Friday, October 30, 2009

Storm Windows Installed Just In Time for the Storm

Over the last several days, R and I finished installing the last of the storm windows. Several storm windows needed glass, several requiring gluing, and all needed their thick coat of paint removed. Just scraping the glass to remove all the paint spray and sloppy painting took me hours of work. But now we have another barrier against the winter winds.

R took time out to clean out the gutters while he had the ladder out to install the storm windows on the second story. He tied himself to the chimney and then later on brought his duelly truck around front and tied the rope to it rather than the chimney. Hopefully this will be the last time we have to clean the gutters as all new gutters will have gutter caps installed when we replace the old gutters.
Speaking of is almost 11PM on Friday night and it is 70 degrees but extremely windy. Today R and I worked in the rain replacing a missing downspout and were pleasantly surprised that we were not freezing to death.

The plan tomorrow is either to pick up leaves or remove an A/C unit that was placed in the wall by cutting a permanent hole in the wall. We have central air so the window/wall unit is no longer needed nor wanted.

Here is a photo of the ugly useless A/C unit. He also removed the last of the old antenna wire that was attached to the outside of the house along with numerous old clips, hooks, and bent nails that held said antenna wire in place.
Future plans call for that newer style window above the A/C unit to be replaced with small French doors and a small Juliet balcony. This room is our master suite and we are hoping to increase cross ventilation. This is the east side and the west side has two small windows in dormers. The north side has a fireplace and the south wall is an interior wall so we could really use an increase in window space. I am sure these were small double hung windows at one time.

Once the A/C unit is removed and replaced with sheathing and shingles I will probably resume my stripping of the trim in the foyer, vestibule, and dining room. In between that we will have visits from the chimney guy to install caps in the three chimneys, a visit from the furnace guy for a tune up on the two furnaces, and a visit from the gutter guy to install new gutters on the front of the house.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Upper Sash Operational

We were able to install only 4 storm windows today not because we were slow but because we worked on making one of the windows upper sash operational.Next spring we will work on all the other windows so that their upper sashes are operational also.

How did we do it? The little tool I wrote about in my last post helped to make sure all paint was removed from areas not visible and compressed air from our air compressor to blow out all the debris and dirt. Once we could get the sash to move a little it went fast after that. A little jiggling and once the sash cord was exposed we pulled on the cord and that seem to free it up and the weight started doing it's job. It is hard to say when the last time that upper sash moved.

While R ran to the hardware store...every job requires at least one trip to the hardware store....I cut back some of my perennial flowers. That makes spring clean up go a little faster and it looks a little neater during the winter.

Tomorrow I have some appointments in the morning but the plan is to install 3 more storm windows and to buy the glass needed to repair the last two storm windows. Then I can get back to stripping more trim.

If I have some extra time tomorrow I think there are a few leaves that need to be raked up.
Most of the trees in our yard have already dropped their leaves except for all the lilac bushes which are still very green.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Wood Windows Need This Tool + Vehicle Maintenance Tip

I have been looking for this tool for some time now. When I owned my first home, eons ago, all the windows were painted shut. Years later when I sold that 1921 Dutch Colonial all the windows opened and closed with one finger. I was able to accomplish that feat using a tool like this......
The serrated edge cuts through the paint layer that is holding the sash in place. I usually start at the top of the bottom sash and work my way down each edge by rocking the tool slightly back and forth. This action cuts through the paint and breaks the paint into little chips that will either drop out or can be vacuumed out. I even use it on sashes that are not painted shut just to get any paint, caulk, or dirt out from between the sash stop and sash. I found this tool at Ace Hardware for just under 10 bucks. Also now that I have purchased this new one.....the tool I purchased 25+ years ago will resurface.

Vehicle Maintenance Tip...Fall and spring is the time of year to buy a bottle of dry gas or fuel line antifreeze/water remover to put in your gas tank. Dry gas helps to remove any water that has accumulated in your gas tank from contaminated gas or condensation due to the changing temperature. If this water is left in the fuel tank during the winter it could freeze and interfere with fuel delivery. Believe me that is the last thing you want when the temperature is below freezing. Some brands of dry gas or fuel line antifreeze have injector cleaner added. Why not kill two birds with one stone.

