Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Starting 2012

Feb. 1 2012

In a construction project winter is nearly always a down time. That is not the case on this project. Sam and I work nearly every day preparing materials for the construction that will pick up as soon as warm days arrive here again. First and foremost is the shaping of stone. The bars of limestone we purchased last summer must all be cut to length and then carefully dressed to produce the quoins and trim we will need. This is accomplished with a six pound hammer and a variety of stone cutting chisels. The split pieces are pretty rough until exposed to the hammer and chisel. It is mind-bending work and takes from 15 to 60+ minutes per piece depending on the condition of the original block. Hardest is the creating of a 45 degree angle on the corner quoins without damage to the thin edge. We will need 90 of them as well as nearly 200 flat ended pieces to frame the windows and doors. Lastly are the 100 pieces needed for arches and base trim. The dressing is done in the basement near the warmth of the wood stove. Dust and chips fly everywhere. We are nearing one quarter of all the pieces completed.

The arm, heart and mind get a little weary of stonework as a steady diet so we have also worked on restoring the wood trim for the gingerbread porch we acquired last fall. There were lots of missing pieces to be fabricated and then glued up as well as the paint stripping and sanding to be done. The 10 posts are finished and look like new. We have turned to the 24 brackets and accompanying gallery, and on the warm days we can work outside in the winter sun. Jim

My brother stayed for a week and a half on his vacation to help strip the bracketing and handle the long limestone bars that we split. It was a great help. Sam