November 24, 2008

Painting …. hopefully

Filed under: Restoration Progress — admin @ 12:11 am

The painters pressure washed the north and west faces of the house last week, and will hopefully (weather permitting) be starting prep work this week, although it is a short week. It’s been a bit rough for them, though, because we’ve had temperatures that are about 20 degrees below normal for the past couple of weeks.

The carpenters replaced the carport ceiling, and I hung the new light fixture today. Now our porch and carport fixtures match. We picked them up a couple of years ago at either Lowe’s or Home Despot. They were close-out models, and I was wishing there were three, because we have another spot for a light fixture on our porch.

Since I am done with the boy work for the carpenters, I can now focus my energies on getting past the 80% mark in the foyer. It’s actually more like 64%, which is 80% of 80%. Damn … I’m only an 80% member of the 80% club…

I’m also working on making updated color maps for the painters, since there are a few details that were not shown in the original ones that we got from Robert Schweitzer. I may upload some of the color maps, I may not. I may make everyone wait until I can get pictures of the completed project. Trust me, it WILL be worth the wait.

November 10, 2008

Some Catching up

Filed under: Restoration Progress — admin @ 3:26 am

The front of the house is finished! All of the bullseyes are installed, the quarter round is installed, the gutters have been relined, and we have REAL downspouts (4″ round)! All we need is some paint and we’re good.

finished front

Here is a close-up of the soffit. The lighter colored bullseyes are ones that I made, the darker ones are the original ones that have been stripped.


Here are a couple more close-ups of the bullseyes and bars. This bullseye is one of the original ones.

This bullseye is one of the ones that I made. I made the bars on the moulder-planer with knives made by a local shop in Shively called Popco. He has made all of my knives so far.

Here is a view of the soffit above our bedroom. Note our shiny new downspout to the left!

Our porch ceiling had started pulling away from the joists, and was sagging and starting to separate. The carpenters fixed that by screwing the ceiling to the joists. Now the only sag is due to the joist sagging because of the span length.
porch ceiling

Here is another view of the soffit, our downspouts, and, in the foreground, the porch roof soffit.

Another view of our new porch soffit.

We pulled the aluminum off of the back of the house, and also the east side. All-in-all it was a mixed bag … the east side is in pretty good shape, but the back of the house (south side) is pretty rough… although the painter said that he had seen worse that was kept …. I don’t know about that …

south side aluminum removed

south side aluminum removed

The east side revealed several interesting bits:

We found confirmation that the back part of the living room and the master bathroom were porches that were closed in in the late 1930’s. If you look closely at the beltline area, you’ll see that to the left of the A/C unit just below the upstairs window, the beltline is less defined. When you look at it in person, it’s even more evident. apparently, the design had changed a bit over the years.

east face

Another view:
east beltline

We were so pleased to see the arch design continued on the east gable.
east gable

east gable

We saw the damage that squirrels and years of box gutters leaking into aluminum siding can cause …
south side aluminum removed

November 5, 2008

Almost there

Filed under: Restoration Progress — admin @ 3:42 am

Well, I’ve turned 8 bullseyes, and I cleaned another 18, and I believe that is just enough to cover the front of the house. The new ones are going on the soffit of the middle section.

We finally found some 1 inch quarter round. Who would have thought THAT would have been a hard one to find? This means that the carpenters have all the materials necessary to finish the front of the house.

I am still cautiously optimistic that we will be able to have the painters start this week, but I don’t know for sure, yet. The gutters are basically finished, but we still need to have the drops and downspouts installed. the drops are supposed to be here tomorrow. The porch soffit is almost done. I’ll take more pictures when we get the bullseyes up on the soffit.

Our windowsill glued up nicely. It looks nice. Almost too nice to paint.

November 2, 2008

Yet Another Skill Uncovered …

Filed under: Restoration Progress — admin @ 1:16 am

Well, in an effort to save even more money overall, and to provide quality and like replacements for architectural elements that have become unrepairable, I broke down and got a lathe. The primary purpose was to save money per-unit on exterior bullseyes, and also on the interior corner blocks, and whatever else may need to be made (*cough* balusters *cough*)…

Mind you, I haven’t used a lathe since junior high school when I made a bowl with a french finish … but … It all came back to me relatively quickly. I practiced on a piece of 2 x 6 pine, and got the general idea of what I needed to do for our bullseyes. Then I started cutting them.

