Tuesday, October 18, 2011


2011 Start of the construction season!

Basement floor re-finish:  I had been grinding down the concrete floor in the basement to remove the paint so I could pour some self leveler.  One project leads to the other, and no sense in painting the wall when the moisture is just going to pop the paint off.  I proceeded to waterproof that particular wall.  Every two years or so I dig up one side of the house and waterproof, now was a good time.   

Instead of doing the traditional gravel on top of a drain pipe, I found this awesome system, basically a sock wrapped around a perforated drain pipe filled with Styrofoam peanuts instead of gravel.  Backfilled and ran some new drain pipe for those leaders...  I also got my underground electric service put in place, both for aesthetic and safety reasons for when it's time to put scaffolding up on that side.

Some siding in production, on the drying rack.

Windows - I've been replacing the sills and caps, anything that sticks out horizontally with Azek, milled to match the original.  I soldered up a copper pan and slipped it under the window for extra waterproofing and lapped the copper roof flashing.  For the sills I had to make a lamination with 2 pieces to make a 1-3/4" piece of stock.

New Stair Hall Window:   Cut in a new window to get some light into the stairway.

Fall 2011 - 

 Copper Downspouts:  I found this great gutter system called Euro-Copper that is seamless and doesn't have the ugly folds to bend the pipe, all the elbows are smooth. 

Monday, October 17, 2011


This year I really made a lot of progress.  I learned a lot from places like John Leeke's Historic Homeworks and decided that to get the longest lasting paint job it was better to just remove the siding, fix with epoxy, soak with penetol/turpentine and prime both sides with a heavy penetrating primer.  I tried all the methods, silent paint remover (took forever).  I broke the bank and got the paint shaver pro, but that just threw chips all over the place, even with a shop vac attached.  (still an awesome tool in a shop environment)  The other benefit to removing the siding is that I can inspect the sheathing and replace all the nails with stainless.

Every spring I like to do a quick project to get some satisfaction on this long slog.  The city had just put in some new sidewalks, so I thought it would be a good idea to give the neighbors some eye candy and increase the curb appeal.  I put on my mason hat and installed some Belgian block.

Storm Windows - Had a lot of leftover mahogany from the deck which I put to good use making storm windows.   Glazed with Allback organic linseed putty so I was able to paint immediately with their linseed paint.


Didn't take many pictures those two years. Got a new heating system, bought a sheet metal brake and learned copper smithing to rebuild the yankee gutter on my porch roof.

I rigged up a crude lathe to help sanding the columns, hooked up an old air compressor motor to some pulleys and pillow block bearings. Had a steel fabricator weld up the rod and plate assembly.

The porch roof was a real mess.  Originally it was painted steel panels which rusted of course.  Then came layers of roll roofing and tar.  I bought a sheet metal brake and threw myself against the wall over and over again learng the bends.


2007 was a big year, I got a lot done on the hardscape, the inside and the porch. I also got my first violation from the building Dept for the porch... I started off with a little down and dirty driveway and patio project. I didn't have the means to do a nice paver job so I threw out some pea gravel instead for both the patio and drive.

Time to turn to the porch, I was lucky to find some carpenters who worked on the side, I supplied the material and paid them by the hour like a GC and worked along side them as their helper.

When they weren't around I took the time to do some elaborate joinery for my "repaired" ;) porch.

I was able to sink the money I saved foregoing a rapist, I mean contractor  ;) into some quality materials, 5/4" tongue and groove mahogony decking with a 5-1/2" Ipe band around the edge.  Finished off with Brazilian Rosewood oil from Penofin, it glows...


2006 The Beginning

2006 is the start of my restoration. The house was in pretty bad shape, aluminum on top of asbestos shingle, nothing had been done in at least my life time (42yrs).   It was a late start in the season, August, and I was lucky to get what I had uncovered finished before the temps dropped below 50.



The Trim had been hacked up to allow for the easy installation of the aluminum siding.  I used epoxy filler to repair the corners.

To strip the paint I used the Silent Paint Remover to soften and scrape in place.