I noticed that the 4w bulb was being claimed as a "40w replacement," and honestly, while I've seen improvements in output per watt, that's less than half the power draw of any legitimate LED or CFL replacement I've seen at the claimed output lumens. So I imagined that really, it's putting out more like 200 lumens or so, and the output is whiter, which makes people think its brighter. The one customer photo made me think the same, but that'd be okay anyway, so I ordered a couple in different bases, to test.
Which, of course, I have done.
When I got the bulbs out of their boxes, I immediately felt the lightness - they felt like incandescent bulbs, not LED or CFL. The weight isn't there. And they don't look like LEDs. I mean, seriously, look at this thing.
What the hell.
The electronics are down in the base, such as it is. They're visible from the top. There's no vacuum inside; the globe is to protect the electrics and such.
I'm going to cut straight to the chase: IT'S NOT A LIE. I kept remeasuring output and power consumption levels to revalidate it. They're 2700K as claimed. The 4w bulb actually draws between 3.6 and 3.7 watts; the 2w bulb draws 2.1-2.2. But compare for yourself.
Here's a side-by-side of the outputs. Bulbs in same location, camera set to manual and the same settings (ISO400, f3.5, 1/30th second exposure) in both cases.
This photo is mostly the incandescent, but with horizontal rectangles of the LED Filament bulb overlaid. A couple of them are obvious, where the LED's output is more obviously brighter; a couple of the others are harder to find.
Stripe Overlays. 3.8w source image, 40.1w source image
The 3.8 watt LED Filmament bulb, in the fixture, and also, a photo of the consumption reading (in watts) on the metre.
And the 40 watt incandescent (actual draw 40.1w) used for comparison purposes, with its load level as well.
As you can see, the spread is wider on the 3.8 watt LED bulb, but I think that's mostly a function of the fixture and relative location of filaments. If I had a way to do true equivalent spread, the 3.8w output photos would be even brighter in comparison to the 40.1w decorative clear bulb.
I kept thinking something had to be fraudulent here, but... I can't find it. I kept checking back on the power metre to see if it had jumped up somehow, just because this is literally twice the best efficiency per watt that I've ever seen.
The bulbs are rated in the 15,000-hour range. One source says 15,000 hours; another says 25,000 hours. I'm going with the lower to be more cautious.
I checked for strobing, too. I have one way to test for that only. According to it, the LED strobes less than the incandescent.
And as far as most places are concerned, this doesn't even seem to exist. I can't buy it anywhere reasonable, I have to order it from obscure sellers online. And they aren't brand new; Amazon reviews go back a while. They're $8 each, cheaper(!) than the frosted and less-efficient LEDs I've been buying, even on a per-lumen sort of basis.
So yeah, genuinely, it's like finding a little alien artefact my mail. Seriously, what the hell?
These aren't dimmable. That's explicit on the packaging. Make them dimmable and the excuses for incandescents are pretty much gone. So we're not there yet - but we're close.
eta: By request: closeup of the filaments, powered, but low exposure for detail. This is actually a different bulb of the same type - this one is 2w (a different but same model drew 2.2w in testing), with output similar to a 25w incandescent.
The above picture is seen from the bottom of the cabinet, essentially; the legs are pointed towards you. One leg has not yet been attached, but I presume its attachment is obvious.
The reinforcement rail on the underside of the countertop is actually from the Ikea table that I bought to use as a countertop. That rail is now returned to service in its original design intent, albeit in an entirely different location. The lower reinforcement rail is from the same plank as the front legs - it was the remainder of that board, more or less. You can also see the metal strapping; the screws are brass.
Major attachment points are either screwed in or nailed-and-glued. In a couple of cases I used screws and glue, and in one place, glue only, because tacking wasn't practical; it was a last-minute addition. It has tape with the glue, acting as a clamp for overnight. If it fails, I can tack it down and re-glue it and it will be fine. (It's not really structural, just cosmetic.)
There's only one intrinsic sidewall in this cabinet. That's because the other wall would be flat against the oven, and that struck me as Bad Idea Bingo. I'm worrying needlessly, but still. Also, I didn't have any other quarter-inch A/A-grade plywood, and, as above: this is a build using only existing materials.
Still, for a two-hour cabinet-bash, I think it came out well.
Okay, now I'm actually done. I made the mini-counter/cabinet/appliance divider this morning, once the stove arrived. It has thin vertical storage under it, good for things like cookie sheets and the like, but really, it's more about not being wodged against the fridge any more than necessary while cooking. And about having a place to put down the salt.
