Sunday, October 28, 2012

Fall update!

Well this should be short, but an update is long overdue. Blog posts have slowed this fall, but just because actual work at the shed has been rolling. It has been forever since I have posted, so I figured that I would let you all know we are still here! The boys are preparing for the first hunting season with the shed as a hunting cabin and they could not be happier. A few casual hunts have occured at Flintshire since bow season is upon us, but the boys are hosting the shed's grand opening with an intimate hunt mid-November. I am sure we will post plenty of blog posts before then to catch you up to speed. Since Andy's doors were installed in the last post, a lot of progress has been made. I'll leave the details for a future post, but just to intice you to keep a eye on the blog I will let you know some outside improvements have been made as well as some interior decorating. (note the old Ducks Unlimited goose print in picture) A lot of wives have generously donated their husbands outdoorsy artwork for the shed, which has made the cabin very nice. I personally was pumped to clear out the random deer pictures from the basement.  The most recent decisions have surrounded the bunks, which should be ready to go this week in anticipation of the men's slumber party in November. The blacksmith shed has also been the site for a lovely family photo shoot since obviously it is Andy's favorite place. Thanks to our friend Barbara for the above picture and putting up with our shenanigans during the shoot. Happy hunting and we will update everyone soon!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Wednesday Zen 9

"The person who doesn't scatter the morning dew will not comb gray hairs."

-Hunter S. Thompson

Door Hardware for the Barn Doors

A lot of thought went into the door hardware for the barn doors.  Most of the surrounding barns have a hodge-podge medely of handles, latches, and locks - more of a vernacular approach than that of a conhesive hardware schedule.  After much thought, it seemed that making wooden door handles would prove to be a simple and inexpensive solution.  I also did some internet research on different types of wooden door latches to accompany the yet to be built wooden handles.  The "tippecanoe" door latch caught my eye and I thought that it would work well in our application with a few small modifications.  I did purchase a cheap cane bolt for the one door that would remain "fixed" during everyday use.  This door also contains the strike for the door latch that is mounted on the other (the operable) door.  A person can operate the latch from both inside the run-in area or from the outside   What follows are pictures of the door hardware manufacturing process and install:

Block of heart pine with design laid out.

Rough cuts.

Beveled edges.

Finer shaping.

Parts and pieces in the sanding phase.

A coat of Sikens.

Handles and latch installed!

Side view of operable door.

Inside picture of the door latch.  The plan is to install an astegral to cover the gap between doors once they finish drying out.

Doors at a distance.

Installing the Barn Doors

I'm pleased to say that we recently got the barn doors hung for the run-in area at the Blacksmith Shed.  This was a big step in the overall scope of the project for several reasons.  We now have all the doors installed on the building and these doors are also a fairly prominent feature of the building's main facade.  The doors are still pretty green (built from rough sawn yellow pine) and as such were difficult for just one person to horse around.  Fortunately, Davey, Byrd, Adam, and Catherine were all available to lend a hand for the install.  What follows are some pictures of us hanging the doors.  Still more finish work to come on the doors but I'm excited that they are up!

Door holding duty.

We had salvaged some hinges and restored them... unfortunately they don't exactly pair with the existing pintles left on the shed.  We could have got new pintles, new hinges, or got somebody to mill brass bushings to make up for the slop in the hinge/pintle discrepancy - instead we decided to live with crooked hinges for the time being.  Doors still function fine for what its worth.

Lots of pondering.

The dogs were very helpful throughout this whole process.

Doors hung.

Inside view from the run-in area.

Temporary door latch - piece of bluestone.

Looking good!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Barn Doors!

I apologize for not getting these up sooner but the Barn Doors have indeed been built and installed!  I was able track down some rough sawn yellow pine from a local sawmill ( and built the doors one Saturday with some help from brother David.  We decided to go with yellow pine as our like/kind door building material because the existing siding on the Blacksmith Shed is yellow pine and so, being that we had no evidence to persuade us otherwise, we went with that as acceptable logic. 

I would highly recommend to anyone that is interested in rough sawn material or any other cool rough millwork projects to look up the guys over at Ferguson - Kyle runs a nice operation over there. 

I am going to post the barn door project in several parts because there are so many pictures.  This first post deals with the construction of the actual doors.

In the beginning, there was a drawing...  We didn't have any archival evidence of what the original doors looked like so I looked to other barns on the farm for design ideas.  Most barn doors just have the classic z-bracing.  We really wanted to let as much light into the run-in area as possible so I incorporated some salvaged windows into the design and this is what we came up with.

