Racing to a Standstill


This picture is from six days ago. The detritus is still in the same place (because I’m out of room on both porches and in the garage). I need to rent a dumpster.

But for a tenacious few bits of rock lath (or whatever that old drywall-like stuff is called) on the side of the Harry Potter closet and staircase, I have the major tear-out in the hall completed.

I courted my own destruction last Friday when a quite heavy L-shaped joist/beam assembly, which spanned from the edge of the closet door frame to the dining room door frame on the right, came down in one piece. No pictures of that – I had both hands and arms, a shoulder, a thigh and a foot involved in keeping that piece from crushing me. And I’m sure it wasn’t pretty.

Also not pretty? the hack job on the dining room door moulding…and for what? That weird wall ruined the aesthetics by closing in the entryway and hiding the nice door frames, and it had no structural purpose.



I’m almost to the point where I can start rebuilding – using tools to create rather than destroy. But I’m still hopeful I’ll be able to find enough vintage handrail and spindles to match the short length of rail and spindles I removed (and will relocate) in the second-floor hall.

But I’ve looked in all the Cincinnati-area salvage and re-use centers. Time for a weekend trip to Louisville to check out Architectural Salvage and Joe Ley Antiques. And if neither of those pan out, perhaps I’ll drive north to Columbus Architectural Salvage then west to Doc’s and Architectural Antiques of Indianapolis.

I'm hoping to find 6', 8', 7' and 3' runs to match the original. Seems unlikely.

I’m hoping to find 6′, 8′, 7′ and 3′ runs to match the original. Seems unlikely.

If you have a cache of these, call me!

If you have a cache of these, call me!

I don’t really think I’ll find what I’m looking for – I’ve had a couple salvage guys tell me they’ve never seen that spindle pattern. But perhaps I’ll find the perfect leaded-glass door and sidelights I can’t afford right now.

I’m not quite ready to suck it up and start turning…but I’m close (now that the bruises and pain from the near-maiming have faded). I won’t let myself get started on the bathroom until the staircase is done. And man is that bathroom ugly. If that’s not a good reason to buy a lathe, well, I don’t know what is.

About fitz

Woodworker, writer, editor, teacher, ailurophile, Shakespearean. Will write for air-dried walnut.
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8 Responses to Racing to a Standstill

  1. Jim Ferrell says:

    Try talking to Nancy, she or Mark may know of some one
    Good Luck,

  2. p, mcnulty says:

    give Black Dog salvage in Roanoke va. a call, you may be surprised.


  3. WarrenP says:

    It’s an ill wind that blows nobody any new tools, right?

  4. Ted Phillips says:

    Megan – The folks at Caravati’s in Richmond VA ( had a *huge* selection of balusters and spindles the last time I was there. You might contact them and see if they have something.

    Looking Good!

  5. Check south to Nashville Tn. We have a few salvage yards that have great stuff.

  6. fitz says:

    Thanks – I’m checking all these out. Salvage road trip!!

  7. Megan, this is the perfect opportunity to get that lathe. It is doubtful that you will find exactly the same spindles or trim. You KNOW you can make them…

  8. miathet says:

    Alternatives I have used:
    1. Since these are pretty fancy insert plain ones every 3rd or 4th position.
    2. If you are going fairly arts and crafts a flat 4-5 inch panel in the middle or repeating eats a lot of space and can have a fun patter milled into it. A cats face? I did a traditional diamond pattern and people notice those more than the 100 year old posts.

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