Dry gas can be bought for under five bucks and if you look online before purchasing you can usually find a brand that is offering a rebate form for an additional couple of bucks off. I usually buy 2 bottles, one for now and one for in the spring. You can also buy it for 99 cents during the off season. Dry gas does not have a shelf life as long as it stays sealed and should last for several years, so if you run across a good deal nab a handful of bottles.

Pour the whole bottle of dry gas into a full tank of gas. Do not pour a full bottle into a partial tank.

Also do not buy any gas additives that promise increased fuel economy. Several years ago I participated in a fuel additive test for our local TV station. I cannot remember off hand the name of the product but it was endorsed by an Indy 500 racing legend. The additive cost $16.95 for 16 ounces. The directions called for adding 2 ounces to a full tank of gas. This required measuring 2 ounces using a shot glass. I accidentally spilled a little on my fuel door. The fuel door required replacing 2 years later when the fuel door rusted through from the inside out.

The additive did very little to increase my fuel mileage. I believe my mileage increased .2 mpg during the time I used the additive. My engine was running rather rough by the time the bottle was empty. I was glad when the testing was over.

I cannot say for sure how the additive worked but my best guess is that it fools the O2 sensor into thinking the engine is running rich and to compensate for the rich state it leans out the fueling. Long term lean condition can cause damage to your engine. Your engine runs at optimal efficiency at 14:1 air/fuel ratio. Over the long term you would notice a decrease in power so you would need to use the accelerator pedal a little more to compensate, thus using more fuel. It's would be a vicious cycle of less power, more pedal until you ran out of pedal. At the very least you would be replacing your O2 sensors. Some vehicles have 2, 3, or 4 O2 sensors. One on each side of the engine in the exhaust after the accumulator and then one pre and post of the catalytic converter. The O2 sensor monitors the air/fuel ratio and is continually relaying that info to your vehicle's computer so that it can make changes to the air/fuel ratio to keep fueling in the 14:1 range whether you are at 10% pedal on a decline or at 50% pedal hauling a trailer up an 8% grade. O2 sensors can range in price from slightly under $100 to almost $400.

A tremendous amount of testing goes into calibrating your engine to run efficiently. There needs to be a balance between mpg, power, and durability. Don't throw that all out the window by using a $16.95 bottle of what smelled like lighter fluid. The cost of the additive would buy roughly 5 to 6 gallons of gas.

FYI...for you scientific folks.....I started both tests (with and without additive) with fresh oil changes, new oil filters, and new air cleaners. I also drove exactly the same route (to and from work) and in nearly the same traffic conditions. The only variable was the outside air temperature. Cooler temperatures make for more power so less pedal is needed which could have accounted for my .2 mpg increase when I used the additive.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Two More Wooden Storm Windows + Curb Side Treasure

I thought I had located all the wooden storm windows but I was wrong. R asked me if I "got the two upstairs in the loft?" So I went up there and lo and behold there were two more, one for the powder room on the first floor and one for the window in the staircase. Yea!!! two more to strip.

One was without problems. The powder room storm was in great condition and looks to only have a couple of coats of paint on the inside but of course the usual 1/8th of an inch of paint on the outside. The other storm has a broken pane and the bottom stile was loose and some what deteriorated. I used Gorilla glue and a bar clamp to fix the loose stile problem. I'll take a closer look at the wood after I unclamp the storm window.

Today was what fall weather is suppose to be like it and was one of the few days we have had that has been in the 60 degree range. A couple more like this and I think I could get all storms stripped and glazed.

Now on the the curbside treasure. I found this one myself as I was driving over to B & G's house. This chair will work perfect in my kitchen as a desk chair once I paint it satin black and cover the seat with a black and white toile fabric or maybe a black and white buffalo check. Currently I am gluing a crack back together. No doubt this is why the owner toss it.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Wooden Storm Windows

I noticed what appeared to be more wooden storm windows while walking around the outside of the barn looking at R's window work. In one of the windows was what appeared to be the corner of a wooden storm window. I found not one but two windows.

The living room has 6 large double hung windows. When we purchased the house there were 5 windows with storms windows. I found the missing storm window in the barn minus it's glass panes.

The last 3 days have been spent removing between 1/16th to 1/8th of an inch thick paint from both sides of the storm windows. I have two completely stripped. This is one of the living room storms. There are 4 storms this size and 2 that are even larger.

