Sunday, October 25, 2015

Extending the Curved Door Frame

I removed the crown molding from the wall facing the bathroom and surprise, a big piece of plaster fell off, revealing what was once an outside wall (our bedroom isn't original to the house). At first I was surprised to see a rectangular outline above the curved door, but now I realize that it was once a window, and the square part on top has been filled it with some very, very hard white stuff (that I had to chip, chip away, like Michelangelo, until the wall was flush again). Looked like some abandoned medieval ruin after I finally chipped it all away.

I've never liked how the wall beveled into the door frame. Over the past few days I've discovered why this was done, many good reasons. I don't care. The truth is, I've been staring at those doors for several years now, and I really, really wanted an excuse to work on one of them. Crazy.

For this job I'll need to extend the curved frame about 4 inches. I'll need two pieces: the door stop and the jamb, one overlapping the other. Getting the straight part of the jamb was easy enough--the old hinge area will be covered when I'm done.

Cutting the curves on a band saw didn't work--I knew it wouldn't. But will a 1/2 inch piece of pine bend that much (without steaming). To test the theory I built an arch frame in the backyard. I know I should use multiple, thinner pieces. Details...

I'm soaking the pine in the fish pond right now. Fun.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

The Big Picture (Window)

The final set of windows are joined together now, over 8 feet wide and with a fixed picture window in the center, much heavier than the ones I've done so far. It's ready to be lifted into place except that the opening is not quite right yet. I'll definitely need some help getting this monster off the ground and into its custom-built opening in the wall.

photo by Cheryl

Unlike the other window frames in this room, this big one does not have a stucco wall at the bottom. Instead, the wall opens into a tile overhang that extends out toward the driveway.

What I discovered after pulling out the old window and its layers of framing is that the opening is about 1/2 inch shorter than it needs to be--the window might fit, but there would be no room for adjustment. And the horizontal opening is about 1 inch wider than I thought it would be. My fault in both cases because I trusted that the existing wood frame would match the stucco opening. Not even close.

There is no trusting in carpentry.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Christmas in September - New Windows!

The new windows for our bedroom are here, seven altogether, all wrapped up like Christmas morning. Big and heavy, beautiful and frustrating because I have so much planning and research to do before I can actually do anything with them.

These new double-hung windows will replace the old, rusty, drafty casements. We'll be able to open them all the way (unlike the casements, which can only open outward a few inches before smacking into the awning). And the new guys (and all the framing) will be stained pine instead of the painted frames that we had.

Next step: the seven windows will be going into three openings, so I'll be joining the windows into groups of two, two and three. Fun.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

A Bedroom Renovation

A steady rain is falling today. It's nap time for Corky and Jam but not yet for me. At this stage of the project, while I'm removing the trim and drywall and making a dusty mess, they're not allowed into the work area, so they sit just outside the door and sigh.

Our bedroom was an add-on to the original house, done probably in the 40s or 50s, at least that's my guess after looking at the drywall that I've demolished so far. It's thinner, harder and more brittle than modern drywall. And, like the rest of the house, there's no insulation in the walls.

Mostly I wanted to be sure that the framing was in good shape to support the new windows that should be here in another four weeks. Everything looks fine.

It's nice to have a project going again, to be working inside and to be demolishing stuff. Once I get all the dust and jagged edges of the way, I'll bring in my project managers to keep me company, if I can wake them up.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Not Going Back Up There

Corky told a joke yesterday. I guess it was funny--who knows? He told it to Jam, not to me.

I'm pretty sure that Corky's joke was about me, probably something about my fear of heights, just because I built that scaffolding instead of using a ladder like a normal person.

But now the roof is done, and I don't intend to ever climb up there again. Yesterday I dismantled the scaffolding, which had the added purpose of protecting the little Kaffir lime tree that is growing near one of the posts.

Whatever Corky said, Jam had a good laugh. I deserved it.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Remembering Sister Agatha

What's wrong with this picture?

To answer that question, I need to transport myself back to Sister Agatha's grade-school classroom. We had just been handed an unusual test, several pages of questions stapled together, probably 100 questions in all, and nothing to do with our class. At the top of the first page, in big letters, it said:
Of course, I did no such thing, because why should I review questions that I would soon answer. I answered the first question, then the next. No problem, these were a snap.

In about 30 seconds or so, someone stood up and turned in the test. Then another person--I can't remember who, but I do remember the look of self-satisfaction on their faces, whispering some secret to each other. I continued on but then a few more people happily walked up to Sister Agatha's desk.

I worked harder now, faster. Then it hit me--no way they could have finished that quickly. Unless...

I scanned through the remaining questions and there it was, question number 97: "If you'd read this, hand in this test right now. You are done!" Damn.

That's how I felt on Sunday when I discovered that not all the roof tiles are the same. The tapered tiles have a narrow end with a hole. At least the first hundred or so (the tiles on top of the pallet) have a hole on that end. Then I found a tile with the hole on the wide end. Must be a mistake. So I continued on, blind to what I should have known, which is that half of the tiles have a hole on the wide end. I should have gone through all the tiles first, but was I a hurry. Again.

Turns out that the tiles I just discovered are "pan" tiles--they go on the bottom. To fix things I had to remove all the tiles and start over. Yes, Sister. Sorry, Sister. Yes, I will remember to follow directions in the future.