It is hard to believe that it is October. The fact that fall has arrived means that this project, which started in May, is yet another large and drawn out one. I knew it would be. My wife had hopes of this being simply replacing a few boards, but the board that was causing the problem was connected to another board, which was nailed to yet another board, etc. etc. All of the structure which supported the stairs had significant rot after only five years of use. One thing led to another and at least half of my front porch has been renovated.
But, long and drawn out projects can be fun. This one has encompassed everything from manly demolition to working out compound angles in my head. It has tested the muscles in my brain as well as muscles in my back.
Working outdoors has been enjoyable and I have used everything from my hand saw to my thickness planer with my cordless drill and my miter saw seeing heavy action. I even foresee borrowing some of my dad’s carving tools to touch up the joints on the hand rail. Again, a very different kind of project for me.
But, on to the progress since my last post…
Note in the photo above how the slope of the new stairs does not match the slope of the old lattice. This means new lattice is in order, of which I am glad because I had a love/hate feeling towards the old lattice. The box woods which are deteriorating need to be removed. This is a chore I dreaded because the dirt in the area is about as bad as it gets: extremely compacted and containing debris (gravel and chunks of brick) from when the house was built about 30 years ago. But the box woods come out surprisingly well.
Note the skinny posts and if you look closely, you will see my yellow “wreaking bar” in the foreground. This industrial grade pry bar was extremely handy. My little pry bar may be good for removing trim inside the house, but it was no match for the 2x material and long nails used on the stairs. You get a real sense of power when using a wreaking bar. Every man should have one.
I made mention above about the skinny posts which support the porch. They do the job just fine, but they are skinny. In an effort to make the porch look more grounded, I decided to add boards to them to beef up the posts. These boards will also push the lattice forward a little which, after testing, looks better.
Transforming a sheet of lattice into something useful for my stairs was as simple as running a pencil around the template and then using my reciprocating saw to make the cuts. Since the template fits, so does the lattice.
I would call this project about 85% complete. There are a lot of little things left to do. In the photo above, you can see strips of wood on the ground. I’ll use them to trim out the lattice, adding a finished look to the porch. Before I can do that, I need to patch the first section of lattice – it isn’t wide enough to fill the space left by the old lattice. I won’t go into any detail concerning how this came to be except to say I now know there is such a thing as defective lattice. I will piece some lattice together using some scraps.
I’ll need to add a finial to the top of each post; I am thinking about creating some like those I made for the Tornado Bed – that will look cool. Plus, if you look closely in the photo above, the first newel post is not plumb. I am not sure how that happened, but knowing it isn’t straight is killing me. I’ll have to fix it before I call this project complete.