Pennsylvania Limestone Farmhouse Renovations to an 1863 farmhouse built of limestone

July 1, 2012

Installing the Vanity

Filed under: Front door,Interior,mudroom — Duane Diefenbach @ 5:16 pm

I put a wipe-on polyurethan satin finish on the cabinet and the trim around the top of the sink. Next came the installation, which wasn’t all that bad (just 2 trips to the hardware store for the correct drain fittings).

I next worked on making a raised panel door. I thought it came out quite well and I had little trouble fitting the mortise and tenon joints.  And I have become much more proficient using hand planes and scrapers to clean up saw burn marks and level the wood where 2 joints come together.  Here’s a picture of the door with one coat of finish on the raised panel (I do that before assembling the door).

The only problem was that the opening of the cabinet is 27-5/8″ tall and I made the door 25-5/8″ tall…

If you need a cherry door that is 25-5/8″ x 18-1/4″ let me know, I will let it go cheap. Unfortunately it’s too tall for the kitchen cabinets (and they all need doors!).

Here’s the correct sized door with  the first coat of finish drying.

While waiting for the glue to cure after I assembled this door I cut a backsplash for the vanity. I simply used a piece of slate.

The other project on hold has been the front door (see the blog entry). I bought an entry lockset and 3 bronze hinges on Ebay, and ordered the interlocking weatherstripping. All should arrive this week. Here is what the lockset and hinges look like.

So our new door will have parts from the 1850s and 1880s, and wood from the 2010s, but I hope it all comes together.

June 28, 2012

Front Door and Powder Room

Filed under: Front door,Interior — Duane Diefenbach @ 7:57 pm

Work on the door has not progressed very much partly because the lockset I ordered has been back-ordered for 2 months. I finally cancelled the order. I wanted to install a federal-style mortise lockset, which would have a simple brass knob and keyhole (oftentimes silvered) but I couldn’t find an antique one for a left-hand door.

I think we’re going to instead buy an antique Victorian style entry lockset that was made in the 1870s to 1880s. However, I need to install the lockset before I can install the bronze interlocking weather stripping. The weatherstripping will go around the sides and top of the door. On the bottom I will install EPDM (rubber) roofing material to act as a door sweep on the bottom of the door.  To do that I had to rout a dado in the bottom of the door.

The photo below shows the multiple mistakes I made with the router and had to patch in pieces with epoxy and try again. I am now pretty good at fixing these types of mistakes.

Below is a photo of the door showing the jig I had to make to support the router when cutting the dado in the bottom of the door. Also, there is a close-up of the joints and dowels holding the tenons in place. I used epoxy to glue everything together. This door is going to be REALLY heavy (like 150 lbs!).

So, once this door has a lock installed then I can get the door frame (which will include the transom, sidelites, and panels) installed in the house. Right now this is what the door frame looks like.

In the meantime, I am working on the vanity for the powder room just off the mudroom. This room has had a function toilet for a number of months but no sink.  The solution is on its way.  The design will be a cherry cabinet that supports an undermount sink on a slate top.  Here’s the cabinet:

The vanity top was constructed by first using 5/8″ plywood base with the oval cut out to allow the sink to fit. Then I fit cherry trim that will serve as edging and enclose the slate top. I glued the slate to the plywood using construction adhesive and marine epoxy to fill the gap between the slate and the cherry edging. I used a carbide-bit in a jigsaw to cut the oval for the sink and carbide-tipped hole saws to cut the openings for the faucet. Regular hole saws finished the cuts through the plywood.

Here’s a photo of the slate installed and epoxy hardening:

After the epoxy hardened overnight I then sanded everything smooth and used a 3/8″ roundover bit to round the cherry edging. I am now working on finishing the cabinet and top. Here’s the top ready for a finish on the cherry (the slate just gets mineral oil):

The next post should have the finished vanity and the installation – except I still need to make the door for the cabinet. It should be pretty easy except for accomodating the baseboard trim (not much space to work in the powder room).

April 16, 2012

Mudroom Progress

Filed under: Front door,mudroom — Duane Diefenbach @ 7:23 am

The past several weeks have focused on the mudroom – I installed the LAST floor in the house when I tiled this room. Overall this went quite well although my decision to minimize some tile cutting resulted in a threshold gap that accentuates what is not square. When you come and visit I’ll let you figure out where that occurred!

