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restoration

Twilight storm cell breaks over the valley.
Lightning illuminated! Nora is medicated! Quite a show and rain too.
Next morning, back up in the old bedroom. Bonus- see how it looks like I’m wearing a square watch on my R wrist. I’m not an I-watch. It’s my “overuse” timepiece.
Shop vac saves us all having to look at the filth that came out of there. Ready for Bondo, then oil-based primer.
Primed and waiting for the windows to return.
Giant split is gone.
Windows are linseed soln’ed.
Here is one of the nice hand-carved square headed wood pegs. With a steel pin to tighten it.
One of my fixes for a square head that was broken in three.
Another keen square head.
A week of triple digit temps in SLC and humidity hovering around 12 (with Ozone reaching 150 and PM2.5 in the hundred range as well- summer smog in SLC is even deadlier than the winter): sounds like time for a trip to the ranch.
Back to the windows. Like I never left. This is the West storm window to the bedroom (this was written in pencil on the window on the bare wood). She has glue drying for her new wooden pins. Next day I finish her woodwork, along with the screen window for the kitchen- then linseed solution for them both. The rest of the day was spent painting all the windows from last time up- still prepping of scraping any primer at board ends that hand’t ever set, then a light sanding for the whole thing, then a new layer of primer, then the enamel white for the inside facing side. Then these are all set in the shed to cure before the next step of painting the outside face green.
Today / Wednesday’s project. This is from my to-do image file; house envelope section. This is the upstairs window above the kitchen- my dad’s room when he was a boy. One window is good. It is hand rolled glass. There is plastic stapled / caulked on the window’s inside from 2013. The last triage “fix”.
The morning starts with coffee on the front porch, then up into the empty upstairs.
E is pretty much done with the upstairs, but takes picts from outside. I’m in the bottom R window pane, using a mini-bar to free the rails that hold the windows in place.
“Ranch-Gross is REAL” attrb: Elizabeth. My face attests to her wisdom in not going upstairs for the photos. The dead fly that falls down into her coffee while she gets the image is a little reminder.
See, the room is just dandy. After a bit of sweeping. And ignoring the next bit.
Here’s just a little bit of what she missed. I have these containers set around the chimney to catch drips. This one caught a few mice- the strong eat the weak and wish they hadn’t been so strong. That is Strong’s skeleton in the middle.
Windows cleared.
It took three more clamps and a sawzall to reseat the window sill. And a few 3.5 inch deck screws.
The pane to the L looks broken, but was installed using two broken windows to make up the extra long glass needed for these. I don’t have any either, and will have to go to town and get some cut.
It is the R side that has two pieces fitted on this side. A perfect 12 x 24 with 4 inches of a broken window legged on. The L side is the hand rolled turn of the century glass. I hope not to break it getting it out.
An X of tape adds better odds against breakage.
It is in the mid 80’s today- which counts as hot in these parts. The cows bring their calves to sit in the deep shade of the willows, just outside the yard.
I leave the hand sanded bits til last.
These wooden pins have shrunk and rattle in and out of place. They are hand-carved and have square heads on the other side that fit perfectly matched hand-carved square holes. I leave the ones that are still good or good enough; respec!
All cleaned up and waiting til tomorrow for the wood glue to cure. Then a last sanding and look-over before linseed solution, and the three day set time for the linseed. To end the day I flipped a mystery light switch on my way back upstairs that blew out a fuse to the kitchen, and kept blowing out the fuse. So I pulled the switch and tied off the ends. Kitchen electricity restored and mystery switch remains a mystery.

Dave brings up his June calves and a few cows too old or lame for the trail.
While the new arrivals settle in, Dave and his crew set out to fix a hole in the fence up over the hill, and round up all the cattle that spilled through the hole and put them back.
It is our last afternoon at the ranch, and we set out to work half the line of our Bluebird houses.
Heifers are always interested in human tinkering.
They moooove in for inspection.
400 miles due south of the ranch is Pocatello, Idaho; the site of this summer’s ubiquitous “Drive-By Fire”.
Our path takes us to the nose of the fire, just above town, and all down its flank.
