Our New Old House

1918 Bungalow

Flower

Archive for the ‘living room’ Category

A fire on the hearth once again

Back in October, the glass cracked in the wood burning stove. It’s not safe to use with cracked glass, so I got right on the phone to the company that installed it for me. The stove was still under warranty and I needed to go through an authorized dealer to get the part. Unfortunately, after getting the process started, this dealer stopped returning my calls and emails. I checked with some other authorized dealers of this brand of stove but with no luck. I finally contacted the manufacturer to report that their preferred method of using authorized dealers to service their stoves had broken down. Fortunately, their warranty service provider was very helpful and with some info about my stove, got a new glass panel shipped to me at no cost. So after suffering through the worst of this winter’s cold snaps without the use of our stove, this weekend we got to work replacing the broken glass.

I’m not sure how the break happened in the first place. This type of glass is actually a form of tempered ceramic and it’s supposed to withstand the hottest of temperatures. From what I understand about glass in general, it could have been a fault in the glass itself that finally gave way. I could have been that it was screwed into the door unevenly (as we discovered when taking it apart.) Some of the screws holding it in place were wrenched down really tightly and that may have caused it to crack when everything expanded with the heat.

The bolts have to withstand pretty high heat too. They hold the little metal clip that curves over the edge of a round metal bar that holds the glass snug against the inside of the door.

Here are the clips and bolts disassembled.

Our cat, Charlatan, was on hand to provide proper supervision.

The bolts were pretty tight, either from having been tightened really hard at installation, or from all the heat. With some muscle, K.O. was able to get them all undone while I steadied the door.

The broken pieces came out pretty cleanly. You can see the braided gasket still attached to some parts of the glass. The new piece of glass had this gasket already attached.

We gave the door a quick cleaning to make sure there wouldn’t be any debris between the door and the glass.

While I held the new piece of glass and the bracing bar in place, K.O. carefully re-assembled the clips.

Using a flathead screwdriver in one hand and a Phillips screwdriver in the other, K.O. held each clip in place so it wouldn’t twist sideways as the bolt was tightened.

Ta-da! Shiny new glass!

A fire glows warmly on our hearth once again, keeping our home toasty warm on a very low budget.

Even our fluffy overlord approves.

Keepin’ It Classy

Here at Our New Old House we like to promote participation in democracy, even when sawing mitered corners for quarter-round trim.

2013-06-30 11.43.14

Here are the pieces for the living room and dining room cut and ready to stain.

2013-06-30 11.45.05

We went with 3/4″ rather than the usual 1/2″ quarter-round trim because the gap between the baseboard and the floor was pretty big. We wanted to make sure to cover it all up and give it a nice clean look. Take a look at these before and after pictures. I think we’re well on our way to nice and clean.

2013-07-01 21.52.07

2013-07-01 21.52.22

Controlled Chaos

Chaos is no stranger at Our New Old House.

2013-05-26 12.36.08

2013-05-26 12.36.47

Fortunately, this is controlled chaos. And out of the chaos, a beautiful room full of woodwork is emerging.

The masked man lurking in the shadows is K.O. Armed with a sander and an indomitable will, he helped me sand and prep all the woodwork in the living room.

2013-05-26 13.17.43

2013-05-26 13.17.53

Now it looks amazing!

2013-05-26 18.26.27

We also installed the freshly stained stops on the windows and put a final coat of sealant on them.

2013-05-31 20.30.28

Living room windows: COMPLETE!

2013-05-31 21.19.42

Andronicus, stain not thy floors with blood.

Clouds and eclipses may stain both moon and sun but it was our job to stain these floors with Cherry Minwax.

IMG_6407

But first, Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner. (Does anyone else think that sounds a little dirty?)

IMG_6404

When I did the front bedroom floor back in (omigosh) 2010, I applied everything using a brush. It was a small room and I wanted to be very careful about how much and how evenly everything was applied.

IMG_6445

Ha! Remember that hair?

This time around I had a much larger area to cover and I also had help to keep things moving so we wouldn’t leave the stain on too long. We used wooly pads on the end of broom handles to spread everything on the floors.

Here’s the Pre-Stain going on in the bedroom. (Tee-hee!)

Untitled

I still wiped everything by hand to make sure I got even coverage.

2012-11-05 21.45.23

We had some fun with the rag bag.

Untitled

Then we started applying the stain a section at a time.

Untitled

Once that was done we used basically the same technique to apply polyurethane. We used a variety specially made for floors. It was a little thicker than usual polyurethane (it looked and felt like maple syrup) and allowed application of a second coat without needing to sand in between.

Here are some more pictures of the staining and sealing process, in no particular order.

2012-11-05 19.10.27

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

Hardwood Floors: To Sand or Not to Sand?

A lot of deliberation went into my decision to sand the finish off the hardwood floors.

Once I got the carpet padding up, I got some help from a couple of experts in identifying what issues I’d have to consider. I knew that the floor had been refinished at least once and had been sanded very aggressively. When I removed the quarter-round trim from the baseboards I could see the original surface of the floor as it had been installed under the baseboard. There seemed to be a drastic difference between the original surface of the floor and the present surface. Whatever the actual measurement was, it made me worry that there would not be much left to sand before getting down to the tongue and groove between the boards.

I wasn’t able to get a very good picture illustrating this but if you look closely you can see a dark line just under the baseboard. That’s the original surface of the floor.

IMG_5818 Zoomed In

One expert took a razor blade and placed it between the boards at several points around the living room and dining room to see how far it would go in before hitting the tongue of the next board. In some places there was about a sixteenth of an inch, in some places more or less. It was very inconsistent. That led this expert to be very wary about the prospect of sanding the floor with a belt sander. He said that whoever sanded it so aggressively in the past probably did it to even out some “cupping” which means curving of the boards to make a wavy texture across the floor. They took off a lot of wood and didn’t leave us much to work with. He suggested removing the varnish using chemicals and only doing a light sanding before staining. He gave me a bid on what he would charge to do the chemical stripping and refinishing. I don’t remember how much the bid was but it was quite a bit more than I was hoping to pay, since it’s a very labor intensive process.

Since I have the skill to do it myself I thought about how long it might take me to do that but since I am only working on these things after my day job I decided I wouldn’t have the time to get the whole thing done if I did it myself.

Next I spoke to someone who is an expert at running a belt sander. I wanted to know how much the belt sander actually takes off if the floor doesn’t need leveling or anything. I hoped that just sanding enough to take the finish off and prepare it for staining would be possible with the amount of wood we had to work with. He took a look at the floor with me and assured me that with the right grade of sandpaper we could do what we needed in just two passes. One to take the finish off and one to smooth it for the stain. It would require a bit more detailed sanding by hand using a handheld orbital sander to get into areas that had cupped, but since cupping wasn’t a big problem, that wasn’t too daunting.

I rented the belt sander from Des Moines Rental and it came with an edge sander. They sold me a bunch of belts and pads for both sanders and promised to buy back whatever I didn’t use.

Over the next two days, our expert, Brian Smith, ran the belt sander while K.O. and I ran the edger and a handheld orbital sander. We did one pass with 80 grit sandpaper to get the finish off and then one pass with 100 grit sandpaper to prepare the floor for stain and sealant.

Untitled

20121029_221614

20121029_221735

Untitled

Because Brian went so easy with the belt sander, there were lots of spots where the floor had cupped a little where I needed to use the handheld orbital sander to get the rest of the varnish off. I did that detail work while K.O. did the edges and the corners and in three days or so we had the whole floor sanded and ready to be cleaned and stained.

Next post: “Andronicus, stain not thy floors with blood.”

You are currently browsing the archives for the living room category.