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Busy day, quick post

Today The Wandering Monk and I began repairing and preparing to paint the gable end on the north side of Ye Olde Wreck.

It’s worse than it looks in that rather sunshiny photo.

For instance, the soffit boards … aren’t boards. Those drunken geniuses Jim Beam and Jack Daniel used fiberboard. In the wettest climate in the continental U.S. Fiberboard.

Also, there was so much tar on the first two courses of shingles (from an old flat roofed addition, now gone) that we concluded it was more efficient to rip off and replace the affected wood than to attempt to remove the goo. I experimented with Goof-Off, kerosene, and scraping before making that decision; with the best solvents and max elbow grease, tar removal would have taken hours and not been entirely successful.

But we had good ground to stand on for doing all this teardown.

The Monk built this in an hour with $50 of 2x4s and an old sheet of 1/2-inch plywood. I don’t know why we ever bothered with that nightmare of a Home Depot scaffolding order.

The Monk’s scaffolding doesn’t look like much, but its so sturdy (after a few more bracings than you see in the above pic) both of us were able to stand on it at the same time. I shredded old shingles while he tore down trim and soffits. Then vice versa.

I hadn’t planned to do any of the elevated work, but his platform is so stable I’m totally comfortable being on it. I’ll end up doing more of this and the next stage of the summer projects than I’d anticipated.

The Monk left early today to go help an old lady with an emergency while I stayed outside painting the new trim and soffit boards (which actually are board, this time). Now everything will be ready for him to nail or screw in tomorrow.

It was a perfect day for working outside. But boy, that extra couple of hours of painting left me with an aching back. I’m tired and tomorrow will be longer. But today was another good day.


  1. Larry Arnold
    Larry Arnold July 16, 2018 9:43 pm

    (after a few more bracings than you see in the above pic)

    I hope so. The near leg and the far leg were swinging in the breeze.

    Bear in mind, after scaffolding fails, the most common accident is because someone leans off the edge. It’s always worth it to get down and move your support.

    Hadn’t heard of Goof-Off before, and I know of a driveway that could use something like it. Thanks.

  2. fred
    fred July 17, 2018 12:34 am

    Smart on new wood,not worth the trouble cleaning,probably cost as much cleaning them as new.

  3. Claire
    Claire July 17, 2018 5:51 am

    Larry — Yup, you caught the supports we still needed. Once it got them, it was steady as a boulder. And yes, we’re carefully moving it back and forth instead of leaning out over the edge.

    Goof-Off is amazing stuff. With a bit of elbow grease it will take anything out of anything, in most cases without ruining the original anything. DON’T get the stuff in the spray bottle, though. They market it as Goof-Off, but it’s really a lesser product. Only the original (non-spray) does the real work. Goof-Off is right up there with duct tape, WD40, and hose clamps as items that keep the universe functioning.

  4. Claire
    Claire July 17, 2018 5:54 am

    “Smart on new wood,not worth the trouble cleaning,probably cost as much cleaning them as new.”

    Thanks for the confirmation. I felt sooooooo guilty destroying otherwise useful cedar shingles. I believe in salvaging and scrounging. But sometimes it simply makes more sense to “do it right.”

  5. jed
    jed July 17, 2018 6:41 am

    It isn’t practical for large jobs, but my #1 solvent for tars and adhesives is Tres Amigos triple-purified lemon oil. I wasn’t able to find it at Amazon, or a brief web search. Maybe it’s gone. Other citrus products are probably just as good, though in some cases, I’d be concerned about additional ingredients.

  6. Claire
    Claire July 17, 2018 7:05 am

    I never heard of that one. Apparently there are dozens of solvents that remove tar including (if the Internet is telling the truth) peanut butter and olive oil. Kerosene seems to be most commonly recommended for the oil-based tars that builders use. But yeah, there’s a whole lotta difference between removing a road-tar speck on a car and trying to get two courses of cedar shingles in good enough condition to paint.

  7. Comrade X
    Comrade X July 17, 2018 8:11 am

    I’s bet the shade trees were appreciated too.

  8. kentmcmanigal
    kentmcmanigal July 18, 2018 6:30 am

    Scaffolding makes me nervous. My grandfather was a carpenter his whole life (this town would look like a wasteland if you removed all the houses he built) and died from a fall off a scaffold. So, be careful!

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