I like the looks of wooden storm windows but these are far too heavy to install every year. Small bungalow windows are one thing but these are too heavy to hold up in the air to install. I know there are companies who make wooden storm windows that have interchangeable panes/screens that can be changed from inside the house. That sounds like a better solution for our second story windows and these large first floor windows. But until then, these will have to suffice.The hardware is in bad shape. Some storm windows are missing their hangers and the ones that have their hangers look like this......I was able to remove the majority of the paint by boiling the hangers in water with a little dish soap and using a utility knife to lift off the thick sheets of paint. I'll use spray primer on them and then white spray paint since the storms and trim will be white.

More than likely I will not have time to paint these storm windows before the winter. I still need to replace a lot of the missing glazing and time is running out. In a perfect world I would prime, paint, and glaze before installing but with this crazy weather I'll have to settle on just being happy with having the storms installed.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

B & G's Deck...It's Finished, Finito!!!

There were times we wondered if this day would ever come...but it did and the deck redo is done.

The weather is too cold to touch up the cream colored stain so that little chore will have to wait until next year as will any furniture choices or placement. Winter came a little early this year and when most people are putting away their furniture it would be foolish to stage the deck and then take it all inside.

Let's start with a couple of before photos. These photos show the condition of the deck when B and G purchased the house.

Notice the set of steps on this end of the deck. We eliminated those steps and installed a 6 foot wide set in the middle of the front of the deck. Also notice the only section of railing that was installed on the deck. B and I removed it by just pushing on it.
In this photo notice the undersized rim joist. Besides being undersized it was in very poor condition. The deck also did not have any joist hangers installed and the only attachment was toe nailed twist nails. G installed joist hangers wherever possible.This photo shows how high the deck appeared because of the undersized rim joist. By installing a wider rim joist the deck now is visually lower to the ground. This is also the side we installed the 6 foot wide steps.And now the new and improved deck.
Here is an close up of the 6 foot wide steps. These steps will also act as additional seating. Next year B's plan calls for a stamped concrete landing at the bottom of these stairs with a walkway going to the garage entry door.
We used wood button plugs to cover up the screws that were used to hold the risers in place. FYI the wood button plugs line up nicely. I have no idea why in this photo they look all askew.A close up of the hand rail cap.
We used those same wood button plugs to cover up the screws used to attach the 2 X 12 rim joist to the old 2 X 6 rim joist. Carriage bolts were used to attach the deck posts. Once they were painted they mimicked the wood button plugs. I wanted to continue and use the button plugs to cover the screw holes on the spindles but G thought it would make the deck look like it was riveted together. I say "pshaw!" but I was over ruled.
B and G did a great job picking out both of the deck stain colors. Both the cream and the redwood color were perfect choices and contrast nicely without being gaudy. The cream color is an exact match to the body color of their house. We thought it was important for the deck to look like an extension of the house and not an add on. Finally this last photo shows how we notched the post to accommodate the 2 X 4 used for the hand rail. The photo also shows some of the touch up that needs to be done in the spring.
All in all we are very pleased with how the deck turned out.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Barn Window Repairs

Today I continued stripping the paint off the woodwork in the foyer. It appears they changed hinges and door knobs at some time. When I stripping the doors I found the old screw holes and witness marks from the surface mounted hinges. Those were removed and butt hinges were installed. Currently all the doors have glass knobs but it appears that at one time the strike plate was notched into the surrounding trim.

I am almost done stripping the wood work in the foyer. I still have the baseboards on the two long walls yet to do in the living room. The vestibule has some of the paint removed around the doorway between the foyer and the vestibule. Several years ago I bought a 15 lite door to go between the foyer and vestibule. I could see witness marks that at one time there was a door there that formed an air lock when you opened the front door. When I removed the paint from around the doorway I found several witness marks. It appears the doors had several different sets of hinges and was hinged at one time on either side. My guess is that they decided they didn't like the door opening to the same wall as the front door so they changed the door so it opened to the other side of the vestibule. I assumed they didn't like that and removed the door all together. It is a large door being both extra wide and tall. I don't think this will be a problem for us as we feel the kitchen door will be the primary entrance for both us and visitors. I'll take photos tomorrow.

