Main Stair Railing

Main Stair Railing
Simple elegant railing at the main stair

Friday, April 8, 2011

My second post

Work which has been completed to date:

Sidewalk and stair replacement at front entrance to site.

Replacement of wrought iron gate at front entrance to site.

Repair of fence at back alley. Done 3 times so far. The kids here are into deconstruction.

Installation of plywood panels over all windows.

Rewiring of 75% of house. Used my good buddy Jerry Lyons before he became a Project Manager at Pitt's Mechanical Division. Arraujo Electric is completing the work. Scott there has worked on every house I ever owned from 1980 until now. Great guy and excellent work. They know renovation. Lou and Sue are the Owners there.

Removal of ceiling above Electric Club in the basement. This was interesting. The ceiling had been dropped with plastic laminate panels and bulkheads in a semi- deco style. We need to install mechanical and electrical distribution to the first floor, so removed the deco. But above the deco we found a beaded board ceiling across the entire basement. Hard to say, but I expect it may have been added either by the Carnegies or sometime shortly after that. I think the Slovenians did the deco. Anyway, we salvaged the beaded board for use on the front and back porch ceilings, and uncovered the original first floor joists above. Some interesting discoveries:large double steel I-beams added to create the large social hall in the basement,
an area of  white- washed joists and floorboards which probably served as a food or dairy processing area on the original Mowry farm, pegged joints at the headers supporting the fireplace hearths on the first floor (typical in Lawrenceville houses), and plane marks on the underside of the floorboards, evidence that they leveled each board as they were installing it at every joist. May also have prevented creaking.

Electric Club Picnic Photo from early 1900's



plastic laminate deco style

check out the curved bulkheads!

Demolition of plaster ceiling and wood lath at third floor ceiling. This was even more interesting.I removed the plaster ceilings above the third floor, intending to insulate between the rafters and joists. I wanted to achieve an R-30 insulation value, but the original rafters were only 6"deep (by actual 2"wide). In addition there are two massive wood beams that run the entire width of the house, which support the rafters and ceiling joists. The best part is that all of this 1830 construction is mortise and tenon pegged carpentry, precisely crafted. It blew me away, and I decided to leave it exposed and insulate on top of the existing wood plank sheeting, which in itself was astounding, wood planks at up to 18" wide. I figure much of the wood may have been milled on the site. I'll add some photos of the joinery later. I'm including some pictures below of the basic wood components on the third floor. I had them cleaned with dry ice pellets, less invasive than sand or crushed walnut shells, and no debris to clean up except the removed grime. The pellets evaporate.

Replacement of Roof, and addition of insulation panels above original wood plank sheeting.