Thursday, July 21, 2016

Victorian Farmhouse - Part 12

Alright, several hours later, here's part 12. You'll see that I've started watermarking the photos. I spent entirely too much time deciding on fonts, and trying (unsuccessfully) to find some sort of small house clipart that might work well with the stamp. In the end I chose simple text.

Here's the complicated, but really not that complicated, custom duct box that I made for the office floor. The pattern was figured out with cardboard and paper first, then the dimensions were transferred to sheet metal. This shows the completed box before I had the rivets installed, and before the rest of the aluminum tape was added over all the joints. The box is simply a big wobbly "U" shape with an end piece on each side. The exact location of the intake boot was cut out afterwards.

After installation.

Here is the second vent (we had to shorten the pipe, but nothing else as far as the tinsmithing goes). Note that the floor boards were all fixed and straightened out. This was done by installing two strips on the underside. The strips span the two pierced boards and half of the next adjoining boards. I think there were 5 or 6 screws used in each strip to keep everything nice and straight and solid.

Compare that with BEFORE:

Next, Pierre had a bit of demolition fun while I was away. He opened up the living room wall hole, and partly demo'd the basement stairwell room.

You can see how poorly this addition was constructed. The roof trusses just rest on little wooden blocks. I'm sure there are nails there too, but that's just not how you build a proper roof.

This is kind of an awkward view, but I'm down on the basement steps, looking back up. The opening to the left is the hole in the living room wall. This used to be a window. The original farmhouse's wood siding is visible (vertical yellow strip in the centre), and the kitchen addition also has exterior siding (before this badly built add-on was put in). I'm guessing that this was either just the exterior of both buildings, or maybe an open porch at one time.

Here you can see the original window frame, and the (cut) window sill. The tongue and groove along the interior of the farmhouse *IS* original, but this section was patched in and redone later. I know that the rest of the tongue and groove is original, because the plaster stops right at the height of the t-g boards.

Here's the really odd setup leading down to the basement. The steps lead down into a small landing (where the hose is), and then another step, which leads to the basement doorway, just under the sunken platform (and in line with the window). The path is basically like a question mark on the diagonal.

I had made sure to tell Pierre to keep the old tongue and groove cabinet that was sitting on the sunken landing. I didn't really need to worry, though, because Pierre actually really likes the cabinet, too. It's a bit rough (both in the construction, and in the condition), but it's a truly wonderful country piece. The sides and back have all kinds of scrap tin nailed to it, and there's a big mouse or chipmunk hole gouged into the back. There seems to be 2 or 3 paint colours on it, and it has great old hardware. The top looks like it had 2 sections on top, with an open centre. It has a single shelf across the centre on the interior.

More random photos. Pierre removed the rest of the peeling and flaking paper (most of it - the rest can stay there) in the stairwell, and he also removed one of the wall boards in order to pass planks to work on (as a platform to span the staircase).

The hole leads to the master bedroom closet, which we also demo'd to remove awful painted Masonite and other junky shelves.

This is part of the demolishing we had to do for the electrical. There was no wire in the attic leading to the overhead light, and we found out that it passed inside the plywood panel ceiling, so that had to go.

The ceiling wallpaper was odd. It was like a tone-on-tone beige, but it had a gloss, so you could only really see the pattern depending on the light. It's sort of a busy floral or leaf pattern.

I was really looking forward to the removal of the chimney cabinet in the corner. We knew the chimney didn't reach the floor, and that the cabinet was added later. The chimney also no longer exits the roof, so all of it is garbage, and it will be getting removed at some point. I told Pierre that I bet the chimney would have a "banc de cheminée" which is a French term that basically means a "chimney shelf". You see these often in very old houses.

After ripping off a bunch of boards, I was proved to be correct.

I was kind of amazed by how many bits of wood went into this cobbled-together creation. The entire thing was nothing but nails and paneling. It must have taken a long time, but it still looked pretty awful.

All kinds of wood slats, plywood, and shims.

Mice. Ugh. Just residue, not really a nest, and no live mice. The smell, though. Ick. You can see the old stovepipe hole coming up from the living room ceiling below. We plan to patch this, since the floor will be sanded and refinished eventually.

There really isn't much to the shelf. It's largely just rough tongue and groove boards (sheeting material back then), and a few 2x4s. The chimney sits directly on this, passes through into the attic, and then (originally) out the roof. I kind of think it's neat, and it would be really fun to re-install a small pot-bellied stove in the living room, but then you lose a lot of floor space, and end up with a harder time to get insurance.

After cleaning. The floor in this room is a nice mint green.

Next is some woodworking I did for the house. I decided that the only decent way to repair the rest of the missing floor in the office was to replace it with some cedar. The original floor looks like old white pine at first glance, but the grain isn't right, the knots are too brown, and it's not yellow enough. It's definitely another species of softwood (spruce or cedar), but definitely not fir, and not yellow pine either. I compared the wood with some of the cedar shims we had on hand and decided it would be the closest match. On one of our return trips, we picked up a 12 foot long 2x8 cedar board, and had them cut it in half for us.

The board was 1 1/2" thick, and I had to bring it down closer to 1 1/8" to match the rest of the floor that idiot-bozo went and planed down. If they hadn't planed it, it would have been closer to 1 1/4" thick. In either case, this made a LOT of shavings, and it smelled AMAZING.

That's two trash bags full of shavings from ONE board.

The original tongue and groove floor boards are about 7 1/4" wide, and I thought I would need to trim mine down (a 2x8 is NORMALLY 1 1/2" x 7 1/2") but apparently they're getting stingier with wood, and the "8" inch wide 2x8 was already only 7 1/4". All I had to do was mill the grooves using a salvaged chunk of wood as a guide.

Angie approved of one of my salvaged old doors (for the side door) so I spent some time fixing it up. It had 2 broken panes of glass, and needed some new glazing.

It's not quite an 1860s door, but it's the right size, and it will look FAR BETTER than a modern metal door. A newer glass door will go on the outside to keep this one safe from the weather, and to act as a double pane insulator.

New cedar floor boards installed, with the last one being another original. We did not need to reuse the other half-width boards. They were saved and set aside.

They're a little more pinkish, but the sun will fade them.

The knot holes that were saved, or simply loose were reglued, using patches on the underside of the floor (remember there's no subfloor), and where they were missing, I whittled down some scraps of the cedar, rammed them in place with glue, and then sawed them flush. Any excess imperfections will get filled and then sanded flush. Because these are end-grain they will pick up more stain or more varnish and they will look darker than the surrounding floor (like a knot would).

Doesn't that look awesome?

Upstairs in the guest bedroom, we had to remove some wall boards to gain access. We had thought that the electrical wires could be passed down into the walls, but there's a top plate, so holes had to be drilled.

Slowly prying out the board so that we can re-install it later.

The wallpaper had been holding it in place (because there are about 20 layers) but we later took it down and set it on the floor.

Lastly, here's the door standing in front of where it will be installed.

1 comment:

  1. That kind of beige paper with glossy pattern must have been all the rage in Europe some time in the 50s, I've found it in quite a few places, even multiple layers with similar patterns. Usually the paper itself was extremely thin.