Wednesday, November 9, 2011


With the rain all cleared out for a few days, I set about the task of finishing the reassembly of the west casing so I can get it primed before the rain returns.

After cutting the new cap pieces to fit, I removed them and prepared them for their life out in the elements. End grain is like a bundle of straws, ready to suck up any available moisture at the first opportunity. With the ends of the cap pieces pointing up at their junction, it's no surprise that the old cap pieces ended up looking like this after 126 years:

In order to prevent this with the new cap pieces, I gave the ends a pre-emptive drink of LiquidWood, standing them on end in it until they had drunk their fill. I did this on the outer ends for good measure, then wiped off the excess and gave them a ride in the dryer.

This permanently seals the end grain, and effectively counteracts the tendency of the redwood to splinter at the ends.

Then, I primed the cap pieces and aprons on all sides. The world would be a better place if everyone backprimed.

Actually, I've been doing a lot of work on the aprons behind the scenes since last we saw them in May, when I was having trouble getting the epoxy I had soaked them in to cure. I wanted them to look good so that they would blend in with the new cap pieces, so I carefully patched and sanded them. After several patch/sand cycles, they still had a great many little divots too small for the epoxy to fill.

So I pulled out an old weapon I hadn't used for years: Hasco brushing putty. This is a very fine-grained putty that brushes on as a very thick paint, but is sanded smooth like a putty once it dries. One applies it in a thick coat over a piece, then sands it level with very fine sandpaper. Its fine grain fills tiny irregularities, leaving a nice, smooth surface that takes paint readily.

SmooOOOOOth! By the way, it is now marketed in this country under the Fine Paints of Europe brand.

Anyway, with all the needed pieces primed up and ready, I re-attached the cap pieces, then nailed the apron pieces in place. That wasn't easy, because even after rehabilitation the aprons still bear the dimensional distortions of all those years of being out in the weather, so I had to account for all the distortions in my positioning of them. But I got everything to line up properly in due course.

Hey, now! Won't that wow the neighborhood.

* * *

"You missed a spot."


  1. Smooooth! That putty is the spreadin' stuff! Looks like new!

  2. I remember the Hasco and Fine Paints of Europe from an earlier blog episode. Nothing illegal I hope! :-)

    So, as I was reading this I was wondering what the local Gestopo and you neighbors might think; would they appreciate all this careful craftsmanship. Were they wowed?

    Incredibly fine work there Rob




  3. Thanks, Jon. Haven't heard from the neighborhood for several months. We usually gets lots of nice comments at Halloween, but we didn't participate this year; with Nellie not here to greet the kids, it was just too sad to contemplate.

    As far as the paint is concerned, they sell Fine Paints of Europe products right down the street, so they are cool here (at least for now).


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