Scaling the tower…

Now that the Left-handed Fargle-snorker was back on the road again…there was no excuse left to keep us from getting to work.

Not that it was a bad excuse or anything…after all, when there is Fargle-snorkering to be done, ya really need the right tools to do it.

And whilst I had the right tool…since it had no brakes it was kind of hard to actually stop and work on anything.

Ah well. Fresh out of excuses…so here we go!

So, ya’ll may remember this tower:

The tower before repairs

The tower before repairs

Obviously, it needs repair. For starters, it’s full of holes. Unless it’s a colander, most things full of holes need repair.

Also, the cedar shake siding is seriously weathered…some missing and much of the rest loose and falling off, there is missing trim, and birds and weather were freely making their way about the upper floor of the building.

A few weeks ago we did some repair…here we replaced some missing trim and removed some other dangerous (heavy and loose) trim from the top of the tower. We also started shingling the bottom part and finished that here.

Anyway, step one…remove the old stuff:

Tower scaling

Tower scaling

As you can see, a Left-handed Fargle-snorker is a handy tool for this task!

A Left-handed Fargle-snorker is a handy tool

A Left-handed Fargle-snorker is a handy tool

To avoid a huge mess in the street and having to clean too much stuff off of the awing, all this I’m peeling away I put in the bucket hanging from…well…my bucket. Then to save time I’d lower it by strap to the window and my Dad would exchange it for a fresh bucket.

Buckets of scales were removed

Buckets of scales were removed

Up and down. Around and around.

Up and down. Around and around.

Up and down. Around and around.

I dropped plenty of small stuff on the awning anyway…a lot of the shingles were only held on by a wish and a prayer and disturbing one would let a sliver of another drop off. I’ll sweep off the awing (from the bucket) a little later.

More up and down

More up and down

I destructed about half to start with…as that’s what could be easily reached without moving the truck around. I then started the re-assembly process.

Removed about half to start with

Removed about half to start with

The underlay was in amazing condition…with ZERO rot or serious problems despite the condition of the shakes. I had expected substantial repairs to be needed but thankfully the only thing needed was some loose stuff re nailed.

The Underlay was in good condition

The Underlay was in good condition

Here the pattern and jig-saw-puzzle nature of this beast begins to show itself. I did a bit of extra work to present some additional flourish in the form of pattern to the siding.

One big jigsaw puzzle.

One big jigsaw puzzle.

Down.

Down

Down

Up.

Up.

Up.

Round and round.

Round and round.

Round and round.

Nail nail nail nail nail nail.

Nail nail nail nail nail nail.

Nail nail nail nail nail nail.

It’s fun to note…the old siding was probably original…it was all nailed on with square nails. So…cedar siding can last 115 years or so in Texas weather…more I expect if better cared for. Short of mass destruction or some sort of catastrophic weather event…I don’t expect to have to do this again!

All held on with square nails...

All held on with square nails…

This is where we left it for this weekend. It was getting late, and I was just plain used up. There’s a lot of work involved in that big jig-saw puzzle. My helpers (my Dad and my Wife) were worn out too.

Almost done!

Almost done!

Almost done! As you can tell, there are just three rows left to apply. Of course, because we are approaching the top of the tower, every single shingle left to apply needs a cut. Excluding setup, there’s probably a couple hours work or so left to finish those off.

Close up view of the shingle detail

Close up view of the shingle detail

A good look at the pattern…

Close(er) up view of the shingle detail

Close(er) up view of the shingle detail

Once I finish the shingling, I’ve priming, caulking, and painting to do. There is also work needed around the windows to replace those shingles and get everything weather-proof. That will come as we have time…the main objective of this project was to stop further deterioration, improve the look of the city square, and to remove anything loose so it didn’t fall on somebody.

I think we accomplished that and SO much more.

A big thanks to my Dad and my Wife. They worked very hard…they probably hauled a ton of trash and debris out of the upstairs while also helping me (keeping me stocked with shingles/supplies, taking the old shingles I lowered, and making cuts for me).

Thanks!

Hopefully I’ll knock out the rest of the shingling and maybe some trim and caulking next weekend.

CUAgain,
Daniel Meyer

More tower work…

Continued from last week…This Sunday we finished the bottom section…that’s the hardest one as there was quite a bit of repair to do underneath the siding…and because of the height and pattern nearly every shingle in that section has some sort of cut to it.

My good friend Larry helped immensely as my “saw man”…we set up the saws on the second floor and he could make all the cuts I needed…and as mentioned above…LOTS of cuts in that section.

The bottom with new siding.

The bottom with new siding.

Distance shot

Distance shot

There was a large bolt/wire hanger through the center of the bottom section…it no longer had any wires attached and any future wires I would not attach to the tower anyway…so I took it out. Everything was so seized up I had to grind the nut off (split it) and whack it off with a hammer before we could remove the big bolt and bracket.

The tower looks SO much better without gaping holes in it!

On to the top section next time!

Oh…and as usual…it’s not really “done”. There are a couple pieces of trim to install just below the sills…I just haven’t purchased them yet.

CUAgain,
Daniel Meyer

Tower repair…

Weeeeee!

Weeeeee!

That’s me, 35 feet up there…removing about 40 pounds of wood trim that was no longer firmly attached. It was about to fall off and I *really* don’t want to kill random pedestrians with pieces of my building. Over half of it was missing.

I had to pull square nails to remove the rest of it.

Removing old trim

Removing old trim

Removing old trim

Removing old trim

I then added new trim to seal a gap between the roof and the wall of the tower. It’s the “shiny” in the pic below…

Adding new trim

Adding new trim

That’s my friend Mike down there…helping me out by watching the truck and being my second boom operator if needed…he is also my saw man for the siding underlay repair and shingle replacement.

Mike, hanging out

Mike, hanging out

We started on the siding underlay repair and siding replacement as well…

Siding pattern-repair begins

Siding pattern-repair begins

That is a jigsaw puzzle there…only one row of those doesn’t require some kind of cut. Add in the 150 year old “square” factor (as in, nothing is square after 100 years…unless it’s broken and needs replaced) and there were dozens of cuts involved here. The top will go faster.

There’s enough here to see the pattern anyway…we ran out of time and the weather came down on us the next day (45 degree temperature drop, 7 inches of snow). The upper tower will have several rows of fishscale, several straight, and three rows with the round/arrow combo that gives the illusion of the circles.

Can’t wait to see it all together!

CUAgain,
Daniel Meyer

Whoosh! (the sound of money departing at high speed and volume)

I ordered the shakes for our 1880’s Gothic Debatable tower today. I’m replacing all the cedar on it. Got some trim work around the edge of the roof to do as well. Oh, and a couple pieces of tin to fabricate.

The Tower

The Tower

12 cartons…96 shingles/carton. 3 different patterns (fancy-ing this up just a bit).

I’m pretty sure they are a thin cedar veneer over a solid gold substrate (based on cost).

Shipped in from Canada.

So, I’ve got the tools…

The Left Handed Fargle Snorker is ready to work

Higher and higher!

Higher and higher!

…and will shortly have the material.

That about does in my spring budget…

(sigh)

CUAgain,
Daniel Meyer