Our New Old House

1918 Bungalow


Archive for the ‘power tools’ Category

Are your sashes slotted? Would you like them to be?

When I left off in my last post (Window Prep Continues) I had removed the glazing putty and taken all the panes of glass out of the sashes to prep them for stripping at Shull’s.

I hope to do a more full-length post about Shull’s, but in case anyone needs to know, here are the basics: Shull’s is a furniture refinishing business in Valley Junction and they are the go-to place for having large things stripped of paint quickly and easily. From what I understand they have a large tank of chemicals and they submerge items to have the paint stripped off. Apparently they can do whole doors, and possibly larger items. Anyway, they had six sashes done for me within a day or so for about $130. For those items you just don’t want to spend the time stripping by hand, or for delicate pieces that need to have the paint soaked free, Shull’s is the place to go. (515) 255-9449

I got them back and my next step would be to cut a slot on each side of the sashes for the weatherstripping to fit into. For that I needed a router with a 5/32″ slotting bit. A Des Moines Rehabbers Club member was kind enough to loan me his plunge router and bit. Now, I LOVE power tools and I’m always excited to get my hands on a new one. This one was particularly fun and I was reluctant to give it back. I may just have to buy myself one someday and find things to use it on.


Here’s what the 5/32″ slotting bit looks like:



We had lots of fun at the Rehabbers Club Meeting demonstrating how to cut the slots for the weatherstripping.


And here are some pictures of how the slot looks. (Remember, the letters I etched in the sides are how I will match the sashes up to their original frames and panes of glass when I put them all back together.)




Don’t make the mistake I made here. In this next photo you can see I clamped the window on the side I had cut. I found out later the clamp had cracked the sash a little. I repaired it and all was well, but I learned my lesson. Only clamp the solid top and bottom. And use a rag so the clamp doesn’t bite into the wood.


I also damaged one of the muntins (that’s the wood between the small panes in an upper sash) when I was removing the glazing so I did a quick glue and clamp to repair that.



Here are my two damaged sashes waiting for the glue to set. The bottle of Citristrip is acting as a weight clamp for one of the sashes.


Now that the sashes were cut and repaired it was time to finish removing the remaining paint and varnish, give them a good sanding, and prepare them to be reglazed. Check back in my next post to see those steps.

Apprentice for a day, Part 1: Off the rails!

A few weeks ago I attended Bob Yapp‘s workshop about weatherizing windows. It was sponsored by the Center on Sustainable Communities.

Bob showed us a system of adding metal rails for the original wood sashes to run on that blocked air from coming around the sides of the sashes and helped the sashes open and close more smoothly.

Doug Burnett of Burnett Realty has started using the system on the windows in a 1910 farmhouse near Runnells and since I was just about to start my window project, he offered to let me come see how he’d done it and gave me some tips for how to put Bob Yapp’s suggestions into practice.

One of the things he showed me was that a circular saw could be used to make the slots for the metal rails. He used a table saw.



One modification Doug made to Bob’s plan was in his measurement for the top sash. Because the wheel for the sash cord is in the way, he couldn’t put the rail all the way to the top. But with stops on both sides of the sash, he wasn’t concerned about any cold air getting through at that spot. He measured the rail to start just below the wheel and end an inch below the bottom of the sash.

After he’d cut the length, he lopped off the corners to make them less sharp and more attractive.


One side of the rails is installed with a staple gun (the kind that’s like a nail gun run off an air compressor) like so:



The other side is installed with screws so it can be removed later if needed.

Doug drilled pilot holes into the strips between the corrugated ridges. He used a drill bit that was larger than needed to accommodate the shaft of the screw so that the screw head has room to sink into the strip and not catch on the sash as it slides up and down the rail. Drilling through the strip left some pretty bad burrs on the back of the strip, which would make it hard to slide the strip into place with the sash, so he used a belt sander to remove the burrs and smooth the back of the strips. A steel file or a rasp would work for this too.


