Last week in our exciting episode of “Let’s Renovate an Old Church in Our Spare Time” we left halfway done with the floors. So what was it like to go back at it the following weekend?
It was awesome. It was like getting back on the horse, after you had fallen and broken all the tender bits on your body!
And work it was.
When we finished last weekend, it felt like we might be halfway done. Or even more!
But it won’t get done by wishing, so let’s get started!
First we used the large sander. Last week we had the drum sander, but we wanted to try the circular one. It had about the same effect. It took off the top layers a little quicker than the drum sander, but it was a lot trickier to handle. If you tried to steer it, it had a tendency to spin off into its own circular spasm of cyclonic motion, taking the handler with it. But if you got all zen with it and let it do its thing, it would drift along in a cloud of dust and swirl its way down the planks.
But to really finish the job, the Bronco had to be engaged.
You can see the difference.
And so it went. Circular swirls and Bronco bucking.
The time has come to address the floor. It really contains the last of the remaining nastiness and crud from the past. Wanna help, boys?
That’s OK. I wouldn’t want a cat tail to get caught in the machinery.
So we drove into Bad Axe to rent a couple of sanders: one big drum sander and the smaller edging sander. Neither of us had sanded a big floor before, so it was going to be an adventure. As usual!
Here it is after the first few swipes. This machine was pretty tame and easy to use.
But it also left a lot of paint still on the wood.
So we used it in conjunction with the edger. The difference in the ease of use was like the difference between holding on to a vacuum cleaner and holding on to the Tazmanian Devil!
Well, it was a long and arduous task, but we made progress.
But it turned out to be the only thing that would dig in and get the last of the ancient paint/stain out.
We went through some paper. We pay by the sheet, which messed with my thrifty mind. Changing the paper often makes the job much easier, but at $10 a sheet for the large sander and $4 for the small, it makes you think twice. I couldn’t help imagining strapping a ten dollar bill under the sander every time we changed the paper. But then after a few shifts on the bronco head, I would have paid more just to make it easier.
Also, it took us awhile to remember that dust is an irritant.
So back and forth we went, up and down the boards. And we progressed.
I did take turns, but Cowboy Mike forgot to record it! We both were pooped at day’s end. But what a change! It was an exhausted but happy glow we had later that evening!
Yeah- and nothing good comes easy. And idle hands are the Devil’s workshop.
But it’s true…
Worth numb hands and sore shoulders?
Ignore the other-worldly looks, we’ll wear masks next time, promise!
February has fled, leaving nothing but cold and snow in its wake. March is here, bringing cold air and snow. What the what? But that doesn’t slow down progress at the White Church Gallery.
As predicted, weekend events back home prevented my journey to the Church, but apparently my awesome husband anointed himself court photographer in my absence. He usually shuns the camera, but either he doesn’t think I believe he really works when he’s there alone, or he secretly enjoys taking pictures of progress! I think it’s a little of both…
I do believe he works, because he is very passionate about whatever he does. And he’s a very hard worker. Plus…I knew he wouldn’t be alone. Thanks to “Captain” Ron Picard, the mammoth job of painting the ceiling was nearly accomplished! So let’s see what the boys were up to!
Ahem, court photographer, is this the first one you took? Looks like you’re halfway through! Ha Ha- it’s looking good!
We thought about spraying the paint on, but the first coat needs the attention hand rolling could only give. Hence the circus act these two performed on a system of scaffolding and ladders. Go boys, go!
Yep, he is! He’s a pro! And so it went.
And just to prove he was rolling too, look what I found on the camera!
And so, here are the results of their hard work.
Wow. What a difference. Now the cracks look fine. When we had finished the ceiling over the “attic” I thought the cracks made it look dirty, but now it looks great!
Cool- the white ceiling really picks up colors! We were pondering what color we’d paint the ceiling, but we’re in love with the lightness of the ceiling, so we’ll go with something a shade or two creamier and less blinding softer than stark white.
Looks like there’s just a little bit left to prime. Then we can spray the color coat on.
The next morning, Grindstone Mike went back for some daylight pix- I love it! Nice job, Reluctant Court Photographer!
Oh ho- Mr. Reluctant Photographer shows his true artist colors. Look what else I found on the camera!
Nice work, Mike. I guess someone just earned himself a new job! (As if he didn’t have enough to do!)
Hopefully I can help out in the next few weeks, if I can break away from other commitments. Meanwhile, thanks Captain Ron for all your hard work, and thanks, Grindstone Mike, for being you!
It’s the busy season at the Church. Summer was right for hanging out at the Ice Cream Store, shooting the breeze and eating ice cream.