So now the mudroom has a tile floor and (almost) all the trim installed. Because there will eventually be some cabinets and counter one corner does not have baseboard installed. Also, the real front door has yet to be constructed so trim is lacking around the entry door (because that door is temporary).

Here as some pics of the mudroom

What I have left to do in this room is to 1) strip and paint the sliding doors to the  powder room and the laundry room, 2) construct and install doors for the closet, 3) construct and install the front door, and 4) completely finish the interior trim.

This weekend I spent most of my time constructing the front door. A couple of years ago I purchase the sidelites, transom, and door to a house constructed in Bald Eagle Valley in the mid-1800s. The glass in the sidelites and transom was original and very wavy but a couple of panes were broken. Fortunately, the house (in Beech Creek) where I bought the interior doors for our addition had a sash in the attic with the same glass.

The sidelites and transom lites were strangely cared for. They were painted with milk paint and coated with shellac (typical of the time period), but at some point someone reversed them in the entryway so that the shellac was facing out… Why?  The only reason I can figure is that they wanted the muntons to “greet” guests instead the the glass glazing? Completely opposite of any window ever made. Anyway, that meant the shellac turned black from the sun and mold. A real mess to clean up but the transom and sidelites are now stripped and primed.

I have accomplished most of the construction of the frame to hold the door, sidelites, and transom. Overall is it 8′ tall and 6-1/2′ wide. I have no idea how the original frame was constructed but had to construct one that will be solid and hold all the components correctly (e.g., the side panels and door cannot be wider than the transom).

Here is a photo of the frame with the transom and 1 sidelite and panel in place (temporarily). The bottom plate of the frame is made from red oak but the rest is white pine.

The main components are 2″ thickness to add stability around the door. the pieces join with either mortise and tenon or dovetail joints.

I made the 2-inch and 3/4-inch vertical pieces either side of the doorway because there has to be a 4-inch space between the door and side panels if the door is to be ~36″ wide. To cover that space I made some fluted trim to cover the gap, except on the interior side it is only about 3″ wide because of the 5/8″ x 1-3/4″ rabbet for the door jam.

I am thinking of making the door out of white oak instead of a painted pine door. That means I have to buy some 8/4 for the stiles and rails, but I have some quarter-sawn white oak I can use for the panels. Next up is sanding, assembling, and priming the door the frame.

February 25, 2012

Nice Accomplishments This Week

Filed under: Interior,kitchen,trim — Duane Diefenbach @ 9:15 pm

I put a good bit of effort into the kitchen and dining area this week. I installed the base for the backsplash for the countertops. This was a plywood backing with a cherry trim on top so that a 3″ wide slate piece could be installed. Once this base was in place I could trim the windows in the kitchen. This trim is only 3″ wide whereas the rest of the house is 4″ trim, but there just wasn’t enough space for 4″. I don’t think it matters given that these are the only windows in the room so it’s not noticeable that the dimensions are different.  All this will look much nicer when I build the cherry panels above the range hood.

I finished the trim around the doorway to the mudroom and the sliding door to the back porch is finished.

But I think the most rewarding accomplishment has been fitting the slate to the backsplash.

The final punchlist is getting shorter, but so are the number of days until 31 August!

A reader had asked how we joined the sheetrock to the masonry in the kitchen. Actually, we didn’t. My intention was to fit trim to the abutt the masonry, but I think just leaving the sheetrock as close as possible to the masonry, but leaving a space looks nice and clean. Here are some closer photos of where the two surfaces meet, but note that we have some work to do cleaning up paint marks on the masonry. I also include a close-up of where the broom closet meets the masonry (see this post).

February 19, 2012

Hundreds of feet…

Filed under: Interior,trim — Duane Diefenbach @ 9:34 pm

…of trim.

It’s amazing what one room can require in trim. And when you take a rough-cut board and plane to thickness, trim to width and rough length, sand, prime, and paint it just takes sooo long.  Then you have to measure, cut to length, nail (thank goodness for air nailers), fill nail holes, and paint. It really takes a long time.

