Well, at Least it’s an Excuse for 2 New Tools?


The one thing I was actually hoping had been done poorly (unlike some of the plumbing and wiring)? Nope. Exploratory surgery reveals the walls that need to come down are properly framed out 14″ on center, and with a superabundance of nails.

In the front hallway wall, the sheathing on one side is 1/4″-thick LDF or Masonite with a mesh adhered to it, with a thin, rock-hard plaster-like coat on top. It is damn near impossible to cut through this stuff with a utility knife, never mind a drywall knife. And my 14 ounce hammer bounces right off it, barely making a dent. (Why did they stop using this stuff?!)

Time to order a Sawzall.

On the other side of the framing is some foil-backed drywall-like something or other that I can’t yet properly investigate – I can’t start punching holes on the first-floor sides of things until August 1 (a couple folks rent the first floor through July 31 on an hourly basis for holistic healing and massage sessions – not what you’re thinking; all perfectly legal).

The very sad news is: there is no balustrade tucked between the two sides of the wall. Ah well. I’ll have to turn new ones to match the existing spindles that are on the second floor (which, thankfully, aren’t too complex). The stair project just got more time-consuming.

Time to order a lathe.


About fitz

Woodworker, writer, editor, teacher, ailurophile, Shakespearean. Will write for air-dried walnut.
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18 Responses to Well, at Least it’s an Excuse for 2 New Tools?

  1. John says:

    Are there any architectural salvage places nearby? They usually have spindles by the bundle. Unless you’re itching for a lathe anyway 😉

    • fitz says:

      Yep, but I’ve not seen the same pattern (though I’ll keep looking for another few weeks before plunking down cash for a lathe)

  2. simmonsjay1 says:

    Warning: Once you have a lathe, you may never find time to do any other woodworking.

  3. J.C. says:

    Ahh, yes, I would welcome the “need” for a lathe though I’d have to build out to house it.

  4. Frank Vucolo says:

    A lathe and a saws all. That’s about as much range as there is when it comes to woodworking tools!

  5. Dave Reedy says:

    Hmmm, foil backed drywall. Sounds like someone was being wary of aliens or the such.

  6. Paul McGee says:

    You could farm out the turning work … you never know, you might already know a few woodworkers …

  7. Seamus says:

    14″ o.c. ? I thought it was 16 or 24 ?

    • fitz says:

      Today, perhaps. My old house was 14″ on center, too (though the walls to come down here were likely put it in the 60s or 70s).

  8. rondennis303 says:

    Well, at least you will be expanding your skill set.

  9. potomacker says:

    It is not be unheard of to have different spindles on a railing, becoming less decorative by flight of stairs. Buying a salvaged set for your entryway bannister that doesn’t match the upper landing would be historically correct and more interesting.

    • fitz says:

      True, but the ones shown are part of the balustrade that will show from the entrance – they will get moved back about 5′, then the “new” floor currently in front of them will be removed to re-make the proper opening to the stairway. In other words, they’ll show. (Otherwise I’d scavenge the less-fancy spindles from the back stairway, which are mostly intact.)

      • toolnut says:

        Could you intersperse the less fancy with the fancy, i.e., every 5th one (or whatever number) a fancy one? Make it a pattern. That way you could salvage the back ones. (Unless they really wouldn’t go together.)

  10. Andrew Arndts says:

    If all you will be doing is spindle turning. Go cheap err frugal, Harbor Freight lathe will spin the wood just as well as a Rikon, Nova, Robust, Powermatic/oneway. As long as the head and tail stock lines up, you’re golden. Another Frugal tip. Instead of those $60 – $80 Turning Smocks. Pick up a Chef’s Jacket. Get rid of the buttons and glue in velcro. And shaving in the Jockeys aren’t pleasurable either… 😉

    • fitz says:

      I was thinking Craigslist 🙂 (also…I think you need to invest in some new jockeys, w/an intact elastic waistband)

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