Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Cottage Grove Armory

Armory Entrance.

One of my next projects, the beautiful art deco Cottage Grove Armory building.  Built in 1931 as a National Guard armory and community center.  Oculus has been contracted to restore 35 of the worst windows over the next 10 months.  Cottage Grove is a nice small town a little bit south of Eugene.  It is centrally located in the Willamette Valley.  Here is a link for more information about Cottage Grove.

The windows are typical 6 over 6  and 4 over 4 double-hungs.  One of the details that I really like about them are the weight pocket doors.  I rarely see them cut on the diagonal.  I will post more pictures of these as the restoration progresses. 

Weight pocket door.

Some of the window details that I am not so excited to see is the lack of flashing between the sills and the concrete which has lead to a lot of complete sill failures.  Also the ends of the sills are buried in a small pocket of concrete.  Not so good either.

Sill end rotted out.

Complete sill failure.

Right now the project is in the assessment stage.  So there is a lot of work to be done over spring and summer.  Most of the physical work will happen in the late spring and summer months.  I will be utilizing both epoxy and dutchman repairs so I need those warm temperatures and rainless days.

I want to mention my new camera.  Over the summer I worked on a consulting job where the conservator was using a Panasonic Lumix to photograph windows.  The quality and ease of use promoted me to purchase one recently (and it wasn't too pricey either).  I have to say that I am very pleased with the results so far.  The picture below is a second story window but I shot is from the parking strip.  I still had a lot of zoom left.

Shortly I will post about another exciting project that I will be working on over the next 12 months.   This project will stretch my plane-making skills as I will be making two matched curved and sprung sash planes.  Check back in to see what all that means.  

As a little tease here is the view from the jobsite.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Creative Entrepreneur

I did an interview with Sheri Joi recently.  It can now be accessed on the web at this website.  I talk about my business and some the pros and cons of being a creative entrepreneur.  Give it a listen.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

There and Back Again

Well, I made it back to Portland with no problems with the border crossing.  So, I would like to thank everyone that made this trip possible-my family, my friends, two of my clients-waxahatchie and Mrs. J., and the conference staff-  I couldn't have done it without your support.
I have put up the last set of pictures from my Saturday field session.  Most of the pictures of the naval yard are for my parents.  They do love their ships.  Enjoy!

Soon I will be posting about the two large projects that I will be tackling in the next 12 months.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Victoria Pictures

I have added a slideshow to the side bar so you can look at some of the sites.  I will try and add to it daily.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

APT Conference-Victoria

So back in July I was invited to present at the APT Conference in Victoria, B.C.  At the time I thought it was impossible to attend.  The cost alone was very daunting, not to mention finding someone to watch my kids.   But after much discussion we decided it was too good to pass up.  So here I go-off to Victoria.

On my way to Port Angeles.

Port Angeles-it has a lot of murals and Twilight fans.

Goodbye United States

The ferry ride was really something else.  In general I avoid boats, but since Victoria is on an island I had no choice.  I think that the wind was causing the boat to rock around since the water wasn't too rough.  I don't think sitting in the bow helped any either.
On Saturday I will be riding on an even smaller boat.  That should be interesting.

Hello Victoria!

My hotel and conference location.

The side of the hotel my room actually is on.

Victoria Parliament Buildings.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Full Circle

An interesting project came my way this past year.  I was asked to bid on making 3 casement windows for Fort Yamhill.  I had completed work at Fort Dalles the previous year (here is a link to the post about that project) so I thought that working on this fort would be a great addition to my knowledge about Pacific Northwest military outposts.  Little did I know how providential that decision would be.

Original frames for the new casements

Once I was on the project I realized that there was a great deal of research that had been done previously.  I asked the project manager for copies of this material.  Once I received it I noticed that the researcher had labeled some of the documents with the name "Harrington Era".  My "maiden" name is Harrington and I did know that some of my relations did settle and live in the area that Fort Yamhill resides in.  I was more than a bit intrigued.
After searching through my genealogy records and looking at census records on ancestry.com I found out that my great, great uncle Edward Harrington purchased the remaining Fort Yamhill officer's quarters building in the early 1900s.  He was responsible for the drastic remodel that altered the gable roof to the gambrel one you see below (Edward is seen along side his new modern marvel).
Let me tell you it was strange being in the house knowing that my ancestors once inhabited it.

Edward Harrington's house

The bay that I was working in can be seen behind his right shoulder.  The two photos below show how the replicated sash look in the bay.



 This project has a lot of controversy surrounding it and the project has taught me a lot about different historic preservation theory and methodology.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Yaquina Done

After 4 weeks of waiting for material, and 8 weeks of assembly Yaquina Head Lighthouse had itself a new door and jamb.  Now to install it.  

Completed door

Exterior of new door

Installation was fairly basic.  After the door was installed I got to work on the arched transom above the entry.  

Interior of new door

Some interesting pictures of the interior staircase up to the lens.

Yaquina Head Lighthouse

Here is one of my projects from earlier in the year.  

Yaquina Head Lighthouse, 
South Elevation

I was contracted by the BLM to provide a new front door for Yaquina Head Lighthouse, not to be confused with Yaquina Bay Lighthouse.  The BLM wanted a new door to match the original that had long since disappeared.  They had one drawing of what the door looked like and I had some old photos provided to me by one of my Preservation Field School students.  Her family was one of the Lighthouse Keepers back in the late 1800s.  The Lighthouse was built in 1872.

