Thursday, May 25, 2006

Day 4 of the 2 Day Project

So, since the whole boom-lift idea fell down and went boom I’ve decided to plow ahead on the porch restoration. What started as a 2 day project to replace some rotted posts, beams, and decking has turned into a major overhaul of the porch. It’s a good thing, really, because it needed to be done.

I had this cool idea for skirting that didn’t pan out because I couldn’t find one of the main ingredients. I was going to make lattice out of redwood “bender board”. Most lattice you see is made of 2-inch strips of wood. The bender board is the same thickness as the lattice strips but it’s 4-inches wide. You make the lattice with the 4-inch strips and then cut an off-setting diamond in the diamonds already formed by the lattice. You end up with 8-point stars. I’m not sure if you can picture that, but it looks pretty cool. I couldn’t find the bender board and I’m too lazy to make it, so I canned the idea. I ended up just using traditional 2-inch redwood lattice. It looks fine.

I got all the rotted sub floor and fir deck boards replaced but I kind of screwed up on the decking. I won’t bore you with the details of this screw up. It is cosmetic and not structural, but it is noticeable. The question is, do I fix it. I haven’t decided yet. To fix it I would need to jack up the roof again, remove all the fir boards I put down and redo them. They are tongue and groove, and I nailed them in good, and the ends slide under the edge of the house a bit, so I would most likely ruin a few trying to get them out.

At this point I’m leaning towards not fixing them. The plan is to make the rest of the porch so dazzling that the eye will be drawn to other parts of the porch and the average visitor won’t notice that some of the boards on that side of the porch are askew. It’s all smoke and mirrors, people. I’m going put on new handrails, balusters, and newel posts. I’m making all of it but the balusters and I’m trying to channel a Victorian architect when coming up with designs. This means I will be going for form over function.

I also want to fix the rotted soffit and the bad rain gutter as well. I’m thinking about putting back the wooden gutters if I can find enough salvage pieces. I only need two sections, one from the front and one for the side. Once it’s all finished I’ll just go ahead and make this the next section of house I paint.

Yesterday I whipped up a mess of hand rails. I bought a few dozen balusters more than a year ago with this project in mind, so those are pretty much ready to go. I think a paid $3 or 4$ each for them. There should be enough to do the porch and stairs. For the newel posts the plan is to make them so they slip down over the butt-ugly pieces of pressure treated wood that is there now. Someone once said that pressure treated wood is the underwear of the construction industry and should never be seen. I happen to agree. It has always bugged me that the very first thing you see when you walk up to the house was those 4 pressure treated newel posts on the stairs.

Above is what the porch looked like this morning. I put new trim around the base of the 2 big columns and the pilaster. I had to do major reconstruction at the base of the outside corner column with wood and epoxy. The repairs are hidden behind the new trim. I was going to put off work on the stairs but I think I may just go ahead and rebuild them as well. Since I’m doing new newel posts I might as well. The stringers are shot.

Here is the hand rail I made yesterday and a couple of the salvage balusters. There's my Boss 1973 Ford F100 Custom Camper Special in the background. I actually think it's somehow burning gasoline just sitting there.


merideth said...

you did it again just for me didnt you? mentioned your truck. AND SHOWED IT!!

I think your smoke and mirrors plan is a great one. No one will ever notice. And i'm sure the whole thing will look beautiful!

deb said...

ya know, some of those loverly calalilies in a pot (along with some ivy or moss) could very well distract the eye from anything askew...

a neighbour says her deck is really ugly but you don't even notice the deck because of all the beautiful plants and flowers!

Greg said...

Yep, I pointed tout The Beast just for you.