Thursday, June 4, 2009

Sheriff Roscoe P. Coltrane's dog was named...

Oh no...If I tell you know now you won't read the whole post. I'll tell you at the end. It's actually relevant to the discussion.

Yesterday the masons were back on the job. They finished up the flashing, did some final parging in the flues and cleaned up the site in time for tomorrow's garden tea.

They are leaving the scaffolding in place because they need to wash down the chimney on Monday. They want to give the mortar a couple of days to dry out before washing it down with a muriatic acid solution (same stuff they used to clean the bricks). I understand that there is a fine line between the mortar being too wet and too dry. If they wait too long to wash it down, blotches appear on the chimney. So...Monday it is.

I also met today with the architect and mason to discuss flashing options and finishing the fireplace itself.

Our mason is proposing using a flashing method that has the flashing come up the side of the chimney just to the top of the shingles. Then it turns into a kerf cut in the chimney (the kerf is technically called a reglet). Once inside the reglet, the end of the flashing is curled upward to prevent any water that might seep in from getting into the masonry. The reglet is filled with caulk. A separate piece of flashing is used for each course of shingles - its length is equal to the shingle exposure plus about four inches.

The advantage to this method is that the flashing is not visible from the ground. He's used it on several jobs in Pennsylvania. Before we finalize the decision to go with this method, we need to speak to the general contractor and particularly the roofer to make sure they are comfortable with the process. After all, they are the one who are going to get a phone call if the roof starts leaking.

We also discussed our approach to the fireplace. We are going to do as little restoration as possible, preferring not to mess with original fabric if we can avoid it. The basic restoration work will be limited to replacing badly deteriorated brick at the back of the fireplace, pointing areas of missing mortar,cleaning up a layer of mortar near the door of the bake oven and replacing a few bricks that are missing from the legs.

We'll also temporarily place some rectangular hearth bricks around the inside of the fireplace where the masonry was removed. These will be a different color than our existing hearth bricks and will help us visually delineate the change in the fireplace. Eventually, we do plan on putting square bricks down in the hearth - probably not until later this year.

That will get us to a working condition in the fireplace while disturbing as little of the 1738 material as possible.

We will also order a big iron fireback, 30" x 22", to protect the rear wall of the fireplace. We think they probably had one in use in the 18th century since there is no soot on the bricks at the bottom of the rear wall. We'll also order an iron lug pole while we're at it, so we can get some trammels in place for interpretation purposes.

As we finished up the meeting, another storm blew in. Like yesterdays, it was short, but much less violent, and resulted in substantially less damage around town. Whew.

I guess that's it for today. The mason's won't be back until Monday so I'm off to the Vermont side of Lake Champlain for a weekend of fishing!

And, of course, I owe you an answer...

Roscoe had a basset hound named "Flash". Flash loved the Duke boys, but hated Boss Hogg.

I watched too much TV as a kid.

Just the good ol' boys
Wouldn't change if they could
Fightin' the system like a true, modern-day Robin Hood
- Waylon Jennings

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