I should probably have added a towel hook too, thinking on it. Oh well, that’s easy to add later.
There are a couple of assembly points on the cabinet that aren't entirely what they could be, which is what happens when you design+build in two hours. I've got them glued and held in place by tape serving as temporary clamps. If that holds up - yay! If not, I can tack it properly later. Mostly, particularly in one case, it was just not thinking of it until it was already in the house and not wanting to yank it all back out again. (Even though it does just slide in and out...)
I've got some construction pics, too; I'll post those later.
But yeah, I’m gonna, because it’s been weeks of work and it’s done.
See, this kitchen used to be a total pit. I mean seriously. Here are some collected before pictures, of which this is not the worst:
That’s not quite point zero, that’s right after starting work, but all that meant is the appliances are out and there’s some junk on the counter, and the chemical stripper has started on the one set of cabinets.
I’ve been talking about this as I went at it on Livejournal and Tumblr, so if you want intermediate pictures go look there. I’m picking up with the last of the lighting – the same kind of tape I used in my recording studio.
I decided to build some over-the-counter lighting with angled supports, to protect the lighting tape and angle it more forward.
I had a row of those and a side-ramp angling more lighting even further forward over in one particularly dark corner.
Once assembled, this end looked kind of like a Kubrick set:
Watch Out for Monoliths
And the other end looks like a Starfleet maintenance access tunnel:
Reverse the Polarity of the Neutron Flow
But from a normal position in the room – well, mostly normal – it all combines to look a lot like this:
The fact that this former pit can have a legit glamour shot makes me very happy
Reflections in Aluminium
The Lower Cabinet
I was worried about the horizontal bar at first, connecting the two cabinets, but I’m so happy with how it worked out. Creating new trim for the right-side cabinets to match the glass-door cabinet trim seemed pretty obvious, but I wondered if the bar with no cabinet – intended for a light tape, as above – might seem a little precious. But I think it worked out.
This rig controls the whole light set, both below and above lights:
The plug is a hair-dryer style protection cutoff, leading to a 12V DC power supply, leading to an LED controller with remote pickup. The colour is 12-bit – eight levels of red, green, and blue, in any combination; I played with it until I got a warmish white that I liked.
It wouldn’t be one of my photobomb posts without, of course, panoramas! They’re tiny here, of course, so There are larger versions on Flickr, as always. The first is from the doorway, the second is from where the stove will go when it arrives on Monday.
For the first time in six weeks, I don’t have anything to do in this building tomorrow. So totally about goddamn time.
But that said, I’m really happy with how it came out. My plan had been to remove this kitchen, eventually, but, well, now… I guess it can stay. The tipoff had been the glass doors and the 1958 blue formica, which I gambled I could clean up and restore. Everything else in the room is designed around them. I think it worked.
The top is almost before - we’ve already pulled the stove and started stripping the off-white glass-door cabinets. The missing door was just missing, though. Fortunately it was in another room.
The bottom is almost after - today’s picture from the same spot. The “after” picture cuts off the unifying trim on the right cabinets (I made some that’s the same as on the left upper cabinets and as the connecting beam I added) but I wanted to get the two images as close to the same spot and framing as I could.
But first, WHO MAKES CABLE THIS WAY?! BECAUSE THEY NEED TO DIE. SERIOUSLY.
Okay, that's out of the way. So. I need to split this cable and power supply around and also shorten a bunch of the supplied cables (see above) and some of that's not interesting, but a little of it is. Specifically, hey, let's use old DSL noise filters as project cases!
That's a Fancy Y Cable, Basically
Old DSL Filter Case
Power comes in the right side in the latter photo, and goes out both sides, because that makes sense in this particular setup. I'm doing this at the four-wire point because I'm wanting to be on the far side of the controller - I only want one controller for all the lights, so there's only one switch, and so on. I could probably just run a bunch of extension wire between the three separate LED strips, but that's hacky and weird compared to this.
Regardless, to get between the lower LED tape and the upper LED tape, I need to run wire in the cabinets, and I want that to be modular because of reasons. So I'm using old PC internal power connectors - they're four-pin, and modular! Of course, the wire colours are all wrong, so I'm fixing that with heat-shrink insulation in the appropriate colours.
Left side finished, right side in progress.
Also, I'm bundling the completed cable in larger heat-shrink, for neatness
It's hard to get the colour balance right in this photo, but the lower bank is in; the upper bank doesn't have to be yet, to use the lower, because again - modular! It's awesome. This is a full-power white test, with some treatment in iPhoto to bring down contrast levels in the original picture. (The phone wants to use the brightest light as reference, and, well, anyway, trust me, the LED strip is very bright at this setting.)
