It has been awhile since I posted an entry in here.  Two reasons.  I got busy with some other things, including two trips to my sister’s for babysitting duty up near DC, plus things around home got busy as well. One of them, trying to locate a cheap old vechicle to use to pull my trailer when I get to the point of hauling some heavier lumber.  (I did find something neat, a Korean War vintage jeep, honest to goodness US Army issue!  It runs and drives, just needs some brakes and going over to make sure it’s road-worthy.) 

And the second, well, I just sort of ran out of steam. I was going like gangbusters, with no thought of pacing myself. Big mistake, I should have set a time limit. But instead, I just kept forcing myself to go and go, and wound up exhausted. Of course, that’s part of the reason I’m on disability in the first place. My meds keep me that way a lot, and I have to learn my limitations.  Lesson learned.

Okay, so I took my break and I’m back to work.

One issue that became a factor as well was the weather. September was one heck of a soggy month in NC.  We had massive amounts of rain and moderate temperatures to boot. I’m keeping power bills down as I’m not staying in the house presently while I’m doing this work, so it’s necessary to keep the air off. It’s expensive to run a heat pump/AC unit in a house with no insulation.  And by the time I got back from  my sister’s house the temperatures nosedived, and we had frost the past two mornings.

The first thing I did last week was to crawl under the house. I have an oil furnace that worked great for several years, but after the flooding a couple of years ago, I haven’t been able to get it to fire up. It’s totally dry now,  but I pulled the primary control board, something I’ve never done, and got it out.

   It didn’t look too bad on first glance, but once I pulled the board out of the housing, the story became clear. Heavy corrosion had caused the multiple contact bridging and of course, that means short circuits. Not enough to trip the circuit breaker, but enough to render the board’s relay inoperative.  So I’ve got one on order, which should come in a week or so.

  Here, one can see just how bad the corrosion was, between the two circuit boards. Nothing to do but replace it.

And that was Day Seven, just getting under there and retrieving this thing. I have about 40 gallons of fuel oil in the tank, enough for about three weeks of constant use.  I plan to use the oil and heat pump in conjunction, a dual-fuel system. The oil furnace operates with one single large vent in the floor of the living room, and it heats the whole house nicely. I installed new ductwork throughout the rest of the house so the heat pump provides a nice, even heat and circulated air.  Between the two, I think I can have a much better heat system overall, and more efficient.

Day Eight: back to painting. My last entry involved sanding and prepping the front door for paint. I stored it in the workshop but dragged it inside to paint. I turned the heat on to 69 degrees, and opened my can of primer. I already had this, plenty of it, in fact. So, after one last sanding it it was time to prime and paint.

That was done in about three hours, allowing time to dry between coats.   After the door was finished I got some of the hardware out. The hardware, hinges, locks, escutcheons and latches, were hopelessly coated time and time again with paint, multiple coats and applied thickly, in gobs at times.  I chipped the old paint off and began the task of sanding down the worst of it. Like the door, I was unable to remove all of it. Just way too much of it and it was too thick and hard. And all of it was different. Bright brass deadbolt, older brass doorknobs, steel surface lock and steel hinges. And all the escutcheons were painted as well.

Patient sanding using a paint stripper at least got all of them mostly smooth, and I did    each one of them.

I got to thinking, how to handle this?  Every one of them looked different, and I had        no desire to duplicate the sloppy painting techniques of the previous workers.  I hit          upon a solution I think will work well and fit in well with the plan of keeping this an          “old” house in appearance and decor.

I took all of the hardware and decided to paint them glossy black, as old iron and hardware used to some that way anyway.   So I rummaged again and found some glossy black Rustoleum enamel spray paint.  (Thank goodness I remembered to bring it inside last year before the cold hit. )  So the final thing to do before finishing last night was to lay them all out, and paint them.   Here’s the finished result:

We’ll see how it looks this evening after the parts dry and I get them (and the door) installed again.  Oh, in case you’re wondering, I took down one of the interior doors and stood it up in the doorframe. It doesn’t fit very well, being smaller, but at least someone looking from the outside won’t realize the door is actually open, unless they open the storm door as well, and that’s locked.

Previous total:     $174.00

New total:               $216.50   (cost of used primary control for oil furnace, plus shipping)