Sunday, September 30, 2007

Foyer Fireplace Home Stretch

While milling the wood work for the parlor fireplace, I went and made the pieces for this one as well. I needed to fill a gap around the opening of the mantel to the tile face using some basic square stock and then finished with a small piece of trim to cover some small gaps in the edge of the tiles that fell short of the trim I made. I gave the mantel a coat of "Aged Oak" gel stain and a satin poly finish. The finish coat revealed some nice tiger oak that I hadn't noticed when i stripped the old worn finish off the mantel down to bare wood. Just a little restoration work on the insert and this can be checked off the list too.

I continued running the chimney for the parlor fireplace from where I left off last year on the second floor master bedroom. I added three more 4 ft. sections and another fire stop between the 2nd and 3rd floors which puts me right at the slope of the roof. Unfortunately this is right in the middle of a dormer or I could keep going straight through. My next order will be for a 30 degree bend, another 4-6 ft of pipe and then 30 degrees back to vertical and hopefully through the roof behind the dormer and below the main hip.

2nd floor

3rd floor

should poke though the roof a feet below that ridge beam (top of hip roof)

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Birth of a Mantel

Haven't been posting as much lately, but still quite busy - just not as noteworthy. A nasty head cold didn't help much either! I left off with the basic wood work complete on the parlor fireplace and next thing to do was make a mantel.

I started from lumber pile and using some old 12" wide barn boards cut three pieces a bit over sized for the front and sides. After running through the joiner to get a clean edge I ran all three through the planer till I came up with a nice milled finish. This ended up around 7/8" thick. Next I ripped all three down to 8" wide and then on the outside edge ran them through the router to add a bead detail.

rough cut barn boards - precut for mantel sections

running through the planer

freshly milled 200 year old red oak - nice!

I ripped some 2x4's at a 45 degree angle and anchored to the wall above the 1x6 trim. This added some good support to mount the mantel pieces and will get covered over with some crown trim.

To add the crown molding I first milled some 1" square trim to step out the bottom of the crown and give an added detail to the design. This also made the mantel overhang seem less extreme (only about 4 inches now). Finally a little filler and finish sanding, a nice coat of stain (Minwax Gel "Aged Oak") and a satin finish coat. Add mantel clock, some nick nacks, and enjoy.....

Just waiting on the tile now.....

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Back To The Inside

After a year sitting unfinished, the wood stove project is picking up steam again and I hope to get some free heat outta this baby come winter. Up to this point the main structure was framed out and covered in 1/2" cement board, but that was the extent of it. First thing to get sorted out was a hearth and hearth extension. The hearth extension I decided on slate and was able to find two pieces of slate - one about 3/4" thick which I hoped would do the job but it only gave me 2" past the front of the stove and code is 16". So I found the 2nd piece which added another 16" out and this was 1 1/2" thick. Using a diamond blade the slate cut much easier than anticipated, so getting them sized up was no sweat. Under the thinner piece I added 1/2" cement board and 1/8" metal shims that got me spot on with the other piece of slate.

The firebox hearth I used self leveling cement which I poured until even with the slate. I used 1/2" cement board under this as well. The final results came out great and could pass as being original to the house.

Next was installing a brick veneer on the walls of the firebox that I finished framing in and installing cement board for a base. I found these at Lowes for 50 cents/piece. I installed these using 3/8" tile spacers which gave me enough gap to point the brick.

When these set for a few days I did the hearth pour and then came time to point them with mortar. This was my first crack at doing this but watching John do my footers I picked up enough technique to do it. It's definitely tedious and probably harder to do with an uneven face (these veneers are quite random in thickness and rough edges), but the result is pretty good and this will be blocked by the chimney and stove anyway. I then dropped the stove back in place and adjusted the height of the chimney and it is now in place permanently! My back couldn't take too much more moving this 400 pound beast....

is it brick..... or is it??

