Saturday, February 9, 2013

The Parthenon Effect

We don't get company very often, so when we do it's a flurry of activity in the house. Like a mini spring cleaning, pretty hectic. We're not "messy", but with all the little critters running around, the place definitely has that "lived in" feel to it. (I promise we are not going to be featured on Hoarders.)

Armed with my list of things to do, I moved efficiently throughout the house getting things done and boldly crossing them off my checklist. Kitchen, check. Guest bathroom, check. Bedroom, check. As I whirled about things that have always been, began to annoy me, like the 6 foot tall and 2 foot 8 inch wide vertical hanging window sash with no glass standing in the hallway.

This sash has been standing here for months, I'm not even certain of how many months. March, maybe? That's a long time for an old, weathered, window sash to be anywhere, especially in the main hallway of the house. I would love to take the blame for it, but my beautiful wife collects window sashes. Don't ask me why, but it's a habit she has started ever since I began restoration. This is one of our "findings."

Standing in the hallway, seen yet forgotten, this sash stares at our daily routines. It even gets moved from wall to wall as we need to get behind it. Finally, I decided today was the day to move it or loose it. This sash was going up and I wouldn't have to avoid it in the hallway ever again.

There wasn't a whole lot of work to go into it, which is probably the main reason for procrastination. "Ah, it just needs this and this, about 5 minutes worth of work. I'll get to it later." This and this is proportionately equal to "pull four rusty nails out, clean it, and hang it on the wall." I told you it was easy. So I wade through the swamp to the shop and get the tools I need to get the job done.

With the nails pulled, I put it up on the wall and set it to be spot on level, not a hair off. As I stand back and look at my work, I realize that it "looks" crooked. What the heck? I put the level back on and confirm it is still dead flat. With a tape measure, I measure the edge of the sash to the crown molding and then to the door trim. Sure enough, not a matching distance on either edge. Well, that is one of the lovable quirks you have to contend with when living in a house which is over a hundred years old.

There is not one straight line on the Parthenon. It was completely built to "look" straight. So that would have to be the technique used here. Put away the level, force back the nagging quest for precision, and just eyeball it. After a few tweaks, I was happy because it "looked" right. The final distances are a 3/8 inch difference from the top to the crown molding and about a 1/8 inch difference on the side. Sometimes you just have to forget about logic and go with what "looks good."

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