Friday, February 26, 2010


The oak door installation all hinged on getting these hinges installed correctly.I purchased these heavy bronze hinges several years ago just after I purchased the oak door. I liked these hinges for several reasons. First...they are heavy and we needed substantial hinges to hold the weight of the heavy oak door. Second... these hinges were manufactured by Corbin the same lock set company that made all our cylinder locks.

I removed all the paint layers trying my best to leave the patina right after I received them in the mail. I then promptly stashed them away until last week when we decided to start the door installation.

We decided that since this would be our first attempt at mortising hinges we would use the previous hinge location in the door jamb (after we removed the wood patch that filled the opening)........and mortise the door to accommodate those hinge locations thus reducing the number of mortises from 6 to 3.

We removed about 1/4 inch from each side of the door so that it would fit the opening with an equal margin on the top and sides of about an 1/8th of an inch. Plan A was to use the planer/joiner to trim the door. But we decided that the door was too heavy to run it through the planer/joiner and keep it flush with the bed plate. Plan B was to use the table saw but first we had to run to Harbor Freight and buy 2 roller stands to support the door as we fed it through the saw.Each stand cost $19.99. We opted for the adjustable roller instead of the stand with one continuous roller. FYI Harbor Freight also sells just the roller if you wish to make your own roller extension.

The bottom of the door has a space between the door and the marble threshold of about 3/4 of an inch. Once the door is stained and sealed we will add some sort of weather stripping to the bottom. This will make the vestibule an air lock and should be beneficial in keeping cold air out of the house and warm heated air in the house whenever we open the front door in the winter.

Today we mortised the hinges on the door. I chiseled while R watched. He sharpened the chisels whenever I decided that they were not cutting through the wood as well as I liked. Each mortise went quicker than the previous mortise. It was still nerve racking, which in part was R fault for continually reminding me "not to take too much wood." My wrists are tender now and I think I'll take a couple of Motrins and try to sneak the heating pad away from R and the cats.Luckily the door's previous screw holes did not land in the wrong place. All previous holes are well out of the way of the new screw hole locations. The old screw holes will be filled with wood filler when the time comes to stain the door.The door is installed and swings nicely. I still have the door/jamb stops to install but that will have to wait until I receive the striker plate and key hole escutcheon in the mail.
We will re install the beveled glass panes after all the hardware and trim is installed and the door is working perfectly. I have no idea where we would get a replacement pane if we break one so keep your fingers crossed that the pane installation goes pain free since I do not have a Plan B.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Chainsaw, Planer, and Oak Door

Alex, I'll take Projects for $500.00

The answer is.... Cut down two trees, set up the planer, and set the oak door in place.


What is what did we do today?


Yup, we fired up that brand new chainsaw and cut down two dead trees. But first R had to show me this huge icicle that he found when he went to the barn to get the ladder. Doesn't he look happy? I mean why wouldn't he be happy? It was cold, the wind was blowing, and he had to stand in the snow. It could be worse....he could be crawling around under the house.See this rope.
One end was tied to the tree.
And the other end was attached to me. Not as much attached as just placed behind my back and one hand had hold of the rope before it went behind my back and the other hand held the rope on the other side and I just leaned back on the rope to put tension on the rope to guide the tree as it fell.I'm very talented. I can hold onto a rope and take a photo, with my gloves on, at the same time.

One tree to go.Second tree down.Both trees fell without damaging the driveway, fruit trees, plants, shrubs, or lawn. We just piled up the logs and branches until the snow melts and we can bring the little lawn tractor trailer out and pick up all the logs at one time.

R conducted a quick count and both trees were roughly about 50 yrs old. The photo below shows why we had to cut down these two trees. Those squiggly things are the larvae of the emerald ash borer. Say it with me......ewwwww.Then we placed (not permanently) the oak door in the opening to form an air lock. We decided that we need to remove about 1/16th to 1/8th of an inch from the side. The height was OK.
We decided we would fit and hang the door before I reinstall the beveled glass panes for two reasons. First... the door is heavy and would be even heavier with the glass. Second...we won't have to worry about breaking a pane when we take the door out to the barn to run it through the planer.

See that patch where there was a hinge at one time? Sadly the hinge placement on the door does not line up with the previous hinge placement on the jamb. In a perfect world they would line up.
Tomorrow we will plane the door. I don't anticipate getting much more than that done because the planer is in the barn. This project will require carrying the door back and forth from the house to the barn.

I purchased the door at the architectural salvage store called Grand Illusion Gallery in Grass Lake, Michigan. The door came without any hardware so I will need to go through my boxes of hinges and lock sets to see what I have that will work. I'll keep my fingers crossed that I have something that will work and is appropriate to the style and age of the house.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

What Should We Do Next?

The heat duct redo is over and R couldn't be happier. Well...I guess he could be happier if it was race season and all he had to do was play with their (G & R's) race cars....but that ain't gonna happen. So with that said.....he's still happy that he doesn't have to go under the house anymore and that the furnace isn't coming on as often.

So what's next on the agenda?

