Practice makes (more) perfect

Hanging old doors in an old house requires the old skill of mortising wood for hinges. Mortising for hinges requires very sharp chisels.

Sharpening is an art unto it’s own

A good hinge mortise will exactly fit the hinge in 3 dimensions.

Sometimes, just sometimes, it all works the way it should

A beautiful fit and doesn’t swing by itself

Looking much better

All this trim is made from stock yellow pine with a table saw, router table, and chop saw.

First window we’ve trimmed completely from scratch

A good bit of wood trim to do yet, including picture rail, chair rail and a little cove molding where the ceiling meets the walls.

Just in time for cooler weather, our new helper in the addition:

No longer just a yard lizard

Remains of the day

Truth be told, I’m not much into summer. It’s not that it’s not appreciated or I can’t stand the heat…it’s, well, just predictable. The weather, at least in these parts, is very consistent for 2 or 3 months in a row, the kids get bored, and eventually, all the plants just desiccate and shrivel up.

In order of precedence, late autumn, early spring, and mid winter are all much more interesting.

This summer has been unusually un-scintillating, what with Fujin’s visit dominating our yard and my work-work requiring so much attention. But, our energy is starting to rise a bit with the weather changing (the mornings a little cooler), the occasional rain shower, and the start of the school year.

Yesterday, the professional tree wranglers were finally able to schedule cutting up the remains of the big tree.

Scrawny kid (80 lbs.), not so scrawny timber (500+ lbs. apiece)

A good bit of work is left to do, still need to get someone to split it all up. When it’s all said and done, a few pieces will go to an artist friend of mine, and most will go to the local church that took the truckloads last time.

Sometime next week, we will formally engage the construction company that is going to rebuild the carport (yea!).

With little of the tree left in our personal purvey, it was time to get focused again on the inside of the house…Carole’s still waiting on her sewing room.

With the sewing room floor in place, the task is to hang the new door.

Yep, that one

The door we are using is an antique, 5 panel, solid wood door so no “pre-hung” here. After roughing in the opening, we have to build a jamb from which to actually hang the door by its hinges.

Way more art and skill here then appears at first glance

I won’t bore you with all the details of measuring, assembling, and setting the jamb. Not because it’s uninteresting but simply because you will likely never need the information. With almost no exception, most new doors are sold “pre-hung” or already attached to the jamb. Inserting the door/jamb as one unit into the rough opening is much easier than the 3-dimensional chess game of mounting the jamb by itself.

See, the jamb not only has to be straight up and down, but the head angles have to be 90 degrees, the head has to be level, and the sides of the jamb have to be perpendicular to the wall surface. There is a whole strategy/skill to making this happen (and it doesn’t happen very easily or very quickly).

Jamb in place, fitting the door

The trial fit allows us to derive the final measurements for the door. In this case, the door was about 1” too tall and definitely not square at the top and bottom.

Did I mention having to cut hinge mortises in the jamb with a chisel? Another lost art…

Scenes from a day

I wanted heart pine for the sewing room floor ($3-5/sq ft), Carole was taken aback at the cost of heart pine and suggested vinyl sheet flooring ($0.50-1.00/sq ft). We fell somewhere in between with some rough grade white pine (about $0.99/sq ft). The rough grade with its knots and varying grain has an old fashioned presence that goes well with the Art Nouveau concept.

Taking a lunch break

The addition and, ergo, the sewing room are not original to the house. So we have more flexibility about decoration, materials, and overall approach. With the main house, a restoration paradigm is paramount. With the addition, restoration would mean leaving it in all of it’s 1970’s glory.

Because it’s relatively soft, the white pine is easy to work with and has a nice feel to the feet. But, it is also very susceptible to dents and scratches. We are going to use colored deck stain as a first finish, followed by the usual 3 or so coats of polyurethane. In this case, we may use water based poly as it is a bit harder than oil based.

Best cut of the day:

Another concession for future owners re: the heating stove

Stay tuned for the color decision.