28 October 2009

A Pissed-Off Pussy

Poor little Bertie!  On Saturday morning I noticed that his right ear was all swollen like a balloon.  Of course I couldn't get to the vet until Monday, so I took him in and the diagnosis was hematoma caused by ear mites.  Somehow the mites made his ear fill up with blood.

I had to leave him to have an operation the next day to drain the pocket and quilt his ear back together.  That's right.  Quilt his ear back together.  He ended up staying two nights and I just went and got him.  He is having quite a problem navigating.  He wants to travel close to the walls and objects instead of just going down the middle and keeps bumping into things.  I think they fastened the cone too narrow and want to widen it out a bit so he can eat and see and not be all squished in there, but he won't let me do it right now.  It's held together with duct tape, so will be quite the project.

I have a couple kitties traumatized under the bed right now because they saw this monster in their kitchen.  Sibley is acting quite courageous and stalking Bertie to get a good sniff.  Three of the kitties have not seen him yet, so there will be more drama later.  I took the hood off one of the litter boxes so he can use it, but that may prove to be the most attractive box in the house.  (Not in the pretty sense.)

I have to take him back in two weeks to get the stitches out and he has to wear the collar the whole time.  We'll see.  His poor little ear is covered by pink sutures.

17 October 2009

Storm Windows Finished


They're done! The hardest part was fiddling around with the hooks and eyebolts to hold them in.  There wasn't a lot of room between the storms and the windows, and there was a quarter-round trim piece holding the windows in, so had to screw to that.  Not being able to stretch out the length of the hook makes the storms a little jiggly.  The maid's room feels warmer already.  Next is replacing some torn insulation and eradicating some bird condos

Fall is so depressing.  It's my most unfavorite time of year next to winter.

The only saving grace is fall crocuses.

11 October 2009

Installing Spring Bronze Weatherstripping

While the putty is drying on the storm windows I have finished two coats of exterior paint on the multi-paned windows and shaved the edges down a little to make room for the spring bronze weatherstripping.

I purchchased a box of it and the bronze nails to install it with here.  It is a little hard to work with if you are doing this by yourself, and another person holding the ends down would have helped a whole lot, but I got 'er done.


It's really easy to cut with tinsnips.  I laid it on the floor after measuring around two sides and the bottom of the opening, standing on the coil with one foot and measuring and cutting and holding it down with the other foot.  The nails go through it like butter and they are placed about an inch apart.

At the corners, to get a nice crease, I nailed down to near the bottom then placed a block of wood in the corner and hit it from two sides with a hammer to bend the bronze.  At the end, instead of cutting off the excess I just bent it to a 45 degree angle.

For the top piece I measured about an inch longer and bent the ends and stuck them behind the side pieces and hammered them in.

The hardest part is the last--bending the weatherstripping to have "spring".  You take a screwdriver or flat scraper and insert it under the strip and pull towards you all along the length of the strip.  I then inserted my windows and temporarily tacked them in with scraps of wood because I will have to take them out again next week sometime when the putty finally dries and I give the storms two coats of exterior paint. 

I had intended to also add the missing outside sash trim at this time, but don't have the router bit I need ($97!!) to put the right profile on it.  I had a carpenter lined up to do this for me but just before I was walking out the door he asked me what profile I needed.  I said that I had indicated which one in my email, but I guess he didn't read it, because he said he had no panel bits at all.  Oh well.  Greg!  Come to Michigan and bring your panel bit!


By the way, I'm loving the fact that Blogger finally got their act together and made picture insertion so much easier!  You all know what I mean!

07 October 2009

Making Storm Windows

Following are the steps I'm using in making storms for these windows, which I had made 15 years ago to go in the wall that was repaired because it was rotten from the water eating away at it for years (previous owner).

First I measured the space, bought the wood, cut and mitered it, then routed a channel on the inside edge of the outside of the window with the bit in the lower right of this fuzzy picture (sorry!).

I am a router novice, but am learning.  I made two passes a little over 1/8" deep each to make a nice deep shelf for the glass about half-way through the depth of the frame.  It ended up being about 1/2" deep.

Then I assembled the frame with glue and corner clamps and then secured it on the back side with flat screw-on corner braces, since I don't have a fancy biscuit-cutter for joining.  Note to self:  Never use the table saw for mitering again!

After painting an undercoat on the whole frame I purchased glass and put it in with glazier's points.  Gotta admit, that routing looks sweet!
Then I smushed glazier's putty around the frame, covering the points.  It's ok to be a little messy at this point--just don't get putty all over the glass.
Then take the putty knife--be sure it is not rusty and rough--and start at a corner, tilting it at an angle that meets the top edge of the frame on the other side and is tight to the bottom of the frame on the other.  Easier done than said.  It is about a 45 degree slant on the knife.  Just keep it nice and firm--use two hands if that helps--and slowly drag it to the other corner.  At the corner, lift the knife up making a nice bevel in the corner.  If your putty is fresh, this will go quickly.
AAAACCCKKKK  I don't believe it!  I ran out of putty 8 inches from being finished!  This was a new 8 oz container and it didn't even do two windows roughly 36" by 34".  Must keep that in mind.  I'm going out later and was going to stop at Meijer's on my way home, so will have to add another container to the list.  It will take days to dry, so adding the final 8" won't be a problem.  I have to put another coat of paint on the multi-paned windows anyway and then put the spring bronze weatherstripping around the opening.

