A Carpenter’s Journal

July 27, 2014

Shelter for a Pizza Oven

Filed under: Architecture,Job Progress,Materials — Fran Maloney @ 8:09 am


November 23, 2013

Colonial Entry

Filed under: Job Progress — Fran Maloney @ 9:27 pm

This entry way had a leak above it that rotted out everything above the door.  The original sill under the door was completely rotted away and had been replaced with a 4×4 and some shims.  I had to rebuild everything from the ground up.  The parts were made by Randall Manufacturing in Marshfield, Mass out of 1 inch African mahogany.

IMG_2205 IMG_2220 IMG_2222

November 18, 2012

Finishing Touches

Filed under: Architecture,Bathrooms,Job Progress — Fran Maloney @ 11:51 am

Finally the plumbing fixtures and the shower doors are installed. We are just about finished

Frameless glass enclosure for shower.

November 6, 2012

Tiled Shower

Filed under: Job Progress — Fran Maloney @ 9:56 pm

Working in the same 1808 cape, now with the walls insulated and sheetrocked, and durock on the shower walls,  I built up the curb to the shower with 3 2x4s stacked together and covered with durock.  The tops of the curbs tilt slightly into the shower.  The walls and ceiling of the shower are white ceramic subway tiles with nautical decorative tiles in one row at eye level.  The floor is pebbles.  The pebbles are cemented with thinset mortar to a bed of sand mix mortar placed over a vinyl shower pan, over 5/8″plywood underlayment pitched with shingles to drain any water that penetrates the grout into the weep holes in the side of the drain.

Bathroom Remodel in an Antique Cape
































This job was in an old cape in Duxbury built in 1808.  It was post and beam framed.  The beams and posts were some kind of hardwood which I could not identify, very hard and reddish in color,  with marks of the adze visible.  In another old cape we remodeled here I found a King George III coin which I gave to the owners.  While pulling the ceiling down here, along with squirrels nests, blown in insulation, wood lath, horsehair plaster and 200 years of dirt swept through the cracks of the floor boards. There was one artifact, a piece of an old slingshot.  It had a very old type of cord woven from hemp.

The waste pipe from the upstairs bathroom had been leaking and the main beam it passed by and the outside sill adjacent to it were wet and mouldy but still structurally sound.  There were some other beams that were rotten but the rot looked old and not due to this leak.  The beam in the middle of the house and its intersecting beam had sagged considerably over the years relative to the perimeter built on stone.  The result was that the floor was out of level by about 2 inches in 7 feet.  I ended up rebuilding the floor by adding joists 16 oc between the beams and placing floor jacks on blocks under the sags and partially lifting the sag out of the beams.  I also used the new joists and subfloor to cheat the new floor much closer to level.



May 24, 2012


Filed under: Architecture — Fran Maloney @ 5:43 am

This is a roof over an entry I just finished.


May 21, 2012

Placing Fiberglass Columns

Filed under: Job Progress — Fran Maloney @ 7:42 am
Threaded Rod and Column Base

Threaded Rod Bolted over Header

Threaded Rod Bolted over Header

Threaded Rod and Column Base

This is how I install load bearing load bearing fiberglass columns in  a  high wind zone.  The columns are 10inch diameter placed on a 12 inch diameter concrete filled sono tube placed four feet into the ground.   A 5/8 inch anchor bolt is set into the concrete and a 5/8 threaded  rod is coupled onto it.  The rod is extended to the top of the header bearing over the column and bolted with a 2 inch plate and washer.  This has the effect of stabilizing the column and of tying the entire structure to the ground in a heavy wind.  The rafters are attached to the header with hurricane ties.


Footing and Anchor BoltThreaded Rod Bolted over Header

April 30, 2012

Newell and Balustrade

Filed under: Architecture,Materials — Fran Maloney @ 1:09 pm

I replaced a contemporary railing from the 1970s with this one.  The newell is built up on the old 4×4 oak posts.  The railing was an oak 2×6 with flat oak balusters attached to the side.  I removed it and built the knee wall up to the height of the inside skirt.  The balusters are pre-finished pine 1 1/4 inches on a side.  The railing is beech.  The owner intends to give the railing a dark stain and to paint the rest.







April 28, 2012

Bathroom Done Over

Filed under: Job Progress — Fran Maloney @ 9:43 am

I just recently finished this bathroom.  I had to tear up the old shower base.  You might be able to see how damp the mortar is.  I always try to taper the base with shingles so that water drains into the small holes in the side of the drain.  I screw a single piece of 5/8″ underlayment over this and then have the plumber install a vinyl pan.  If there are no holes in the drain I drill some and surround them with either pebbles or tile spacers to allow the water in the mortar to drain out as well as the surface water.  I tiled the floor, the walls and the shower, and installed a 12 foot vanity.  The chandelier seen over the tub would be a code violation but it is not wired.   The owner had her heart set on having it there.

April 20, 2012

Fir Gutter

Filed under: Job Progress — Fran Maloney @ 7:57 pm

Stainless screws


Lead Outlet

This is how I hang a fir gutter.  First, the outside is painted and the inside oiled with linseed oil. The lead outlets are placed in their holes and nailed in place into a mortise cut around the hole with a 3/8 chisel.  I use 1/2 inch brass annulated nails for this.  The heads are big enough to hold the lead down.  I use geocell caulk to seal them.  The gutter can be nailed with 16d galvanized spikes, but I prefer to use stainless 3″ screws.  They are adjustable and easier to get into the space between the gutter and the roof.  I screw with an impact driver into the rafter tail.  The screws are placed into a predrilled hole and a 1/4 inch spacer made of pvc is tacked to the back of the gutter where the rafters are.

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