Saturday, July 28, 2007

New Foyer Windows Unveiled

After a lot of thought, debate, and planning (and a little luck), I've been able to put the foyer window back to it's original design. By a stroke of luck and coincidence the seller of the garage door I bought on EBAY was also a master woodworker down in Cape May and offered to remake the pair of windows from a picture I obtained from the Hall family.

They are stain grade pine as original, with salvaged old (wavy) glass used. Originally these were casement style and would have been hinged on the side, but I opted to seal them in permanently which will be a bit more efficient, and I already have plenty of ventilation.

Once nailed and caulked from the outside I turned my attention to the inside replacing the old sills. After a little tweaking they fit like a glove. Then replaced jamb pieces temporarily (they still need stripping) and finally some of few remaining original casing. The final result looks better than I could have hoped and definitely ties the foyer together much better than those aluminum double hung windows ever could.

closeup of new sill and windows

The windows were hand made by John Hassay of Cape Island Woodwork, just outside of Cape May, NJ. He is restoring an old Quaker meetinghouse dating back to the late 1700's. He just finished working on this year's 2007 Cape May Designer Showhouse and has been involved with several other high profile restorations including Congress Hall in Cape May a few years back. I highly recommend him. I decided to have him make the 3rd floor dormer windows as well which have the same design as the main staircase landing window. One window survived being used to fill a busted sash in the garage, so at least this time he has an example to copy from.

windows with trim reinstalled

Friday, July 27, 2007

First Wood Shop Assignment - New Sills

The first creation from my new wood shop was making new interior sills for the foyer windows that were lovingly made into a chew toy by a PO's dog. My first step was taking some basic measurements of the sills so that I could make an oak board to cut them from. From my red oak pile I planed down a board to 1 inch thick and then joined the edges. Even though I am making two sills - I made one large board to cut from so that they would be guaranteed the same dimensions rather than make a board for each sill. My new board ended up about half an inch narrower than the original 6 inch deep sill - but would still work no problem. Next I cut this board in half - one for each window. Then I needed to make the edge bead detail that is on much of the woodwork (that's left!) in the house. I used a router table with an 1/8 inch edge bead bit and ran the boards through.

old and new left sill

After removing the sides of the window jamb, I was able to remove the old sills so they could be traced onto the new boards and cut out. They turned out pretty good. Next time will show the windows and sills installed.

closeup showing edge bead detail

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Porch Gable Finished

Finished up the cedar installation and added the crown detail along the roof line. The angle at the top is 105 degrees, not 90, so all I can say is lots of trial and error to get the crown right. Final painting and admire the results.... this is now pretty close to what was original.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Porch Gable Progress

I finished stripping down the original cedar shingle siding on the gable over the front steps of the porch. Once down to the sheathing I could see some nesting remnants inside so I pulled one of the planks off and found one monster of a nest from who knows when - a couple square feet worth. I pulled it out for good measure and replaced the sheathing, then it was time to fix the hidden issues. You can certainly cover a lot of sins with vinyl unfortunately. Apparently neither flashing nor tar paper for that matter was installed under the row of shingles in front of the gable. Plus originally it just saw paint instead of tin roofing so it was in not the best condition. But it wasn't too far gone so I left in place verses the headache it would have been to replace it. I added some galvanized flashing, then everything got a layer of 30# tar paper I had laying around. On top of that I laid a roll of roofing starter strip and then was ready to the starter coarse for new cedar shingles.

closeup of starter row and bead board soffet

Next came some new bead board that I mounted under the original soffet - which were just the gable roof sheathing planks that were exposed with a coat of paint. The new bead board made this look a bit better than what was original, plus the planks were not in the best of condition after 100 years. Before I could install any siding I had to prime another batch of shingles. The siding installation was almost as tedious due to the many angle cuts to be made, but the end result is looking quite good.

I managed to squeeze in a morning on the back of the house when it's shady and did the first coat on the remaining siding - Let there be GREEN! What a difference a little color makes....

Tomorrow I pick up the foyer windows. I got a sneak peak pic and they look perfect.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Yep - Still Painting

I've mostly been working in the porch area of the house since the back is only shady in the mornings and I'm in night work mode right now. So I don't even have coffee time till about 1pm. I managed to sand down the the bead board that the PO installed on the porch and salvaged it which saved a good bit of work. I did have to replace the trim but no big deal there. Some primer and two coats later - what a difference.

I also did the insides of the bead board section which were left bare too. I painted these section the same green and this helped break up all the white of the porch. Things are looking much better up front now. I still have to sand down and finish the outside bead board on the back side of the porch, but this is in the sun so will get to it later. You can also see in the foreground I painted the railing tops the darker shade of green that the garage door will painted. I figured this will help tie things in better and change up the same green a bit which there will be a lot of. This will also be on the bands on each column and also on the frames of the lattice skirt under the porch.

Next I've staged scaffolding on the front steps to do the pitched roof detail that sits on the main porch roof (I'm sure it has a fancy architectural term for it - but I don't know it). The PO redid this with scalloped vinyl and looked OK, but I have to go the extra effort and tear this down and do cedar as was original. The crown detail was doubled up when they redid this and the scale is way off for the structure. Fortunately with the old pics I can restore this all back to original - or at least very close. I'm sure some neighbors think I've lost my mind watching me tearing apart one of the few things on the house that was already "finished" by the PO!

