Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Decisions, Decisions & Woodshop Update

Okay, as you can all tell I haven't exactly been as busy as I should be in regard to the house. I have been working on it, but just not as much as I should. I think burn-out has been trying to set in and it didn't help that allergies hit bad this year.

Anyway, I have done some work on the kitchen, attic, and woodshop, just not a lot of stuff that makes for interesting reading.

In fact, today I spent the biggest part of the day applying a special wood putty/filler to all the tiny holes in the woodwork. Now the molding looks like it has a bad case of acne - not exactly the stuff of stellar posts.

So, I decided to involve you all in my nightmare. For the past several weeks I have been trying to decide on what type of stain to use - if in fact we do use stain!

I'm not good at making these kinds of decisions for some reason, at least not in regard to my own stuff. Funny, I was trained by the military to make decisions, in a split second, that could mean life or death to a team member, but I can't decide on a stain color!!

Well, it has now been dwindled down to 7 possibilities (out of almost 25). I have added some pics of them here.

Before you look at them let me point out a few details. The pieces of wood used in he sample came from that piece of back door trim that could not be salvaged. I did not sand the samples, or clean them up, as much as I have the stuff in the kitchen. Also, the wood is pine and was not sealed. Each sample has also had two coats applied but no topcoat. So, you will see plenty of blemishes. I just hope and pray the finished product is way better than these samples.

Enough of the excuses, on to the pics.

This first picture took a LOT of work to get. Since the stains all have shine to them the glare from the flash was bad. So, I ended up putting the samples on the woodshop floor and getting the pics. For some reason this helped.

I wish the pictures were more 'true' in color. This is a beautiful, deep, color in person, but not the best in pictures.

This stain is 'Brazilian Rosewood'. It is extremely rich in color and depth. I really like it, but am afraid it might be too dark.

The following couple of pics are of the same sample just in different locations and lighting.

This one was on top of the washer.

The next one was on top of the ledge of the built-in cabinet.

As you can see, none of them look the same color!!!


Those first three pics were just so you could get an idea of how hard of a time I'm having with this. I mean, the stain chosen here will be the one used through out the house! We've got to get it right.

The next several samples are of the other choices.

This one is 'Aged Oak' - I think.

The following is 'Early American'.

This is one of my favorite stains, but it doesn't look the same shade it has when I've used it on other pine items.

The last three are smaller samples. I was running out of board!

These sample are so similar that they almost look the same, and one of them looks nothing like the sample pic on the can!

The colors are 'Pecan', 'Old Maple' and 'Walnut'.

Now this last pic needs to be explained. This is a grouping of samples using two pieces of the old wood and one scrap left over from the plumbing chase.

The staine is 'Red Oak' and was our 1st choice from day one. However, for some reason it looks a little too 'red' and fake.

The main thing that needs to be pointed out with these is that one of the samples had been pre-treated with wood conditioner.

This conditioner is suppose to keep blotchiness to a minimum with soft wood - such as pine. To be honest, if I didn't know which piece was pre-treated I wouldn't be able to tell the difference. Can you?

One other thing of note - the wood filler is more noticeable in the picture than in real life.

Now - as you might have guessed, the color differences have been driving me nuts and the stains are not looking the way they normally do. About the only thing I can figure is that the original stain on the wood might have somehow leached into the wood an is causing the colors to be 'off'. Another aspect that might be causing this could possibly be the airplane paint applied later. Perhaps the lead somehow reacted with the original stain and added something to the wood that stripping and sanding just can't get rid of.

All-in-all, I just hope the finished results look better than the samples.

As the title indicates, I have also been working on the wood shop.

My friend Bill (the one getting me into woodworking) gave me a metal work table and it, along with some additional tool aquisitions, forced me to re-think the shop layout.

Sorry for the quality but this pic was scanned in. For sme reason I didn't save it to the PC!!

As you can see, I now how three work tables. The one we found in the shed is now along the south wall and the metal one is on the north wall.

Under the window is the metal table.

The top is filled with hand tools.

I had no idea I had that many hand tools!

I'm sorting through them and weeding some out.

I was hoping to go get the bricks for the wood burner today but when I got to the place they are stored the ground was just too wet to get the Land Rover to them.

The new wooden work table is now on the east wall and it is also covered with miscellaneous tools to be gone through.

You can also see the new location of the original table and the table saw.

The book shelf is now in this corner. I hope to use this as storage for nails, screws, and such.

And again, as the next picture will show, I still have a lot of junk that needs to go 'bye-bye'.

If you look close, next to the piece of peg board, you can see the doors for the built-in cabinet. I have as yet to finish stripping them.

