Friday, May 30, 2014

120 year old Wood Window Sill Repair

Our house's gutters were removed when the previous owners replaced the roof and painted the house.  Over the years this had caused some premature paint failure from the excess moisture. The uncovered front porch is one such area. The water would pour down and splash up on the exterior siding.  

There was no sense in repainting this area until we fixed the underlying cause.  Celia and I erected the scaffolding on one of the first hot days of the season and installed a section of gutter and downspout.

BEFORE PHOTOS (Expand to see full detail)

As you can see the paint was literally flaking away and the window sill has some mildew growth.


The paint scraped off quite easily.  I used my Bahco 625. This is just an amazing tool for dry-scraping.  Then, following up with my random orbit sander to smooth the paint lines.


Rotted window sill and apron trim board

Close up of the rotten area.  We removed the really rotten wood and then applied Minwax Wood Hardner to firm up the questionable stuff.

The sill practically fell apart

Only half the sill was rotted so I decided to carefully cut away the bad section

The clapboards are in perfect shape even after 120 years!

The sill board had to be milled from a 4x4 of Douglas Fir.  It was the only wood at the big box store that was thick enough.  Not ideal for rot-resistance but it will have to do...  The apron trim is a piece of 1x6 cedar ripped to the proper width. Everything was back-primed, filled with wood epoxy, and painted.


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

How to cut wavy glass

I recently had my first foray into cutting a sheet of glass.  The glass was scavenged from a trash pile.  Nice old wavy glass!  and for free!!!

  • Glass cutter like this one 
  • Sharpie Marker
  • Measuring Tape
  • Straight edge
  • Gloves

Step 1:  Mark your cut.  I used a sharpie marker and a straight edge.

Step 2: Lubricate the cutting wheel

 Step 3:  Score along the marker line.  Make sure to score completely from one edge to the other.  Apply firm, even pressure during the entire pass. Do NOT score a second time.

Step 4:  Snap along the score line.  They make a special tool for this, but applying even pressure on both sides of the score should be sufficient.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

FINISHED: Repairing an old storm door/screen door

I started a side project a couple of weeks ago; repairing one of the storm doors on the front of the house.    Before we bought the place, the wind had caught the door and snapped it into several pieces.  It sat untouched in the garage for the past couple years until I started to get the itch to tackle it.  Upon closer inspection I found that the stile had snapped in 2 places.  The work was challenging because I had to fabricate a large portion of one of the stiles and fit it into place.  I got to put my Shopsmith (view image) to good use.  I used the table saw, overhead router, drill press, and jointer.  Hopefully the work will hold together. I saw that this repair had been done at least twice prior on this door.  Hopefully the gas closure device and the wind chain I installed will help.

Below is that final product.  The green box shows the portion of the stile that was repaired
Same paint color, but now the door on the left looks a little shabby since it is probably a little faded and dirty.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Repair old storm door and installing reclaimed flooring

We have been very productive lately working on the old lady.   Two projects going on right now.

Installing reclaimed flooring
If you have been following this blog since the beginning, you might remember that I purchased a pickup truck full of reclaimed flooring almost 2 years ago.  In that time, we have been tripping over it and have moved around the piles several times to get it out of our way.
Well a couple weeks ago we finally started installing the flooring.  The process is much more tedious than installing new flooring for two reasons:

1. Each board must undergo an inspection process where it is de-nailed, scraped clean of all the gunk, and looked over closely for cracks, splits, stains, or gouges.  Celia prefers to do this instead of operating the pneumatic stapler.

2. The flooring is narrow strip oak.  It matches exactly to what was originally installed in the house. Unfortunately it is only 1.5 inches wide so it takes an eternity to install.  I work for hours installing row after row which results in just a few inches gain.

Repairing a broken storm door
While the house was on the market, a wind storm caught one of the front storm doors and snapped the stile.  This repair has been pretty low on our list but on Friday I got the urge to take down the door and start on it.
Once I got the door down to the basement, I discovered that this door has been repaired several previous times.  
Old repair.  The entire upper corner was replaced.

Old repair. Broken stile.

