Chipping Away!

This window needed to go in. The Church needs its eyes open!

Lemme get the wonder bar…
Lemme get the wonder bar…

Couldn’t find any of the three wonder bars we own, so pry bar it is! (This might be an old joke, but it occurs to me that that wonder bar is aptly named- we are always wondering where the HECK it is!)

First let's get the plywood out!
First let’s get the plywood out!
C'mon now…
C’mon now…

After some ughs and grunts, it came out!

I've got a "gut feeling"…
I’ve got a “gut feeling”…

…that the window is going to be awesome!

Engineer Mike made a temporary handle, of course.
Engineer Mike made a temporary handle, of course.

Once we remove the handle, the window, recently glazed and so as of yet unpainted, is ready for full sunlight transmission! It’s facing west, so by afternoon the sun streams in like crazy. So we had it tinted.

So did the tinting help?
So did the tinting help?

Well, let’s see…

Um…can't tell!
Um…can’t tell!

With my little point and shoot camera, I wasn’t able to get a good contrasty picture in the sunlight. But we could tell a difference in person. It’s just nice to have a window back in! It’s been such a lovely summer that the light and heat feel good.

The phrase “chipping away at it” feels very appropriate to sum up this summer’s work. Window by window. And meanwhile…

We’ve both been putting in a lot of time beating back the chaos at our other properties. One such project was putting up a retaining “wall” between our new cement and the neighbor’s yard, which somehow managed to be many inches higher than ours!

How did their lawn get so high??
How did their lawn get so high??

So we dug and measured, ram a plumb line because the cement sloped, and laid the giant beams in.

That's a good 6 inch difference in height!
That’s a good 6 inch difference in height!

So in went the wall.

"Cutened" up.
“Cutened” up.

Cuter, plus no landslides onto the new cement, hopefully.

Well we didn’t have long to wait to test it. The Great Flood of Royal Oak put it to the test, and I must say, it worked beautifully. The rest of the yard was under water, but no mudslides!

 

– The White Church Gallery

 

Follow the Lights!

Every May, my birthday rolls around. And every May, my beloved husband finds something sweet and amazing to surprise me with.

It wasn't these...
It wasn’t these…

These beauties were the by-product of his search for the perfect gift from Craigslist! He did find an amazing little piece of furniture for me but it’s for home, not the church, though it does have quatrefoils on it.

We had been looking for light sconces for some time, and our search had schooled us in the prices and quality we were likely to find.
These had been polished.
These had been polished.
We knew they were neither cheap, nor easy to find in quantity. So it was with utter amazement that he found this set of five doubles and two singles. All for one low price.
Score!
Score!
Yes, they will need some love, both aesthetically and electrically. Someone had wire-wheeled some of the metal. I used Brasso and elbow grease on the one on the left, and it has a very different tone than the polished one on the right. But I will figure out how to make them match, never fear! They will be a beautiful addition of light to the Church!

Meanwhile, the protective plywood came off the front windows, and the front of the Church saw first light, again.
All closed up.
All closed up.
One eye open...
One eye open…
And the other…
Who's that in the window?
Who’s that in the window?
Why, it’s Grindstone Mike, putting the final touches on the paint.
Soon it will be time for dinner. How’s it going, Dr. Fisher, of the Institute of Barbeque Grills?
Oh it'll just take 15 more minutes...
Oh it’ll just take 15 more minutes…
Right! Well, we’ll check back in 20…
Painting.
Painting.
The windows look just great!
ust a few more to go...;)
ust a few more to go…;)
They sure do let the light in!
Meanwhile…
Assistance from a guest!
Assistance from a guest!
And so it took a few hours, but the lads were able to find all the right places for all the right parts, and we did dine on burgers and dogs. Our first grilling in Grindstone Corners!
Yay-Be-Que!
Yay-Be-Que!
Let’s light it!
– The White Church Gallery

Glazing Over

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The Church has had its eyes shut for a few months. We took in the windows for repair and reglazing. We started by sanding down the old wood and giving them a few new coats of paint.

Red on the Outside,
Red on the Outside,
Brown on the Inside.
Brown on the Inside.

To keep the inside weather separate from the outside weather, we needed to glaze the windows. Glazing is when you put a special glazing putty on the inside edges and smooth it down.

I got the job!

I've got the gloves for it!
I’ve got the gloves for it!

But I had to be schooled first. Dr. Paul Fisher of the Institute for Glazing Old Windows gave me a tutorial. First take a glob of glaze. Then roll it out like a long snake. Then stuff it in the corners with your big Polish fingers.

Well I don’t have big Polish fingers, so I had to use several smaller fingers.

Roll and Stuff.
Roll and Stuff.

It looks a bit like someone stuffed their old gum into the windows. But there is a tool that takes the lumps and bumps out and gives it an edge.

