Last Friday I finished all of the bed moulding trim work in the living room. All that’s left is to fill nails holes–about a billion of them.
Over the last three days, it’s been my mission in life to complete building the beams and installing them in the living room. The final verdict? — Done. The journey? Abysmal! If I had had a crew of four or five able-bodied hands, it would have turned out much better than it ultimately did. That being said, it’s passable by most standards and so I’ll let it go.
The general construction was a three-sided, tongue-and-groove box stabilized a bit by adding glue blocks. The large boxes that covered the I-beams had a pine 1x cut to a 45 degree angle attached to the top. (photo #2) Screws were then used through the pine into the ceiling. This was effectively the only way to attach it since it couldn’t be attached to the beam itself. The perpendicular boxes were nailed to a 2x that was bolted to the ceiling. (photo #3) The trim is bed moulding which will be supported by the pine piece.
The triangle-shaped section over the fireplace had a really tricky angle, but with a jig and a couple test cuts, I was able to get it pretty darn close. (photo #7)
The refurbished, vintage light (with modern glass) really adds to the room. My sincere thanks goes out to Seth for graciously supplying it.
Hopefully, trimming can be done on Saturday…
Life… Time… Money… Motivation… All valid excuses that have no bearing on the present.
The last child is about to stretch her wings into adulthood by graduating from high school. With the reception looming in the near future, it seemed prudent that the dusty, crusty I-beams in the living room needed to be covered at long last. A couple weekends ago, I finally got started by putting a “frieze” of quartered oak boards around the perimeter of the room.
This past Friday, I got the caps and moulding added to the two windows. They’ve looked bare and forlorn for so long now. The space above the windows was very tight–right at six inches. The caps were installed using finish screws. As I was backing out one of them over the large, cottage window, the drill got away from me and punched a hole in the ceiling. No huge deal, but just another setback in the timeline.
And finally, the interior beams are now ready to be cut to length and assembled. They will be tongue-and-groove joint boxes and attached to the ceiling in two different ways. More to come on that…
It will probably be spring before I finish the ceiling in the living room, so now seemed like a good time for a trip down amnesia lane for this project. The pine mantel will be replaced with an antique oak mantel with mirror hopefully early next summer. It’s in pieces and some of it still needs to be stripped of a million layers of paint.
Another quick update on the living room progress. Very slow going, but forward movement nonetheless. Soon I’ll have no excuse to put off working on the ceiling beams…
Except for around the fireplace, the baseboard and chair rail are complete. Today, the first of the picture rail went up. The head casing over the two doorways will be a little challenging because they aren’t flush with the wall. Still ruminating on the best way to resolve that problem so it doesn’t look too trashy.
The plinth blocks, base cap, chair rail, picture rail, and egg-and-dart were purchased. I’ll buy the baseshoe as well one of these days. Everything else was milled, including the trim, sills, and ogee window stops.
No more talk of tile for a bit…
Time to catch up on a few items. I think I am done, for the most part, with staining. I’ve moved on to installing the trim in the living room. It’s slow going since I opted to avoid the nail gun to hang the trim. Because it’s all quartered oak, I was afraid it would split if I drove a nail into it, so I reverted to the old fashioned method–pre-drilling, nailing, and setting by hand. To top it off, I’m obsessive-compulsive about the joints, so I spend far too long (perhaps) trying to make it “just right”.
There are “crowns” for the door and window trim along with some egg-and-dart moulding, but I haven’t quite gotten to that yet.
All but three pieces of trim in this room will be newly made.
All of Sunday was devoted to planing, staining, and sealing some of the quartered oak. I started with what will become the baseboard, cap, and chair rail. The next step is to go over it with a dark walnut gel stain. I can’t wait to see what that ends up looking like…
Time to catch up. The living room and bathroom are painted and outlets and switches installed. Lots more work to do to trim it out. The trim in the living room will all be quarter-sawn oak. I bought some new and will be recycling some old as well. When I went to grad school, the university went through the process of replacing all the doors in the main administration building with “fire-proof” doors. Apparently the old ones weren’t up to code. The real shame was that the old ones were all 8-foot tall, 2-inch thick, quartered white oak with solid raised panels. I bought three of them at the time and they’ve been in storage ever since. I decided now was the time to put them into service. They will become part of the new beamed ceiling.
