I woke up at 6:40 AM. I immediately put a pot of coffee on and let that do its thing while I showered (it still feels like I have cement in my hair, but it might just be my imagination).
I had the first cup of coffee writing yesterday's Blog entry. I had the second sitting on the front porch in the cool morning air. I dragged the hose around to the front and watered the one little corner with the square sprinkler (the one place the big sprinkler doesn't reach).
Now, why, (you might ask) aren't I working on the kitchen? I have always believed that everybody has a right to sleep in on Saturday and Sunday. They have earned it! So, just because I can't doesn't mean I can start using power tools, etc., early. I usually wait until after 9 or 10 AM before I make noise.
While pulling the hose around, I saw an unusual sight. I have some volunteer morning glories, climbing up my gas meter. I have NO idea how they got there, because I haven't planted morning glories in that area for over three years! I took a photo for you.
Back inside, I made some breakfast. I warmed up a can of roast beef hash and topped it with two over-easy eggs. I ate that with a glass of water sitting on the front porch. I cleaned up the plate and frying pan and got to work.
To recap, all the 1/4 inch backer board is attached to the walls. So, now it is time to put some 1/4 inch backer board on the fronts of the counter and then the 1/2 inch on the top of the counter. Back in the garage, I found you could not get the 1/4 inch stuff to snap after you scored it with the razor knife (I am only cutting off 2 1/2 inch wide strips, you see). So, it was back to the saber saw and the dust.
Once I had them all cut out, I applied mortar and attempted to screw the first one on. It immediately broke in half. I tried various ideas (none of which worked) until I thought of the air gun stapler. So, I carried the air compressor, hose and gun into the house and easily attached them.
Now for the tops. I made my measurement and went out to cut the "L" shape end. God, this stuff is heavy! God, this stuff is dusty!
I carried in the piece and test fit it. Nope! Apparently the counter is not square to the wall at that end. (Note to self: This will become a problem later, when applying the square tiles). So, I carried it back out and re-cut a little of it; carried it back in and it fit! So, I lifted it back off, applied the mortar, picked it up and set it back on and then started screwing it in place.
Then I measured the next piece (the one that goes over the sink hole. This time, I needed to get off 11 inches the full length, so I scored it heavily on both sides and (Thank God) it did snap off. So, I carried it inside and set it in place. I used a bar clamp to hold it firmly while I went under the sink and, with a pencil, marked the sink opening. I also made some hash marks across both pieces so I could get it back in exactly the same place (the sink does need to fit back in, you see).
I carried it back outside and carefully cut out the sink opening. I say carefully as there were two heavy ends connected by just a little bit of the backer board, the length of the sink once I was finished. I carried it back inside, when Jake and Carla came in! They offered their help and I (being no fool) accepted.
So, after I mortared the counter top and set the piece in place, Carla started screwing it down. Jake got the air gun for the two narrow strips and managed to scare the crap out of Carla when he hit the trigger the first time (she was busy and not looking and, it is a loud noise!)
Carla started taping the seams in the top while Jake and I tried to figure out just where the first tile should go. This is really the hardest part, BTW. Done right, all the grout lines will match up. Done wrong, I'll still have a tiled sink and backsplash, but also a life-long reminder of my screw-up.
We determined we needed the two corner pieces on the counter face cut on a 45 degree angle to lay out all the rest of the project. So, I unpacked the new tile saw and Jake and I attempted to set it up. I put it on the garage apron; outside (Thank God I did, BTW.) While Jake and I tried assembling it, Carla did a most unGoerlich-like thing: she read the instructions! We finally got it working, filled with water and set at a 45 degree angle. Damn! The piece is too thick for the saw!
So, Jake called Home Depot to see if they would cut it for us. No, they don't cut tile. Lowe's does, so, in spite of driving almost all the way back home, they went there. Meanwhile, I started cutting the angles out on the twelve tiles that will surround the three decorative tiles.. Next I practiced cutting the radius for the sink opening. I was worried about that, although the guy at the store where I bought the saw said it was pretty easy (and it was).
They returned about that time and recounted their story: Once at Lowe's, the lady said, "Oh, I only can make straight cuts, not angles. But, if you come back on Monday, maybe Bob could try it!" So, they searched out a tile company. They guy there said he normally would cut it for them, but his saw was out at a job site. But, he sold them a carbide cable you attach to a hacksaw. I dug out my miter box and we eventually got it cut (although it chipped badly in places).
So now, we drew lines from where the tile on the countertop will (make that "should") be to the walls. We set up production. Jake was the mortar man and tile setter, with Carla as his assistant. And I was the tile cutter.
Let me tell you something about using a tile wet saw: You get wet! And you get bits of tile chips sprayed on you! So, I spent the rest of the day with my t-shirt and shorts covered in water and tile chips.
Although it was now getting late, and I suggested that they had done enough and should probably take off, Jake was determined to finish the wall. So, he did. I had to make some pretty tricky cuts for a first time saw man, as he didn't want to use little pieces around the switch and plug boxes (and now I am glad he was so insistent).
After they left, I started on the counter top at the "L" end. At first, it was pretty straight forward, but when it came to the pieces against the wall, it went all to hell. Because the counter is not square to the wall, each piece had to be custom cut and fitted. Which means the last grout line will be a bit wacky. Since it will be behind or under stuff, it probably won't matter, but it was pretty annoying.
On the flat surface, I used a rubber hammer and a 6-inch level, so that all the tiles will be at the same height. I got the "L" part done, double checked all the alignments of the grout lines, etc. For my first time tiling, I was pleased!
At 9:00 PM, it was too dark to see the scale on the tile cutter (and you REALLY don't want to do this inside!) so I gave it up. I took everything inside the garage and then took myself into the shower. By 9:30 PM, I was ready for some dinner!
I warmed up the last hamburger and ate it topped with the last of the roasted poblano pepper, some American cheese and mustard. I ate it watching TV, but probably fell asleep after 20 minutes. I woke up at midnight, turned everything off and went to sleep for real.