Simultaneously, a few hundred miles south of Salt Lake City, the interstate was closed as another bigger fire swept over the highway. The nighttime low temps in SLC are about the daytime highs at the ranch, and humidity stands between 6-14 percent vs the rainbows and thunderstorm-showers of Montana. AC/DC’s Highway to Hell isn’t on my playlist…

Here we are, back at the living room window. A special triage was 3.5 inch deck screws to pull the entire frame back together, as it had accordioned apart from itself. Following that was bondo-putty and sanding.
Here I’m “dry fitting” the storm window, sans glass. Note all the storm windows lined along the house. All are glazed and primed. Problem though, the primer has remained tacky for days. The primer set just fine on the kitchen sash. A day later it is entirely different, and won’t set up. My frustration with it never drying is what sent me into the basement in badger-mode for a day.
This was a fun way to start the day. I’ll spend the rest of the day repainting all the storm windows, as I had found a possible fix via casting about online the prior afternoon. One painter had a little chemistry gem buried on a “wtf my paint won’t dry” forum of otherwise useless interwebbery: if you didn’t mix your paint thoroughly enough, the binders may not be flowing with the pigment and base media. In this case, before panicking, just mix the paint with a drill and mixer for a looong while and reapply. The new layer’s binder will kick the non-drying layer. Ahhh, chemistry!
After a morning of re-painting, I needed to wait and see if the binders would kick the sticky layer. What to do while paint dries, if it dries… screens for the kitchen windows? This green helped me map the colors applied to the windows. Red was the first color in the 1800’s. The LR window came primed, and was painted red, then blue, then this green. The blue and green arrived with the new edition of the house.
The screen cleans up quickly as it has been in storage for 60 years. The metal screen is full of paint splatter and dirt, so I coax it out with soapy water and a wire brush.
Microfiber towels are amazing for cleaning screens. They grab up all the dirt.
Take a step back, then step back in for inspection.
Now I can see all the spots that need wood-fill triage.
The first one was easy, which is why I started with it.
The screen is torn out along the bottom. This one was never painted green, so it was damaged and set aside and never fixed. Paint history point of interest- it is blue. And the other screen that remained in use was repainted and remained in much better shape. I found them both behind an old door in the back of a shed.
I banged around and found my replacement screen, beading, and a roller. All that I need for a new screen. I carefully pull the little nails holding down the thin wood strips that hold in the screen.
The screen pulls away. It has a beading line but no beading. The screen was just held in place by the wood and nails- which explains why the screen on green isn’t tight.
Meanwhile, cows and calves and bulls have found a way out of their pasture and are converging on the ranch house. These two calves squirmed into the horse pasture while their big herd bull stands on the other side of the barn bellowing. This brings the bulls down the mountain on the other side of the valley, and soon the valley is echoing with bull bugles.
I’m set for stripping it down and see that a rail has been broken from the back. Someone probably tried a fix of jamming something along the spline to tighten in the screen again, and instead just shattered the wood, not knowing it was a thin walled groove in there to accept the beading. After letting the glue cure overnight I find that another section is identically damaged, so more glue and waiting.
I can’t believe I can ignore this lovely girl and fuss about silly human things. She is very forgiving of my weird human priorities.
Xander has claimed the window-glass box. He says it is time to get back to using white paint.
This is the bedroom storm window. I tried a fix, prior to finding the painting chemistry advise, and it didn’t work so I had to strip it down- only one face and the sides, as the other side is done in a wood finish. This better-blended paint sets up just fine.
Dry enough for little caterpillars!
The next morning I get out early before the sun hits the wall, and prime the LR sash. Layer 1 of 2.
Somewhere up the Willow are the Hairy Woodpeckers and their fledgling, all flitting about and calling happily.
Chemistry worked! Time to glaze the LR storm window. The first pane went in easy, and now no other bay will hold a pane- they all are suddenly too small or the glass too big. Which means it has moved off square just a smidge. I had formed wooden pegs from an old piece of cedar, and drilled and glued them to support all the mortise and tenon joints. I create a 3-clamp solution: the clamp below is key. First is the clamp to the R as an anchor. Then the clamp below- these clamps can be reversed to push instead of grip- and it pushes this window bay apart at the point where the glass couldn’t seat. The third clamp to the L stabilizes the pressure below and helps hold things true.
It works! Once this pane is seated all the other bays align and accept glass without fuss.
I’m almost out of window glazing putty. It will be close.