Since this door has suffered the same break multiple times, I suspect that the structure of this door is simply inadequate.  It is a giant door.  The stiles are only 1.25" x 4.25" pine.  I suspect a hardwood might have been a better choice for strength.  
Here is a picture of the door sitting in the shop.  As you can see, it barely fits on two folding tables.
See the stile is missing.  I have to fabricate this piece. 

Cosmetic damage.

Tenon in pretty good shape.  Feels strong.

These doors are not original to the house.  They exhibit no eastlake design characteristics.  I think they were added as part of a big remodel that happened sometime around 1935.  We know the original porch was replaced at that time and it appears that these doors would fit that timeframe.

Storm door hinges going in for a bath
Above is a picture of the hinges going into the crock pot.  I love this method of removing paint from hardware.  If you are not familiar, here is a video I did a while back:  

Saturday, February 8, 2014

New project: Laundry Room

Living in the house for the last couple months has been pretty enjoyable. That's not to say that it has been entirely perfect. One difficulty is living without a laundry room. This has inspired Celia and I to start a new project (as if we don't have enough projects started!) The goal is to make this short and sweet.  In the end, we spread it over about 2 months.
  • Tearing down the paneling and the false ceiling.
  • Adding a few electrical outlets $$$
  • Filling insulation gaps. $$
  • Hanging drywall $$
  • Lots of tape and mud
  • Primer $$
  • Finish coat of paint $$
  • Strip/Reglaze/Paint windows $$
  • New light fixture(s) $$$
  • New washer and dryer $$$$

Still to do:
  • Re-install window trim
  • Baseboard
  • Build folding counter between washer/dryer
  • Buy/Build/Install utility cabinets.
Here is a sneak peak at the new light fixture.  It is handmade fixture from Etsy constructed from mason canning jars. We like how the mason jars give it a farmhouse, almost industrial feel and the cloth covered wiring is period appropriate.  The fixture hangs down about 36" from the 11' ceiling.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Today's Side project: Door stop

I get bored easily so my big projects tend to drag on forever.  To help keep me sane, I like to do small projects on the side.  Usually they are quick to complete which offera me a sense of satisfaction.  Today, I refinished a door stop.  It wasn't all that complicated... The doorstop had a zillion layers of old paint that needed to be stripped.

I then had to contend with the damaged wood.  I elected to use the belt sander to remove most of it.  This did change the shape of the door stop slightly, but I felt it was the best choice.  After a bit of sanding, I gave it a couple coats of amber shellac.  Here is the final product:

Turned out to be a pretty nice hardwood maple doorstop.  The damage is still visible on the tip, but considering it is probably 120 years old, I can live with it.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Odd and ends

This weekend consisted mainly of catching up on odds and ends. 

a) Started clearing the kitchen so that we can resume work in there.  We need to paint the ceiling so we need the floor space to navigate.

b) Swept up one of the basement rooms. This was actually an interesting little project.  Our basement was last remodeled in the 1930s when the funeral home used the space for embalming work. The ceiling and masonry walls have been plastered.  Unfortunately plaster and paint in such a humid space resulting in peeling paint. Feels like an abandoned building with the white paint literally falling off the walls in large pieces.  

Over the years this paint has crumbled and piled up with other dust/debris around the edges of the room. So anyway the whole basement is almost 2000 sqft so we decided to start with just a single room. We chose to sweep up the room that holds the new tankless water heater.  This room will be my winter workshop... To help prevent the mess from returning we first swept the walls to knock down the loose paint.   Then we swept the floors. It only took us about an hour and the room now feels a lot less spooky!

c)I also took out all my spare door hardware to see if I could piece together a set for the side door.  It has never had a lockset since we have owned they place! The only way to lock it was from the outside with a padlock. Lol.  This was how the bank secured the property when it was foreclosed...  I did buy an ornate set off eBay last year but it didn't quite fit so I had been dragging my feet installing it...  Well, here is the finished product...  

Old holes and stuff will be patched when we eventually get around to doing a full door restoration.  Also, I need to replace those steel/zinc screws with brass ones.