So I pretty much have the “dining area” off the kitchen completed. Except I still need to mill, paint, and install the trim detail that goes on top of the baseboard as well as one header above the doorway to the mudroom.

Also, I have installed the trim in the powder room that adjoins the mudroom, and milled and painted all the trim needed for the mudroom. Once I install the mudroom tile floor I can then complete the trim. I have made a punch list of items to finish before I declare the house “done” (which will never really happen) and it’s only 3 pages long.

Also, this weekend we cut wood. I think we now have enough for next winter (since we didn’t burn that much this year). The kids really enjoyed helping (Not!).

But it was a good workout…

January 31, 2012

From Door to Shelf

Filed under: Interior — Duane Diefenbach @ 6:48 am

Last week I bought a 36″ wide interior fire-rated door from PSU salvage for $10. Cut in half that’s about 12′ feet of shelving for less than a dollar a foot. The only problem is that the core is chipboard and so you have to attach an edging.

But with a couple of brackets and conduit for a hanging rod it’s a solid shelf at a fraction of the cost of anything you can buy at the hardware store.

January 27, 2012

Drawers and Cabinets

Filed under: Interior,kitchen,Master Bath — Duane Diefenbach @ 7:11 pm

Over the holidays I made drawers for our vanity that I installed about a year ago (see this post). They came out very well but the wood has aged a bit in the light and the walnut and cherry trim on the drawers has a slightly different hue than the vanity.

The next project I have been working on is to build and install the upper cabinets to go in the pantry area of the kitchen. The next set I ever do will turn out better but I think I have been able to hide most of my mistakes.

As you can see, a lot of doors need to be made for the kitchen. However, our cereals are no longer in a box on the floor near the cupboard. Lisa also has some organizing to do. But I was told I have to finish the drawers and cabinet doors for Molly’s window seat and bookcase (see this post for something that I was working on only 2 months ago!).

December 4, 2011

Doing Work Among Deer Seasons…

Filed under: Interior — Duane Diefenbach @ 9:11 pm

Thanksgiving is  a tough time to get work done on the house because of all the deer seasons. We visited my sister in Kentucky where Molly shot a doe. Then immediately upon our return we headed to Dauphin County, PA to hunt the opening day. Molly saw a nice 8-10 pt but didn’t get a shot. I have yet to see a deer this season. Anyway, I have managed to fit the cherry panel that completes the broom closet and duct chase in the kitchen. I don’t have a very recent photo of the pre-existing condition except way back here – – but the panel with the light switches has been exposed wiring and framing since almost the beginning.

Here’s the result: (notice the nearby dogs and dog toys lying about)

I am also trying to finish the window seat in Molly’s room. This weekend I finished the bookcase shelves and the frame around the bookcase. All (!) that is left is to make 2 drawers and 2 doors below the bench and bookcase. Please note the professional model in her Snow Ball dress (not the short one covered in hair – that’s Hazen). Hopefully the upholsterer will finish the bench cushion so that the space will be “use-able” sooner than later.

November 13, 2011

Back Upstairs

Filed under: Interior — Duane Diefenbach @ 3:47 pm

Since I completed the lower kitchen cabinets (but not doors) and countertops, Lisa has directed me to complete the window bench for Molly. This is the last year she could really enjoy it because she will be off to college next year.

I have the cabinet cases constructed, the raised panels installed, and the face frame for the lower cabinets attached. The cabinet cases are plywood because they won’t be seen, but the exposed wood is all black walnut.

The two spaces on the left will be drawers and the space under the bookshelf will have doors. Lisa has ordered a cushion for the window seat. I still need to finish the face frame for the bookcase and make the shelving. Of course, I still need to make the drawers and doors. Then it will be back to the kitchen cabinets (upper), although we have the tile for the mudroom so that may happen next… who knows.

September 18, 2011

More Kitchen work

Filed under: Interior,kitchen — Duane Diefenbach @ 9:09 pm

Last weekend I cut the slat for the countertops to the left of the stove, applied thinset, and let the thinset cure all week. This weekend I filled the gaps with fiberglass resin and then sanded everything smooth! Here are photos of the results.

The resulting dust is a royal pain and I hope if we ever do this again we finish the kitchen before we start using it…

I have been informed the next task is to complete the window seat and bookcase in Molly’s room. Stay tuned.

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