Jerky panorama is jerky
I love how it makes the 1958 formica just glow. Also all the aluminium works particularly well here. It's lush.
I'll probably set the LEDs to a warmer colour - you have a lot of colour range to work with in these lights - for final purposing. But this... it's kind of neon and electric and awesome, for now. <3
Almost done with the restoration work, and then a trainwreck happened. I put details over on my LJ, since I don’t really think vintage kitchen restoration is really band material. Anyway, there’s a lot of money, some more work, and I cut my left hand in a pretty ouchy way, but I’ll be okay.
But goddamn I’m angry about some of that.
This week tho’ – it’s mostly more money on other stuff than more work, so in a day or two I should be playing again and I can get those Lukey zouk re-records done. Anna is deep into the Rebels of Adalonia third book right now, so can’t do readings this week after all.
Things just take. so. many. little. times. away. from. each. other. Crazymaking.
Oh, we also just gained a bonus track. It’s actually already ready, as are many things. We’re 95% done – that just leaves the last 95% to go…
So. goddamn. close. And now it's days more. Most of the scars will be where the replacement refrigerator will go but I am still just crazy with motherFUCKER!
Also my hand will be okay but goddammit.
Anyway, before things exploded, I restored a built-in cutting board. The bottom side here had been the "outside up" part; previously, the other side on that same half had been the "outside up" part. But this old style is made twice as big as it needs to be, so you've got four sides to burn through over a 90-year lifespan.
This is Side 3 of 4, the best current side, so I'm using it. (Side 4 has some scratching, but could be used too without shame. But since I'm doing this idiotic restoration project, I may as well go all the way, right?) This is after sanding:
That's cool and all, but there's no grip, and the edge is just, well, ply edge, and that's kind of fugly. The edge was fugly before, because Mister Fixit was a cheap bastard with no eye for detail. I either needed to route out a groove with a router, or I could install some sort of pull.
My plan had been to get an old-style pull that just screws on, but those aren't really common anymore. Plus I was toying around with ways to hide that plywood edge. And then I realised that L-metal is cheap and easily available in aluminium, and a decently nice standard cabinet pull could be bolted to the L-metal, which I could then screw to the edge of the cutting board. To wit:
I was also careful with my choice of screws, because decorative industrial! And yet also highly functional, which is of course always the goal, particularly with mid-century modern.
I also had to drill some divots behind the pull, so the heads of the bolts had someplace to go. I didn't take a picture of that, but it's just a couple of dents, so not much to see anyway.
Put back in place, it looked really nice right away. Oh, the pull is silver too, just a warmer silver - not brassy like it kind of came out in this photo:
I took a detail shot of the end of the L-metal, attached. I also bevelled the corners - it just seemed like the thing to do. Again, too, intentionally- and carefully-chosen screws, because when doing this sort of thing, details matter, and this kind of detail costs nothing but a couple of minutes of searching through the screw bins at the hardware store:
And open, well, I'm really quite happy with it. It even matches the custom cabinet I made before, in tone, so everything goes together. Hopefully we'll get a good decade or two out of this. That'd be nice. And then I can flip it over, invert the (highly symmetrical) pull fixture, and we're good for another decade or two.
I also put in a new sink fixture, as the old one was leaking. And that has a story, too, because Mister Fixit (or a successor in this case I think) had put in a wide-set style fixture at some point, so I assumed the sink was a wide-set fixture sink.
Okay, some of you won't know what that means. Modern - as in for decades now - sinks come in a couple of standard configurations, "wide set" - where the holes are 8" apart - and "narrow set" - where they're 4" apart. And there are variants, but those are the most common. Go to homedepot.com and enter "bathroom faucets" and you'll get the picture.
This sink had a wide-set fixture on it, and I assumed that meant the sink had wide-set holes. NOPE HE'D JUST BODGED IT IN THERE LIKE A CLOWN ON A HAMMERTIME BENDER. And I didn't discover this until after I'd discovered that the cold-water cutoff valve didn't completely cut off the water supply. I had a bucket, but that still set a timer.
So I bodged the damn thing in too. I shaved the plastic mounting piece so its side-hole inset points were gone, got a couple of brass screws, drilled some holes, and bolted the damn thing into place. I should've left a note saying "VERY BAD DAY WAS NOT GOING TO HOME DEPOT AGAIN FOR ANY REASON BECAUSE FUCK THIS." Or something similar. But I didn't. Anyway, it's solid, just stupid, and here y'go.
