Selecting Lumber from Odd-Lot

Our weekly work-day was not very pretty, but necessary. We went to the lumber yard to select lumber for our upstairs window trim.

Upstairs trim: done and not so done. One down and 10 to go!

Vertical Grain Douglas Fir

The interiors of most older houses in the Pacific Northwest were trimmed out with vertical and open grain Douglas Fir. The forests were aplenty with it in the early 1900s. The wood is soft, but beautiful – it ages to a deep orange over time. The fine parallel lines of the vertical grain (vg) are especially pretty. You can find even old growth vg fir at architectural salvage yards, sometimes it just takes some sanding (or planing) to reveal the great wood under layers of stain, varnish and/or paint. This time we needed a lot of stock, so we opted for new.

If you have extra time (and patience) you can save quite a bit of money by sorting through the “odd-lot” section at your local lumber yard. “Odd lot” is where they put the lumber that isn’t quite perfect for various reasons – warped, knots, roughly hewn, cracks, oozing sap. (Monica talked about this option in a previous post.) I have time, but no patience, so Monica and Mary Jean came along to supply that. Continue reading

Chalkboard Polka Dots

Here’s an easy and inexpensive idea for using chalkboard paint in a limited area on a wall in a child’s room – confine it inside a painted shape. I used dots, but the shape could be anything –  flowers, animals, spaceships….. It works best if the shapes are a little loose/imperfect. Continue reading

Installing Door Trim

DIY Craftsman Door Trim

Finished Trim, 5 Years Later!

The moral of this story is that you are a lot more likely to do those pesky projects that you’ve put-off when you have the help of your friends – plus it is way more fun. You tackle things you wouldn’t normally dare to do, learn lots in the process and have extra sets of hands.

The scoop: I think everyone would agree that after you go through a major remodel, the last thing that gets attention is the trim work. You are just tired tired tired. So finally after 2 3 5 years of putting it off, with the help/nudge of Monica and Mary Jean, we finally got around to installing the trim around the doorways on our 2nd floor addition.

Design:  The house is a 1911 Craftsman style. The trim on the first floor is very traditional for Seattle, the top horizontal piece is slightly thicker than the vertical sides, extends beyond the sides, and ends in a slight taper.

Craftsman Trim Styles

1st Floor Traditional Craftsman Trim

Our 2nd floor addition is a little more modern than the rest of the house. For a cohesive look, we decided to keep the general style of the 1st floor trim, except leave off the tapered overhang due to the fact there were already a lot of angles with roof/ceilings. We decided on 1″x4″ verticals and 5/4″x6″ for the horizontal header piece, with the horizontal piece extending 1″ beyond the verticals. These dimensions are a little smaller than the trim on the first floor, but thought it was acceptable to scale down for the second floor – the spaces are smaller, plus we could go with standard size lumber, which is less expensive.

Materials: We used re-claimed fir trim for most of the natural wood trim upstairs. But for this project (door trim), we needed a lot, and we were going to be painting it, so we decided the best route was to go with a manufactured product. Normally I wouldn’t go there because MDF (medium density fiber-board) seems fake and plastic-y and not very environmentally sound, but did a little research and found some moulding by Spero© that is LEED certified, does not contain urea-formaldehyde, and uses recycled content and wood that is harvested from sustainable sources. It paints up really nicely too. Dunn Lumber is a lumber yard here in Seattle that carries it.

Green Building Materials

Prep: We measured all the openings (11 doorways) and made a big list of verticals and horizontals. (Mary Jean did this part, she is very good about writing things down in an organized manner. Her charts look like a computer generated spreadsheet.)

How To Install Trim

After picking up the Spero© trim at our local lumber yard, we set up a little assembly line where Mary Jean and Monica measured and marked the pieces and I cut them on the chop saw. It went really quickly. Then we laid all the pieces horizontally in the basement and painted them. We used Daly’s C2 – 430, Potato Leek, which is a really nice off-white. The boards were pre-primed so painting went quickly too. It was way easier to paint them before they were installed – we didn’t have to be careful and there wasn’t much of a chance for drips. There will be some touching up required later after we fill the nail holes and caulk the joints.

Installing: After waiting for the trim pieces to dry, we hauled them from the basement. Because there was so much trim to install we used a nail gun with an air compressor to attach it. It was very handy, one of us held a piece in position and another used the nail gun. If you don’t have a nail gun (or for smaller projects) just use a hammer, finish nails and a nail setting tool.

DIY Installing Craftsman Trim

It took us a couple workdays to get this project done, but considering we put it off for 5 years, it actually didn’t take any time at all! Next we will need to caulk the gaps between the trim and the wall, and fill/sand/prime/paint the nail holes. Hopefully it won’t be another 5 years before that happens! Will keep you posted.

The final results:

DIY Craftsman Door Trim

Hallway Trim – Before and After

DIY Craftsman Closet Trim

Bedroom Trim – Before and After

Door Trims Meet

Bedroom Trim – After

DIY Craftsman Door Trim

Hallway Trim – Before and After

See more of Heidi’s artwork at Old Stuff. New Stories.