Mid July Roundup – Doors and Floors

It seems as I march towards making this place into a habitable dwelling – the photos just don’t seem that interesting. I know the good stuff is right around the corner, but it’s hard to grab a camera and take a picture of so many ho-hum projects. So here’s what happening now at the Misadventures project.

1 sunroom lightI left off with these sunroom lights installed because I needed the space in the garage. I was worried the scale might be too large, but they fit between the beams fine. You will see my problem in the background. The wall sconces were placed to correspond to the windows. Unfortunately, this left an awkward gap between the lights. You can see I’m fiddling with a cardboard design to balance out the space. We’ll see how this turns out.

2 window casingThis is a view from the kitchen into the sunroom. I’m casing the last window and one of the final door openings.

3 plywood underlaymentLooking back into the kitchen area you can see I’m adding a 1/2″ BC plywood underlayment, glued and screwed to the 3/4″ T&G pine floor. There is a 14′ island that runs down the middle of this space.

4 plaster wall damageI kept two rooms with original plaster lathe walls and ceilings. This is what was behind the baseboard. We’ll repair this before we replace the trim.

5 bondo fillerAll the doors get new hinges, mortise locks, plates and knobs. So of course the new door strikes don’t fit the originals. First I use auto bondo to fill in the areas that would show with the new striker plate. The pencil marks show the new location.

6 door mortise jigAs usual, I made a jig that will make a fast and accurate cut to recess the plate. The jig has a piece that fits against the door stop. It is then screwed to the jamb so it won’t move.

7 router and jigThe router uses the jig frame to make an accurate cut for the recess.

8 door strike fittingThe test fit shows I didn’t get enough filler to cover the old hole. We’ll add a little more later.

9 marking mortiseThe jamb is marked for the latch hole that needs to be mortised.

10 drilling mortiseMake a couple holes with a forstner bit. This type of drill bit makes a flat bottomed hole. Then just use a wood chisel to square up the hole.

11 screw hole fixI usually fill the old screw holes anytime I replace a plate or hinge. Take a small diameter forstner bit and dill into the screw hole. Take a matching diameter wood dowel and glue it in place.

12 cutting dowelAfter the glue is dry, saw off flush. This not only gives you a clean start, but reinforces the wood around the original hole.

13 jamb sawTo get the 1/2″ plywood under the trim, I rented a jamb saw to make the cuts. 20.00 for 4 hours rental. Had all the doors cut and the tool back to Home Depot in an hour. This project would have taken all day with a regular saw.

14 close callBut I dodged another bullet – while I was handling the still spinning saw I nearly snagged my leg. It ripped my jeans but didn’t get any skin. Lucky this time.

Hope everyone is having a great and productive summer.  Till next time.



Mortises, problems and other stuff

I’ve got lots going on here at Misadventures. Finishing up soffits and Azek trim on the stone work. Rough plumbing is in the woman cave. New roof goes on next week.

Today I’ll do a quick post about original doors and mortises.

I’m using the original doors in their original locations when possible. Really, there’s only five doors on the first floor that stay where they were 80 years ago, but the original mortise latches and locks were broken and others didn’t work very well. So, to make it more complicated I got new latches and hinges for the doors.

1 new mortise locksThe problem is the new latches won’t fit the original openings. Great! Time to make a jig!

2 mortise jigSo using the handy router bit to base plate edge  blocks,  I made a jig to route the new openings in the doors. Since I have five of these to do it was quicker to make a jig.

3 mortise routerThe jig is aligned to the opening and clamped to the door. The router base follows the frame to cut the new opening.

4 mortise fitAnd the new latch fits into the new recessed opening.

5 strike plate jigOf course, the strike plates didn’t fit either, so another jig is made for the door jamb. The router follows the inside frame and you have just what you need.

1 door finishedThe reconditioned door with new latch, door plates, knobs and hinges – one down, four to go.

2 stone trimWhen it’s not raining I’ll jump outside to finish the Azek frieze trim and soffits. This was the last of the hidden vent soffits around the whole house. No more birds nesting in there!

