Friday, July 24, 2009

The Last Shake

Monday I managed to hang the FINAL shingle for the siding project after 7 LONG months of work. What else to say but WHEW! I still have to do the soffit and fascia around this corner and final painting - and then the gutter and window project. I have all the lower gutters replaced which I didn't talk about yet and 6 more windows that need to be replaced. That should still keep me busy for awhile. Then I think I may build a shed so I can get my garage cleaned out. I need to make room in there so I can start refinishing all the kitchen pieces. Yea, I still haven't forgot about that project......

Friday, July 17, 2009

Basement - A Recap

This spring after finally getting many items out of storage in the basement and into the house, plus a few EBAY sales, the basement is finally getting useable. I still have some things to do, but at least I have a shop and tool storage, plus a room to get my radio collection out where it can be appreciated and I can play around with them again. The outer walls still need to be skim coated in many places, and in the radio room I plan to continue building the wall along the foundation so I can have a nice clean wall and a good anchor for more display shelving.

I built a bench for doing smaller work on (mostly electronics) and bought plenty of shelving and plastic bins. Now all my parts, hardware, etc is sorted out, and I have a place for all paints and finish work stuff. I don't even want to think about what I went through the past 3 1/2 years looking for stuff.... or buying stuff and then finding I already had it 6 months later. I'll also be able to do some wood work down here in the winter time. This may be a temporary fix for that as there are some ideas brewing for a future shop project.

And here is the radio room. Finally dusted off and polished up after 4 years of storage. I've been collecting pre-WWII Philco and RCA sets for 15 years now. I recently made one exception as sitting on the work bench you can make out a small set that was my great-grandparents' and great-uncle's Silvertone set from 1936 that was recenly given to me. I have many others that await restoration someday when the house project slows down.... whenever that comes!

And just for a truely authentic restoration - I installed this original 1930's era antenna system on the side where I'm working now. I never had a good antenna setup in all the years I played with these old sets, but now what a difference in reception and the range on the shortwave bands I can picked up stations in Europe, Australia, and Japan!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


That's right - I was unexpectedly nominated for this years Ridley Park Preservation Award. Anybody in town can nominate a house, which the Historical Commission narrows down to a list of about six houses. My next door neighbor mentioned nominating us, but I said wait till next year.... as I still nailed shakes to the wall. But then the letter came, and the nominators remain nameless - but I have my hunches who! So they come out and take pictures, then a panel of judges made up from the Historical Review Board, Historical Commision, etc come and do the judging based on the Secretary of Interior standards for home preservation. The winner gets a plaque to mount on the house, and remains so even if the house changes owners. Also a small ceremony takes place when they announce the winner at the Victorian Fair in September and a picture of the winner each year hangs in the town hall.

Needless to say it would be nice to win..... but I'm not finished yet!! So originally I heard they wouldn't come till sometime in August, but when I confirmed the nomination they said about 2 weeks! Oh boy, get to work! Well that got me crackin on some landscaping projects for the front that I planned on doing later.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Sidelight Surprise

My neighbor gave me back the original sidelights to the house! When they tore the original doorway out, the door was sold for $5 at a yard sale I'm told by another neighbor and she believed the sidelights were trashed. Well apparently they were picked up off the curb and saved. So now what to do?? I guess at some point if I can get glass for them I will put them back and sell the ones I installed. These are chestnut too which will match the original woodwork in the foyer. Also they have the nice ledge and dentil detail that contines from the one on the door. The original glass is busted and the one intact is a replacement pane. The fragment I found matches the textured glass in the staircase landing window. Now if I could only find that door......

Friday, July 10, 2009

A 100 Year Old Panaramic.... Almost

My neighbor sent me a copy of some great pics the other day. Then tonight an idea came to me.... and a little tweaking in photoshop later I came up with this little gem.

A few more feet and we would have a great wide angle shot of my street almost 100 years ago. Very cool!

Here's another pic he gave me of his neat house (built 1887). You can see the side of it on the far right in the street shot. The two houses to the right of me in the street pic were built in 1897 and are identical to each other. The two to the left of me (not pictured) were built in 1893.... so at 1906 I'm the new house on the block.

There are two other pics I've seen of this section of my street, but I've yet to get copies of them.

He also returned a lost piece of the Hall house. I'll reveal that later.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Making A Window Whole Again

When the one bedroom was converted into a kitchen upstairs, they took the two windows and shortened them. The one I can understand due to the counter being installed, but the other...???? Plus they hacked the original sill flush with the sheathing so they could put siding over it. It was real quality work too! They used ceiling tiles to insulate the section of the old window opening they enclosed - top notch craftsmanship.

So first thing was dismantling what they did. Of course this wasn't too hard to do. Then in order to repair the sill I had to remove it. This involved removing all of the original window construction down to the wall framing.

Once the sill was out (a real beast at over 3 inches thick) I ran it on a table saw to get a nice clean edge to join a new piece to it. It just happened that there is a 3/8 drop from where the old window closed against the sill and what was the outside part of the sill. So this made a perfect point to joint the new piece. I used a piece of salvaged pine for the replacement piece which will hold up to the elements compared to any new piece of pine. I glued and countersunk 4 inch drywall screws to join the two sections. All stripped and sanded it was time to put it back in place.

There is a cavity between the wall framing and the side pieces that will frame the window opening. This is where the old window weights hung. The original pieces were beat up and split, so I installed new sides. They seat in notches cut into the sill and header piece. Then the boards that cover these weight openings install on the inside and out. Finally install a stop trim and ready for a new Pella window.

This will all have to be done on the other window in this room too... but the counter is still in the way. So this will wait till the kitchen gets dismantled.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Siding Project - 7 Months and Counting

Yep, that's how long (not counting the winter months) that I've been working on the second floor siding. Not much new info to report, you've heard for the last six months! Here is a set of pics showing the progress on the north side....

Next will be dealing with that shortened window and the idiot who hacked the sill off - I have some choice words for that guy!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Finally A New Post

Yea, I know.... poor neglected blog! Well I honestly have been working on the place and progress to report on which I will have to take a few posts to catch up on.

I officially have completed the first floor AC installation. My dad came out and overkilled making up the copper lines with 56% silver solder! Only need 5%, but won't have to worry about leaks at the joints. Then my friend Liz's husband came out and charged it up which went smooth. Then fired it up, balanced out the system with the dampers and nice and cold. I used a thermometer at the dining room register and had 59 degrees coming out. There's no insulation on the supplies at this point, so I could make it even colder probably.

I put down a brick pad for the condensor unit to sit on which came out OK. There has been a little settling (I kinda did a quickie job on it), so I will need to go back in one area and get a little more sand underneath.

Of course now that I have some central AC going.... I haven't needed it!? It's been a cool wet summer - but I'm not gonna complain too much. Though the garden could use a little more sun than rain now. More later....

Happy 4th!!