Tuesday, June 17, 2014

South Dormer Overview

Before I get underway, please allow me to apologize for the long hiatus in the Lucian Wilson biography. There are some late leads I want to chase down before I continue, and I don't have much time for that right now.

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Wear patterns are different for each little microclimate around the house. As we have seen, the microclimate around the north dormer is surprisingly harsh. There is a breeze from the south-southwest that blows relentlessly across the front of the house up there, and it whips around the north corner of the north dormer with a surprising turbulence on even the calmest days. As I showed you, this wind over the course of the many decades wore a visible bevel into the lower left corner of the leftmost casing board. This wind drives the rain into every nook and cranny of that dormer, which is why it was in such poor condition.

In relative terms, the south dormer is in pretty good shape. Its sashes survived, albeit barely, and there is no significant evidence of water damage. Little of its exterior skin needed replacement. On the other hand, it did get the same sort of beating from the sun that the south elevation did. The siding on the south side of the dormer has had all of the softwood eroded away at least half an inch down, the front casing boards are nearly as thrashed as were those on the north, and there are instances of physical impact damage that must have come from long-gone tree branches, the most dramatic of which was a huge crack in the window frame on the south side that I repaired at the very start of the work a decade ago.

Here is a short (three-minute) video showing the condition of the dormer at the start of work; it will show you what needs to be done much more efficiently than I can with just text and pictures.

As you can see in the video, this dormer's in considerably better shape than the north dormer was; there doesn't appear to be much remedial carpentry necessary, at least so far.

On the other hand, I do have some extensive plastic surgery ahead of me, especially on the gingerbread running along the top of the window casing. By "plastic", of course, I mean lots of epoxy, but I also plan to use Bondo to resurface the vertical casing boards (which I will do without removing them). I used Bondo a great deal in my restoration work on the Doll House (our Culver City home), and it has held perfectly well for fifteen years now. It's much harder to shape than WoodEpox, but it's faster, considerably less expensive, and perfectly suited to large, flat expanses like the casing boards.

All aboard the VOC-Particulates Express! Please keep all hands and arms inside the blog at all times.

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"Keep it down up there, willya? Girls just wanna catch Zs."


  1. With all those VOC's, how is anyone going to survive. Squirrel

    Seriously, that dormer looks like it will take a lot of bondo to patch it up. But I know you'll still do, as usual, a fabulous job!

  2. What adorable kitties! Looks like they feel warm and cozy in that great old house. Never will I think all anyone has to do is slap on a new coat of paint. But in this case, it is worth it when you see the results!!!


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