At some point, a dust collection system should be going in this corner.

In the last pic you can see the table saw and original work table.

If you look to the corner, under the pile of stuff, you can barely see the jointer I got from Bill.

Now, on the floor in front of the work table you can see a pile of wooden 2x2s. These are being ripped for use in the attic. These are what the ridged foam insulation will be attached to.

Well...I guess I've board you all with my restoration ramblings for now. Tomorrow I hope to finish the final wood filling and sanding. Now Friday, that should be an interesting day. That’s the day I’ve scheduled to take out the built-in cabinet!!

So, till next time....

Larry ~

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Blast from the Past #3

Well, it seems like I'm on a roll with these 'Blast from the Past' posts.

With #3 I'm going back to the cedars that were around the front of the house. The trees were left up for Halloween, but about a week or so into November '99 we started taking them down.

All-n-all we took at four cedars that were dieing and two that were already dead.

Here are some pics from a VERY long day.

This is the front of the house before we started.

The two main cedars are as tall as the house and the auction company had to cut some of the limbs just so the porch could be accessed.

This is what they looked like in the 30's.

The person you see in the following picture is my Father-in-Law.

Not really sure what he's doing, but I think he is checking the ropes and chaines that will be used.

Notice how, even from the yard, you can not see the set of windows on the right side of the second floor.

It is a shame that these had to come down, but they were damaging the roof. Along with this there had been a highly invasive vine growing all over these trees and it had attached to the house and was growing into the soffits.

Not a great picture, but this is me and my two nieces.

They are 'helping' me get the come-along ready.

We are using this thing to make sure that the tree falls where we want it to.

While I was doing this the F-in-L was climbing up into the tree to secure the line that would go to the come-along.

With a shout of "TIMBER" from the nieces the first cedar came down right where it was suppose to.

And there she lies!!

Do you see how high up the base of the trunk is? It looks even with the porch soffit but it's actually a couple feet higher.

For the first time in a long time the sun was able to shine into those windows!

Now the fun really began...dismantling the first one.

It was somewhat of a family affair.

Along with myself, the nieces and the F-in-L you can see my brother in the center wearing the dark shirt.

One of the more interesting aspects of all this work, just like what we had already done in the yard, were the gawkers.

I didn't get any pictures of them, but we had a ton of people drive by, and walk by, to see what we were doing. I guess it had just been such a long time since anyone had seen work done around the place they just had to see it to believe it. It didn't matter what we were doing in the yard - the gawkers just seemed to know it and came by to have a look.

Just about done...the trunk has been de-branched.

For those of you who might be interested, all the trunks we took down eventually went to my brother's house in the country. They have been used for all sorts of things: supports for a tree house and a clothes line to name a couple.

And there it is - SUNSHINE!!!

Everybody sing!! "Sunshine on my shoulder makes me happy...".

Okay - enough John Denver.

We are now getting ready to take down the next one at the front.

And there goes number two.

Shortly after number two came down my father showed up along with his handy-man.

We still had two living ones and two dead ones to go.

Here is the next one to come down.

You can also see part of the dead one that was next to it.

That's my dad scrunched down looking up at the tree as it starts to fall.

Annette's dad is leaned up next to the dead one in the background.

Clean-up of the last two living ones are in the next picture. Guess I got the picture out of order...oh well.

This is my dad and his handy-man cleaning up the brush.

You can barely see the trunk of the other live tree that had to come down - it’s to the right.

While we were taking down the other trees the nieces were hard at work cleaning up the remains of the two in the front.

"We are women - hear us roar!"

I think the nieces enjoyed riding the trunks out of the yard more than they liked watching them fall.

The rest of the pics are of the last two living trees to come down. Sorry, but the pics are not necessarily in order.

This was the last of the live trees to fall.

This tree was absolutely HUGE!

The tree was so big that the herb garden fills the foot print that the tree had. The bird bath sits on top of what's left of the trunk.

This was the third tree.

We are in the middle of removing most of the lower branches. We found out that it helps to do this before cutting the tree down.

Here's Annette's dad getting ready to remove one of the trees.

Not really sure which one though - DOH!!

And when it was all over the entire southeastern side of the house was bathed in light.

First the first time in what must have been many, many years there was on unobstructed view of the front entry to the porch.

Man was it DIRTY!!!

Our youngest niece took pity on the poor house and decided to clean it.

Too bad she wasn't taller!!

Well, that's enough for tonight - I hope you enjoyed the visit.

Till next time....

Larry ~

Blast from the Past #2

Well, here is #2 in my "Blast from the Past" series. Instead of showing the removal of trees as I had planned, I've opted for some interior shots.