I finally settled on a tile, a 4"x4" reproduction art & crafts tile which go well with the room colors - and my budget. The sample of 8 came which I installed and then put in an order for the rest. Having this settled I could then concentrate on starting the wood work. I had a general idea for a design inspired by some others I've seen and the fireplace in the other house I almost bought. It will be arts & crafts influenced like the rest of the house but a bit watered down since there are other influences to the design of the house.

Of course I didn't just go to the store and buy oak boards.... first I had to make them! This project will add a little more learning curve to my experience with the new tools I picked up in prep for reproducing all the missing wood work. I started out with 1/2" oak plywood base on the side which will be framed out 3" on the sides and 6" on top and bottom. The front will get 4 1/2" sides and a 6" top, all being 1" stock. The vertical pieces I milled from old door jambs taken out of the house - to far gone to be cleaned up into usable jambs again but enough to use here and keep as much original oak in the house as possible. The horizontal pieces were milled from my stock of rough sawed red oak. I've never worked with wood this hard before and I'm thinking this may have been an old growth tree the came down and was sawed up. The grain is real tight too. I even had to pre-drill for nails because they kept bending! So even if the original wood is gone at least old wood is going back in.

I added a small piece of accent trim on the bottom edge of the top 1x6 that wraps around to tie things together a bit. Next I have to mill wood for a mantel and add a crown under that. I would have went with brackets but since the mantel wraps around, it would have looked odd with no support under the mantel on the sides.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Outside Wrap-up

Well the outside work is coming to a close for the season and I'm happy to say that the first story is about 95% done. I finished up the painting on the back section of house/deck, built flower boxes from scrap cedar, and a bunch other misc. odds and ends that were being put off. The bilco door I ended up using the tinner's red paint from the metal roof... if it's good enough for a roof it will certainly hold up on a cellar door. Plus it just looked good with the green. Only project left is finish up some work on the rear porch steps. The front steps will probably wait till next year since I have to bust up the old ones. Another detail for next year be doing shakes under the porch where the 2nd floor cantilevers a few'll see.

I even went and did a little landscaping around the deck so I could get some plants in the ground I had rooted.

Here some nice before and after pics of the back to see the progress....

and some closeups....

restored fixture

Sunday, September 16, 2007

And Now For Something Completely Different

I needed a change of pace from wrapping up the outside work for the season, so I took a day and did the tile job on the foyer fireplace. I managed to get a good deal on 150 salvaged 1x4 tiles that originally I was going to use on the parlor fireplace I'm building... but after several opinions, it was decided to use them in the foyer since they were a good match for the original hearth tiles still in place.

Since this will not be operational, instead of skimming a coat of cement over the rough brick surface, I fixed a sheet of 3/4 plywood with liquid nails and tapcon screws. This was a nice easy fix and gave me a flat level surface to mount the tiles. The also brought everything out more which covered some damage to the hearth tiles where they attached a tack strip for carpeting.

The tiles ended up going a bit further than I thought and even ended up with a few extras. Now all I need to do is grout and do some final trim work to fill the interior sides of the mantel.

The first story work on the exterior is wrapping up and I should have some final pics soon. I hope to get the wood stove project and floor sanding done on the first floor before the weather gets cold....

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Hall House Builder

Better late than never Mr. Gates - I finally got the update so my scanner can work with Windows Vista - 6 months later! Anywho so finally here is the scan of the postcard featuring the Hall house sister house on Penn Ave along with a third house that is no more. Postcard is stamped 1909 on the back. Built by J. W. Meckert & Co. - Ridley Park.

The shingles are no longer on the house, so I guess this would be false advertising??

Monday, September 3, 2007

Goodbye Stucco

Now that the brick footers are somewhat stable, the stucco/cinder block covering the crawl space could now be demolished in the visible areas. Not too much effort here and a surprise was that the driveway side was recessed some and just had to remove the stucco only. This will keep things pretty tight on this side and only have to insulate the other.

After some reconstruction for something to nail to, the new drip, belt moulding, and bead board could be installed. Everything but the bead board is composite so no worries of rot, and convincingly looks like wood. John did some more repair and pointing to the bricks once the other two faces were exposed after the demo work. These are now 100% redone.

.... and finally the lattice is finished