Tuesday, September 29, 2009

An OUTSIDE "Mushroom Factor" Tale

It's been a while since I've had a "mushroom factor" experience. I wrote about the phenomena here: The Mushroom Factor. Basically the mushroom factor is what happens when what looks like a small project quickly "mushrooms" into a much bigger one when you realize all the sub projects that need to be completed.

I was hoping to scrape and paint the trim on the dining room and chimney windows before winter. I also thought I could probably stain the shingles around them too. That was before I noticed how rotten the drip cap was above the three dining room windows:

The drip cap was just as bad with chewed up shingles above the west chimney window too:

The shingles are two layers deep and are attached from the bottom of the wall up to the top. This means that to replace the drip cap I need to remove TWO layers of shingles whose ends are buried by those above them.

I decided to get a razor blade and cut away at the first layer carefully to see how hard it might be:

I quickly realized I needed a better tool for this and went to visit Pete. I told him what I needed and he sent me home with this:

That is his "toolwerks" tool. We put a head on it with teeth and the whole thing reciprocates like a tiny sawzall.

I went home and had the first layer out in no time at all. Here is what I removed:

And here is the second layer of shingles exposed and ready to cut. You can faintly see the lighter line behind the bottom of the upper row. That is the exposed new cedar against the older stained wood:

I had the second row out pretty quickly too. I cut at an upward angle, hopefully I can duplicate that angle on the new shingles I'll add later. Here is the same area with the second layer removed:

I then got out my "catspaw" and pried out the drip cap:

And here is the area with the old drip cap out:

I was able to cut some new drip cap to fit above both the dining room and chimney windows. I'm almost done painting it and will install it later this week.

I'm hoping over the weekend to cut new shingles to put back up in place...

So the upshot is I probably WON'T get the trim painted or the rest of the shingles stained, yet this fall. There are home Iowa football games the next two weekends, and the weekend after that I promised Lisa we would try to finish stripping the floor of the office so we can get it varnished before winter too.

I will probably take down my scaffolding after getting the new shingles in place and admit that the "mushroom factor" has once again gotten the better of my schedule!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Mystery Revealed

With guesses of "shellac" and "pie," it is time to reveal the mystery picture. IT CAME FROM HERE:

So this

is actually what solidified at the top of a five gallon bucket of exterior shingle stain. The color is "Oxford Brown." The blob was 12" across and over two inches thick. I bought the stain in 2005 and last used it the summer of 2007. Even after taking that thing out the remainder was pretty lumpy. I bought a single gallon of new stain and dumped it into the old and used it anyway. The shingles on the house were last stained over 25 years ago, so anything is an improvement, right?

Here is how it looks on the house:

And to make sure that in the next year or two when I start on another side of the house, I bought another 5 gallon bucket now to start aging it now so it will be sufficiently lumpy when I need it...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

My Other Full Time Home Job/Mystery Picture

With all my posts about pergola building one would think that perhaps I didn't do anything else this summer, but that is certainly not the case. I have also been working at painting the south side of the house.

But before I talk about that, here is today's mystery picture. The first one to correctly identify what it is will win a FABULOUS Foxcroft prize!

Add a comment to this post if you think you know what this is!

I am perhaps the world's slowest painter. It took six years to paint our previous house, but in my defense I do a damned good job of it. What takes so long is that I only paint houses whose last coat of paint is at least 25 years old. This requires me to go down to bare wood and start over.

For the south side I started in the overhang at the peak of the gable so that I could build my scaffolding as tall as possible. I was on top of four 5 foot high sections. I use a heat gun and putty knife to scrape the beadboard. My routine is ingrained into my brain after nearly 10 summers of doing it:

  • Heat Gun/Scrape
  • Sand
  • Wash
  • Prime
  • Caulk
  • Top Coat
  • Move to the next spot

My process is how a single person can reasonably work over a long period of time. Here are some pics I took throughout the summer:

Above is what my paint job looks like next to what it was when I started. The beadboard is without a doubt the hardest part of the whole house, and there is a ton of it.

Similar view from a little farther away

A view of the lookout boxes at the peak of the south gable 25+ feet up

Side view of same also showing my high tech anti-bird's nest device

Speaking of birds' nests, remember this incident earlier in the summer? Yet Another Narrow Escape From Burning the House Down Well here is what I put over the outside of the dryer vent to prevent birds from building nests there. I bought a shower basket thingy at Lowe's and cut it apart and re-sized it to just fit over the vent. Below is my final product sitting next to an unaltered one:

I bought two because there is a bathroom fan vent in the North gable of the house.

I wish I had taken a picture of all the board and battens when I had stripped them, and before I painted! You can see the vent guard in this picture too.

Another similar shot

I finally got the last of the triangular gable area done a week ago. I just finished painting around the second floor windows too. My goal, before winter is to stain the shingles down from the chimney back to the other side of the dining room windows. I hope to scrape and paint the dining room window trim too.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Pergola in Action!

To finish a great Labor Day/Hawkeye football weekend we had Laurel's birthday dinner outside under the pergola. Both sets of grandparents and Aunt Lori and Uncle Matt were there. We seated a table of six under the pergola, and another table of four in the patio between the pergola and the pond:

On Saturday the Hawkeye footbal team played my undergrad alma mater, the University of Northern Iowa.

My Panthers gave Iowa all they wanted and then some. Setting an NCAA record, Iowa won the game by blocking TWO field goal attempts on consecutive plays, to win 17-16.

We had guests for the game from Los Angeles, Portland, Oregon, and St. Louis as well as our usual visitors and friends. Here is one pic from before the game:

And one with three of my best childhood friends after the game:

And even though it wasn't from this past weekend, here is a special shot of the "Corn on the Cob" cupcakes that Rowan made after she took her cake decorating class, a great way to finish the "end of summer" post here on Foxcroft:

The "kernals" are jelly beans, the "butter" are starburst candies.