Tuesday, September 15, 2015

More Work on the Cabinets

Harry surveying his kingdom.  Just to give you an idea of scale here, Harry is a rather large Cairn Terrier, about 21 pounds.  He cannot help being a little zaftig.  He is getting older.
Ready for the new door.  I have a pair, or a nearly identical pair of 18th century strap hinges with bean ends that will mount on the outside of the door.  I have the wood all cut for the outside layer of boards, and am waiting to complete the interior layer.  A thin sheet of plywood will sandwich in between to keep drafts down.  The inner layer will be ship-lapped, but my neighbor Mike Keefe offered a few boards he had drying in his back yard.  We began planing them down to remove the rough surfaces before making the ship lap.  Unfortunately, after about three passes through the planer, we spent an hour trying to figure out why it stopped working.  He had broken a belt.  We are waiting now, for a belt to arrive to continue.

 Much of the cabinet work done, doors made.  The middle doors are made from left over lengths of tongue and groove bead board with battens on the back, and the two side doors are left over pieces of ship-lap done the same way.  I plan to use either commercial H hinges, HL hinges or butterfly hinges.  All available at retailers, and Amazon.com and Ebay, but you have to read descriptions carefully as they can be very small and inadequate.  They can also be frightfully expensive, especially when you need 8 of them.  I already have 18th century forged bean strap and pintle hinges for the front door, I just have to make the door now to use them....another big project, and hard to settle on the design.  I saw some on Youtube in a video of a house in Stratford-upon-Avon.  I think that with minor adaptations, they will do nicely.

Just  a quick mock up to see what this will look like with a plank floor.

 In the 19th and 18th centuries, the people in these old houses would have used the lumber available.  If an nice oak happened to fall, they might saw up the wood into planks, but the vast majority of flooring was just wide pine.  When a nice wood was used, it was usually in the best room only, like the parlor. 

Sometimes they would put splines in, but over time, the spline grooves crack and leave splintery cracks or the whole piece will detach leaving a large void in the floor.

.  Floors were often painted, sometimes with faux rugs or faux grain or colorful patterns.  Sometimes they would take every color in the house and splatter the paint in an all over speckle.
The name often given to the amber colored floors that you sometimes see in old houses was called Pumpkin Pine.  Another misconception...Punkin stain was used and the name was perverted to pumpkin. 

There should be a little gap between the boards, as the planks will swell in humidity and buckle if butted up together.

I would love to use oak on these floors, but you know, with a single board going for $40.00 I do not see that happening.  Plus, The only oak boards I can get without going to the mill will require lots of processing just to get to that stage where they can be laid and they are red oak.  The color seems very un-natural to me..  They require easing or chamfering on all the edges, splines etc.
I am thinking just an oil finish on the pine or maybe a bit of a yellow-orange stain like the antiques will be good.  On the other hand, the planks in extremely old houses are so very dark from age and dirt build-up that they seem almost featureless.  That means that knots are not apparent, so a lower quality board will suffice.  The very old boards have raised spots where the knots do not wear while the surrounding floor does.

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