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...