Friday, February 8, 2008

More walls...

Just after I clicked "Send" on yesterday's post it occured to me that if we manage to securely fasten the Heraklith panels to the studs we could even save the planking on both sides... and plaster directly over the infill and studs. However, we definitely need to make sure the infill won't fall out when somebody leans onto the wall. Screws driven at at angle through the panels into the studs don't seem secure enough to me... maybe long nails in the mortar joints between the panels, just like they secured the door frames in the early 1900s gypsum panel walls (5, 7 1/2 and 10cm thick solid gypsum panels, 30x60cm in size). Though I guess full sized Heraklith panels (50x120cm I think) would be too big, maybe cut them in half to get an extra joint.

Heraklith advises to spackle and put up mesh over the entire surface to keep the seams from cracking the plaster. I'm not sure I like that idea... seems like helluva lot of work. On the other hand, I definitely need something to cover the seams, my aunt had some areas of ceiling redone with Heraklith and you can clearly spot every single panel. My favourite DIY book tells to nail up strips of burlap directly over the seams... I like that idea. In my case we'd cover both the vertical seams and the studs. The horizontal seams shouldn't be as troublesome as they're mortared (the mesh advice only seems to apply to Heraklith board screwed to studs like drywall).

On the electrical side... yesterday, after a lot of thinking and some fiddling I managed to turn one of the Ebay switches into a 3 way by using the guts of one that turned out to be shot (seller didn't include that either... he received a BAD feedback yesterday).
I might have managed to do the second one too, but the screws that hold the guts are way too tight (and you can't even get a wrench to turn the nuts, it's so tight in the back of those switches). So most likely I'll use the old switch at the bottom of the stairs and something newer upstairs.

By recycling the guts of the damaged switch I was also able to permanently repair my absolute favorite, a ca. 1890 rotary switch made of black porcelaine and brass by replacing the broken springs inside. This one is sure as heck going into my bedroom!

I also received a French rotary switch from Ebay yesterday... it looked good from the picture, but I'm ure as heck not going to use this thing ANYWHERE near 230V! A) the terminal screws are accessible from the outside, without even opening the switch. B) the screws on the front that hold the guts are live too. C) the mounting screws are freakin' close to the live guts! Put one in a little crooked and it's hot too, energizing the entire wall...

A and B could possibly be remedied by puttying the screw holes after installing the switch, but C is the killer. Maybe I can find a way to put plastic tubing in the back of the switch to keep the screws straight AND isolated... don't know.

Today I'm going to pick up one more purchase... a beautiful art deco brass table lamp that can be used as a wall sconce too. That was most definitely the most expensive purchase I did so far (for the house that is).
Getting a deal on lights on Ebay is pretty close to impossible, at least as far as pre-1920s lighting is concerned. 20s and 30s fixtures go for close to nothing, but anything that remotely ressembles ornate brass (and doesn't scream 1970s fake) will soar up to roughly 100 Euros or question marks ^^ (on the internet it can happen that the €, or Euro sign gets replaced by a question mark due to character encoding issues and in news groups it happened that often most people will only talk like: "How much could that be?"
"'bout a hundred question marks."

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