Sunday, August 10, 2008

Help Wanted

Oh, gosh, is it 2:45 AM again already?

No joy today-- yesterday-- Saturday-- whatever--borrowing a neighbor's large pry bar and/or a neighbor to help me finish getting the first long baseboard piece off the north dining room wall. The likely candidates seemed all to be out frivoling.

Me, I did not frivol. I got busy doing something else.

Like pop the plastic window stops out of the casings in the dining room. As I was at it, I got confirmation (if any was needed) that the metal replacement windows were put in by the POs-1:
This wasn't a bad or difficult job. Removing that plastic trim from three windows today (yesterday!) took a lot less time than removing the first two pieces had from the first window one or two years ago.

And I figured out that if you hold your wide-blade spackle knife between the woodwork and the pry bar, the woodwork doesn't get quite so dented.

With the plastic trim off, I was able to see that on the double west window, at least, the jamb and header facings are of 1x material, not 2x as I'd thought. Maybe after all I can take all that down and strip it in the basement, too. It needs it, since you can see about 3/8" along their outer edges, all the way around, and it's simply caked with paint.

Removed one header facing piece. Cracked a bit; I'd have to glue it, and ultimately did.

Not sure now why I didn't pull down any more. Maybe because I was contemplating the jamb facing pieces and got to wondering if the one in the middle sat on the window stool, or ran down behind it. So it seemed good to find out if the stool could be easily removed. I mean, last winter I had the idea, somehow, that that piece extended way in, such that if I were even able to get it out, I'd see daylight under my windows. No idea why I'd think that, I just did.

But I was wrong, and happy to be wrong. Once the caulk bead between the back of the stool and the front of the window case was removed, the stool came away easily.

Well, mostly. I found it was nailed to a couple of pieces of . . . okay, don't tell me, I know what it's called, I've drawn enough wood window details in my day . . . Well, frankly, it looks like blocking to me, and it came away along with the stool, and not in too great a condition, either.

(This material I may replace with new when I put the trim back together. It's not visible or anything.)

Still, that wasn't too hard! I went to pry off the stools at the two dining room piano windows, too.

But they wouldn't budge. Tried taking a mallet to them and trying to knock them upward. No go.

And I looked at all those windows and really, I need to take them out to strip the jambs and headers, even if I can't replace them with double-glazed historically-appropriate wood sash just now; and if I am going to replace them, I have to take out the existing metal units, temporarily at least, to get an idea of the existing conditions so I can design the new windows properly. And even the little ones look heavy.

At this point a major case of frustration set in, hard and congested as old putty. After four straight days of working on this, I Just Didn't Want to Anymore. It wasn't the simple frustration of laziness, it was the sick frustration of realizing how much I've still got ahead of me on this job and how much of it will involve muscle I haven't got and, oh, damn, what's the use??

So I went outside and tied up tomatoes and pulled weeds and fiddled about with the lawn sprinkler and liquid fertilizer in the new pump sprayer till nearly 9:00 PM. After a bite of supper (featuring homegrown green beans), it was down the basement to strip the two pieces of trim removed today (aka yesterday).

Had the double window stool about 2/3 done when I 1) ran out of stripper in one gallon can and went to get another, and 2) noticed that my right index finger was feeling wet and funny.

Oh, bugger, the finger's worn out on the expensive rubber gloves I looked all over for and bought last spring! What could I do?

What any sensible DIYer would do at that hour-- mend the finger with duct tape.

And mended it again, when the stripper melted the glue on the first mend.

So there you go. Two more pieces stripped, to bring the tally to 50.

But I do, certainly do, have to figure out where I can get some help on this. Preferably someone I can bribe with free fresh vegetables.

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