Sunday, October 16, 2011

Porch Progress

The Cheney Cottage's restored porch, sans roof and stair railings

We had a long weekend of work on the Cheney Cottage, and we got a lot done. Mostly, we worked outside on the porch.

When we took apart the Cheney Cottage back on College Avenue, we tried to save most of the pieces. We were particularly careful with the old porch, saving both posts (even though one had been damaged over the years), the railings, the roof rafters. They all rattled around inside the first floor while the house was moved to Albany and back, and we have moved them back and forth as we worked inside the house.

This weekend, we finally got them out and figured out what we had. It was all there, except for one of the railings, and all usable, except for one of the roof rafters.

Before we got to work, we got some Sculpwood System Three, an epoxy used for rebuilding missing and damaged decorative wood trim. The stuff is incredibly easy to use, and we mixed it and used it to begin patching the missing pieces on the damaged post. We have to get more to finish it, but we can already see that it will work well and make the post look undamaged.

Then we installed the tongue and groove decking on the floor of the porch. Our neighbors Tom and Monique had a flooring nailer, so we hooked it up to our compressor, and quickly installed the floor.

We then installed the post on the east side, making sure it was plumb. We attached the post to the house with the top piece, then repeated the process for the west post. We then figured out which of the decorative trim pieces went on each side, and started nailing them in place. The large beam across the front went up, and was nailed into the posts and the decorative supports.

We then figured out the railings, and how to install them. Originally, the railing went on what is now the east side, then across the front, as the stairs went down the side, in front of the living room. On 62nd Street, we changed the stairs so they come straight down from the front door. Even with this change, we could reuse the railings, so we installed them on both sides (John Stevens showed up at a particularly opportune moment to assist).
The Cheney Cottage, with the original deteriorated porch, in 2010

The Cheney Cottage today, with the original porch railings back in place
We then started installing the roof rafters. One of them was completely rotted and broken, so we made a new one, ripping down a 2x6 to make it the same size as the original.

The result is that the porch is done except for the roof and a couple more trim pieces. We still haven't put up the old stair railing, but we'll have to make a new one for the west side, since there was only one before.

We also spent some time cleaning the downstairs of the house, organizing the lumber, sweeping and cleaning up. Despite the fact that the floors are in bad shape, the walls are cracked, and the woodwork is in various stages of being stripped, the house looks good. It's feeling like it will be a home.

The next two weeks, there won't be much happening. My mother is coming for a visit on Wednesday and will be here through the weekend, and then the following weekend we are going to a wedding, and then having the BAHA House Tour. Our next work weekend probably won't be until the weekend of November 6th and 7th.

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