Pointed and puttied with less than a ping-pong ball’s worth extra. I also used a glazing compound in a caulk-gun tube. It is terrible for setting the bead, but great for laying a bed under the glass.
Somewhere in there I primed the screen.
The top coat is an acrylic semi-gloss enamel. The paint dept. didn’t shake it; I’ve never had that before- no dot of paint on the top verifying the color mix. I hadn’t noticed in the store as they had put the paint-match card on top and I was getting glass cut as well- which they packaged neatly and the glass guy stayed with me through checkout to place it in the truck himself; the glass was dirty, dribbled with residue, and scratched. Way to go Ace.
Coat one is late in the day, well into the evening actually, and coat two will be first thing in the morning.
I’ve painted the windows shut and will have to remedy that, at some point.
You can see the wavy paint job on the inside – 4 layers at least. I’ll straighten that out some day as well.
Two solid weeks. The storm windows will wait til next time, as we head out in two days, and the paint needs a week to cure before pressing an equally fresh-painted storm window into place (I’d hoped for at least 4 days, but the sticky paint bested me). Besides, my Chemistry solution could use another day to really sort itself. However these windows are now glazed and weatherproof, which makes them 100% better than before.
The cellar burped up most of its defunct ducting. The brown striping is packrat “patina”.
The crew that laid in the ducting for the central heating (it lasted less than a decade back in the 60s/70s before the bsmt flooded and destroyed it) cut directly through structural beams, rim-joists of hand hewn trees, and cememted stone- and left all their mess behind. There were three sections that needed help. This section fixes a rim joist that was cut all the way out (an entire piece of squared timber cut from our forest for the 1800’s portion of the house), exposing a weight-bearing vertical that dangled its naily foot above the ducting. This is a tidy layer of fixes. A 4×6 treated lumber is lag-bolted to the remains of the rim-joist, backed with a section of 2×4 to span the dangling vertical. This fixed the upstairs floor sag and squeak from the living room to the kitchen. Next comes the plywood, to block out the packrats and mice. I scribed out the pattern of shattered out foundation wall, and used our tried and true critter gap measure of aluminum cans keeping the wooden edges unchewable as well.
This was a less disastrous mess (no before pic. of the first). They would drill a border then smash through with chisels. The shattered wood is everywhere.
All sealed up.
I went back and foamed this one as well.
This is the third disaster. I blocked it off from critters, but didn’t do any structural fixes; because of the pee/poo and bones and wadded up clothes stuffed in for “insulation” and the actual pink insulation used for nesting? Yeah. Probably. So the fix is removable so I Future Feller can go back in “some day”.
Fixed enough. My Badger mojo has run its course, so maybe no more critters down there.
Wiping down the glass after scraping away all the old paint and glazing.
Seating the glass back into the bedroom storm window.
Laying in the glazing compound.
Cutting / compressing the glazing to a seamless line, so it is invisible from the inside.
Wilson’s Warbler. Our second summer seeing her here.
Window Glazed. Once it skins over a bit, I prime over it with a liner brush.
I started the day with some fun, fitting out the storm windows with hanging hardware (vs the 6 screws that I’m guessing had replaced 6 nails). These storm windows fit nicely in the window frames.
All fitted out. Can swing open, or lift off, or squeeze tight. I then remove the hardware and move on to priming.
The old Living Room window needs some help as well. My dad had drilled two holes through the window casing to allow his TV cable that slung across the yard to a huge antennae bringing in 2 channels, well, 1 1/2. One hole is already re-drilled and plugged with a glued dowel, and here I am finding his first hole, up at an angle, and into the frame of the window. He stopped drilling just as I did, narrowly avoiding disaster- though I was drilling through all the wadded up whatnots he’d stuffed into the hole. Now plugged with a dowel and glued. Next I will cut the dowel so the window is clear of the frame, each with its bit of dowel.
Glue and clamps for a shattered rail. The wide putty knife adds square support.
Layer one of primer on the kitchen window.
Beginning primer layer two.
Primed and drying.
Primer coat for the bedroom window is on the outside face only. The inside face is wood with clear urethane rubbed with wax to match the sash window.
Priming the kitchen’s two storm windows, front and back. Tomorrow is glass / glazing. The mosquitos switched out with the biting flies for the last hour of the day.
Kitchen window: scraped of old paint and linseed treated, new glass in the top two and old in the bottom- no glazing but enough to hold together while we make a grocery/hardware run to Great Falls.