Here, the rough sawn material is at the shop ready for millwork and assembly.  Again, big thanks to the guys at Ferguson Custom Sawmill.

Here, I have ship-lapped all the boards that will become the verticals on the doors.  This will help conceal gaps as the boards dry and shrink.

Door boards all cut to length.

Had a tough time on this decision.  I really wanted to use clench nails but ended up using these exterior lags.  The kicker was that these were readily accessible and I thought that they might be faster than my other options (I was trying to get the doors built in one Saturday).  I'll have no worries about guests confusing the period of construction on the doors anyhow.  I painted them black for a more finished appearance.

Cardboard template for my screw pattern in the door battens.

Doors built without holes cut for window inserts.

Loading the doors up in my truck to take the Blacksmith Shed.  The window is not yet installed but rather just set there for time being.

Assembled doors on location!

Chimney Cap Install

We recently installed a stainless steel chimney cap on the chimney at the Blacksmith Shed.  We would have preferred to have a custom copper conestoga-style cap made but it was cost prohibitive.  We painted this one back prior to installation.  The install provided nice views given all the greenery present this time of year; much different that when we started the project 5 or so months ago.

Top of the cap.

View looking up.

Should do the trick for keeping critters and out and controling sparks.

Awesome view...

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Wednesday Zen 8

"When we approach life with an open and dedicated mind and heart, what do we experience?

We learn that we are striving for the same things - love, honesty, and justice. 
We find these are actions, not wishes or longings.  Freedom and joy are not care-free.
Escape from the burdens of life isn't freedom.  Freedom is full of care for everything. 
That means we must be a part of what all people want for themselves and for humanity.

The doors of the heart will then be thrown open to wind from every direction."

-A note from artist Jon J Muth of the picture book adaptation, Blowin' in the Wind

Friday, July 20, 2012

Stairs to the Reading Room

Soon after the entry way to the main part of the Blacksmith Shed had begun to look so nice, it quickly became imperative that we also make it accessible.  Like many project items on the Blacksmith Shed, there was much consternation over the "right" approach to, well, the approach.  Various entry stair options were discussed and after examining a range of factors, a front runner was crowned.  And while a set of stairs built out of old railroad ties was thought to be practical, contextually compatible, and readily available, an unknown termite infestation forced us to move in a different direction.  The result was a set of stairs made out of salvaged pine timbers that we had saved from a past job.  Although they are not creosote-soaked like the railroad ties, we have taken some weather-proofing measures as described below. The finished product has an understated effect that upon closer examination reveals a surprising level of craftsmanship; much like the overall impression the Blacksmith Shed imparts on visitor.

I loaded up the stock material and took it to the home front for millwork and assembly.

Stair tread... why not bevel the edges?

Parts and pieces accumulating... ready for assembly soon.

Epoxy coating the underside of the stair assembly.  Butt joints are all glued with PL glue.

Stringers, supports, and risers assembled.

Stairs assembled... ready for sealer and install.

Four coats of weather sealer applied to assembled stairs.

Finished product... except for the exterior bluestone patio and walkway extension.

Font Door Paint Work

Once the reading room door was installed we had a decision to make about the exterior finish treatments of the Blacksmith Shed.  After much deliberation, it was decided that we would embrace a limited but traditional paint scheme that involved the doors and windows as well as their associated trims.  Windows, window casings, and door casings will be a soft gloss white and doors will be a black forest green.  With the exception of the roof, no other surfaces will be receiving paint.  Once the new siding greys, we may add a clear preservative but a few seasons must pass first.  The following pictures document the paint process up to the final coat of door paint:

Bondo work on some rather egregious spots.

Prime time.

Going green.

Starting to look like she's getting the lovin' she deserves.


Entry Door Upgrade

The door leading into the reading room of the Blacksmith Shed would be considered the "entry door" of the structure.  When we first began our restoration efforts, this door was the only remaining door that was still halfway intact.  Although this door was still "hanging on," it was doing so in a non-functioning state and was in need of serious repairs.  We decided to remove the door and have it stored for potential restoration and re-use.  In the mean time, we were able to better direct our search for replacement doors thanks to the information provided by the original.  We were able to locate three doors that shared the same panel arrangement as the removed door but that also had glass replacing the upper panel sections.  This feature was a nice bonus since the Blacksmith Shed lacks electricity and we like the idea of letting as much natural light in as possible.  The other two doors have been installed and are documented in past blog posts.  The installation of the third door has been documented as follows:   

Original door and siding repairs.

Original door removed and fine-tuning of new door prior to install.

New door installed!  Now for the hardware...

Door hardware salvaged from original.

Door hardware painted after applying rust converter.  Ready for install...