De-lumped
De-lumped
I used it.
Of course, if the edges of the window aren’t smooth and sharp,  the tool that uses the edge as a guide isn’t able to make a nice straight line.
Uhh...maybe some paint will help!
Uhh…maybe some paint will help!
Yes, the paint did help. After I painted, I had to scrape the excess paint off the glass and clean the glass.
At last, we were finally able to install a window!
New wood inserts to keep it all snug.
New wood inserts to keep it all snug.
Of course there were some adventures along the way.
Whups.
Whups.
Pilot holes had been drilled, but the wood was pretty dry, so it cracked. But practice makes perfect, and we did practice!
Perfect!
Perfect!
And the Mastermind behind it all…
Pilot holes, baby.
Pilot holes, baby.
…had a very special event to go to, so time to get cleaned up!
Cleaned up!
Cleaned up!
Patent #4, and counting. Fancy-schmancy dinner in Rochester, MI. Mr. Zaitz receives his patent plaque and some very nice words. Mrs. Zaitz receives a delicious dinner and a big helping of gratefulness that she hitched her horse to this guy’s post
– The White Church Gallery

Hiatus

It had been over three weeks since we had last said goodbye to the Church, unplugged the wax melter and shut off the lights. Three weeks of December bustle, of Christmas parties, Church events, and seeing family and friends. Three weeks of shopping and eating and making merry. It seemed like a long time, and we worried about the Church. But the Church is so snug now with its new insulation, drywall and excellent Geothermal furnace that everything looked exactly as we had left it. Well, almost everything…

OOPS!
OOPS!

We were babysitting two plants from Rybak’s Ice Cream store for the winter, but they cannot live on sunlight alone. They do need water…

The Blue Hydrangeas made it - but they are fake...
The Blue Hydrangeas made it – but they are fake…
I even left them on the Robo-Saw with its awesome swinging arm and a few bottles of water, but apparently the saw drank the water and left the plants to fend for themselves.
Now that the church is comfy-cozy with its spray foamed long underwear on, the windows are the only weak link. So it was the windows that we worked on. I didn’t snap any pix of the work because (as if it wasn’t evident) sanding and caulking windows isn’t very glamorous, nor is it adrenalin-producing. (Really I just forgot…)
I did manage to sneak a picture of Mike working on the trim between the ceiling and the drywall. There is a bit of a gap there and the trim will fill that nicely. But again, it’s not super sexy work, though he did his best to make a nice pose…
Nice form, Grindstone Mike!
Nice form, Grindstone Mike!
We did have a leisurely week off in the Thumb, and some of the time was spent just nesting with the critters.
"Could you bring me my fez and slippers, please? Yes, all four slippers!"
“Could you bring me my fez and slippers, please? Yes, all four slippers!”
I don’t know if it was all the extra sleep I got, but I started daydreaming about the bathroom ceiling.
An Empty Canvas
An Empty Canvas
So I searched for ideas…
Hmm... classic but a little pretentious?
Hmm… classic but a little pretentious?
Uh, no.
Uh, no.
This should have been at Graceland!
This should have been at Graceland!
Well, perhaps we’ll just stick with something more tasteful, like this for example:
Is that a cumuloNIMBUS cloud?
Is that a cumuloNIMBUS cloud?
Or maybe something artsy:
We call it "Pearls and Paint Chips"
We call it “Pearls and Paint Chips”
I call it ugly. What do you say, Iggy? Pass or Fail?
ZzzzzFailzzzzzzz!
ZzzzzFailzzzzzzz!
Maybe we could get a giant print of this picture for the ceiling:
"Ah what's that lovely aroma?"
“Ah what’s that lovely aroma?”
OK, maybe not. But something must go on the ceiling. Can’t wait to see what we come up with!
– The White Church Gallery

Uncovering the Window

For as many years as can be remembered by the living, there has been a red circle with a white cross in the front of the Church.

000_0428

000_0433

Here’s the story of the uncovering of the Quatrefoil window.

First light was quite exciting!

Now you see it,
Now you see it,
Now you don't!
Now you don’t!

I couldn’t take pictures of bringing the window down since I was holding the lowering rope! But she is down, and ready to be loved. It’s not clear yet whether she will be restored or will become a museum piece. She’s in rough shape.

P1010100

Most of the glass was intact, but in order to repair the window, all the glass had to come out. That meant all the brittle glazing had to be picked out. I did the best I could, but it became apparent that the glass was really not worth saving in this case. Yes, it was old and original, but we think the reason it was covered it because it’s too fragile for the westerly weather it had to take. So new glass will have to be made for it.

Antique brittle glazing + dry rotted wood = bye bye glass.
Antique brittle glazing + dry rotted wood = bye bye glass.

P1010104

I did manage to remove the center glass without mishap. And never fear, I saved most of the pieces for the future. I’m sure a project will arise that will call for antique warbly glass.

