I return to my blog after a long silence, with a huge project that will most likely take the entire summer to complete. The restoration of our front steps and railing. I was procrastinating knowing it would be a very demanding job, but the last time we gave attention to our front steps was in 2013 and that was on a purely cosmetic level. We no longer can ignore the rot in the scrolled pieces of the railings and the loosening boards of the steps.
The railings were removed to repair and replace the boards of the steps. It also was more comfortable to work under the veranda, rain or shine. Each handrail counted thirteen upright scrolled pieces, totalling twenty-six, but only six were salvageable and stayed in place.
I also removed the decorative molding trims topping our pillars.
Of course, there's always a ripple effect when we start a project. This area gets so much abuse from the Western exposure.
Below are some of the scrolled pieces removed, showing extensive rot at the bottom.
Starting with the steps, several boards were simply flipped as the underside looked new. Other boards were unsalvageable so we purchased new ones. The new boards have to cure so they will most likely be painted next spring.
To recut the scrolled pieces, Brian's father gave him his scroll saw. Here he is cutting along the lines I drew for him from a template.
The inner holes were made using the drill and a round saw attachment.
The arrow shape was done with an electric jigsaw. Cutting out a hole beforehand, made it easier.
The scrolled pieces were reinstalled in a slightly different manner. Originally, each piece rested in a 5mm deep channel, top and bottom. The water would infiltrate and collect in the bottom channel. In time, rot would start to appear. I filled in the bottom channel with wood cement epoxy and cut my scrolled pieces slightly shorter. I wanted everything to be super tight so precision was imperative.
Below is the handrail primed (upside down).
Below is a close up of the upright scrolled pieces resting on top of the rail, instead of in a channel. Screwed in place from under to avoid water infiltration.
One side was re-installed.
Top of pillars primed and...
One side done, now for the other.
At least we can use our front steps again.