Looks perfectly normal, doesn't it? Good. It had damned well better after the shit things put me through today.
Brand. new. floor. Goddammit.
The panel that the microwave is sitting on also opens; the hinge is against the back wall in this photo. But it has a microwave on it, which is the point of that most of the time. I just didn't want to nail it down, and hey, I had the piano hinge.
This next photo has literally all the room colours in a single shot:
The Other Busy Corner
I spent a fair amount of time making those doors line up properly again, so they close without scraping and all that. The two doors under the sink had metal plates for magnetic latches, but no actual magnetic latches - the grapple parts were missing. As far as I can tell, they were never put in - there wasn't even a good place to attach them. So I built a good place, then attached them, and now they work as intended, a mere, I dunno, 58 to 78 years later? Something like that.
I really like how the glass doors really popped once the excess paint was scraped off:
All Four Doors
I'd like to rehang that one that's a little off, but the way those hinges work make it really hard, and then the latch would be wrong. Original construction flaw, I guess. Nobody seems to notice it in person but me.
I'm thinking of putting a little shelf rack or something on the wall space here, but I'm not sure. To the lower right will be the range, and to the far right, the refrigerator:
Usual Corner Different Angle
This would fit, tho' I'm not hugely fond of it as an object. I don't hate it, either. It's okay. Whatever goes there has to be really shallow, to avoid conflicting with the glass door on the left.
Left to do: glue/tack down the formica in the cabinet under the sink (same as the countertop), replace the sink fixture with one that doesn't leak (already purchased), the LED strip lighting above and below cabinets (big time sink), and finish and install the slide-out cutting board. I'd be pretty sure I'd be done tomorrow if it wasn't for those lights. But Monday. Monday should be good.
I cleaned a big chunk of it up today, as I'm starting to wind up the work. It's close now. But honestly, even I'd forgot what it looked like. Look at this I mean god damn.
Love the Blue
Replacing a nasty old plastic outlet plate with a matching silver metal one didn't hurt anything either, but still. You can just go swimming in this, can't you? I don't even particularly like blue most of the time.
(Click image to enlarge a lot)
And here's today's photo of the corner. That trim honestly was the best idea I had. Hey, look, these cabinets belong in the same room now! I'm just so happy with that.
July 25 2014 update
You'll notice the top-access cabinet is back and there's a microwave on it. That's because it's finished! I skipped the insertable bin secondary storage area to save time. If it comes to matter, I can always add it later. I'm just trying to get this thing done now. Maybe Sunday.
Vocals recording today! Possibly mine, certainly Shanti of Leannan Sidhe, who is guesting in chorus on one song and has a co-starring role in another.
Plus we have some more Awesomebombs dropping in from afar via Dropbox from Collaborator To Be Named Soon, No Really, Somebody You’ve Heard Of. Well, most of you. hee hee hee hee hee :D
It’s really good to be getting back to proper music work. I’ve been doing mostly kitchen renovation/restoration/kind of a mix for weeks. Here, have some pictures from the most recent work. There’re a couple of “before” shots in there too, so you can get some idea of how far it’s come since the first of the month. And the end is in sight. That’s pretty important at this point. Yeah.
Oh! And and and! A new gig announcement – I’ll be playing a joint show with Leannan Sidhe at The Dreaming in the University District on August 23rd. I don’t have the time yet but it’ll be on the shows page as soon as I do. It’ll be a free show and it’s on a Saturday and it’s a comic book store so c’mon out! SUPERVILLAINY!
I may have to hold the store hostage. That may have to be a thing. I’m just saying. :D
Only the horizontal trim bar has the second coat of green on it in this picture; the rest will darken to match.
But the big thing is - okay, that corner? At the countertop level, it's dead space. With stuff put where it makes any sense at all, that corner becomes inaccessible. Here's what used to be there, and where the stove used to be.
We're rotating the stove 90 degrees to the right and moving it out of that corner, because if it's in that corner, 1) it's burning the cabinets (see the heat damage?) and 2) you can't even open the oven door completely, it hits the refrigerator. You can just see the side of the fridge in the lower right hand corner of the lower picture. That's terrible. So we're fixing it. (The fridge has to go under the cabinets to the right - it can't go anywhere else.)
But I didn't want to put just countertop there because that creates really massive dead space. So I made a countertop that opens (three different ways!) to reveal a large, deep drawer's worth of storage.
