The Cross House

Small Bits. With Sighs.

This is the sweet round window of the telephone closet. Just over to the right is the massive north chimney. Its immense weight has caused it to sink by 2-1/2-inches, dragging the adjacent wood sections of the house down with it. Sigh. The has caused the siding to separate from trim, a condition almost nonexistent on the rest of the house. The area around the round window has also suffered from wind/rain/exposure, and the siding is in poor condition. For about $20,000 I could have the chimney lifted, and new footings poured, but, ah, that is SO not going to happen. Sigh. As such, I am going to do something I almost never do and accept age-related damage rather than repair it. Sigh.


After some reflection, I decided to remove the damaged siding and replace it.


Oh my! Luckily, I found no water or termite damage to the sheathing. You can see the wicked chimney to the right. Bad chimney! Bad!


The old siding mostly just fall apart while removing it. I had to carefully number the pieces, which were invaluable as templates, as the round window created odd shapes.


New cedar! This cut-out would have proved really difficult without the original piece as a template.


And so, bit by bit, what was installed 122-years ago in 1894 was installed again in 2016. I have carefully fit each new piece to conform with the “sunk” conditions, thereby “locking” the “sunk” into place. Sigh. (The curved cornice of the window is not new, just sanded.)






9 Responses to Small Bits. With Sighs.

  1. I think this small bit of a telephone room captures my imagination more than any other part of the house. When the room is finished, please sit in the there and take selfies so can appreciate all the details.

  2. Take heart, Ross! Old houses grow to the land, becoming conformed to its contours. Look at Little Moreton Hall.

    Surely you will find yourself shimming up the front legs of tall furniture when you move in, and a handful of marbles will skitter in all directions when dropped in the middle of one of your grand rooms-doing what comes naturally in an old wooden house!

  3. Looking great! Your fit-up work with the new pieces is precise and a testament to your patience and attention to detail.

    Do you pre-treat the replacement siding with anything before you install it? I’ve been using Wolman Woodlife on mine, followed by back-priming prior to installation. Some research by the US Forest Service has shown that paintable water-repellent wood preservatives (like Woodlife) can extend topcoat life by retarding moisture migration through the wood. I’ve done some replacement wood with it, and some without, so if we stick around in our current home long enough, I guess I’ll see if there’s any difference.

    For the most part, I’ve come to accept the quirks that result from differential settlement over decades that nearly all homes will develop (unless you engineer and construct a very substantial foundation system).

  4. and I noticed with the siding off that the house is diagonal boarded and you didn’t mention it but I guess you were really tired from all that cut and fit. I understand.
    we built a woodshed last year with diagonal boarding mainly for triangulation strength and my friends son and I were trying to figure out a formula for cutting all the boards at once since both edges are different lengths but it was beyond our math skills.

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