We have several medium size dead trees that need cutting down but the weather is too snowy for that right now. The plan is to cut the trees down before the ground thaws and the spring rain starts. If we cut them down now while the ground is hard the lawn will not suffer from a terrible case of divots. I think we will set aside the tree falling until we have a sunny day.

R likes demo so maybe we will knock down that free standing wall that enclosed the coal room. The coal room was formed by building a cement block wall and adding a door. The door and door frame was removed several months ago because it was hanging by one rusty hinge. If we knock down the wall it would give us a larger storage room plus more light.

I am going back to stripping paint off the stairs and foyer/hallway trim. My plan is not to start the dining room until I am done with the stairs, foyer, and hallway.

The dining room is going to be a tough job. From what little investigating I have done so far the indication is that the wood was never varnished and was always painted which makes the paint very difficult to remove. In addition to the windows, window trim, and baseboards to strip there are two corner cabinets and a wide wooden ledge in the bay window that need to be stripped.

OOPS! I just remembered that I still need to strip the fireplace surround and mantel in the living room. That also has never been varnished and appears to have received it first coat of paint in a lovely shade of GREEN!!!The living room fireplace mantel and the dining room corner cabinets have fluted areas on them. I think my only course of action is to use stripper in those areas. I purchased some Peel Away last fall and will try that first. If that doesn't work I guess I am stuck using Citrus Away. I don't mind using the citrus stripper on parts that I can lay horizontally because it stays in one place. But the cabinets and mantel will require vertical application and I see a big mess if I have to use citrus stripper instead of Peel Away.

I also need to finish installing the glass panes in the sashes for the casement windows frames that R and I rebuilt in the fall.I can prime and paint them once the panes are installed and glazed. Of course they cannot be installed until the weather breaks. So I think the sashes will be one of those projects that get worked on for an hour a day and in between other projects. I find that glazing window panes aggravates the bulging discs in my neck. I need to rig some sort of easel so that I can prop the sashes upright instead of working on them while they lay across saw horses.

So there you have it, all the possible scenarios for our next project or should I say projects.

FYI nothing was accomplished today because R had a dental appointment which involved some prep work for his dental implant. Needless to say, he had to take a pain pill and has been in bed since he came home at 1PM.

Saturday, February 13, 2010


Yes, it's unbelievable.....we are still working on the heat ducts.

Today we got a late start because I wanted to watch Danica in the Nationwide race. But first let me rant for a moment.

What in the world is 'Go Daddy' thinking when they produced those sleazy commercials? I plan on firing off several emails tomorrow while I watch the Daytona 500. The commercial I saw today was totally unacceptable for daytime viewing, for a racing audience that includes children, and was totally degrading to women in general. I wish Danica wouldn't subject herself and her career to such marketing but I am sure if she wants the sponsorship $$$ she is required to do the commercials.

Go to the link below to see the commercials in question. The one that I think really crosses the line is the 2009 baseball commercial that is being recycled this year. Also notice that they offer an Internet only version that is longer and shows several enhanced Go Daddy girls. What's the deal with having an Internet version? Is that some sort of commercial soft core porn for computer geeks? No offense to the computer geeks out there, some of my friends are computer geeks and they are quite comfortable with their geekness. I could use a dose of computer geekness now and again but I digress. Who are they targeting with the Internet version and more important....why?

Go see GoDaddy's Super Bowl Ads!

Well, ladies what do you think?

Now here's a good commercial.

I love it when Peyton says, "How's that feel, Donny?" I think it's hilarious when Darrel Hammond says, "you're a dashing man" to Trump.

Rant over.

Back to the ducts. We need 1 more adjustable elbow to complete the duct under the kitchen. we have the insulation sleeves so as soon as he knows the exact length of the last duct he can slide the sleeves on the duct and we will be done. Sort of.R needs to go back under the living room and insulate several small areas that require only a partial sleeve. Then he can do a quick clean up and make sure he doesn't leave any tools in the crawl space and then he's out of there.

In the meantime I will try and dispose of the old flexible ducts. Each duct fills an entire trash can. The pile of scrap metal will go into containers that R uses to keep his scrap until he takes it the scrap yard. He says he is just about ready to make another run. Generally he gets about 80 bucks but he has received as much as $220, it all depends on how much brass, copper, and aluminum is in the load.

Well it is that time of year again and what would you think if I didn't give out a gratuitous "Goooooooo Smoke!"

I promise the duct rehab will get done tomorrow...well maybe not. It depends on if we decide to watch all of the Daytona 500.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Perfecting Our Technique

The flexible duct replacement is moving along at a quicker pace than it did when R replaced the ducts under the family room/library. Due to the lack of space R had to crawl on his stomach like a snake and it made for slow going. He now can crawl on his hands and knees so he moving much faster. So fast.... that I'm thinking of entering him in a baby crawling contest, I just need to find a bonnet his size.

Duct replacement and insulating is nearly done under the living room. We ran out of aluminum tape so we stopped and then it snowed. The last two days have consisted of snow shoveling, napping, and more snow shoveling.

