Friday, July 17, 2009

Summer 2009 at the Hollow

The Restoration Department is starting another phase in the Hollow restoration. One of the goals for this session include strengthening the existing floors to the extent that laymen may walk upon them without fear of breaking through. Plywood had been laid on the weak spots as a safety measure previous to this. The west chamber had a 20th century floor consisting of rough-sawn oak fence boards. Tenants had chopped firewood on this floor, causing extensive damage to it. The department replaced the damaged sections in kind. The East chamber existing floor is 19th century random width pine. This floor is worn thin from foot traffic, and is worn through in some areas. For this room, the crew is removing the pine floor and infilling oak boards supported by strips even with the top of the floor joists. The worn thin pine floor will then be reinstalled and consolidated as needed. Carefully cut pine pieces will be used to fill holes now missing in this floor. The "infill technique" will be used in the upstairs where the original heart-poplar, splined floor has been weakened by water damage. These floor repairs will enable everyone to walk on and to fully view the existing types of floors at the Hollow.

Friday, July 10, 2009

New frame

The Restoration department sucessfully remade and installed the window frame for the porch tower window that had been so badly deteriorated that trim could no longer be attached to it. The new frame is made of pressure-treated pine. The original joinery was faithfully replicated. It took one man four days to make the new frame, and two men one day to install it. The existing trim will be consolidated and reused.

Friday, July 3, 2009

In The Gutter

The restoration department recently had to repair squirrel
damage to a soffit on the 1854 wing at Bacon's Castle. Close inspection revealed that a clogged and leaking downspout had started to rot the soffit, which in turn drew the squirrels to take advantage of the distressed wood. With their attention now focused on the importance of fully functioning gutter systems, the department checked the Isle of Wight courthouse. Here you see Karl breaking up a gutter jam that was so bad, he had to disconnect the downspout and physically break it up. His earlier attemts with a snake and a water hose had failed. Jon shows you some of the tree material removed from the downspout. Had they not unclogged the downspout, the rainwater bubbling out of the spout and onto the porous brick would have eventually soaked through and caused the interior plaster to fail.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Pear Valley Update

We had a local groundsman over to Pear Valley last week to cut the grass and trim the area immediately against the house. As a follow up, Jim Sturgis, the Northampton Branch Director, took this picture last Friday. The grounds look great and we will certainly use the local guy again to keep the place neatly trimmed. But the photo does show the growing need for a bit of paint to protect the clapboard and keep the house from looking too shabby. Perhaps this should be added to our (ever growing) Fall priority list