I've had it with this old Victorian crap. I decided to go with a pop-culture motif with the downstairs heat registers. I was amazed that I was able to find Lisa Simpson heat registers that had a patent date of 1894. Perhaps that's a typo. Maybe these are really 1994 heat registers.
I installed five registers and the cold air return. I also had five register boots fabricated and so those are installed, as well.
The worst by far was the one in the bathroom. I had to cut through the encaustic tile, cement board, and the subfloor. The encaustic tile is incredibly hard and dense. Even with a diamond blade it did not cut easily.
What made matters worse was that all of the registers are installed close to exterior walls, so you are working in the crawl space near the skirting. This area is kind of like the estuary of the underside of the house. For the most part, the crawl space is a barren, lifeless wasteland of fine, powdery dirt. Near the edges there is filtered light and some moisture, so life encroaches in the form of stringy vines barely clinging to life and spiders. Lots and lots of spiders. Not the most pleasant place to work while lying on your back.
Finding a good spot for the cold air return was a real challenge. I didn't want it to be in a spot where people would have to walk over or around it. I also didn't want it to be someplace where it would occupy floor space that was a logical place for a piece of furniture.
This spot met both of those criteria, but from a functional standpoint, it is not in the best spot. It is too far to the front of the house. When discussing the location with the heating contractor it was decided that if this causes problems, a secondary, smaller return can be put towards the back of the house.
As far as I'm concerned, the worst is over. Cutting holes in floors is always nerve wracking. You only get one shot. I'm not sure when the furnace will get installed. I'm thinking about pulling the permit and doing it myself. If I go that route, it may not happen until next spring.
PS: For some reason I'm not getting email notifications about comments, so there were a few recent ones that just got posted today. That is, all of them with the exception of the one from AHMD who is begging me to seek refuge in Allah from the accursed Satan O mankind. I'll spare you the rest of his diatribe against non-believers.