Glass is back out again, as it is time to get the top windows operational.
A clamp on the rail and a hammer. A gentle hammer…
Giving little love taps while making sure the other side doesn’t bind. Both windows slide open again!
Kitchen storm window #2 (#1 was the tin can corner). Removing the old glazing to remove the glass.
Cleared of paint, bondo-d the 6 screw holes and other bits, and sanded.
The living room window feels left out.
The Garden Snake is always under the LR window, so I’ll have to keep things tidy (lead paint).
Original window to the 1800s house, painted closed 70 years ago, then the storm window was sealed in place since the late 1980’s.
I cut the latex seal around the window with the oscillator, then start nudging it out with the good ol’ painter’s 5 in 1 tool.
Just a little coaxing and she came away clean.
Very tidy generations of Wasps layered season on season.
I’m steaming the window up lookin’ at E!
A day of heat gun and scraping. The black bag caught the worst of the lead scrapings and I vacuumed up the overspill- the snake spent the day just off to my right making sure I didn’t break the glass. This window was put in when the house was built, back in the 1800’s. It was made in a shop, complete with the hand-rolled glass. The glazing is painted over with the same oil-based shellac, which preserved the wood and the glazing. There are still pristine parts, a lot of compromised areas, and patches of obliteration.
The trick with a 140 year old window is to help it without hurting it. Linseed oil solution treatment. This will harden in over three days.
Sanded and wood fill / bondo, and sanded again. These kitchen windows for the new addition (192?) were made in a shop as well. The storm windows may have all been ordered at this time, as they fit here perfectly, yet are proud of the original window boxes by 1/4 or so. The original windows on this side of the house were repurposed as upstairs windows.
Runoff from the roofline, and over the gutter did a number on the kitchen window sill. All the crazing is now backfilled with bondo and sanded smooth.
On to the Living Room storm window. Glass is removed, on to triage.
The window maker wrote in pencil: Living Room by Radco.
Heat gun and scraper bring the old paint down to original primer coat.
Sanded, bondo fixes, sanded again. Next, linseed solution and 3 days to cure.
The bedroom frame has cured for 3 days or more ( I lost count), so I fit it with the new hanging hardware prior to primer / glass / glazing.
The frame sits proud of the frame, so I create backing shims for the hardware from PVC panel. Here is one of a pair of turns that anchor/release the bottom.
This is one of a pair of hanging hooks that allow the storm window to seat tight, or swing out, or lift off.
Here it is swung out. I’ll adding this feature for all the windows I’m fixing.
Elizabeth weeded out the hillside iris bed while I triaged the bedroom storm window.
The window shop is perfectly located (in the back yard under the tree and in earshot of the falls), but it needed to be a bit higher. 4 splits of firewood, two old corral panels, 6 screws.
This short little door to the ice-house Hendrixson-ed me again- so hard I clacked my teeth, so I came up with this hopeful little invention that hangs lower than the brim of my hat.
The oscillating tool cuts through the caulk seal, followed by removing 6 rusty drywall screws pinning it in place. Caulking the bottom seam has trapped moisture between the windows since forever (1980’s), mostly as perpetual steam on the glass.
Ranch-gross is always waiting. This collection of bug-yuck found entry from behind a tin can used to triage a rotted-out corner.
See the steam still misting the upper glass panel?
In 2015 I scraped and painted the windows after coming across the exact color in a return bin. In ranch-logic I used silicon caulk from painting the house the prior year as triage for the old glazing having fallen away. Ranch fixes like this can lead to future headaches- never use silicon to seal a window because it is just too good at its job. I got one pane out clean, but the second pane snapped.
Here we have a perfect little bit of ranch triage from a bygone era. A lid from a tin can cut to fit the corner with little nails hammered daintily and perfectly. Why was it necessary?
If the bottom of the window is sealed to the sill with, say, window putty and/or a bead of latex (that I dug out from the under the inside sash as well), moisture condenses between the windows from temperature variations inside vs outside the house and will lead to rot.
A window is held together with joinery only, allowing the wood to move with heat and cold. I begin the process of adding new wooden bones, drilling a few inches into good wood.
An oak dowel is the stainless steel hip of window reconstruction. The mortise-joint on the rail board has rotted as well- the tenon has atrophied to nothing.