Once we return to duct replacement, R will tape up the remaining seams and insulate the last branch. Then he will pick up what trash remains and we will then replace the one last flexible duct that is under the kitchen (different crawl space).

R also removed a run of disconnected gas pipe that was under the living room. At one time it fed a gas log in the living room. We took the old pipe out in two sections. R was able to disconnect the pipe at a fitting using two pipe wrenches. The old pipe went into the scrap pile that is growing daily. We added some more old knob and tube wiring that R cut down while under the living room. He usually does that while waiting for me to bring him tools or supplies.

The crawl space is getting cooler which makes it easier for R to detect warm air leaks. He found a whopper of a leak the other day. The trunk line is comprised of two L shaped pieces that when put together form the large rectangular trunk line. R found an area where the seam was open at least 8 inches. This would help explain the weak air flow at the registers at the very end of the run.

I am looking forward to stripping some more trim after we complete this duct rehab. R has two projects depending on the weather. Of course he can't wait to take his new chain saw for a spin but if it continues to snow he will knock down a free standing cement block wall that enclosed what was once a coal room. Knocking down this wall will give us one large area instead of two small areas, one of which is sans any form of light.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Antiques Roadshow Tickets

Tickets to the 2010 Antiques Roadshow are now available. Tickets are dispensed by a lottery system. Last year I submitted my information about this time and I was lucky enough to get tickets. FYI, I did not purchased anything nor did I donate monies to PBS, so despite what I have read in some blogs, this is not necessary nor does it increase your chances.

If you are chosen via the lottery system, you will receive 2 tickets. Each ticket holder is allowed 2 items. Click on the link below to enter your name for Antiques Roadshow tickets.

The 2010 Antiques Roadshow schedule
June 12 San Diego CA
June 26 Billings MT
July 10 Miami Beach FL
July 24 Biloxi MS
August 7 Des Moines IA
August 21 Washington DC

The Antiques Roadshow will air the Madison WI shows for the next three weeks. I hope I recognize someone I stood in line with while waiting for our turn to have our items appraised.

We had a very enjoyable time when we attended an Antiques Roadshow last summer. The Roadshow people have it down to a science and the whole operation is very organized. Everyone was very polite and you never felt rushed despite the large crowd. We were in and out in exactly two hours.

I would suggest if you do go that you place your items in something that you can pull behind you. You might think that little vase is not very heavy but when you have to hold it for two hours you will wish you had brought a little wagon. We used a luggage hauler to tote our paintings. We placed each painting in a flat box and then placed the boxes on the luggage hauler and secured with a bungee cord.

Good luck to all that apply for tickets.

Friday, February 5, 2010

How About a Sleeve for Your Duct?

We had a change of plans. R has decided to replace all the flexible ducts under the living room now. The ducts that needed to be replaced were four going to the living room, one by the front door, three upstairs to the master bedroom, and one upstairs to the master bath for a total of nine. All the ducts are replaced but two. The one to the living room and one to the upstairs master bedroom still need replacing. Both are difficult locations and each may take a day to complete.

Replacing some of the flexible ducts on the second floor is difficult because the trunk line for the smaller furnace is towards the front of the house and the ducts need to run up the back of the house. This results in elbows being used, which in turn results in more joints to tape and screws to be installed. I guess I should mention that the flexible ducts only go to the foundation wall, at that point it is attached to traditional sheet metal duct.

This house has two furnaces. The larger furnace handles the lower level and the smaller furnace takes care of the second floor. Both have their own programmable thermostat.

We are also using this time to insulate the ducts with a sleeve of insulation that gives us an R factor of 6. Each piece is 5 feet long and cost about 6 bucks. The insulated sleeve comes with a thin reflective outer sleeve that covers the fiberglass insulation. R secures the sleeve in place with several nylon ties and then uses the aluminum furnace tape (not duct tape) to seal the reflective sleeve to the sheet metal.

We have noticed several things since making these improvements. First, the crawl space is getting cooler because of less heated air leaking from unattached ducts and untaped joints. Second, the furnace is not cycling as frequently as it was before the improvements. Both of these observations are good indicators that we are going in the right direction.

I am required to stay close while R is under the house in case he needs tools or supplies. The few times I have ventured elsewhere, I am summons back with a "where in the %^&* were you? I don't want to be under here all day. Get me @#$% and also bring me a diet Coke." So needless to say, I haven't been accomplishing much while R has been under the house.

I did though manage to installed 2 copper hangers to support the pipe running to the the outside faucet on the front of the house.First make sure you buy the correct size for your copper pipe. Remove one screw and loosen the other screw. Slip the hanger over the pipe.Tighten the screws but leave them a little loose. Rotate the hanger so that you can nail to a floor joist. Tighten screws until snug. NOW, nail to floor joist.

Notice in the photo below one of the old rusty wires that were supporting the pipe. These were removed, as were several cobwebs.
The junk pile continues to grow and we now have three full trash cans of junk. R says there is plenty more where that came from.Well R says it's time to go back under the number of trips to Home Depot so far.....7.