Archive for category advice wanted

I need this like I need another hole in my random metal rectangle

UPDATE: Figured it out – these are rail tie plates for railroads. They’d be attached to the tie and the rails would lay on top of them. I put two and three together when I found another one attached to a decaying tie used for a landscape boundary in the backyard. Why these were buried next to the house, I can’t say for sure – they quite possibly were forgotten during some renovation project.

I haven’t Googled that thoroughly, but anyone know what these things are? Heavy old metal, possibly iron, about ten inches long (each; there are two in these pictures, next to each other). These were uncovered while digging an inch below the grass, but I’ve found one of these lying around in my basement as well.

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Plant IDs, please

Before I start slicing down even more things in the backyard, I thought I’d double check.  This is buckthorn, I’m quite certain:

 This I’m 90-some-percent certain is also buckthorn:

But these flowers that have suddenly appeared in various parts of the property are new to me.  Anyone know what I’m looking at, and especially if it’s an invasive?

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Can anyone identify these paving stones?

These were salvaged and quite likely discontinued, but I’d like to get more that match if possible – problem is I don’t know what the type is called so I can’t search for suppliers. If anyone knows, and has any recommendations on where to buy, it’s much appreciated.

Pavers are roughly 1′ square and an inch thick with – and this is the feature I can’t match anywhere – half inch deep ‘ledges’ on alternating sides that allow you to lay them in an interlocking fashion without needing mortar. The sample in the picture has a broken corner, but otherwise should give (I hope) an idea of what I’m dealing with.

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Can you identify these holes?

They’re by a section of wood that is largely rotted/eaten away and that is going to be replaced (I hope) in the next couple of weeks. Meanwhile, I’m dreading searching online and finding out that these are clear signs of a _______ invasion where _______ equals carnivorous and unkillable bugs from hell.


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New tag

I’m adding an ‘advice wanted’ tag to the blog for projects and peculiarities I’d like to try and crowdsource. If you’re looking for a puzzle, these would be the posts that need addressing.

Right now the main point to ponder is at the bottom of this post – how do I get the paint off these spindles so I can repaint everything?

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Scraping and painting, and problems with both (now with pictures!).

Plenty of both the last couple of days. I’ve got one renter moving in right now and am trying to get all the upstairs rooms painted (if they need it). This is mostly standard stuff – tape off, roller, brush, clean up (got an excellent selection of self-priming paints from Sherwin Williams so things go even faster) – but I have one problem in the back bedroom:

A section of the wallboard had cracked and buckled, probably from someone years ago putting their elbow through the other side of the wall. Whatever the reason, I needed to cut the section out down to the plaster. The plan was to buy some drywall or wallboard of the same thickness, tack it into the space, spackle the edges, and paint the whole wall. Unfortunately, this wallboard or whatever is just under a quarter inch thick and something like it probably hasn’t been manufactured in years, according to other people who know old buildings. Home Depot certainly doesn’t seem to have anything. I’m thinking about just spackling the entire hole, although that seems like a huge waste of spackle, or tacking luan or other wood into the space, although that seems like it will produce a wall with wildly different surfaces.


I’m also continuing to hack at the porch. I finished the entire lower rail today, plan to get the entire ceiling done within the next couple of days, but am really not looking forward to dealing with the spindles which have thick paint that is either cracking or not moving.


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