Saturday, April 10, 2010

The last wall and a big window

This is a shot of the last wall section being lifted into place. This one contains the rough opening for the bay window that will double as my desk. Note that the big window was installed this week as well.

Next on the list is to make my window jams, fill in a few places with blocking to support the siding, exterior trim, and then siding!

Thank you Anna and Greg for the photos!

Thursday, April 1, 2010


Over the past week I have been thinking a lot about the finish of my house. I can finally start to see the final details. Our basement is full of molding, door casings, beaded paneling and other decorative wood trim from previous renovations of the Firehouse. After a quick trip down there, I had a pile with enough beaded paneling to build the kitchen ceiling / loft floor. A beautiful old door casing appeared that will be perfect for my front door. The trim will wait until another time though. All of the wood has old shellac on it, but when striped off it leaves an incredible, warm, yellow wood. The pattern of the grain shows that it is definitely from another era.
Also this week, a friend of mine who works at the Community Development Corporation took me on a tour of some of the salvage he has saved from renovations of old houses and mills from all over the city. There are lots of possibilities for my cabinetry or whatever else I need to build.  It seems that there is no shortage of amazing salvage in this city!

I think I found my door also- well sort of. I still need to make it, but I found an example of one that I really like. This one is made by Historic Doors
 in Kempton, PA. I really like the proportions of this door, much skinnier than most. There are two things I might change about it though. First, I want to make it into a dutch door. I really like being able to open just half of the door like a window. I also might make the glass section with more, smaller windows.
The next dilemma I have encountered involves the wood stove. I have a great stove that I found last year, and have actually been using all winter in my bedroom. It is a Coalbrookdale Much Wenlock- a small but substantial cast-iron stove, weighing in at just over 300 pounds. Even though it is small (19" by 20" by 27" tall), it may not be small enough. It has the capacity to output more heat that I will probably need as well. I still hope to be able to use this stove because I have it and I love its style, but there are other options if it turns out to be too big. One of my favorites is designed for boats by Navigator Stoveworks located on Orcas Island in Washington State. It is tiny, can fit on top of a stand to reduce clearances and has a 4" flue. It is too expensive for me at the moment, but I will definitely be looking out for used ones.


Yesterday I got sick of a two day lull in my productivity and finished the floor. Preparing the boards and laying them down went much more smoothly after learning a few tricks from the first half. Instead of pickiing a bunch of boards and processing them before cutting them to length, I picked the approximate location of each board and cut it nearly to size before plaing and shaping.
This method substantially reduced the lineal feet of board that I had to pass through the planer and router. Also, since the boards were a more manageable length I didn't need a helper to wrangle the ends.
The slowest part of the process was still cutting the toung. There is a lot of material to remove and cutter diameter is necesaritlly very large, which is hard for the router to spin- especially through oak.
I am actually amazed that this little router was able to handle the task. It is an old Porter Cable 690 that I picked up at the local used tool store. Several times I stopped to take a break and check on the router, almost burning myself on the motor.
This process went so smoothly that I immediately moved onto nailing the boards down. With the end in sight, momentum built until I pounded the last nail around 11 pm to the weary eyes of those who had work in the morning. Time to finish the last two walls and install my big window!