The bones.
The bones.

Exciting!

Meanwhile, the other window is coming along…

Primer
Primer
Nice sanding job!
Nice sanding job!

We’re still debating colors, so stay tuned…

– The White Church Gallery

Summer plans

So what’s going on at the Church this season? After the heating/cooling system went in, we had to huddle down, replenish the coffers, and plan the next step. After much thought and prayer, it became clear that we need more…space! Yes, the church is big and beautiful, but when we take out the plaster, insulate the walls and replace them, the church will have to be emptied. Where will we put everything? Where will we have work space? Where?

Where? In here?
Where? In here?

In the new addition! Yes, an addition. That’s the plan.

Commence the scraping!

New driveway!
New driveway!
Back yard. The addition will connect to the back of the church.
Back yard. The addition will connect to the back of the church.
Lumpy!
Lumpy!

So the landscape around the church is a little shaggy right now. But it’s in the name of progress. The side yard is still feeling the effects of having Geothermal pipes installed deep into it.

Rocky!
Rocky!

But what about the church? Remember our beautiful antique glass windows?

P1010011

We don’t want them to fall out, so we are going to take them out, one by one, and strip and reglaze them. There are 10 big windows, plus the one over the door, plus the secret special quatrefoil window behind the white cross in the red circle.
Whew let’s get started!
Church without its glasses!
Church without its glasses!
They are in pretty rough shape, especially the ones facing the weather- westward.
Paint and glazing must go!
Paint and glazing must go!
It was our first window, and we knew it was a matter of time before the first pane got broken. But who would do it, and how would it happen? The tension was thick.
Finally, one of us heard a sickening crrrackkkk and it was done. Chipping away at the hardened brittle glazing didn’t do it, but putting pressure on the glass with your knuckles will crack it.
lower right ...
lower right …
At least the worst was over. We resigned ourselves to the fact that we couldn’t make an omelet without cracking a little glass, and moved on with our lives.
Thanks to some advice and tools from Grindstone Corners very own Paul Fisher, proprietor of the newly opened, highly successful Rybaks Ice Cream Store, I used a heat gun on the glazing and paint which softened it enough to allow gentler scraping and chipping.
The man responsible for the immaculate restoration of Captain Peer's building. He knows which end of a heat gun to grab!
The man responsible for the immaculate restoration of Captain Peer’s building.
He knows which end of a heat gun to grab!
So I chipped away at the glazing, Mike worked with the sander. Sanding worked wonders, as well!
"I bet these windows haven't been touched since they were installed..."
“I bet these windows haven’t been touched since they were installed…”
It’s possible, but I bet they took them out when they moved the building in the early 1900s.
It took a fair share of effort to get the glass out of the windows, and I didn’t even want to try with the little diamond shaped top piece – it was way too intricate and delicate, but once the others were out, and with only that one breakage, we all drew a sigh of relief. It will take time and effort, but we can do it! The windows can come back to life!
Sand man!
Sand man!
But for now, Church is winking!
P1010064
She’s still so very pretty!

– The White Church Gallery

Window on Heaven

I've looked at clouds...
I’ve looked at clouds…

The old glass stays. People ask if we will put stained glass in the windows, but I think not. This gorgeous glass was probably made by the plate process, which replaced the cylinder process, which is a method of blowing glass that replaced the crown glass method. It all happened in the 1800s.

In the early 1800s, crown glass was made when glassblowers blew a large sphere or bubble of glass and spun it until it was a flat disk. They could then cut it into panes, but there was always bump or “crown” in the middle. Around 1825, glassblowers made cylinders instead of bubbles, and when cooled, they were sliced down the side so they could be opened up into flat sheets.

from both sides now...
from both sides now…

Around the 1880’s when coal was readily available for fuel, glass was made by the plate method, where molten glass was poured into rectangular or square frames. Once the glass cooled, it was polished on both sides. Apparently, after 1890, the development of glass making processes and the uses for it blossomed rapidly.

P1010011

We’re still trying to pin down the birthdate of the Church, but we’re pretty sure it was late 1800s.

So is glass a solid or liquid? Mineral or not? These are age-old questions.

It’s not a mineral. It has no crystalline structure, which is one of the requirements for mineral-hood. But solid or liquid? It sure feels solid when you run into it, but doesn’t it look like it drips and droops over time? How can a solid do that?

Glass is called an amorphous solid, which means it doesn’t have a crystal structure, but it’s not a liquid. The reason old glass is so warped and warbly apparently is related to what I described above – the old method of pouring or blowing glass. The glass never came out completely smooth, and the warps and warbles stay in the glass once cooled. So the beautiful reflections of the church windows are there to stay forever, unless some unappreciative person removes them to replace them with something else. Not us! We appreciate them!

– The White Church Gallery