Thursday, July 28, 2011

Oak Tree Removal

There are two very large Oak trees in front of our house. I'm pretty sure they are as old as the house. There used to be three but one was hit by lightning years ago and came down. I removed the stump from that one last year with the help of a friend and his back hoe. The root ball was over 6 feet in diameter and lifted the front wheels of the tractor 4 feet off the ground when we picked it up with the back hoe arm.

The next tree over (the one that would have originally been in the middle of the three)  was starting to look really bad, there is a large rot hole at the top of the trunk where a large limb had fallen off many years ago. It's been getting steadily larger over time.

I've become increasingly concerned that the tree will come down on the house in a storm so I spoke with the city about taking it down as it's in the right-of-way on their property. The city council voted to have an arborist come out and make an assessment of the tree and go ahead and take it down if that's what the arborist recommended.

The arborist came out and immediately recommended that the tree come down. The city got the tree removal service out a few days later.

Look at that trunk, almost all heart. Too bad I dont have a sawmill handy.

They had to cut the trunk in half because it was too heavy for their crane to pick up.

I hate to see the tree go but it was becoming too much of a danger to the house and us.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Dining Room Wall sheetrock complete

I finally completed the sheetrock and mudding on the Dining Room wall.

I'll be pretty busy at work this week but hopefully I can squeeze in some time to get the picture rail hung and then primer the wall. It will probably be this weekend before I can scrape, primer, and paint the entire room.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Baby Gate

Yesterday I finished up an important project.

Our little baby is not a baby any more. She has been getting around on her own for some time now.

One of the first discoveries she made was the stairs. She loves climbing the stairs and has done so by herself on a few occasions now. We started walking her up the stairs at night and down them in the mornings so she could get used to them but in the meantime it's just way too dangerous for her to try to climb them by herself.

So we put up one of those cheap baby gates, but it was ugly and a pain to go up the stairs, especially if you have anything in your arms.

I decided to build a baby gate that would look like it was original to the house. I didnt have time to turn baulisters to match the existing ones but I found some in our local antique mall that would work.

They were beautiful walnut baulisters from the 1840's which made it very hard to paint over them but they were the only ones I could find.

I used poplar for the frame and spaced the baulisters very close together. Then I made a hand rail out of some old heart pine. I stained the hand rail with Red Chestnut from Minwax to match the existing hand rail, then added a coat of amber shellac, then a coat of poly. Here is a picture before I finished the hand rail:

Here are the finished pictures:

I still need to install a latch on it. For now I left a little extra on the edge of it so it's tight, that way she cant open it, but with as quick as she learns things I need to hurry up and get a latch on it.

Now I need to build one for the top of the stairs.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

House History Update

I've updated the House History page with a lot of new information that I've found recently. You can click the tab at the top of the page or just click here:

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Dining Room Walls

Two and a half years ago I moved the wall between the Kitchen and the Dining Room three and a half feet to make more room in the kitchen. I put sheetrock up but never got around to mudding it.

Yesterday I finally decided to finish it. I had to put up a few small pieces first. Then I taped and mudded it.

Today I will sand and put up the second coat.

On another note, we have unfortunately decided to paint over the wallpaper. I really liked it but it has a lot of issues. I would just tear it off the wall, it's vinyl and comes off real easy, but there are two other layers underneath and they are paper. That's a nightmare I dont want to get into right now.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Finishing the brick walkway

After spreading sand over the bricks and waiting two days for a vibrating sled compactor to become available I finally went ahead and raked and swept the sand down in the cracks as best I could. As it settles I will add sand to the cracks.

I should have swept the rest of the sand off the bricks before taking these pictures but I didn't.

I will eventually run the walk all the way out to the sidewalk.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Bricking the front walkway

We've been wanting to tackle this project for a while now. The front walkway was nothing but weeds and broken concrete.

Across the street from us is the old Woodbury Oil Mill, it was built in 1902, now it's a fertilizer plant. A section of one of the brick buildings collapsed a few years back and all the brick was left where it fell. I asked them about it and they told me that I could take as many as I needed. Perfect! The brick is from the same era as the house.

I began by breaking up and removing all the concrete, below is an in progress shot..

With all the concrete removed I leveled the pad.

The ground slopes downward towards the right in the above picture. The soil is a combination of gravel, coal, and a little bit of dirt mixed in, needless to say it was quite hard to level off. I had to borrow a tractor from a friend to get it level.

Next I put down a layer of sand then began the process of laying the brick... well almost, first I had to gather up the brick, then scrape all the old mortar off of them.

Here is an in progress shot, I'm using two rows for the border then a standard stretcher bond pattern for the infill.

It took all three days  of the three day weekend but I finally finished it.

This afternoon I'll get some more sand and fill in the joints.