Dry-fit.
A pure resin that soaks into the rot and hardens out has cured for two hours. During that time the sash was cleared of all the old paint and I added a secondary smaller dowel for stability. Wax paper separates the bottom rail from the inside lining-board, which will allow the window to shift as it is meant to. The dowels punch through the paper, and are wood-glued into place within the bottom rail and cut just past flush to the outside of the lining board. Most especially- the form wall: duct tape.
Bondo-time.
The green layer of fiber reinforced bondo is sanded down, and I added a wood-resin layer over the top as the detail layer.
Still need to sand this flush…the frame has drank in many layers of linseed solution and now will rest in the tool shed for three days.
Late Lunchtime!
All that moisture trapped between the windows for 40 years is extra reason to strip them down. Heat gun and scraper, then the 3M-pad orbital paint-eater, then linseed solution. A pro would remove the entire sash from the frame, but really? I’ll eventually remove and replace the window glazing as well, as it is dry and falling apart.
Getting down to wood is a long process.
A heat gun and a passel of scrapers and persistence.
80-90% fixes things. Trying for 100% is guarantee of ruin. As good as can be.
9 hours of futzing brings the triage a long way today.
Elizabeth saw the Oriels arrive yesterday, and snapped this while he was hidden in the top of the willows at day’s end.
Next morning, I pull the other storm window. An actual storm is due at noon, so I store the window in the tool shed and set about clearing the sash.
Morning sun with a cool breeze keeps me heating and scraping.
Linseed solution in multiple layers for both bays.
The plan is to make the R window operational top and bottom. If I can keep from breaking another window pane when freeing it from the silicon, I’ll have enough glass to fix that upper R broken pane (I brought one extra). The storm arrives at 11:48.
The lilacs were hit by a spring frost that nipped off all the blooms and killed many branches back. All the bushes need pruning of dead limbs. This big bush is so thin that Robins and Cedar Waxwings are nesting elsewhere.
Eclectic hedge design with lilac bushes, is what the yard seems to want.
Ground nest, or tree nest on the ground?
The poppies volunteered along the west side of the hedge. I weeded out a mess of wild carrot from among them earlier in the spring.
The following poppies are near the stream in the shade of a willow. Happy 4th of July!
I love the sound this one makes!
These just hang in the sky: and oooh, a pink one!
5th of July and on to my “practice” storm window from the bedroom. This is the only N facing window on the house. In 2013 I cleaned the bedroom sash windows down to the wood, got them to open again, and finished them with clear urethane. I got the storm windows off (screwed and caulked and painted in place) and did some triage work and came up with a system of taking them on and off with scrounged ranch material. They have been servicable, but not correct. Now the storm window will have all glass removed (had one broken pane), all paint removed, sanded, broken corner triaged, sealed with linseed oil/mineral spirits (then left to cure for 3 days- I’ll get this far in about 8 hours), primed, new and original glass installed & caulked, and top-coated to the same shade of green again.
In 2013 I discovered the rotted out corner bottom R; the ranch had a golf-ball’s size of usable bondo so I patched what I could to hold the corner together. The layers of paint slowly come away with a heat gun and scrapers, then a specialized rotary paint-eater with a monster 3M composite pad, then sanded to 80 grit.
It all cleans out and I’m left with a lovely wood frame. This side faces in, and I plan to finish this inside plane with spar urethan (over linseed oil) to match the wood finish inner-sash window. The outside face with have exterior paint to match all the other windows.
Triage begins for the phantom limb. I make a form with a box corner to lay in more bondo. The red is residual oil stain from the second or third layer of paint- my uncle in the early 1960’s scraped down to bare wood wherever the red appears..
Bondo-d.
If I mix up another batch for another fix, I may fill out the edge texture- but it is done enough.
Multiple layers of linseed oil cut with mineral spirits at a 1/1.5 ratio. The mineral spirits allow the oil to soak into the wood, penetrating and saturating, and keeping the linseed oil from forming a hard layer on the surface. The mineral spirits evaporate off allowing the linseed oil to oxidize and chemically change to a hard resin. Rags and steel wool soaked in linseed oil are infamous for combusting, as the chemical process often isn’t grasped, as most consider it an alternate tongue oil. A full cure in the wood takes about 3 days, then the wood is ready for paint or urethane.