Sunday, June 29, 2008

Ted's Exterior Wood - Repair vs. Replace

June has just about been a wash for exterior work. Vacation time and bad weather means not much has been done. But today was a good day.

During my weekend crusades to restore my home exterior (previously clad in vinyl) I’ve become quite talented in one respect - my ability to make nasty looking wood look decent again.

Insulation holes, split clapboards and rotted wood don’t stand a chance. Very rarely do I replace wood. The primary reason for my conservation is that my carpentry skills suck. I’ll avoid getting out the saw at all costs. Besides, the wood that’s there, old growth lumber, is far superior than anything I could buy and replace it with. So a clapboard must be really bad before I’ll resort to the saw and hammer or calling a real carpenter to do the job.

Here are two examples of patch work. Both were the result of blown in insulation and the resulting damage. The first example is a series of bad splits and two holes and probably a good candidate for replacement. But the splits were stable (not growing) and the holes could be filled.

I’m pleased with the results after my first coat of primer. Holes be there. Holes be gone.
From the “how not to do stuff” department – do not use car body filler on wood. It may be quick and easy but it won’t last. Wood moves. Body filler doesn’t. It cracks. Paint doesn’t stick to it well either. I’ve had to redo a couple of spots that have already failed. Some lessons get taught best when you have to go back and do it again. I do so love redoing work.

I use wood consolidant and epoxy for repairs. I’ll talk more about the products I use soon.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

“Serenity Now, Serenity Now” – or at least for a week

Took the obligatory week off and attempted to forget everything that had transpired during the previous 51 weeks. I was successful. I’d like to do it again.
On the long drive home I’d fantasized about an extreme home makeover team attacking my home and finishing all the restoration work while I was gone. It didn’t happen. But the best neighbors anyone could ask for had cut my grass and even trimmed shrubbery.

I do love where I live and was thankful to be home.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Musings from a Wonderfully Diverse Neighborhood - Let Your Engine do the Talking --- Peter Frampton Comes Alive in my Alley

Life on my street, Cedar Bough, is very peaceful the majority of the time. You might say it’s perfectly charming. However, a recent stint on the front porch was interrupted several times by a motorcycle passing nearby at a high rate of speed with the engine wide open. That thing had to be turning about a million rpm’s.

I’ll not pretend to understand this act, especially the need to try to blow up an engine. Is it an attempt to impress? Is there a hormone imbalance involved? Is it a way to channel rage?

Regardless, this event combined with seeing Peter Frampton in a GIECO commercial triggered the memory of another event from spring 2007. I’d written the below back then and never posted it. Here it is:

I live in close proximity to an apartment complex. It’s right behind my home, across the alley. 99.9% of the time it’s fine by me. Folks back there are typically downright friendly. But, as is inevitable in any neighborhood anywhere, you get the occasional bad apples.

A recent Saturday night on the Bough was a good example. Sometimes the bliss that we all typically enjoy in our personal relationships can suddenly turn ugly. If it’s a really bad turn you may even end up in my alley at 11pm screaming at the top of your lungs at your partner.

This is exactly what happened to some of the residents behind my home – their domestic discourse just could not be contained by the walls of their apartment. Out to the alley they rolled. I won’t bore you with the chatter they exchanged but suffice to say it was a rather uninspired expletive laden exchange.

If you’ve been in my position you can probably identify with my thought process. The phone is in the hand. The numbers 9-1-1 are about to be pushed. But deep down, I’m thinking that the last f-bomb may signify they’ve run out of steam and will call it a night.

And it appeared my wish had come true. There was silence for a while. But then there was a new sound. Was that a car door? Then I heard the engine. Oh dear God, was it the guy who drives the heavily modified late 80’s Trans Am who had been doing the arguing?

I believe that every time this guys fires up that monster, the temperature rises ever so slightly in my alley and across the planet and pieces of the artic ice shelf crash into the ocean.

It was him. This guy was mad and yelling just wasn’t good enough to get his point across. So he decided to let his V8 do the yelling for him. And he had a lot say. I’d never imagined the use of an engine as a communication tool. But here he was, sitting idle but shoving his foot on the accelerator time after time. He was yelling at his mate with his engine. Was this guy a Peter Frampton* fan?

There were a couple of spins around the block for him. At least that’s what I remember. It wasn’t long after this episode that the lovely couple moved out.

Life on the Bough went back to being perfectly charming.

*Reference is to his album “Peter Frampton Comes Alive” and the use of a talk box in several songs. It’s hard to imagine why the talk box didn’t gain more popularity and wide use.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Summer Arrives and I Sweat a Lot

Hello Summer! Gee whiz. Another week or two of moderate temperature would have been nice. It was toasty out there.

The Flying Wallendas routine continued as I some how manage to avoid serious injury traversing scaffolding high above the ground. Prep work progressed and some priming was done. Photographs show the progress. Some more detailed “how to” stuff on the way later in the week.