Archive for category porch

Things I did today

  • Mowed some of the lawn, in advance of tomorrow’s expected thunderstorms.
  • Reorganized the shed, because starting to reorganize the back room immediately led me to the shed for something and I just, well, my talents were more needed there.
  • Found an excellent use for part of an old broomstick. (Pic soon)
    • Remembered how I need to take a few more pictures to finish off months-old posts sitting in the drafts folder.
  • Swapped the glass window for the screen window in the front storm door.
  • Discovered a loose piece of trim on screen door, took it down to tack down said trim.
  • Returned hammer and tacks to back room.
  • Discovered more loose trim, took screen window down again.
  • Checked to make sure there was nothing else loose on the screen window. Returned hammer and tacks to back room. Muttered about how the back room needs reorganizing.
  • Put screen window in front storm door.


No Comments

A porch is a porch, of course, of course

But it looks better with lattice instead of whatever corrugated white fiberglass-like stuff has been wrapping the porch for years:CIMG8413
Read the rest of this entry »

No Comments

No more squirrels!

Repeat readers of this blog will find in this post not only an alliterative description of themselves but also a long-forgotten project completed with help from a remarkably recurring source.
The gift that keeps on giving: 1-inch square scrap wood.
After removing the temporary covering (particle-board – a bad idea in retrospect since water can, and does, sneak under the eave) I took my saws-all to the eave to remove the worn or rotted board sections and create a fairly square opening:

Now for the return of the scrap wood. As you can see, the beams – and some of the plywood under the tar-paper – were also suffering from rot and wear. The 1″-square sticks made for great extensions on which to attach the new eave board, and the backing board behind the gutter. I miter’d the near end of the sticks at a slight angle to roughly match the slope of the beams and allow the backing board to sit straight.

Now came a long series of cut-to-fit measuring, remeasuring, cutting, positioning, recutting, and so on. I would have liked to do this with only two boards – eave and backing – but the eave is at least 8″ deep. While I could have bought a wider plank, I decided to rip two pieces of one-by as needed, miter the right end, and cross my fingers. This took a little longer than it might have otherwise, but it saved me four bucks and a trip to the lumber yard.

The backing board was more of a challenge. I don’t know how the original board and the trim on the peak to the right of this hole originally fit together – the boards were rotted and/or worn back several inches – so I needed to dig out a tool I hadn’t used in years – my trusty grade-school protractor:

Remember, this is all cut-to-fit, so make a cut, see if it fits, then cut more – I made the longer 45-degree cut (from the top of the board heading down towards the right) first and, after wrangling the piece up and down the ladder several times, decided there was no need to make the second, lower, shorter, 45-degree cut; doing so might have exposed a bit of the eave boards, actually.
Some Abatron putty to smooth out the transitions:

Paint it, and let the squirrels roost somewhere else:
Only (only!) two things left to do on the porch – rehang the gutter (that’s going to be a big post) and finish painting the ceiling. This is gonna look so pretty…

No Comments

So much for that schedule…

The blog-updating one, not the house-working-on one. Apparently I didn’t make a single post while on vacation (surprise, surprise), so I’ll have to catch up … some other time. Meanwhile, let’s get the typing started again with, if nothing else, a not-very-elucidating list of things I did around the house today.

– husked the last of the walnuts
– raked the last of the leaves from the front and side yards
– plugged the couple of carpenter bee holes from last summer with that savior of old houses, Abatron
– created more tool hooks in the back room

More stuff later, as always.

1 Comment

Why it took four weeks to get a porch swing

I have high hopes for building a porch swing from scratch one of these days, but the initial idea was to use wood from a black walnut in the backyard which a friend and I have yet to examine and see if it can be milled. Meanwhile, my neighbors tossed a broken porch swing a few months ago and I figured a rebuilt swing was better than no swing, at least until I carve my own swing straight from the raw timber of my land.

The swing is a bit old but in overall good shape save for the four cracked boards that connect the back of the seat to the bench:
No problem, thought I – I have enough 1×4 (which is wider than the existing boards, but that’s not an issue) and I can even use my new dado blade set to easily carve the groove. Of course it wouldn’t be so simple. The arbor nut on the table saw didn’t want to budge, so I was forced to improvise using just the normal blade. I ran each board through multiple times, shifting the cut width to cut the outer edges of the groove and remove some of the wood in the middle, then used a chisel to clean everything out. The only tricky thing, really, is to remember that the blade will cut further on the underside of the board than on the top – I marked a second line further down the board to compensate and tell me when to stop.

Since this isn’t the ‘final’ porch swing for the house, I took the opportunity to test out some all-natural stain samples to see how they look, and how they weather:

And a porch swing chain set from Lowes:

Now to paint the porch.

