Sunday, June 23, 2013


Time for a quick update to all things going on before everyone, human and animal, wake up to start the day.

The wooden shingle project is going well at the Latham house. The majority of the work is time consuming but quite enjoyable, with the exception of the stain, which is really making things hard to work. They look really good but I've come home many night covered with it from head to foot, the worse part is they get more slippery as the temperature warms up. They get a little better after a day or two of being on the roof, but not much. Ha.

The additional slickness of the shingles and the normal 12 over 12 region of the roof requires some additional equipment to work on the roof and not damage the shingles that have been installed. Most modern roofers just use roofing jacks which are quite bulky and expensive if one was to purchase all that were needed for the job. I was advised on how builders would have solved this problem prior to the invention of the roofing jack and have designed a really safe method to lay secure them. I'll dedicate a future post to it soon.

The big news this week is that my best friend who lives all the way on the opposite side of the United States has come for a visit and will help us get our first batch of home brew started. Known as "the beer man," Mark used to deliver and now brews his own. I greatly enjoy his continuing friendship (and beers!) 

Shae and I attempted our first batch of home brew last year using an old Mr. Beer home brew kit. The results, were...well, bad enough to have the finished product nicknamed "Mr. Skunk" and donated to the local drainage system. With his guidance, we are ready to try again and will finally put the "Beer" in "Beer n Lathing!"

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Ready, set, egg!

Finally finished the chicken coop last weekend and now it's the bird's turn. 

The coop is actually just a major remodel of the old dog house that was on the property when we bought the house in 2012. Needing more up space, I removed the back wall and set it on top of the wall facing fenced-in pen. I then added some additional framing to the sides and the rear, allowing space for a door recycled from an older property. 

I reused the same piece of tin for the roof and sided the whole thing with board and battens using the old barn wood.  After adding a quick door latch, the exterior was complete.

I designed the nesting boxes as I went, because I really didn't know what I was looking for. They are all about 16"x16" and there are 8 total, 4 on each wall. I have been keeping an eye on the nesting material that I have in there and it seems that they have started using the lower ones at least. 

Now, it's their turn.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Caught red handed staining shingles

Over the last two weeks I have spent a lot of time preparing some cedar shingles for the Latham house. I don't remember the exact size of the roof, but I've been preparing nearly 8,000 shingles for this task.

It was decided early on that these shingles would be stained using an oil based product that could be obtained locally and thinned further using linseed oil. The linseed oil didn't actually thin the stain, but it only helps the longevity of the shingle and the coverage of the stain. 

Unfinished, the wood roof can last anywhere from 15-50 years depending on the species used. With a good finish this life cycle could be easily extended over 50 with proper maintenance. This life cycle is twice that expected from today's modern asphalt shingles.

I think the main reason you don't see many wooden shingle roof is the due to the fear of fire, which was the main reason for the introduction of metal roofing in the late 1800s. House and building fires were quite common and a wooden shingle roof would only feed the fire. However, tin and asphalt roofing still requires the same wooden sheathing underneath, making the actual roofing material a mute point. 

All 8,000 shingles are now ripped to widths between 3-inches and 7-inches and have all been dipped. Next week, Jason and I will start putting the shingle on the Latham House.

I'm quite anxious to start laying them down. I prepared the Norfleet House for wood shingles a few years ago, but this will be the first time I completely roof a project. I look forward to the experience and think it may effect my preferences for my house in the future.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

The lobby

During the recent holiday weekend, my wife and I spent our time remodeling the lobby for one of the local businesses in town. I originally wasn't very keen in taking this job, but she talked me into it and assured me that she would help, in my opinion, she was the MVP!

This was actually the first time I had to make a materials estimate and figure out how long it would take in order to ensure we would have it done during the long weekend. Needless to say, I was a little nervous. Some of the game plan would be unknown until demolition day (Friday after closing) and I'm always ready for things to change, which of course it did. After all the totals were tallied, my estimate was only $100 too low which I am very happy with, especially with the changes that had been made after the original estimate had been worked.

The job itself was a basic remodel, the owner wanted new wainscoting, trim, and paint for the lobby and the small entrance room. Additionally, we decided to make a new counter top out of a couple oak boards and found a built-in shelf unit hidden behind the dry wall in the entrance. Here are some "Before" shots.

...and the "After" photos.

And finally, the Monday night celebratory demolition burn!

Even if it burned up a holiday weekend, it was a satisfying experience.