html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" xml:lang="en" lang="en"> From the archives: I didn't want to live in a finished room anyway.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

I didn't want to live in a finished room anyway.

I always say how much I love jargon, but now that I am trying to figure out how to install window and door trim, it is maddening unto tears.

I thought I wanted a stool and apron, but am re-thinking that, both because I don't have the saw or experience or confidence and also because the window opens inward, which would knock the cat off the ledge. (But she would like a window ledge. Ledge on the dutch door is enough for her?)

I can't decide. Is window trim as obvious as it sounds? Measure the reveal, nail in the casings and paint? Or is it as daunting as the diagrams look? Perhaps I will plant peas instead. I already know how to plant things.

15 Comments:

Blogger JRoth said...

It will look freakish without stool and apron.

The cat will figure out for itself which times are auspicious for stool-sitting.

The long horns at either end of the stool are a pain in the butt, but they make it look right. You'll caulk and paint when it's done, and no one will see that you hacked it up with the wrong saw. I promise. [if you're using wood not-to-be-painted, then you're in trouble with the wrong saw. But it still gets caulked to the wall, and the wall paint covers the caulk. Less room for slop, however]

I'd happily provide more free advice, but I'll be going out shortly (2 parties within 150' of the center of my house, both with people I like. Awesome). I'll check back later.

3:45 PM  
Anonymous SwissArmyD said...

experience and confidence both come from doing, fubaring, and then re-doing...

It's just a window. Don't be afraid to fail, because you won't. You will simply keep trying until it is right.

As for the right saw... a rock is a hammer if that is all you have.

TR it and then you will have a story to go with it: "Do what you can, with what you have, where you are."


Your cat won't care, and will learn the rights of the ledge...

6:33 PM  
Blogger Dubin said...

Well, depending on the type of window, it won't necessarily look effed without the stool and apron - some windows can be trimmed out like a picture frame (same on sides, top and bottom); if I had camera batteries charged, I'd take a photo in the room I'm sitting in right now and upload it. Either way, you'll have to do mitered corners at the top, which might be tricky to get perfect. Ask TJ, he just did this over the summer and what swiss-a-d said about fubaring and learning is pretty much what happened. Paint-grade trim is not that expensive, so think of it as tuition and if you have to rip it off and do it again, so be it. You will feel accomplished afterward, and what better feeling is there?

By the way, can you plant peas in December in Oakland?

6:52 PM  
Anonymous Spike said...

Do yourself a favor and spend the $100 to get a cheap chop-saw. It will make things go about a million percent easier. I say this as someone who bought a chop-saw only after installing four rooms worth of chair-rail.

Also, what others have said: Caulk is your friend.

7:45 PM  
Blogger JRoth said...

dubin is semi-right - there are windows that look OK with uniform trim around them, but not many - it was a Modern thing to do, and, as with many things, their theory outran reality. Our eyes like a little extra weight at the bottom (which is also why you don't matte a picture dead-center).

One benefit of doing a stool, BTW, is that you're then in a style that permits non-mitered corners up top. Instead you can do the top moulding as a lintel. I would guess that the trim in your Sac house is like this.

6:10 AM  
Anonymous Ennis said...

Why do it at all? Why do you need such frimframmery? Why not do something else fun with your time, like go lift?

8:41 AM  
Anonymous SwissArmyD said...

enter stage left:
ennis, agent provacateur, in the guise of a well dressed demon...

followed by Rosencrantz, folding an oragami crane...

"Perchance you could leave the window undone, as a siren to lure a well muscled craftsman to help you complete it. After all, what man of worth would fail to see trim undone, and not seek to finish it?"

Rosencrantz, Exit, pursued by a bear...

10:20 AM  
Blogger Dubin said...

Hee hee. S'A'D. is funny.

Actually this window here is in my 1910 house, and has corner blocks (the square with the bullseye ornament) at top and bottom corners. But it's just one set of windows, not all the windows, most of which do have stool, apron, and the usual trim.

Send us a picture, or just describe the window location, window type, head height and stool height off the floor. Then me and JRoth can duke it out over whether a stool is strictly needed.

6:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unacceptable. You don't have a saw; get one, they can be cheap. You don't have experience or confidence; only one way to get those, and it starts with getting a saw. Cat gets knocked of ledge; it can put itself back.

Seriously, though. You need to make 90 degree cuts and 45 degree cuts. You do need a saw for that, but not a fancy miter saw; it can be done with the cheapy from the hardware store, along with the cheapy miter box, and remember that money spent on tools is never wasted. Trim is 4 - 6" inches wide, get one with enough capacity. No matter how bad you eff it up, caulk and paint make it look good, or you can try again. Remember, you are shooting for "looks good from five feet away." Except for right across from the toilet, it doesn't need to be perfect.

Get extra wood, so you aren't afraid to try, and getting it wrong means you just do it again. Extra wood always comes in handy later, for window boxes, making this and that, or making fires.

SAD already use my favorite aphorism (my version was "do the best you can..."), so what's left in the pithy sayings toolbag? Maybe Henry Ford: "Think you can, think you can't, either way you're right."

A4, who doesn't know what "TR" means

9:28 PM  
Blogger JRoth said...

Send us a picture, or just describe the window location, window type, head height and stool height off the floor. Then me and JRoth can duke it out over whether a stool is strictly needed.

I agree wholeheartedly. Please help us to argue better, Megan.

PS - Corner blocks are such cheating. Yes, I know they're sometimes historically accurate. That just means that sometimes our forebears were cheaters.

10:59 PM  
Anonymous SwissarmyD said...

heh, A4, "TR" is for Teddy Rossevelt, who the saying is attributed to...

4:53 AM  
Blogger Noel said...

Ennis with the assist and SwissArmyD for the win!!!

I must agree with Ennis, though life would be easier had I the same passion for frimframmery as my other, no doubt better, half.

Also jargon: I was doing some plastering recently and had to get a hawk and float. It is illegal to keep a hawk in this country without a license, but the petty rules of the state do not trouble the resolute (un)handyman! It was fun guessing which of two pieces of near identical plastic was the 'hawk' and which the 'float'.

5:10 AM  
Blogger LizardBreath said...

I haven't done it myself, but I've seen a fairly unskilled carpenter install a stool and apron (and the rest of the window trim), and it turned out fine. I'd assume you can do it with no problem. (That is, I'm entirely unhandy, and from having seen it done I'd figure I could do it if I had a set of directions to rely on.)

7:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Swissarmyd, thanks for the source. I learned that saying from some old tool guys I hang out with, and I've always liked it. I also like "a good mechanic can fix anything with a rock," but it turns out to be not so true.

A4

8:16 AM  
Anonymous Ennis said...

"It will look freakish without stool and apron."

I have rarely lived in a dwelling with stool and apron on the windows, I do not now and the apartment I grew up in had no such thing either.

Perhaps Megan wants one, in which case I will cheer her on, but I am confused why people think such a thing is necessary for decency or some such. There is a lot of stool and apron normativity here.

6:42 PM  

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