All of these pics were taken over several weeks as we cleaned the house in preparation of the first stage of moving in.

Again, the photos are not as sharp and clear as those from the digital. These were taken with 35mm film so when I scanned them they turned out grainy; this could be due to dust in the air or the picture quality - just not sure.

Anyway, here they are.

For the first few months of owning the house we had a parade of people coming and going just to look. The previous owners had been so reclusive that it was rare to know anyone who had been in the house. Those that had been in it never went any further than the back porch and the kitchen. So there was a lot of curiosity around it and therefore a lot of people wanting to see in side. friends and family members came out of the woodwork to have a look. As well as these people they brought other people with them!!

Here is one of those 'looky-loo' people. She is an old family friend of both sides of our families.

I caught her off guard, but she was amazed at the wood trim that was even in the closets!

This closet is the largest in the house and is located in the Master Bedroom.

This is me poking at the walls. You can't see it in the picture, but the plaster was extremely bad in this spot. I could poke it and chunks would fall.

the Master Bedroom again. In regard to plaster, this room was the worst in the house.

Notice the lack of a proper door. what was in it's place was a vinyl accordion door!! I ripped that thing out with relish!

Here is one of me scraping some of the wall paper.

For the most part the wall paper would just pull off will little effort, but then there were spots that just about needed dynamite to remove.

Excuse the look on my face. I was not in a good mood and I was 'told' to smile. This is the best, forced smile I could do. If you could see the look in my eyes it was more along the lines of "die you annoying person" (that‘s the clean version).

When we bought the house we had two little nieces that we too curious for their own good.

I took this picture of them in the Master Bedroom as they were kicking around pieces of wall paper and plaster.

Following is a reasonably good picture of the wall paper that was in the Master Bedroom.

The person with the scrapper is my Mother-in-law.

Do you see that black rectangle next to her head? That is the light switch!

Why would someone mount a light switch that high up?

You can also see the only other layer of wall paper that was put on the walls of this room. we have no idea when the original paper was installed but assume it was done when the house was built. The second layer was added in the mid 50's. We know this because we know a couple of the guys who did the work when they were in high school!

One of the worst jobs when it came to cleaning the house was the grungy dirt in the attic and basement. I have yet to find pics from the basement, but here are some from the attic.

This is my Father-in-Law.

As you can see, he is using a shop-vac to get the crud up.

I didn't envy him at all - he was doing this during the hottest part of the year! He did find some cool stuff though.

This is me and the Bathroom door.

There were about six doors stored up here - all from the second floor.

As for the door I'm carrying, you might ask "how did you know it was from the bathroom?". Well, we didn't to begin with. We finally figured it out when I found the original window that had been in the bathroom (it was in the red barn). The color painted on the window matched that on the door. I know the picture doesn't show it too well, but that door is painted a purplish red color!!! Can you imagine what the Bathroom must have looked like at some point?! We thought the way it looked when we moved in was bad!

Me, trying to help in the attic.

I was scooting along picking up the bigger chunks of junk and plaster keys before the F-in-L came along with the shop-vac. Needless to say, it take me near as long as it took him.

Here is the F-in-L again.

If I remember correctly, it took him about three days to completely sweep out the attic. The temp up there was probably about 110 the entire time.

Here you can see just how big a difference the sweeping made.

You can also see the knob-n-tube electrical system which was live at the time!

This is my M-in-L helping the wife drag some old carpeting down the steps.

It was a huge area rug and extremely nasty. It was so bad that she and the wife had no choice but to wear masks.

You can also see the two different styles, and colors, of wall paper that were in the foyer.

Here's the other end of the rug being pulled by Annette.

That is one huge area rug!

They dumped it in the Living room and called it 'good'.

Do you see the garbage can? We had several of these through out the house.

I'll leave you with this shot.

This is the F-in-L and I looking at the gas light and trying to decide if we wanted to try and light it.

Basically, we lit it, it burned for less than a minute and then the globes became engulfed in a fire ball! We have not tried to light it since...

Oh, before I forget... Remember that purple Japanese maple I told you about? The one that was up by the front gate and had to be taken down. The one with all the bugs in it. You can see it to the right of the picture behind me. It really was a beautiful tree, it’s a shame it had to go.

One last thing, the row of bushes at the back of the picture - do you see them? Those are the roses that had to go as well.

Well, I guess that's enough for now. I might try to post again tonight though. As I run across more pics of the interior from right after the purchase I'll post them. Unfortunately we do know that most of the pictures that were taken the day after we bought the place did not come out well enough to post. They are extremely dark. The most you can see are window outlines...oh bother.

Anyway, till next time....

Larry ~