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Thread: Old house restoration resources?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
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    Nova Scotia, 45N 64W
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    Old house restoration resources?

    We did a little demolition this weekend, in preparation for a front porch restoration in early spring. Of course, we found some rotted sills

    It's been maybe twenty years since I helped a carpenter replace some sills. It was a truly wicked, sometimes terrifying job, cutting out sections of hand-hewn 6x6 and replacing them in layers, greased-up and pounded in place with the old 16 lb maul. There has to be a better way.
    I wasted over an hour searching Google and youtube tonight, with very disappointing results. The postings were either poor video of DIYers way over their heads, or slick, superficial how-tos that tell you nothing.
    Has anyone seen some good online resources for this sort of work?
    Seems like every time I ask such a question here I get really great directions. Not sure why my searches don't yield better results.

    Thanks and best regards
    Peter

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2007
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    Kansas City, Missouri
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    13,427
    How many feet of sills are you talking about? Also is it on the header joist or the ones running parallel to the joist under the house? Some pics might help, sounds like it may be older than I'm thinking too, so how old is the house?
    Darren

    To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms but absolutely terrified of the word boo. Robert Brault

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Painesville Ohio
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    131
    Anyway to jack up the porch to take the pressure off the sill?
    "Its only by minute attention to every detail that you will achieve perfection"

  4. #4
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    Oct 2007
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    Darren
    The house was built around 1840 and the front sill is about 32' long. I've attached a couple of before and after pictures of our demo job on the weekend. (John, I think it might be a bit late for jacking the porch)
    On closer inspection, the main front-to-back beams are resting on the stone wall inside, with joists mortised into the beams and running parallel to the sill. Temporary support in the basement will be fairly straightforward, due to some foundation and concrete floor work we did a few years ago.
    As I think about it, the method I did previously with the carpenter, cutting out the rotted areas and layering (laminating) new sill in place will probably be the approach. But, removing the rotted areas in place and ending up with a good, square-cornered cavity for re-building is the biggest challenge. My carpenter on the earlier job used a small chainsaw, plunging-in in ways that looked truly reckless to me. I stood back a few feet

    Anyway, probably not going to do much more until spring. We've had basically a non-winter so far, but I know that would soon change if I ventured very far into this kind of job in Jan or Feb. Rather be in the shop these days anyway.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Thanks for looking

    Peter

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    North West Indiana
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    Peter, like John French suggested, lag bolt a 2x6 along the perimeter and use that to lift using jacks. Handyman jacks may do it, might need to build out so you can get a couple of hydraulic jacks. Don't have to lift high, just remove some pressure. Here is where in my shop build I replaced the sill but only had a skeleton wall but you can see my situation and how I dealt with it.

    http://familywoodworking.org/forums/...n-s-Shop/page2

    So, measuring and sandwiching in treated lumber using a ship lap type joint. Actually looks harder than it really is.
    Jon

    God and family, the rest is icing on the cake. I'm so far behind, I think I'm in first place!

    Host of the 2015 FAMILY WOODWORKING GATHERING

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
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    Nova Scotia, 45N 64W
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    Thanks Jonathan.
    I wonder if a person could even go one better on the bolt-on 2x6 idea by letting it into the studs a little bit, with a sort of birdsmouth. Sort of like the way knee braces are let into vertcal columns and beams in a timberframing situation. Maybe more work than it's worth though, and might compromise the studs a bit. I'm just not sure the shear holding strength of lag bolts would be adequate for a load like a two storey house.
    Can you explain a little more what you mean by "ship lap type joint" in this case?

    Maybe you need a few days in Nova Scotia this spring? It's only a 30 or so hour drive, but there would be lobster and something to wash it down!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    I wish I could come and help. A 2x6 the length of the wall lagged to each and every stud should do the job. I use the handy man jacks because they have a protruding jaw to lift with. They are dangerous contraptions though, so on another thought, if you could lag a 4x4 vertically on a stud, do this on three places, everyother stud, three hydraulic jacks under the 4x4, you should be able to release the pressure. With the pressure released, using a chisel or drill or chainsaw find good wood on the sill. Cut it off there and remove the bad section. Then cut horizontally the top half of the good sill back a foot or two and take that section out. This way instead of a butt joint, your new sill and old sill overlap giving more connection.
    Jon

    God and family, the rest is icing on the cake. I'm so far behind, I think I'm in first place!

    Host of the 2015 FAMILY WOODWORKING GATHERING

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