No Comments


Or fewer of them I suppose. Upon examining the hole in the porch soffit, and the rest of the soffit board, more closely, I’ve come to the determination that a large section of board will need to be replaced, and likely some backing board will need to be tucked inside to hold the gutter more firmly. That will have to wait until spring. For now, I’ve covered the hole with scrap particle board and caulk and added some screws to keep the gutter from sagging at that corner. One squirrel has been wandering around the porch in some confusion as a result – I think he can smell whatever the other squirrel managed to squirrel away up there, but can’t figure out how to get in. Hopefully he doesn’t start chewing soon, because he seems smarter than the last about avoiding the trap.

It doesn’t look pretty (nor does the rest of the stuff around it),
but it does cover the holes. The broken board on the left behind
the gutter is covered too – there’s a 2″x5″ piece on edge
screwed to the main patch.


No Comments

Doors and windows

In addition to trying to sort all my tools and supplies in the living room (that’s where they’ve been since I don’t have real space in the back room until the shed is built) today was spent painting windows, caulking a few of the storms, and finally finishing fixing (alliterative adventures abound) the porch door. Every window on the first floor is painted; almost all are ready for winter – I need to caulk the new ones in the kitchen and we should be good.

The door had two minor problems. First, it had settled (and I hadn’t hung it super squarely to begin with) so the top far corner was rubbing against the frame. There’s a simple fix using a trick I learned while hanging some drywall back in high school – wonderbars are just levers, and they let one person do two jobs. Prop the far side with the bar lengthwise:

It’s actually best if you flip the bar over (so you are using the lever closer to the door), but this way might be necessary depending on how much clearance you have under the panel you’re trying to level – fortunately my very nice old porch door is very worn on the bottom, so I was able to use it the ‘right’ way. In other words I messed up when I was staging this shot after the fact. Resuming the how to: Take the screws out of the top and middle hinge on the frame side. Press down on the wonderbar to bring the door square against the frame on the hinge side. Resink the screws starting at the top – you may have to go in at a slight angle to catch clean wood as opposed to the old hole. Chances are you’ll be fine going straight – old doors tend to have a little more space between them and the frame, so if it’s to the point of rubbing then squaring the door will probably move the hinge screw holes over quite a bit.

Problem two was mostly aesthetic. The strike plate was set for the aluminum screen door I took down. You can see where another strike plate used to be set further back, but this one didn’t quite fit there. The result was that the door latched but wasn’t flush with the frame – it butted out 3/8″ on the far side.

I couldn’t locate a smaller strike plate during a couple of shopping trips, so I went for the next best thing – carving. A few minutes with the jig and then a pocketknife got me a flush enough space to screw in the plate. I think I’m going to invest in a chisel set for all the wood I’ve got in this place though.

Properly hung door, seven painted windows, and a living room I can walk through. It’s been a good Saturday, even if I didn’t get out to the electrical supply place.

No Comments

Catch up

Still digging out at work, meaning not much has been happening at the house. I hope to be back to actually part time soon. I also hope to order that shed in the next two days which will really be the last big thing that needs to happen before winter hits. Even the scraping and painting and such are either isolated sections or, should it come to it, they can wait.

Things done today:
– more porch scraping since the weather was nice; found that the squirrels are getting ready for winter and thus need to get kicked out now.
– hung blinds in the kitchen window so it looks less bare
– turned this:

into this:

Also discovered that this light fixture and both outlets in the room are on the same breaker – the ceiling units and the outlets in other rooms are often separate due, I suspect, to when the lines went in. This is a little bit of a concern because I thought at least one other load is also on that circuit, meaning tenants might not find it so easy to watch TV, have the light on, and run the popcorn maker or whatever else they’re doing at once. Will need to double check the panel labels and add this to the list of rewiring jobs for next summer.

Finally, the latest entry in the series ‘People Who Passed Out Asleep on my Couch’. Doug took a red-eye drive in from Minnesota (11.5 hours) and fell asleep mid-sentence whilst laying on the couch.

No Comments

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.

No Comments

The past couple of days…

Have been a veritable flurry of activity. I scraped about 1/10th of the porch. That’s a lot when you realize this is the paint on my porch:
At least three layers, at least two of which are heavy-duty exterior paint. Not heavy duty enough, because this is what I’m tackling before I can paint anything:

At the rate I’m going (couple of hours, most days), it should be done by early next week. If the weather holds, I can paint all at once. And maybe even put a coat of the new blue (very similar to the old blue) on the front shingles. You know, the ones that needs painting the least.

Meanwhile, inside… I don’t know how the hell this happened:

No Comments