover the plaster ceiling with pine tunque-and-groove panels rather than try to scrape off the wallpaper and paint the ceiling. The original plan was to use 4' x 8' sheets of panels that looked like tongue-and-groove boards painted white, but we found the actual stuff at Menards for only a little bit more money per square foot. A pretty good deal I thought. All of the materials cost me a little over $400, including the brad nails, paneling adhesive, polyurathane, etc. 

how to install pine tungue-and-groove boards paneling on ceiling

Project CheroKeeper: suspension and tire upgrades

Before my trip to colorado, I decided to get the Jeep in tip-top shape and install a lift kit I bought a while ago and put new off-road tires on it. I also had some goodies to beef up the steering box, and I performed a little body modification to clear the bigger tires. Yay!

working on a jeep charokee xj lift kit install

This Old Fixer Upper, part 3: Garden and Landscaping

With nothing but grass growing in the 1/3-acre yard - and massive amounts of perrenial flowers surrounding the house that we had no idea about until spring - we had a big canvas to do whatever we wanted with. I wanted lots of trees! And a big garden! No, bigger than a garden. A food forest! At least that was the plan.