Saturday, April 16, 2011

You Always Hurt The One You Love

The patching of the belt course proceeds apace, but there's nothing much new to see there. It's a slow, tedious job at this point, because once I place a batch of epoxy putty I have to leave it undisturbed until it cures, which can take hours, and I really have to patch it in a steady progression from one side to the other so I can establish the line and stick to it.

So I've started working far away from wet putty, on the west window casing (the one towards the front of the house). As I've shown before, it's in bad shape, especially at the top.

If I had a table saw, I'd simply fabricate new cap pieces. If pigs had wings, they'd be winged pigs. That would be something, wouldn't it? Something like really smart pigeons, I would imagine. In any event, I need to epoxify those cap pieces, but unlike the belt course, I can't simply rehabilitate them in place and expect to do a lasting, good-looking job. They're too loose, too riddled with rusty nails, and sun-blasted right through. So I extracted all the nails—most of them came out with a hand tug—and when I removed the cap pieces, I could see that the backing piece was cracked, so I had to remove the scalloped front pieces as well in order to get at the crack.

It's the Italian in me, I suppose, but I always get a little emotional when I have to start yanking things off the Farm House; it feels like I'm operating on a loved one. It was especially bad because I became distracted by an accident over on the nearby boulevard as I was removing one of the scalloped pieces and broke it. There's no real harm done; I can glue the piece back together, and in any event some damage is unavoidable when prying off old trim. Nevertheless, I am quite annoyed at my own clumsiness.

All told, taking off the trim should make rehabilitating the casing easier. At least, it will make it easier to do a good job. Now I can back-prime and caulk everything: the reason the cap pieces failed so thoroughly is because they were largely exposed in the back by the notch in the siding, which also left the backing piece unprotected (which caused it to fail too). Moreover, there was no way to get paint on it, or for that matter on the siding behind it. Speaking of paint, if you will examine the unpainted part of the siding above the backing piece, just to the right of it you can see a little of the original yellow color. Note also there is evidence here of only two coats of paint. Two coats of paint over 125-plus years: they just don't make paint like that anymore.

Properly protected and epoxy-fortified, this whole area should do much better over the next 125-plus years. That is, assuming it gets painted more frequently this time around.


  1. A true Victorian will cherish a fresh coat of paint, like a new dress.

  2. Wow, just looking at the beating the house has taken over father time. What a challenge!


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