I was hanging out with Chris Schwarz at his first Lost Art Press Saturday open shop a few weeks back, and in walks his neighbor, Dave. Dave and his wife, Marissa, are rehabbing a Victorian about a block away. He started talking about flooring, and my ears perked up. It is for lack of flooring (OK, and time) that I’ve made little progress on my staircase in the last few weeks.
Turns out Dave has a lot of the right stuff, pulled from an old factory – 3-1/2″-wide yellow pine tongue-and-groove flooring from around 1915. And he didn’t hesitate to offer me some.
I picked it up last Saturday, cut it to rough length, then planed off 100 years of paint and dirt. It’s gorgeous, and a perfect match for what’s in my house…except that it now looks a lot better than my floors, which are in desperate need of sanding and refinishing.
Two weeks ago, I pulled from the archway in the basement the two halves of what I think is an original newel post. Saturday afternoon and Sunday, I removed all the crap that had been added to the interior, in hopes of putting the halves back together. And I found part of another newel post…cut in pieces and used to shore things up (see above). There’s no putting those bits back together, I’m afraid.
There was also some old newspaper wadded up to I guess act as a dam for the concrete that had been poured inside. (Why did someone pour concrete inside? No effin’ clue. But it left a nice relief pattern on either side of the doorway.) Also inside? Lots of bug parts and bug poop…but nothing living. Whew!
With the concrete and other additions out, I could finally get the post halves upstairs…where I was sad to realize that repairable post is not the one I need. The cutouts at the bottom indicate it fits the left side of the landing; I’m planning a built-in bookcase at the front of the landing, with steps that curve around to meet it.
I want to put a post at the bottom of the straight run only. But this one won’t work in that location without some serious reconfiguration to its bottom. So OK…time for some serious reconfiguration.
One of those treads leaning against the wall above will become the front board on the landing; I’ll fit it after I install the rest of the flooring (waiting on my cut nails to arrive), and rabbet the board to retain the nose shape on the front edge (the rest will be planed from underneath to 3/4″ to match the floorboards).
The two bottom treads will be new. (I’m still looking for 4/4, 54″-long pieces of 100-year-old pine from which to make them…though I’ve resigned myself to gluing up the width – The bottom tread will be 20″ wide at the curved section.)
So there’s still a lot of work to do, but I’m making progress – in large part thanks to Dave (whom I now count as a friend).