Click to embiggen
You'll note where I had to build interesting leg arrangement to dodge the gas supply. Also, the drawer part (and to-be-attached countertop access) isn't connected to the legs; it's sitting in the plywood skirt that wraps around it. This is so it can be removed entirely for things like gas line access, without removing the legs/frame/skirt assembly.
It was originally going to be two panel top access, not three, but I was thinking about it and the only rational place for the microwave is against the right side of that wall, so the largest access is really mostly a countertop that I'm not nailing down. Since the whole storage space is one big compartment, you can still access everything even with a microwave sitting on that panel.
I had/have been planning to cut a hole in the bottom of the storage area (the white floor area, on the left) into which a bin would be inserted, to use even more of that dead corner space. Picture in the last panel a rectangular hole into which drops a plastic bin. (I wanted it to be removable for cleaning, too; hence a drop-in bin, rather than a permanent installation of some sort.)
But now I am somewhat less certain of that whole phase of the project. It does add more storage space, for sure. But I worry that removing the bin will prompt items to be dropped through to the floor. I was going to attach a cloth bag of some sort around the bin, attaching it to the underside of the primary storage area, but now I wonder if I'm just getting gimmicky.
Any thoughts on that?
also the fucking wrong paint that home depot gave me against my explicit instructions ("paint and primer in one" fuck that that's called shitty pigment) does not bind worth shit TO ITSELF i waited three times the minimum time for a second coat and got sheeting and horribleness
actually let me revise my first statement i am at that point in a project where i wish i'd blown up the building
ahhhhhhh the sound of distant explosions
I wish LJ had this kind of photo post
Kitchen restoration project in the 1924 addition to a 1911 building - it's almost all of what I've been doing lately. (Well, that and the rest of the apartment. But the kitchen has taken the most time and is the one I haven't contracted out anything except the new floor, not shown).
The person who added this kitchen in 1958 used a seemingly-random assortment of old used cabinets from different sources. They're all decent cabinets - and all older than 1958 - but they don't go together and so feel like a bunch of isolated islands rather than of a piece. I'm trying to fix that, by adding matching trim to the cabinets which didn't have it (window cabinets did, others didn't).
I'm using vintage wood, retained when other parts of the building got work. Parts of this trim came from a room which formerly had ceiling tile and early-60s panelling; other parts came from a strange, damaged, and badly-placed-to-start-with storage drawer cabinet in the basement.
Also, I fixed that fan, as well as cleaning and repainting the cover. INDUSTRIAL!
Swamped with day job work; I mentioned some of that here. But I did find time to go see and write up an analysis of Maleficent, and lament how it should’ve been great, but wasn’t, quite. Near-misses are so painful sometimes, and this is one of those times. I lament the film it should’ve been.
I can’t be done with this kitchen restoration soon enough, I gotta tell you. I’ll be at it all day again today, then tomorrow hopefully recording some vocals with Leannan Sidhe. Until then, have some flowers.
Can’t Bee Done With … ar ar ar ar ar
Blue and White and Edges So Sharp
This is not, strictly speaking, ephemera. It’s cabinet hardware, and as such, intended as durable over many decades, and therefore well out of range of Oldphemera under most circumstances.
But this cabinetry has an unusual provenance. A house built in 1911, expanded in 1924 for student boarding purposes, then a chocolate factory, then turned much later into apartments between 1958 and 1963 by a man I’ll call Mister Fixit.
Being a bit of a scavenger, Mr. Fixit used a lot of random sources for cabinetry when adding kitchens. In the upstairs unit of the addition, there are three entirely dissimilar cabinet sets crammed in together - all of which have in common only that they well predate the era of the conversion.
This kitchen has two unrelated sets, and it’s not even a big kitchen. It’s a galley. That takes dedication. And again - old cabinets, installed decades later.
I had wondered earlier where this guy kept getting random old cabinetry between 1958 and 1963 - an era before common reclamation and recycling services, when modernity and disposability were the rage - and only today did I put it together.
This was when rows and rows and rows of houses were being bought and either moved or torn down to make right-of-way for the new superhighway, Interstate 5, through downtown Seattle, and through the very neighbourhood of this very house.
I will bet all the dogecoin in the world that this is how he got these cabinets. These just aren’t old cabinets repurposed (and now, thanks to me, being restored) - these are ghosts of kitchens past.
All along this road was once 6th Avenue NE in the west end of the University District, a swath of arts and crafts and craftsman houses, with cabinets often just like these. All were swept away decades before their normal end of life - ephemera by situation, rather than intent. All are gone, lost to memory…
…except for these, my unexpected kitchen ghosts.