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…
I tried to divine some clever post title but this was the best I could do. Several long days at work and not much sleep really does make Jack a dull boy. Hrmph…
At any rate, the trim work for the bay was finally put up this weekend. (See! I’m behind…) It took many, many trips up and down the stairs to get the fit right. Overall, it looks really nice, but in other ways, the quality of my install just plain stinks. The left-most piece is a very nice, straight-grained piece of old, hard pine. The trouble is every time I drove a nail into it, it would split. That never happens with my pneumatic nailer. Ever. And the sheetrock job doesn’t lend itself well to the trim being flush on the wall. AND, I neglected to allow for some kind of structure in the wall to nail the trim into. Oh, for the love of Pete! What a mess!
There are ways to deal with it, but it’s just the idea and another project. (sigh)
On Saturday, I started trimming out the bay window at the top of the stairs. I removed the trim in May of 2007 to replace the windows; seems high time to put everything back. Hard to believe it took me roughly five hours to get just this much in place. Part of that was due to the million trips up and down the stairs to get all the angles right. Part of it was because after putting the sills themselves in-place, the original 5/4 apron trim turned out to be too thick–the profile and proportions looked like crap. So I pulled off all the applied mouldings and substituted 3/4 stock instead. Now the profile looks correct and all is well with the world. The purist in me screamed the whole time, but it is what it is.
The remainder of the trim will be tricky, too. I included a photo from 2007 showing how badly (horribly) out of plumb this window was. Unfortunately, between straightening everything out and rebuilding the bay, it changed how all the trim fit together. It will probably take at least another five hours to get the remainder of the trim in place. (sigh) Maybe next weekend.
14 months later, the banister is back up. It only took a LOT of blood, sweat, tears, and swearing to get it in, but it is. Now we won’t have to worry about an errant step and a painful fall down the stairs. I still have to do a little tweaking because the two hand rail profiles are slightly different, the shorter piece being one I bought several years ago. And with two coats of shellac on the rail, the project will be done. If one looks really hard, one can see the new balusters, but they blend in quite well. (The camera does odd things with the colors; everything doesn’t look quite so weird.)
For the morbidly curious, here is how the space looked when I started: https://benningtoncolonial.wordpress.com/2012/01/17/another-before-and-after/ and here: https://benningtoncolonial.wordpress.com/2011/05/13/on-the-road-again/.
Also included here are some photos of my shellacking production line. I put a screw in the end of each baluster for the purposes of mounting it in the jig and hanging them to dry. I love getting crap like this out of basement storage…
Life has a way of prioritizing things for you. Unfortunately, my blogging was not among those things at the top of the list. I have been working on the house a bit at a time, but not tons and not all of it eventful or exciting.
I’m not certain that the new bathroom will be going in this year yet. I had several major car expenditures (voluntary, luckily), a tree removal bill for the large maple notorious for dropping limbs, a trip to Chicago, and a planned trip to Groton, CT, sub base that have depleted my on-hand funds enough that I feel uncomfortable spending more. So in the absence of the large project I should be getting a lot done, right? Right?
This silly hot, dry weather has sapped all of my will to live and willingness to do projects. But all is not necessarily lost. I was able to stain, shellac, and put down about half of the base shoe in the front parlor. The door trim around the small hallway at the top of the stairs was installed along with the baseboard in the upstairs bay window.
I paid a local shop to strip the 24 original balusters for the upstairs railing (another expense). Today, I sanded all 32 (new and old), stained all the new ones, and began shellacking all of them. Now my energy has run out and its time to sit in my chair again. (A common past-time, it would seem.) As with the other stair balusters, I built a jig to assist in shellacking them. I can spin them freely to brush on the shellac making it 100% easier than doing otherwise. Maybe next weekend I can work on getting the railing in…? (shrug)
Not much going on lately at the house. I’ve been busy at work and with many things family-related over the last month or so. I have managed to strip some woodwork here and there but probably the most noteworthy item was my $10 Craigslist purchase of this small side table. My wife wanted something for beside the love seat in the front parlor so I’ve been on the lookout for a decent looking bargain. I’ve passed on a couple that I thought might work, but I had to have this one.
The top was in rough shape; someone had set a hot iron on it at some point and ruined the finish but otherwise it’s in very good shape. The whole thing is made out of solid wood. The only plywood is the drawer bottom. It’s nothing fancy or valuable, but it is of decent quality so I’m happy with my ROI. I stripped the top on Saturday, followed by three coats of Dark Lak shellac on the top and a couple coats of floor wax on the rest of it. Looks relatively new again…
My daughter’s birthday party is this weekend. As a result, I was motivated to cap off the stair wainscot paneling last night. It’s bed moulding, just as the lower portion; a workable alternative to a “real” cap. Over this past weekend, I was able to put on three coats of shellac. One more coat tonight and then the handrail can go back up. My project list continues to shrink; a step in the right direction to be sure.
I can now say that the foyer stage of the wainscot is as complete as it is going to get. When the room directly above the foyer is redone (hopefully in my lifetime), the remainder of the wainscot up the stairs will be also be completed. It now has two coats of amber shellac and an improvised cap. I had really intended to use a tinted shellac to match it and the new treads/risers more closely to the old stairs, but experience thus far has driven that thought from my mind completely. Besides, the purist in me rationalizes my choice in that I am being “honest” with everyone about what is original and what is not. At the end of the day, it’s a purely academic discussion. But I hate using stain on new pine and tinted shellac is very difficult to make look good, so it is what it is.
Note that the short, antique handrail that was originally installed was switched out with a reclaimed length of Douglas Fir 2×4 from the demolition of the room. I hated the other handrail the day I put it up; it was too clunky. Some might also argue aesthetics with the replacement, but it’s a darn sight better than the old.
The last of the reclaimed base trim was in and all the base shoe in the foyer was installed as of Sunday evening just two weeks shy of the one-year anniversary of the initial demolition!!
I spent the entire weekend doing the drudgery tasks that go with DIYing. Here’s a quick recap to get caught up.
1) Painted the crown moulding with a white semi-gloss. It looks much better now.
2) Watched the installers put in the new office carpet. It looks great, but I remember it being more on the gold side than green. But it looks WAY better than what was there before…
3) Started shellacking all the trim. I invested in a breathing apparatus that is designed for organic vapors. Holy Cow! Where had that baby been all my life? Now I can shellac for hours and not become dizzy or get a headache.
4) Finished repairing the stair panels. The panels are 1×10 or 1×12 3/8 thick pine boards attached to a half-lap pine frame. The original carpenter had secured the panels to the frame with screws around the perimeter of the panel. Either pine behaved differently back then or he just didn’t know any better. At any rate, five of the eight panels had split. Most of them I was able to cut along the crack and glue together. The others, I simply tried to stabilize by gluing the cracked end but leaving the panel intact. My solution was to eliminate all but the screws in the middle of the far end of each panel and secure them with new blocks rabetted to hold the panels in place yet allow them to move with changes in humidity. Once these panels are reinstalled, I won’t be able to easily remove them to do any repair work so I’m hoping this will be a long-term solution.
5) Put up another wall’s worth of wainscot and finished adding the last outlets.
6) Tore out the bottom landing of the steps in order to finish adding insulation and a vapor barrier.
7) Since the steps were out, I decided to remove the oak flooring back about two feet or so. When the wall dividing upstairs from down was added, they patched in flooring around it. With the wall gone, there was a long, rectangular bare spot in the oak flooring. When I patched the oak back in, I was able to close up that gap. It looks okay, but not perfect.
I’m hoping that the trim will start going up sometime this week. Enough chat, on to the photos…