R worked on his barn windows today. The barn has eight windows on the ground level and two double hung windows upstairs. We plan on replacing the hay loft door with a large double hung window because we need the extra sunlight inside the loft area. R needed to replace or repair 4 of the 8 lower windows. Last year on election day we went to a Grand Illusion Gallery in Grass Lake Michigan and purchased extra sashes to use to repair the windows. Obviously those windows were painted brown and painted poorly I might add. Today he finished 3 of them and was almost done with the fourth when it started getting too dark and too cold to continue.The windows still need to be scraped and painted but it is too cold. The important thing was to get the broken windows repaired so animals couldn't crawl into the barn. I'm guessing that most of the window damage came from when they moved the barn before we purchased the house.B & G finished their deck today. I will take photos tomorrow. I think it looks great. I would estimate that the cost of revitalizing the deck was just under 1500 dollars and took about 3 months to complete. I know that it sounds like a long time but some weeks very little was done. Stopping for painting and staining took up a lot of the time plus add in racing and well it adds up to 3 months before you know it.

One final thing......It is just too dang cold out side. At this rate we will have 7 months of cold weather. Winter is now from the months of October through April. Spring is the months of May and part of June. Summer is July through August. Fall is the month of September.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Another Curb Side Treasure

Before I get to the curb side treasure, I will catch everyone up on what I did today. Today I stripped. OK, now that I got that out of the way...onto the curb side treasure.

Several months ago R and I were driving to somewhere and found this chair out to the curb. I yelled "STOP"! R said "Why?" I said "I want that chair." He said "You've got to be kidding me?" I said "No, I want it."Once we got it home and in a better light he agreed it was worth saving. Now on first glimpse you might think......ewwwwww.....but look closer. The wood is in great shape although it could use a coat of paint. The cushions, at one time, were very cool. They appear to be a pearlized (is that a word?) leather.I think this chair will end up in my bedroom.Let's do a little prognosticating.

prog·nos·ti·cate v. prog·nos·ti·cat·ed, prog·nos·ti·cat·ing, prog·nos·ti·cates
1. To predict according to present indications or signs; foretell.
2. To foreshadow; portend:

Tomorrow I will be stripping.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Odds & Ends plus the 'To Do' List

R continued to putter around in the barn redoing his barn windows. Tonight he bought hinges, 1/4 round, and sash locks. One of the sashes needed 2 panes replaced so it was off to Ace Hardware to get glass and glazing points. As he drove by the front door I yelled to him and he stopped. I realized I had a $5.00 off certificate earned with Ace Rewards. Generally Ace is a little higher than Home Depot but it is close and if you are in the middle of a job sometimes it is better to pay more than drive 7 miles and shoot a whole hour of your time.

I, on the other hand, inoculated my ash trees one last time before winter. I have had good luck with the Bayer brand. I use it on all my ash trees whether or not I see infestation. The last 2 years I have spent approximately $600 each year to protect my ash trees. We currently have a huge ash tree that is 80% dead. It was already too infected by the time we bought 'The Gear'. It's sad because this tree is at least 100 years old which predates the house by 20 years.

Stripping continues in the living room. The built in cabinets are now free of paint. I am dreading the job of stripping the fireplace, so I think I will do the baseboard next.

Onto the 'To Do' list. Once I complete the living room I am moving into the foyer, then the vestibule, and then the dining room. The dining room will take some time because there are two built in corner cabinets, 3 large double hung windows, a large wooden bay window ledge, 3 entry ways, 1 door, and baseboard. The paint in the dining room will not come off as easy as in the living room because it is a different wood. The paint comes off in little gobs. Plus it smells like pine tar which makes me think it is clear pine.You can just catch a glimpse of the built in cabinet on the right side of the photo. Also the photo above shows the 3 windows with the bottom sashes removed.

On to the truth is stranger than fiction....look at the photos of my recent visitors. You will find them located on the right side of my blog. I am thinking that it must be the recent blog posts about stripping. I hope they were not disappointed. I checked my pockets for $5.00 bills and found none, so obviously this stripping does not pay as well as some other types of stripping.

Stripping Progress

I got a late start on stripping today. An early morning doctor appointment and a nap were the the reason for the late start.

