Thursday, November 10, 2011

Rendezvous at Furnace Gap

Today I worked on filling in Furnace Gap, the passage cut out of the belt course back in 1943 for the vent from the old floor furnace that used to sit at the bottom of the stairs. 

The first thing I did was to sink a few screws into the wood surrounding Furnace Gap in the upper trim piece. These will serve to link the putty mass mechanically to the wood, in order to prevent cracks around the patch later on. 

Not that the putty won't stick well to the wood, but these screws will keep the epoxy moving in concert with the wood as it expands and contracts with changing temperature.

Then, I attached the pieces of my ad hoc mold:

I made them wide enough to patch the divots adjacent to the hole at the same time.

Once the mold was firmly attached, I pressed epoxy up into the mold with my gloved fingers, making sure it filled the void completely and completely enveloped the embedded screws. Then, I leveled the surface with a putty knife. It took three ounces of putty.

I stopped at this point because it will make accurate forming of the patch easier. This way, I can establish a nice flat surface for the overhang, and build in the small gap between the two trim pieces much more easily, without having to depend entirely upon carving it out later. Carrying this gap across the patch is essential to the patch's blending in imperceptibly. 

I built a ridge into the bottom and kept open a path to the gap in the back so that the bottom half of the patch will key in to the top half and to the surrounding wood as well. 

* * *

"Let's see. . .f/5.6 at 1/125 sec. That should work. Now where's the danged shutter button?"

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