From the original drawings the size of the door was 7' x 3' at 2 1/4" thick.  The BLM wanted the species to be Alaskan Yellow Cedar (AYC); the species of the original could not be determined.  Alaskan Yellow-Cedar (C. nootkatensis) is a fine grained softwood actually related to the cypress family .  It is very expensive but a dream to work.  Because of this fine, tight grain planing and sawing this wood is a wonderful experience.  It does have an odor and some people are allergic to it but it is very durable in wet environments.

Planing AYC

Applying decorative chamfer

The assembly process for the door was intense due to the massive size of all the elements. The photo below is of the D-8 rip saw cutting the tenons in the bottom rail.  That bottom rail is 1' in height.  Since the drawing I had did not give any construction details I used Fred T. Hodgson's book Modern Carpentry, published in 1906 as a guide.

Ripping tenons

Assembling bottom rail and side stile

One of the biggest things that I fretted about was making the drip edge for the bottom of the door.  This piece was very clear in the original drawing, I just had to figure out how to do it.  It turned out to only take about 15 minutes to plane and fairly easy to install.

Start of planing drip edge

End result-ready to install

The dado for the drip edge

Seems like a great detail.  I'll see how it holds up down on the coast.

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Summit on PreservationNation Blog

Check out this blog post by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.   It is a start to the widespread exposure that we at the Summit want to see for the push to save historic windows.  The mentality of disposability in this country can not continue.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Pine Mountain, Kentucky

It is hard to write a post after such a long absence.  But I wanted to put up some things about my trip to Pine Mountain, Kentucky.  Not too many pics, I was kept pretty busy.

Chapel at Pine Mountain Settlement School

I left Portland, OR  on Sunday July 24th.  I took the redeye to Phoenix and then had a connector flight to Charleston and then onto Knoxville.  We ran into a huge thunderstorm in Phoenix and my plane was diverted to Las Vegas.  I missed my connector by 3 hours.  So I slept in the Phoenix airport since the soonest flight to the East Coast was not until noon the next day.  I was cursing Sky Harbor Airport by the end of it.  More bad storms caused my flight into Philadelphia to be a bit late therefore I was running hard to meet my little puddle-jumper plane to Knoxville.  I finally rolled into my final destination at midnight (Knoxville time) but it felt like only 9:00 so I got into my rental car and drove north toward Kentucky.  It didn't take me long to realize that I needed to pull off and get a hotel room; fog was moving in.  
After 2 hours sleep and a shower I was off again.  Through the morning light I made my way up to the Cumberland Gap.  I was very excited to go through this historic region of the country and it didn't disappoint.  I think it was the longest tunnel I have ever been in.  I soon turned off the main highway and made my way into the Appalachia country.  Lots of coal, even on the side of the road.
I made it to Pine Mountain Settlement School in time for breakfast.
The Summit was fabulous!  I met so many great people that I hope I know for a long time to come.  I am very excited about the Standards document.  We hope to have it out by the end of the year.

Some interesting fungus.

Lots of big moths.

I will not soon forget evenings on the front porch of Big Log, my first fireflies and those terrible biting insects.  Thanks to the Founders for setting-up such an amazing event.  I feel honored to have been part of it.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Oculus in the New York Times today!

The New York Times features an article today on window preservation, mentioning the  summit I'm attending this week in Kentucky.  Here's the link if you'd like to read the article, which, in its conclusion, includes some of my thoughts on why preserving windows is important to the integrity of a structure.

News From The Summit

"There is nothing difficult about making old windows energy efficient.  It is work but we know exactly how to do it."  -- Amy McAuley
Testing at the Summit proves it.  More on this later...

Friday, May 20, 2011

National Window Preservation Standards

So the event we have all been waiting for is happening this summer.  At the end of July the Window Preservation Summit will be held at the Pine Mountain Settlement School in Kentucky.  I have been lucky enough to be invited as an advisor for documentation.  It is a real honor to be asked to come and participate.
The website for the event is here.  Some of the preliminary standards will be posted in the forum area so that feedback can be gathered from around the country.  If you have something to share concerning window preservation standards then feel free to chime in.
One of the most important things that will happen is the energy testing of storm windows and weatherization methods.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Services Available from Oculus

Since The Greenest Building has been released nationally on PBS stations I have received some inquiries about what kinds of services are offered by Oculus.  For U.S. clients I can:
  • Build sash for pre-industrial structures and ship to anywhere in the nation.
  • Travel to your project and provide window and door project consultation services.
  • Provide complete window assessment services.
Please feel free to contact me with further questions about services specific to your project. 

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Greenest Building Movie!

The documentary film that I participated in is having its world premier at the end of January.  On January 31 the film will debut at the Gerding Theater.  If you are in the Portland area then please consider coming to view this most timely and important piece of work.  Here is a link for the tickets.

If you are not in the Portland area don't fret-the film will be screening in the following cities: Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Boston, Chicago, and Savannah.
If going to the movies is not your thing then you can also catch the film in April and May on PBS.  I will post the exact times and dates when they come available.

Also, the film has a new  website so you can also go directly there to find out more information.

I hope everyone gets a chance to see this film.  Preservationists need to work hand in hand to tackle this important subject.
Together we are strong, divided we are weak.