These are the screws he used (took this picture so I’d know which screws to pick out at the hardware store):



Doug also replaced some of the sash cord.


We successfully installed the upper and lower sashes with the steel rails and there was much rejoicing. Mostly we ate cookies.

Check back with my next post to see how we prepped a newly constructed sash to be fitted for sash ropes and shaved down the bottom side of the sash to meet the angle of the sill. There’s much more to come!

Iron Chef Kelli-san

Today, this gross and smelly kitchen becomes Kitchen Stadium! But on this version of Iron Chef, we do not have a theme ingredient. We have a theme power tool! Witness the stunning culinary prowess as our Iron Chefs create a traditional American comfort food using only a Pro-Line Heat Gun!!! (It’s Iron Chef meets Red Green! Did I watch too much TV as a child? Yes. Yes I did.)


Alle cuisine!

[Announcer’s voice from the stands:] The most important thing to remember about making a toasted cheese sandwich is that the butter goes on the OUTSIDE! Let’s see if she remembers this crucial technique.


Beautifully done! You down there on the stadium floor! Ask her what she’s going to put inside the sandwiches! [Voiced over by a translator:] “I’m using a delicate blend of co-jack cheese, sliced extra thin at the local deli counter, and pre-packaged store-brand mozzarella cheese.” Back to you!


It seems she has handed off the bag of cheese to an assistant to cut open, lending credence to the rumor that Kelli-san is not allowed to play with sharp objects in the kitchen. [Kelli-san again voiced over by a translator:] “Tee-hee! I’m hopelessly inept at opening resealable bags without tearing the plastic zipper off. Somebody please invent a power tool for THAT!”


We can see here that she has expertly piled the mozzarella on TOP of the co-jack.


And now she carefully begins heating the cheese using the low setting on the heat gun. 750 degrees should be plenty hot, don’t you think?



With the sandwiches put together now, she starts browning the outside, melting the butter and crisping the crust SIMULTANEOUSLY. I tell you, you don’t see these kinds of old-world skills anymore.




The crowd is now hushed in anticipation of the final unveiling of this culinary masterpiece! The first test: the pull-apart string of melty cheese…


Bravo! Just like in the Kraft Singles commercials! Now, the most important test of all… Judges, what do you think?


It’s unanimous! Kelli-san is the new Iron Chef! Her power tool cuisine reigns supreme!

[Voiced over by a translator:] “Tee hee! I’m burning my tongue! Take the picture!”


Early Christmas presents for me!

I have been wanting to get a heat gun and start stripping the woodwork in our house.  Several people have said that I HAVE to get a respirator mask if I’m going to do that, so I went shopping around on Ebay today and here’s what I ended up buying:

 A 1500W 2 Speed Motor Heat Gun w/4 PC kit from Proline Products.  (Here’s the Ebay listing: 1500W 2 Speed Motor Heat Gun w/4 PC kit.)  I got it for $6, plus $15 shipping. 

 And an AO Safety Respirator.  (Here’s the Ebay listing: AO Safety Respirator.)  This cost $21.01 plus $7 shipping.

Here’s the picture from the Ebay listing:


All for a grand total of $49.01!!! 

I’m going to set up a work area in the basement for stripping the removable things like doors and windows (though I WON’T be using the heat gun on the windows for fear of cracking the glass!) 

My husband the sexy hand model

We bought a whole bunch of tools at Ace Hardware’s 20% off sale!

They came in a cool carrying bag.

We got a circular saw…

A work light…

A reciprocating saw…

A drill…

A jigsaw…

Two rechargeable batteries that fit all the tools, a charger, and a hand held vacuum cleaner.

While we were there we also bought a 16′ extending ladder, a cordless edger/trimmer, and a few odds and ends we’ve been meaning to get.  It was quite a haul!  I’m so excited to start using all our new tools!

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