The layers of vinyl, plywood, and shims are removed yielding the original cedar shakes. The original crown is long gone. Below you can see part of this structure from a photo of Marian and Sarah Hall taken around 1936

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The Cat Days of Summer

"Hey Mike.... will you install some central AC already!!"

Sunday, July 15, 2007

North By Northwest

That's what I finally finished painting today. Plus the kitchen window is finished with paint, so this side of the house is done minus porch work.

I started setting up to work on the front porch (always have at least one project in the shade available!). Here the bead board and trim was replaced by the PO but never was painted. The trim is finger jointed pine and coming apart and the bead board is really dried out and low grade with plenty of knots. I may try to sand it down some and see how it comes up, but I may just replace it so I can all the tongues/grooves primed to hopefully add some longevity to the paint job. Still working on the south side of the back and then will do the back wall. There's still a bunch of tedious caulking to do on the siding - what fun.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Some Noteworthy Painting Begins

I'm finally starting to paint the fiber cement siding I installed on the back of the house last year. It's been long overdue and fortunately the factory prime coat has held up really well so I shouldn't need to do a re-prime, except for where the cuts are. Also needing to be done is caulking along the edges where the clapboards meet trim work. I put one coat on the wall behind the basement entrance and on the north end wall. This stuff certainly soaks up the paint and two coats is a minimum. Getting the color up though is finally giving some visualization of what the final results will look like with the colors - and we like it.

I also started repairing the original vertical trim on the back corner and replacing the drip trim along the skirt boarding (not yet there). I had one piece remaining that I was able to use to get my sizing and angles. With the recently acquired tools I was able to make new pieces from old yellow pine that was removed from the loft of the garage - which will be original materials and hold up much better than new pine. I'm starting to get the hang of using the planer and the jointer works great. Now just some fill work and can do final prime and paint to finish this corner. Then I can set up to finish the back and finally start working on a deck so I can use the back door.

... I'm still picking at the kitchen window, finally stripped and about ready for paint. Driveway side of house painting (1st floor) is just about done 2 coats. And the foyer windows should be ready to be picked up this weekend!

Saturday, July 7, 2007

More Goodies From Lancaster

Another trip to Lancaster and another full pickup truck back home! I went with a friend from work to pick up the jointer I won on EBAY and we decided to make a few stops on the way back. And I managed to make some great finds.

First was a great piece of slate. I've been pondering the parlor fireplace I'm building for some time trying to figure just how to finish it. I want this to look like a fireplace that was always in the house, so using any modern tile is just out of the question. I thought about the stone veneer products, but that's not quite the look I'm going for and not sure how well it would work in this house (though the outside is stone...). I finally concluded just the day before that a one piece slate hearth would look really well and hold up to the wood stove and started researching places to find and have cut locally. The sides will be trimmed in oak instead of the brick veneer and the front will hopefully be some kind of salvaged tile. I think instead of finishing the inside to look like a firebox, I will instead make sheet metal cover to hide this incorporating the heat deflector I will need (experience from other house). It sounds crude, but I think I can make it work and look nice. The metal will also help reflect heat back into the room. Here is what I found. It even has one corner cut already! The width is perfect, but it's about 6 inches shorter than I would like for depth. If I wasn't using the stove it would be perfect, but I will probably need a 6 inch wide piece to fill in the back. Still will look much better than 12 inch squares. At $95 I thought it was a good buy and much cheaper than having one made. Now too figure how i'll cut the other corner.

At the same place I found this pressure gauge that I hope to use on the original heater/boiler I restored last year. Hopefully it should still work. The scale is marked for where to fill based on 1&2 stories, 3 story, and 4 story houses.

And here is the Craftsman 6 inch jointer. It's about 1960 vintage (quite new for my collection!) and in excellent shape. It has a nice sharp set of knives on it and after a good cleaning and a paint job will be ready for service. I tried it out with a piece of scrap oak I've been playing with from my pile that will hopefully become woodwork for the house. It work great and made a nice clean square edge.

Once I run my board though this then I can run them though my planer and this is the results I should have.... a nice 1x6 red oak board ready to become baseboard. Use my newly restored radial arm and take it down to a 1x4 and I'm ready to mill some new casement mouldings (as soon as I get the knives made). I tested a few stain colors to see just how this oak is going to finish out - I think I'll be happy!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Happy 4th

Happy 4th from the Hall House

Monday, July 2, 2007

Ready For Windows... Almost

The wood repairs are done on the outside of the foyer windows and one coat of paint. Outside is now ready for when I get the new windows. Inside however has an issue I haven't dealt with yet. The inside sill, especially on one side was really chewed/clawed by a PO or renter's dog. Some issues I cough up to 100 years of use and call it "character" or part of the house's history - but these are really bad and must be replaced. So begins the project in bringing back the inside woodwork and I get to start using some of my "new" toys.

The side pieces should come out pretty easy and then I can remove the sills and install replacements. I still need to get a router table and so I can make the beading detail that is common to all the sills in the house as well as on the seats, shelves, and other trim in the house. So looks like I will have to finally cash in my accumulated Sears gift cards I've been hoarding for a rainy day.