At first, I was going to strip them, but then reconsidered and ran them through my planer. Although the rails and stiles were veneered, the veneer is at least 1/8th of an inch thick. It worked beautifully and was so much faster. Not to mention that they are now raw wood and should take the stain and finish like all the rest. Even after I split them in half, they will be about an inch thick. I wonder how old the trees were that were made into these doors 110 years ago?
The living room paint is not what was originally planned. My wife insisted that she wanted red, so the lowest portion was made red. It looked like a crime scene. My daughter’s first reaction was, “It looks like someone painted the walls with blood!” It took my wife two days to finally decide it had to go. This works so much better. It’s brown, but it’s not red!
This morning, I stripped the bathroom window and sash front and back. About four or five layers of paint are now gone. The primer and top coat have been applied to the exterior. Next I will dig out what remains of the paint on the interior, stain, and finish them.
I’m tired already and I’ve just barely started…
And the bathroom tile is scheduled for Tuesday. I’m as happy as a tornado in a trailer park!
Okay, this is getting weird… This post has nothing to do with my old house, but it seemed too good to pass up and so here it is. My daughter had an appointment on the other side of the city today that left me with two hours of free time to kill. There’s an antique mall not far from where she was that I hadn’t visited for years so it seemed like the place to go. It’s only by the grace of God that I’m not on television in an episode of Hoarders when it comes to antiques, but I digress.
Along with the glassware, I went with the intention of looking at picture frames. For years now, I’ve had a photo of my great-grandfather’s farm house that needed a frame. More to come on that, but that’s where this story started. I start perusing all the oval frames with bubble glass and also other frames. For some reason, the German Victorian Christian stuff was catching my eye. One of the booths had an oak frame looking forlorn and out-of-square with what looked to be a baptismal certificate. Upon closer inspection, it was actually a confirmation certificate from 1905. The name on it was Heinrich Hansen. I smiled. There’s a Hansen that lives across the street from us, wouldn’t that be weird if it was his family?
Further reading showed that the confirmation took place at Zion Lutheran church here in town! Did I mention that this was weird? Keep in mind that we live in a smallish town (albeit under somewhat radical transformation as of late) but nonetheless, a lot of the older folks in town are descendants of the original settlers. Could this be the neighbor’s grandfather or other relative? For $55, I figured it was worth a shot. Even if it didn’t pan out, the frame and the visual appeal of the certificate made it worth the money.
I’m no poet laureate, so you can certainly tell where this story is headed. After I got home, a quick perusal of the local history book that another neighbor gave me almost certainly confirmed that this certificate is of my neighbor’s
grandfather. His grandfather’s name was Henry (Heinrich) and the birth date of 1898 on the certificate is also that of his grandfather.
Of course, they were not home tonight, so I’ll find out for sure tomorrow when I take it over to him and his daughter.
As for the other frame I bought, it is intended to hold a hand-colored photo of my great-grandfather’s farm house that has been begging for a home for years now. I found many oval frames with bubble glass but I felt guilty of depriving them of their original, old family photographs. Luckily, I was able to find a nice one with some crappy print in it that I will gladly liberate for my own purposes. I went ahead and paid a bit more than I had planned for this one but the frame is in nearly perfect shape and is larger and fancier than the one I first decided to buy. I can’t wait to see it in its finished state.
Finally, on the subject of antiques, I thought I would also share the coolest darned thing that my mom bought me for Christmas–a porcelain crumb catcher/tray. I have no use for it (which is true for 90% of the stuff I own), but it’s an amazingly interesting piece. Now to figure out where to put it and display it properly.
First off, my sincerest condolences to those affected in Japan by the myriad of disasters currently afflicting them. The chances of an earthquake here are so small as to be of little concern. Here the disaster would be tornadoes. In the past couple of days I’ve been reflecting on how fortunate my life is in the context of the disaster in Japan. Even if a tornado did come through and wipe out the entire town, my job is twenty minutes away; it would still be there. Alternative housing would not be a problem. Food, water, etc. would be just a credit card charge away. Even if my car blew away with the house, there’s always a rental company. The poor folks in northeast Japan have none of this; it’s heartbreaking to witness their plight and to know that I am all but helpless to assist.
I hope something goes right for all of them very soon.
Now that I have that off my chest, time for an update on the house (finally). I bought an oak mantel off Craigslist this past fall. It’s been in the basement in pieces and partially stripped (as purchased) ever since. Since the weather has taken a turn for the better, I’ve started the task of stripping off the five or six coats of paint from the rest of the pieces. Luckily, all of the glue joints were loose so it will be ten times easier to get the paint off because I can deal with each piece separately.