The first one was fairly decent, but about a half inch too large in diameter. The second one is pretty much the same size but a little taller. I’ve got the total crafting time down to about 45 minutes, and am looking to whittle that down (pun intended) with practice and proper tools, and improving technique.

Since I typed the above paragraph, I have since made a few more. So far, I’m at about 40 minutes, including cleaning up in between each one. They’re not perfectly exact, but I think that at 30 feet off the ground, they’ll be pretty much indistinguishable from the originals, especially if I don’t have them in the same visual plane of interest as the originals.

Here’s a sample picture. This one is the one that is too big.

new bullseye on top

October 25, 2008

Rain Day Today …

Filed under: Restoration Progress — admin @ 1:44 am

Well, it rained pretty much all day today. I’ll take this chance, plus the fact that the weekend is FINALLY here (YAAAAYYYY!!!!) to get my blog caught up on what’s been done to the house.

Here’s how it looked at the end of yesterday. If you look at the left third of the main roof, you can see the lining hanging over the gutter edge.
progress to date

They started relining the gutters yesterday … and I use the term “started” very loosely. I thought they would have done a lot more than they did, but apparently, that’s why I’m not the contractor, and he is. He figures it will take pretty much a full week to reline all of the gutters. The way he talked to us, I got the impression that they’d be here and gone.

I got some of the 6/4 stock for the casing extensions done yesterday, got the plinth backplaned, and got the plinth finials. I still have 12 feet of 6/4 x 4 7/8 to make.

The carpenters started in on the porch, sistering a bunch of the lookouts in preparation for putting up new soffit. I guess that will be done next week.

Here are some more pictures:

porch repairs

new lookouts

new lookouts

porch repairs

October 21, 2008

Things you can do in an old house.

Filed under: Restoration Progress — admin @ 2:51 am

So, I am running some wood through my moulder for the soffit detail, when it dawned on me. I am running 14 foot long boards through a moulder-planer in my foyer. Picture this … before it goes into the moulder, all 14 feet are sticking out the input end. After it is passed through the moulder, all 14 feet are sticking out the output end. the moulder itself (feed area, not the support table) is about 15″. That’s over 29 feet of lineal space needed to run a 14 foot board. WOW! Yeah, I’m bragging, but not too many people can run a 14 foot board through a moulder in any room of their house, let alone the foyer. For those who are wondering, I could also do it in the living room, but that’s not a construction zone right now.

No pictures today, but the carpenters finished up the siding on the first floor front of the house today. Now all they need to do is work on the trim pieces. We’re going to use my mistake oak plinth blocks for the window plinths. They’re perfect for it.

I should be able to get some pictures tomorrow. I didn’t today because I had to hook up the carport light switch. Several people have commented on how nice the cypress looks, and that they’d be tempted just stain it. In a way, I would be also, but after having the mental picture of it painted, I’d have to pass on just staining it.

October 18, 2008

Yet More History is Uncovered

Filed under: Restoration Progress — admin @ 3:45 am

It seems as if the front porch was a lot smaller than we previously thought. I now have found more evidence that the house was originally an eastlake / stick style. We found shadow lines below the living room window, that indicate the same type of design as that of the dining room and the butler’s pantry. The big difference is that the living room window was initially smaller than it now is, and that the window was enlarged in the 1926 remodel. The front porch was likely only as wide as the foyer.

This picture shows the shadow lines:
Shadow Lines below Living Room Window

Here are some views of the progress as of today. Enjoy!

Friday Update 1

This one shows the horizontal sheathing next to the diagonal sheathing. The horizontal sheathing was done in the 1926 remodel, when the Skinners updated the house. They did a remodel in the fashion of the day … Colonial Revival with an Arts and Crafts style interior… all the first floor mouldings were ripped out and replaced with New York Style Mouldings….

Friday Update 2

Friday Update 3

Friday Update 4

My sweetie and I can’t wait to see this lovely jewel with paint on it …. I’m hoping it’s a traffic stopper

October 17, 2008

Thursday update

Filed under: Restoration Progress — admin @ 5:31 am

The exterior work continues, but we have some interior slowdowns to contend with … leaky sink and sink shutoff valve … I need to repack the valve stem, I hope I got the right packing. I hope I got the right size replacement valves with swage fittings. and I hope I can cut out the current kitchen faucet without too much difficulty.