But Fall hath come, and worker bees are swarming the church ready to make some sweet, sweet honey. Sweet and fresh as the wild honey the bee gathers on the moor. (Anyone get the reference?)
But before we get to the big changes, I need to catch up.
So let’s go back a week or so when a back door was added. We needed a second exit, so a hole was cut and a giant door was inserted. Here it is!
Another added feature is a bathroom. The Church never had water or septic, so we’ve been using the handy but rented Port-a-John just outside the front door. But winter’s a-coming and it’s time to move the operation indoors. The bathroom will have its own lovely window for viewing. Not sure how we’ll deal with that yet…
It also features a very high ceiling and will sport a very heavy and old marble sink.
The toilet will be new. The septic tank will be new. The water tanks that will hold our potable water will be new. Meanwhile, back at Fort McMahon (the cottage in Port Austin) the sinks and toilets were thick with hair. Since both Mike and I have long hair, the drains get clogged with amazing regularity. So here we are spending 15 minutes at the Walmart shopping for a plunger. We’ve got that kind of time!
Really, we have to break ourselves away from the church to take care of other business, and it’s not easy. But when one hears directly from God to finish the church, one must obey! Other stuff can and will have to wait.
So back to the Church. We’ve had a lot of prep work to do. We’d already had the plaster and lathe removed, and the electrical is mostly all installed. But there were still pockets of aged filth, ductwork that needed to be moved, and just all kind of nasty little jobs that had to be done.
I went up high to remove the last of the nails and dust and animal leavings. Mike went low to wriggle around in the dirt of the crawl space. This blog doesn’t come with smell-o-vision, but perhaps you can imagine the aroma of damp, aged, lived-in dirt under a 120 year old church. I was lucky to get the other job since rolling in the dirt is not my idea of fun! Poor Mike always gets the dirty jobs!
The church has a crawl space. The story as we know it is that the church was originally built about a quarter mile away on Carrie lane! It was moved to its present spot around 1902.
Working all week, and then working all weekend makes a body tired. Here we are after our respective adventures. High or low, it’s most likely Bud-O-clock.
So what’s been going on this week? Let me show you, and you can guess…
Darn, you guessed it! The Church is being wired. Now that the plaster and lathe is gone, we can wire the walls for electricity before we add insulation and close her up with drywall. Outlets under the windows and in front! The ceiling had already been wired, but now the walls are good to go. Well almost…
Of course, in renovation, as in life, nothing is ever easy, and there were disaster areas that needed to be tended to before we can even think “Spray Foam!”
Who better to attend to them? Grindstone Mike, of course!
With a little help from a friend, of course. Camera-shy ice cream magnate Paul Fisher helped out, but it’s a bigger job than just weekend will allow time and energy for, especially after such a grueling work week and last week’s adventure to NY State for a lovely wedding.
Time spent with the folks is always special, and seeing relatives is always a hoot, but the 10 hours in the car each way was a little hard on the nerves tushie!
I did take a day this week to go hiking in Crescent Beach State Park. Summer has flown by, as is usually does, and for me teaching school starts very soon, both High School and College. So I took a day to “goof off” in this lovely setting, only 15 minutes from Port Austin, MI.
I’m selfishly posting these so I can look back and remember how wonderful it was and to keep me breathing during the long season ahead of working all week, renovating all weekend. Poor Grindstone Mike has been doing this all along, but that’s why he’s Grindstone Mike. Tough and gritty, but keeps everyone near him sharp too.
That’s how we get by!
As we were ready to get started on round two of “bringing down the walls…” we had company arrive.
John and Chummy were the first to show up! Don’t let the white hair fool you. These two are stronger than oxen on steroids! For real! Polish oxen!
Next thing you know, two trucks and a motorcycle pull up. It’s Picard and Co., to the rescue once again! Now the pictures are going to get messy. Blurry and dusty. These human tornadoes took the other three walls down before 3 pm. All we could do was duck for cover!
On to the side. Move the scaffolding, fellas…
And so it went, tear it down, haul it out, go back for more.
The walls have come tumblin’ down. But not without a lot of coaxing, urging, and back breaking labor!
First step: prep. I spent a day solo moving all the furniture and tools into two aisles so that the walls were clear. I felt very empowered after the move.The place was a mess, as you see.
Step two: start ripping out plaster and lathe. Scaffolding set up, tools assembled. Masks on, ready, set, go!
Here’s the “time lapse” of the wall coming down.
Third step: down in the trenches, shoveling plaster and lathe, taking it out to the dumpster, and back for more.
One wall down, three to go. That’s enough for one weekend…
Step four: Time for some eats and drinks! Step it up, Captain Barbeque!