Skip to main content

9th Anniversary

Today is the 9th anniversary since I bought my house. I didn't really accomplish much this year. Needed a break after many years of slaving away.

I did get new copper half-round gutters and downspouts installed. At that time, I also had square copper soffit vents installed.

I've made a lot of headway on the built-in cabinet restoration in the dining room. 95% of everything has been stripped and most of it has been disassembled. It's mostly a matter of sanding and refinishing now. I'm trying to decide on how best to tackle that. I want it to look like an original finish so I'm leaning toward using dye rather than stain, followed by amber shellac.

I received the Preservation Award from the city for the exterior restoration of the house.

I have a lot of projects coming up. The next one, which I'm really looking forward to, is the new garage build. I am going to be demolishing my 1984 garage, which is made out of the cheapest materials ever created, and replacing it with a historically accurate garage or "carriage house." I'm using the salvaged materials from the carriage house that I disassembled a few years ago -the carriage doors, ship lap siding, side door, and window. I'm also using the leftover slate from when I got my new slate roof.


  1. It's good to look back on all you've accomplished. It can be easy to be overwhelmed by the remaining work, and forget how much you've done already. It's looking great, and such a transformation, one important detail at a time!

    I'm excited to see how the stripped built-in looks. I don't understand why people paint nice stained wood. It may look "fresh and bright" at first, but soon it looks dingy and worn, like a cheap rental.

    For refinishing old millwork, and making new pieces to match, I've been happy with regular Minwax oil-based stains topped by 3 coats of brushed-on amber shellac. Matching softwoods is tough, especially because the commonly-available woods today are so different from the old-growth stuff used 100 years ago. I usually end up making several long sample sticks with various stain colors and topcoat, including custom blends, and use this to choose my final recipie. Oak has been very easy for me, though: Minwax Red Mahogany plus 3 coats of Amber shellac matches the original oak in our house perfectly.

    If you don't have any remaining stained wood, it's easier, though, since you just need to find a shade that looks good and appropriate, and use it consistently everywhere. Just be aware that any new softwood you might use may need a different stain blend to match the old stuff due to the different tone and density of the wood. New oak or most other hardwoods should match very well, though.

    1. Thank you for your insight, Seth! I agree with you on people painting woodwork. I'm convinced that it's a mental disorder that will one day have a name and hopefully a cure.

      I might try your oak recipe. I want the original Arts & Crafts oak look. I've been looking into dying it and then using amber shellac. That's what a lot of the Arts & Crafts style furniture builders do. But the process is scary and can get blotchy where overlapping strokes occur. This is such a large piece, I worry about that. If I can get an authentic look out of stain, I might go that route and save myself the anxiety.

      Fortunately, I have all the pieces for the built-in. However, upon stripping paint, I found that 3 of the 4 shelves were pine and only one was oak. They were all original. The pine ones have not fared well. They are cupped quite a bit. After wasting days trying to strip and flatten them, I opted to just buy 4 new old-growth oak shelves from a nearby old-growth lumberyard.


Post a Comment