Tedious Wall Details

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It's hard to explain why the work on the restoration takes so long. Some of it you can put down to Woody working slowly, for certain. Some of it is down to him not paying particularly well, which makes it hard to get helpers who are skilled enough to do the work. And some of it is just the scale of work to be done and the level of detail with which I want it done.

The sill taken apart in May

For example, the east window in our bedroom (which is Bedroom 2, for those stalkers who want to come stare into our windows at night). Here it was in May, after Woody found and removed the wood rot growing from the sill. What you can't even see there is that the jamb 2x4 (true 2x4, Victorian0-style, none of this nominal dimensioned surfaced lumber for my man Robert Holt) had rot issues, as well, so Woody ended up taking off more drywall and pulling and replacing that piece of wood, as well.

Rebuilt window sill

And here is is, a somewhat inscrutable photo, the sill rebuilt from new true-2x4 stock (Economy Lumber in Oakland carries this for just this purpose, because you will have a dozen kinds of regrets using any other framing material in a mix with the old stuff).

Rebuilt sill and Leia

With Leia, Woody's dog, for scale. Usually she sleeps in the truck all day, but on hot days I urged him to have her inside where she is cooler and closer to him.

Wings to keep water out of the house

Another thing that's been happening is a slight modification to the design of the exterior of the window. As originally built, the siding ended at the window pockets (where the weights travel up and down) and what covered that space was the trim. But at the bottom of the window, the trim opened out in a weird way that caught water. Woody took a little bit of siding and covered that hole up, so water that gets in will get kicked back out rather than running down the inside of our walls. He's doing this on each window in turn.

Filling the siding gaps

And this funny little detail all around the house: you can see at the top of the corner board the gap that used to exist at the lap between the siding boards. Below that you can see that Woody is one-by-one filling those gaps with a little piece of wood. That may seem like it would be incredibly tedious to make, but the secret is that it's just a piece of the siding turned upside down and cut to size. The only thing that makes it take a long time is that there are, like, forty million of them. They are only outnumbered by all the freaking buttons.

Filled siding gaps

Here's a somewhat brighter photo of the same situation, at the bottom of the corner board. The epoxy gooped on there will be sanded off to make the trim as smooth as a piece of furniture.

New electrical service entrance

Our other excitement last week was that the electrician showed up and finally replaced the service entrance box. Many, many years ago when we first bought the house, our first two acts were to replace the electrical service (almost the entire house was running off a single 20-amp breaker which was... not going to work for us) and to repair the dramatic gas leak in the basement (I give you the photo of the attempted repair). During the course of the electrical work, the contractor we used took it upon themselves to slice a giant hole in the water table trim because "this is what is required by code," which was patently untrue. We finally replaced that giant ugly box (more to the point, that giant box cutting through the trim) with a smaller box above the water table.

And as you can see, the east side of the house now has paint on it, which is a nice bit of progress. At some point we will put up the time-lapse of the work from the site cameras, which I think will be kind of interesting. Because of the light on this side of the house, the images are the best and most readable that we've gotten from this process.

Anyhow, sorry for the dearth of posts, but I was warring between boring us all to death with endless photos of minute bits of progress and responding to "why haven't there been any updates?" a hundred times.