Back Porch Siding - Part 5


Making the East Wall Windowsill 

We've been working on the window sill for the East wall for about two and a half weeks. and it's still not done.  Now, that's not to say  it's been around-the-clock, but rather, on nights when I got home early enough, or it wasn't raining or incredibly humid, I spend a few minutes working on it. It's been quite a journey!  Let's get into it.

Mapping Things Out

So with this window sill I decided to be a little strategic about the wood simply because it's a pretty long span on this wall.  What I did was - I went to an actual lumberyard find some straight boards as opposed to the effectively kindling wood you get at places like Home Depot and Lowe's.  The lumber yard had beautiful 2x4s so I grabbed 2 beautiful sticks and got right to work with them.

Because I couldn't get one 2x4 long enough to span the entire length of the East wall, I decided to get two and marry them up end to end.  This was a great idea because it gave me a rare opportunity to use transfer points.  I lined up the 2x4s with the transfer points and a number of makings,  drilled my holes to accept a dowel... beautiful!  The sad thing is - even with doing all that, marking everything out,  the transfer points, clamping everything down...I STILL messed it up!  Nothing lined up!  And pleeeease don't gimme my own medicine,  "happy little accident!"  No...I simply messed it all up, and I have no idea what I did wrong!  $%&@!÷# geometry.  

Okay, rant over.  Unable to proceed with my original plan to marry these boards with a dowel, I had to come up with another option which we'll get to in a little while.

Table Saw Time! 

After my utter failure,  I realized I needed to separate myself from joining the two boards and distract myself with another stage.  I took the boards down to the workshop to run them through the table saw to get the 7 to 8° angle on them to give the boards that slant once they were installed.  I also cut in the drip channel, one of those details I love about these projects.

Unfortunately, here is where we come to my next major error.  Much like I did with the sill for the South wall, I spent a lot of time measuring and figuring out any overhangs that might be in the way of properly hanging the window sill.  I figured out all the geometry (&^%$#@×÷%), and I cut out a wedge from the back and bottom of the boards. 

The problem is that after I had measured multiple times and did all the figuring, I cut out a wedge and - it was just all wrong.  When I took the boards outside to check the fit, it turned out that there was absolutely no need for that piece to be taken out.  

Fixing Mistake #2

In utter disgust, I almost decided to start all over with two new boards and just give up on the ones that I've now messed up twice.  But I had another idea.  I hustled back to the workshop and retrieved the piece I'd cut out and used some glue and brads to affix the strip back onto the board!

With my two very recent errors, and with an overwhelming sense of caution, I also clamped that strip down overnight, probably using way more clamps than necessary.  But hey . . . you know.

I probably didn't need to do this next step, but it was too hot to be outside and I was just puttering, so I decided to fill the gap left from the width of the table saw blade, called the kerf.  I used some of the old, recently removed cedar shakes to fill the gap with cedar shims. 

It was a pleasant, very low intensity task...probably because it was likely not even necessary.

After the glue dried and the shims were set nice and tight in the gap, I broke them off and planed them all flat.  The board came to be effectively one solid piece once again.

An Initial Priming 

Finally - a task I can't mess up!  Nah...I kid, it's not all that bad.   Anyway... bare,  non- pressure treated wood requires paint so a good primer's in order.  I'll probably do one more coat before the paint goes on.  

Now I was going to bring back all such things into my life and become again that most limited of all specialists, the well-rounded man.' This isn't just an epigram - life is much more successfully looked at from a single window, after all. - F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

Making a Connection 

With using dowels to join the two window sill boards together out of the question, I decided to go  in a totally different direction.  First I put pocket screws in the underside of the sill with one pocket screw going in one direction from "Board A" into "Board B", then a pocket screw going from "Board B" into "Board A", hopefully giving the joint a little bit more strength.  And of course I put some good 'ol exterior grade Titebond glue on the butt ends.  After that I used a couple pin screws to give additional support, again with opposing directions in the screw insertions.

To hopefully make that a little less confusing, I offer this goofy little graphic of mine to help get a sense of how I joined the two boards. 

Then, we took a little time before we put the sill onto the wall.  I needed time to make a game plan and fully understand what steps we would be taking.  In the meantime we left the sill on the driveway under the carport for a couple of days 'til we were able to get some time to really dig in again. 

Some old porch posts!
The Back Porch Remodel 2009 to 2011
✤ The Front Porch Exterior Reveal! 0ct 2013
✤ Found Photos: First Front Porch Remodel
✤ 812 - The Home: The Back Porch
And here's the Back Porch Megapost


Well, the day finally came, and on that day more than half the country, including 173, was in the middle of an incredible heat wave with humidity to match.  With that in mind, and because here at 173 we get up pretty early in the morning, we decided to start early on the sill installation to try and beat the heat.  Of course, we were concerned about the neighbors and making too much noise that early on a weekend morning, but we figured most of them  likely had their air conditioners running so, perhaps they just wouldn't hear us. Anyway, the first thing I did was put a 2x3 board on the wall as a kind of support cleat. 

We tried to keep the sill pretty level but, there's still a little slope towards the right just because of the way I installed the windows back around 2009 - 2010.  Which is code for... the far right window sits about a half inch higher than the rest.  In case you're asking...I don't know why.  $%@÷!&% geometry.

And even though there is a bit of a slope, the sill actually looks more level because we hung the sill according to the window frames.  At least that's what we're going with!

Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure... than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat. - Theodore Roosevelt

Believe it or not, it ended up taking us a grand total of an hour and a half to install the window sill.  The time spent game planning made all the difference.  

And We Have a New Windowsill

Finally. after what seemed like so many weeks, we finally had a window sill on the East wall.  Oh,  one thing I didn't mention a little earlier is that before we put the window sill in, we put that weather sealing tape across all the seams and gaps in the wall from the window frame down. You can see that in this picture below..

We finally have a right proper window sill.  There's obviously some more work to do.  In the afternoon. I filled all the screw holes, but we still need to re-prime it, caulk and paint.  I also want to round off the corners of the two ends just to make it look a little more finished.

After that, it's just a matter of getting the siding on the wall, which may sound easy, and yes... it's not really all that complicated, but there's other factors that have to be considered. But that's for another post.

Hey,  thanks for stopping by - see ya' next time!
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