When the doctor's office called yesterday to remind me that I had an appointment at 8AM, I thought to myself "who was the idiot that made that appointment?" I got up at 6AM, which is totally against my biorhythm. Holy cow, even when I was operating daily on 4-5 hours...I was never under any circumstances awake at 6AM. So needless to say when I returned home....I took a nap.

Fast forward to 2PM. Remember I said I needed to get the dwarf irises and day lilies planted? Job completed. Now on to wait...R decides today is the day he wishes to fix the barn windows. We confer on what needs to be done i.e. which windows need replacing, which windows just need a pane or two, and which windows are fine and just need to be realigned to eliminate air infiltration.

This brings me to a question I was asked awhile you and your husband like doing projects together? The answer is "NO!" We tend to only work well together on meaningless projects like digging a hole or planting a tree. When it comes to anything that is remotely complicated.....well....let me give you an example.

About 5 years ago we bought a grill. We had the option of paying 50 bucks for them to assemble it or take it home and to it ourselves. The box said in large letters....."EASY ASSEMBLY 30 MINS". Well let me tell you it was not 30 minutes it was 3 hours. Even though both R and I are card carrying journeymen who's trades require assembly and dis assembly, we have two totally different methods. R is left handed. I am right handed. R would rather poke his eye out than read the manual. I like to peruse the photos. R retrieves tools as needed. I like to get all my tools ahead of time. R always sets his tools on the ground. I like to set my tools on a table etc. When G (engineer) lived at home it was a third totally different approach. He likes to read the manual and research everything to death!

It took us 3 hours of arguing, assembly, dis assembly, re assembly before we were done with that grill. So for mental health reasons we take on separate projects. I decide on all decorating issues, he can suggest but he really doesn't care so that is good. He's good with demo. I prefer non demo work. He's the worst painter. He's best with a spray can so I deal with all painting issues. I decide which plants to plant and where....he likes to water and tend to them.

So that takes us to today...he was in the barn and I was in the living room. I completed my task of stripping the woodwork and casing around the door that leads to the sun room. I haven't a clue what he got done because 1 hour into his project he was off to pick up the large band saw we had in storage.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

B & G's Deck Update Before the Rain

R and I stopped by B & G's to do a little deck work. The 'To Do' list is getting small but the threat of rain is large. We knew we would be lucky to get the remaining spindles installed before the deluge. We were lucky. The spindle gods were smiling upon us today. We finished installing the spindles at 4:30PM. I started to snap a few photos at 4:39PM. The rain began at 4:35PM.The 'To Do' list includes installing railing cap on the hand rails, cut railing cap ends to correct overhang length, screw down the railing cap, fill screw holes, and touch up paint.Deck work was done for the day so it was back to 'The Gear' for more woodwork stripping. Both sets of windows in the living have been stripped (except for muntin bars). Tomorrow I start on the door casing, jamb, and woodwork that opens into the sun room. The door has already been stripped.

I think the woodwork stripping in the living room will go like this.....

Windows (2 sets) DONE
Door casing, jamb, and woodwork around door to sun room
Door to sun room DONE
Inset cabinets (2)
Inset cabinet doors (4) DONE

I conducted a test spot on the top of the mantle and it appears to be popular or birch, never stained, and the first paint color was olive green. Door to sun room is to the right in the photo.
If by chance it decides not to rain sometime in the near future I need to transplant some blue dwarf irises and a light yellow spider day lily that came from R's mother's house. I would also like to strip the paint from the exterior of the second set of living room windows. But I don't have any faith in the weather and if I can just get these plants into the ground...somewhere....I'll be happy.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

B & G's Deck in the Dark

Will it ever stop raining? Will it ever be warm again?

It was almost dark by the time it quit raining but that didn't stop us. We worked and froze in the dark.

Just about twilight time G was cutting kerf cuts into a railing post so that we can inset the support of the hand rail cap. B was sanding the edges smooth so that there are no sharp edges on any of the boards.
Once the daylight was gone we broke out the big work lights.....viola...let there be light.
The list of 'To Do' items is getting shorter. We still need to install the spindles on the two sets of steps, screw down the wide railing cap, install the hand rails caps on the steps, fill screw holes, and touch up paint.

We started work on the deck on August 4th and the temperature outside was 90 degrees and sunny. Today it was rainy and in the mid 40's. Ironic that it was nearly too hot to work on when we started and now it is nearly too cold to work on to finish.