I'm going to hold the storms in with hooks and eyes as I don't want to climb a latter and hang them from the outside, although this would be the best way to do them.  These windows are going to be fixed-in-place windows so I'll just have to remove the inside moldings if and when the storms need attention in the future.

04 October 2009

Buy Locally

I really want to support local businesses instead of national chains, but it's hard.  It's really hard.

I'm finally getting around to weatherizing the former maid's room that had an exterior wall replacement in 1995.  Has it really been that long?  I had stuck some insulation between the studs on the inside and called it done until it was remodeled into a bigger bathroom/laundry.  Well, no timeline on when THAT will happen, yet, but the windows needed attention.

When I removed them I found that some of the putty has dried out, some new paint is called for, and there is some rot starting on the bottom of one where the gutter drips onto the sill.  There was also some rot starting on the outside sash, so I gouged it out and got out the WoodEpox and LiquidWood and took care of that problem.  Also silicone caulked where necessary and painted the trim and sill.  I undercoated the inside of the sash and sanded the edges.  I need to take off about 1/8 " on a side and bottom because I'm installing spring bronze weatherstripping around these windows when I put them back in.

While I had the windows out I thought I might as well replace the decorative trim that went on the outside sash and build storm windows.  This is what precipitated the trip to the local lumberyard.

This local business, about one mile away, has been around for probably over 100 years at this site, but has really trimmed back on products and services.  If you want a really nice piece of clear pine instead of sorting through hundreds of holey, bent, twisted, and rotted pieces of wood at Menard's or Home Depot this is the place to go.  You also pay well for it.

I needed, ultimately (2) pieces of 2" x 1" x 10' and (2) 2-1/2" x 1" x 12' for my trim and storms.  I like to pick out my own wood.  I also asked if they had a carpenter on site who would make my trim.  The answer was "not today" but he is in on Friday.  (This was last Wednesday.)  I said "Never mind.  Do you have a card of a carpenter?"  They gave me one and I will be seeing him on Monday--hopefully he will work out because I periodically need a carpenter.

I headed out to the wood shop after horrified looks from the counter staff.  I told them I wanted to pick out my own wood and had been doing it there for years.  (I have gone there periodically over the years.)  The worker in the wood shop was nice and polite but denser than waterlogged cedar.  I told him what I wanted and he started wandering around looking for it.  There were no stacks of lumber cut to size back there.  They seem to cut all on demand.  We found two nice pieces--one 12' long and one 14' long.  I explained over and over and over what I wanted him to do and finally found out that I had to pay for all the cuts to make the pieces I wanted.  Vertical cuts were $1.25 and horizontal cuts were $.50.  Naturally I wanted to make as few as possible.  The wood was 6" wide, so this guy wanted to make two vertical cuts in each and lop off 2' from the 14 footer.  That was unacceptable and I finally convinced him just to cut at 2" vertically on each piece and cut off 2' from the 14 footer.  This took quite a while to get across.  I then went inside the store to get the lumber order for him to get my order.  This had morphed from me wanting 4 pieces of lumber to "creating" 4 pieces of lumber and when she wrote it up it was $45!  I suspected it wasn't right, but went out to have it cut.  The worker also said that it wasn't right but he would get them to revise it after he was done, and then he cut them at 2-1/2"!  I had lost patience, so said "That's fine.  Leave it like that."

I had been charged for the 14' piece of wood, even though I was leaving 2' behind.  This stuff was $1.52/bd foot.  I got a refund, but I think they made an error to my credit.  I tried to buy the other things I needed there, but they only had one corner brace in the box and they were 69 cents each.

It took so long there that I had no time left to go to the hardware store for the braces and sandpaper so I just went carefully home with my 12' boards sticking out of my 6' truck bed during rush-hour traffic.  I ended up going to Meijers later and got two packages of braces, 4 to a package, with all the screws for about $1.99/package.

I really want this business to succeed but don't see how they can if they sell wood like that.  I only had them rip it because I wanted the 12' pieces and they are too long for me to handle on the table saw by myself, not having a wood roller thingie. They do have nice wood, though.

I've cut and mitered the storm window pieces and routed out 1/2" for the glass to sit on and glued them up.  Tomorrow I'll screw the corner braces on and undercoat and paint them and Monday will go for some glass and if I get up early enough, get it put in.  I have to use corner braces because I don't have a bisquit joiner or screw pocket gizmo.

It started raining the day after I took the windows out, so we'll see if the weather will cooperate until I get these holes in my house filled.