All about the kid

Long time readers of 118 Henry Street know that infrequent posts to this website do not necessarily mean reduced work on the house. However, in the recent 2 month gap, no updates are a direct result of a mighty lack in restoration progress.

We have been very busy (true dat!) with work-work (my employer) and with DeShawn. Thus, this update…

On the school front, he finished the school year with 3 quarters on the A-B honor roll, and 2 quarters on the Principal’s All A list. He won a special award for the most improved test scores. Best of all, his reading level has improved from below grade to well prepared for the next grade.  See here for a picture of our reluctant scholar.

2nd grade graduation with friends


With our wild rose bush clones

Contrast the above with this picture from 2004.

Picking strawberries (with his mouth)


With Carole at Angel Oak in Charleston


DeShawn’s been swimming as his sport of choice for a full year now. He swam in the winter YMCA league. Currently we are smack in the middle of the June summer league. For whatever reason, the kid’s got a fire in him to win.

With team mate, Kenneth


Here’s a link to a video (definitely SFW although a little loud) that Carole and DeShawn made of his winning a blue ribbon for freestyle at the Camden meet.

Finally, my favorite picture of him this year:

Swammer 2008

A Book of bluesy Sundays

Today, we continued working on the back southwest corner of 118 Henry Street. Albeit, more or less on the ground and certainly not on the roof.

The exterior kitchen wall with window has always been in pretty rough shape. This backside of the house gets all the rough weather in spring and fall with little benefit of sun to dry things out. The foundation sill is in pretty bad shape (warning: this link is not for the home remodeling faint of heart), the clapboards were all rotten under the alum siding, and the window trim was so soft and spongy, it broke apart under disassembly.

Here’s the wall at it’s complete demolition with new tar paper:

Worst rot since the front porch roof

I’ve covered the bottom of the wall with pressure treated plywood until we get to fixing the damaged sill. The good news is that the wall is pretty small and is fully supported on both sides. Settling of the wall is virtually non-existent. Water damage, on the other hand…

Primarily because of it’s massive thickness, the window sill was salvageable with some wood hardener and epoxy repair. Every other bit of the exterior window frame trim had to be replaced.

Left side of the repaired window sill


Another view of the repair

Besides replacing all the existing exterior wood on the wall, we’re also building a small “roof” over the window to further protect it from weather damage.


Spring forward

I’m taking a few days off work, working on the outside of 118 Henry Street. Today was spent on the roof in the west bedroom reverse dormer, continuing replacement of the clapboards and trim on the exterior walls.

Because all the angles, sides, and walls of an old house are neither plumb nor square, I’ve had to develop a technique for doing things like the clapboard replacement. E.g., on a modern house with wood siding, you can be assured that all the boards between a window frame and the corner of the house are going to all be the same length, within an 1/8″ or so. Not so on an old house. In this same type of area on an old house, the clapboards may vary in length up to 3/4″ or a whole inch from the bottom to the top of the wall.

In preparation for installing the boards, I cut as many boards as needed to the longest length dimension in the area to be covered. Then, I pre-drill the nail holes to prevent the boards from splitting. Finally, I make a jig out of scrap lumber to use as a spacer for the overlap.  In the case of the west bedroom dormer, all of this prep work is done on the ground.

The tools I take up to the roof (in addition to the normal hammer, etc.) are: a small level, a small roofing square, the caulk gun, and, the secret weapon, a small battery operated circular saw. Each clapboard is visually registered against the bounding trim and marked to length by eye. The roofing square is used to draw a square line and the circular saw makes the small cut to fit the piece to the space.

Here are some pix from the west dormer:

Before with stylish alum siding

Original (rotted) clapboards and wall sheathing

New roof, new insulation, new…you get the picture

The clapboards on the wall with the window were on top of the diagonal sheathing in the previous picture. However on the triangular left side wall, the clapboards were originally fastened directly to the 2×4 framing with no sheathing at all. Needless to say, beaucoup air and water infiltration.

Not done but looking a lot better

Special shout out to Ed W.

Ed, hope all is going well. Don’t worry about getting up on the scaffolding for a while. (Ed’s at home recovering from hip replacement surgery.)

This is Ed’s old house.