3 copper lightAnd while I was at it, I added this nifty solid copper light over the back door. This should get a nice patina over time.

6 sill pan leakOne problem that had me stumped was this little leak at the sunroom door. There’s no gutters on the house yet, but no leaks should be happening here.It has a sill pan underneath.

7 sill panAs you can see from this photo in 2012, the sill is protected with a pan and flashing underneath. After taking the brick-mold off outside and my newly installed trim off the inside, I was ready to remove the door and see what could be the problem.

8 sill pan fixBut before I dropped the door, I thought I would see if it was possible that the pan was leaking. These sill pans are made from three pieces that are cemented together, so I took a syringe and filled the pan with water. It leaked. So I ordered a can of Weldon 2007 – a water thin pvc solvent. I used the syringe to add cement at the seam inside the pan and then applied upward pressure with the putty knife between the floor and pan. It took care of the leak.

Wish I would have thought of this before I took off all the trim. Live and learn.


Building Sunroom Window Bookcases Part 1

We’ve finished the main windows in the sunroom – all but the two that will have bookcases that will wrap around on all sides. I’ve been putting off building these because? All together now – I have no plan. Just like everything else it’s just freestyle design, so let’s start cutting some wood and see what happens.

1 bookcase startI built 2X4 bases for each side and cut the outside pieces of the bookcase carcass. I used 3/4″ Maple faced plywood for the boxes. This is B-2 grade – a lesser quality than true cabinet plywood – this has a micro-thin layer of maple – but they will be painted and cost the same as birch faced plywood so I went with these at 50.00 per sheet – cabinet grade is about 80.00 per sheet in my area. It takes 5 sheets for this project.

2 window caseEverything is cut and test fitted – no nails or glue yet. Each side is slightly different, so measurements must be taken individually.

3 rounting jigA little more about routing jigs. The best work table for me has always been a single sheet of plywood. You can screw your jigs and stops right to the sheet to make things go quickly and get repeatable results. Above you see the setup for routing bookcase sides. The cross piece is the straightedge for the router base to ride against. The right piece of wood is at a 90 degree angle to the straightedge. The left piece is spaced with a slight gap so that the piece to be routed can slide easily into the jig. It is attached with a single screw into the plywood table to make a pivot. Slide the piece in and clamp against the right hand wood – you have a 90 degree straightedge.

4 routing jig detailTo repeat the routed joints on all bookcase sides you can set the first one and then screw a stop onto the plywood. Now you can repeat this on each piece so that you have perfectly aligned shelves and dividers.

5 case testMore unglued test fits. Not only to test to make sure it fits, but to make sure it doesn’t look too goofy.

6 figuresI’m going through these yellow note pads pretty quickly as I try and figure this thing out. Time for a new pad.

7 tv baseThis might look like a modernist coffee table top or some other artsy doodad – but actually this is the product of all that yellow pad doodling.

8 tv base instal And here’s what that thing is for. The problem is that this area also has to have a cold air return and a cabinet for a TV lift. The duct work for the HVAC had to be out from the wall. The return air will be routed up behind the cabinet and the intakes will be on the top of the central cabinet. Complicated, no?      Yes.

9 routed sidesNow that we know what is what, we can assemble the bookcase boxes – after they are sanded smooth.

10 tv backThe TV lift will be bolted to this panel – it is recessed to allow the 55″ TV to drop all the way to the subfloor, allowing the cabinet to be 36″ tall. The cold air return will run behind this area.

11 bookcase testThe window bookcases are now built as individual boxes, but not fastened together yet. You can see the shelves are aligned with the window mullions to keep the visual plane unbroken. Another anal detail from yours truly.

12 paintingNow the cases are taken down and painting interiors begin. I would usually pre-paint the sheet of plywood before fabricating, but the routed joint is so tight that just the paint thickness would cause problems in joining the pieces together. Also, some of the plywood sheets varied in thickness, so some of the routed joints were too tight and had to be slightly widened.

Hang in there – we’ll get some books on these shelves eventually.