What I’d like to know is who is the Einstein who decided that the faucet should be soldered in to place … with no hoses or anything. now, I have to cut out the existing faucet

As promised, here are a couple of shots of the beltline board I made, already up on the house.

The one I made is on the bottom course of the beltline.
new beltline board

This one is of the work that was done today. This shows the sheathing at the outside corner of the dining room.
dining room corner sheathing

This one is of the left side of the foyer. Note that the sheathing is horizontal here. That’s because this corner was squared off in 1927. before that it was the angled corner typical of many victorian styles.
horizontal sheathing

This picture shows some shadow detail of the design that used to be below this window before the porch was enlarged in 1927.
shadow detail

October 16, 2008

How Did They Do That???

Filed under: Restoration Progress — admin @ 2:13 am

Well, today I sort of found out. I re-created some of the beltline siding. It’s lap boards milled to look like shingles. The carpenter said that he couldn’t figure out a way to efficiently make them. While talking with him, he mentioned that it might be possible with a radial arm saw. So, I got to thinking, because I have a radial arm saw…


I tried a few set-ups before realizing that the radial arm saw was limited in arm angle to 22.5 degrees, and for the V-cuts at the bottom of the board, I needed a 45 degree arm angle, 45 degree blade angle, and needed to be able to do BOTH angles. The saw wasn’t capable straight out of the box. I talked with the carpenter, and he mentioned a jig to set the angle. Bingo! I made a board to hold the clapboard at a 22.5 degree angle, with the arm also at 22.5 degrees, and started slicing. That took care of the first cut, but that was only half the V.

How to do the other half? My son asked if I had a hand held saw like the radial arm saw. Of course! My circular saw is capable of mitering a 45 degree angle. I found a piece of wood thick enough to properly set the depth of cut, and started cutting away freehand. A wood chisel to finish out the V, and voila’ !


My question, however, is how did they commercially manufacture that piece over 100 years ago?

Here are some pictures:
This is one of the problem boards, split almost in half.
problem board

Here is a close shot of the detail.

Here is the beginning of the restoration. I marked the new clapboard using the old one as a template, and then ran kerfs at each mark. This is the result after “kerfing” the clapboard. (sounds kind of naughty, doesn’t it?)
kerfed board

Here is a shot after creating the V and cleaning it out with a chisel…. this one is a test piece and was done with an old, dull chisel. The ‘real’ boards were cleaned with a ‘real’ chisel.
finished product

Here’s a comparison of the shadow lines that the new and old boards create … not too bad for a rookie, huh?
shadow line comparison, new vs old

so … I need to make a total of 40 feet of this stuff. I’ve got an 8 foot section already made, and they put it up. I’ll take a picture of it tomorrow and post it in my next update.

The contractor is supposed to start on the gutters next Monday or so, and also on the carport roof. The stuff they’re putting on is supposed to have a 10 yr warranty, and the contractor said that he’s been installing this stuff for over 20 yrs, and has not been told of any issues with it. Here’s to hoping …

October 14, 2008

Restoration Update With Pictures!

Filed under: Restoration Progress — admin @ 1:13 pm

I’ll let the pictures do most of the talking. We’ve accomplished quite a bit on the house, not too shabby for nine days of work. The carpenters are starting on the soffit repair on the west side of the house. Once they finish that,they’ll be pretty much done with that side.

They still need to fix the arch, and attach the plinth blocks to the windows, and then the bullseyes and bars to the soffit. Then the painters can start. In order for them to attach the bullseyes and blocks to the soffit, we need to strip the bullseyes and I need to run the block moulding. I’ve got 14 feet of it almost done. I was surprised at how well the cypress moulded. I know you can’t turn it because it’s a stringy soft wood, but it ran okay through the moulder.

This is a view of the house after Friday.
This is a view of the house after Friday.

Another shot:
Another view

And yet another view:
another view

Here’s where we are as of the end of yesterday:
end of Monday, the 13th

another view:

And another view

We wrote a check to the contractor on Sunday. By his guestimate, he said we can expect to write 3 more just like that one … I was hoping for only 2 more … so we are going to have to reconsider our strategy and see what we can come up with.

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