Author Topic: I thought some here would find this interesting.  (Read 1376 times)

Offline The original bad bob

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I thought some here would find this interesting.
« on: August 03, 2021, 01:45:50 PM »
For the last few months I have been working off and on in Tombstone AZ on an adobe structure that was built in 1880 that was once the office and residence of a judge named Grey who lived there during the Earp/Cow boy era.

The owners of the residence want to preserve its historic look and restore what little is left that can be positively identified as original to the structure... I have a little knowledge about Victorian era construction methods and materials and as best as I can determine the front interior of the residence was remodeled sometime in the 1940’s to early 1950’s and was used for some type of retail shop or professional office space... I can tell this because the ceiling and interior walls have drywall/ Sheetrock on them, the interior wood doors in this part of the house are of a more modern machine production type with brass plated box store door knobs... The back of the residence however is original 1880’s ... there is a tall lath and plaster ceiling with cornice moulding, interior adobe walls have original lime plaster on them with 3/16” thick coats of old paint on them and the interior doors have transom windows above them and are of the old style 4 panel hand made with surface mount rim lock door hardware with Bennington brown marble swirl door knobs.. The owner wants to restore the front of the residence to match the back while including modern kitchen appliances and bathroom amenities... I’m hoping during the demo of the front of the house I can find some clue or artifacts that might be of interest to fellow old west enthusiasts.

The neatest part about working there is I can hear the reenactment gun fights going on at the OK corral at least 3x per day.. I will update this thread with additional photos as the project progresses.

Offline Professor Marvel

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Re: I thought some here would find this interesting.
« Reply #1 on: August 03, 2021, 10:55:19 PM »
My Good Bad Bob

that ought to prove to be a challenging but rewarding endevour!

you wrote
The back of the residence however is original 1880’s ... there is a tall lath and plaster ceiling with cornice moulding, interior adobe walls have original lime plaster on them with 3/16” thick coats of old paint on them and the interior doors have transom windows above them and are of the old style 4 panel hand made with surface mount rim lock door hardware with Bennington brown marble swirl door knobs..

That will help set the style!

I would think that stripping the paint off the doors and hardware would help establish the original look (but might leave some gaps).

If you haven't done it, lathe and plaster can be a learning experience but once you have the hang of it it is really rewarding. One can accomplish great decorative things "pulling" the plaster with a template!

thanks for the photos, looking forward to more!

yhs
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Offline The original bad bob

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Re: I thought some here would find this interesting.
« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2021, 10:02:28 AM »
The work I have started there to date is having a dumpster delivered, and working on the old sash windows that are also original to the house... The old sash windows are unusual in that they were built and installed without window weights... I have heard about these but up until now never worked on them.

The owners want me to save and restore these old windows and I have begun the process of taking them apart, repairing rotted wood and retro fitting the window openings with metal sash tension springs so windows can be opened and closed safely

It occurred to me on the drive out there what a remote frontier town Tombstone was in the 1880’s and the challenge it must have been to get basic building materials to that frontier community because even now there isn’t a hardware store in the entire town LOL

Offline Silver Creek Slim

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Re: I thought some here would find this interesting.
« Reply #3 on: August 05, 2021, 11:12:19 AM »
My house, which was built in the 1920's, did not have window weights, also.

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Offline The original bad bob

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Re: I thought some here would find this interesting.
« Reply #4 on: August 05, 2021, 11:33:42 AM »
My house, which was built in the 1920's, did not have window weights, also.

Slim

Slim, I believe the windows in this tombstone home were fabricated on site by carpenters with hand tools... The problem with these windows not have window weights that I am encountering is that over the years people living there put screws , nails, tension clips and other modifications in the window frames to jimmy rig a way to keep them up for ventilation... currently the place only has gas heat.. no air conditioner

The windows are repairable.. just tedious to have to wood epoxy all the structural issues in them .. re glazing is also “fun” :D

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Re: I thought some here would find this interesting.
« Reply #5 on: Today at 12:17:53 AM »

Offline Dave T

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Re: I thought some here would find this interesting.
« Reply #5 on: August 05, 2021, 12:16:04 PM »
tobb,

Looking forward to your future installments.  Thanks for posting this.  When I lived in Tucson, Tombstone was one of my favorite places to visit.

Dave

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Re: I thought some here would find this interesting.
« Reply #6 on: August 05, 2021, 01:43:38 PM »
Slim, I believe the windows in this tombstone home were fabricated on site by carpenters with hand tools... The problem with these windows not have window weights that I am encountering is that over the years people living there put screws , nails, tension clips and other modifications in the window frames to jimmy rig a way to keep them up for ventilation... currently the place only has gas heat.. no air conditioner

The windows are repairable.. just tedious to have to wood epoxy all the structural issues in them .. re glazing is also “fun” :D
I used a stick to hold the windows open before I replaced all of them.

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Offline Story

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Re: I thought some here would find this interesting.
« Reply #7 on: August 12, 2021, 11:00:15 AM »
The owner wants to restore the front of the residence to match the back while including modern kitchen appliances and bathroom amenities... 

Just a tangential notion, but I'll assume this means a refrigerator and microwave. 

Could a college-dorm style 'frig be hidden inside of a gutted period icebox and a microwave likewise something like a breadbox with a side swinging (rather than drop down) door?

The appliance efforts would more closely match your remodeling.

PS - I am not particularly imaginative, and this proves precedence
Then came the refrigerator dilemma. When an icebox company failed to deliver, the Foxes found the Liebherr Company, a German appliance maker than offers an integrated refrigerator of reasonable size. Working from Matthew Roman’s sketches (which took cues from a McCray icebox), Brendon Powell built the wooden case and doors at his shop.
https://www.oldhouseonline.com/kitchens-and-baths-articles/reproduction-kitchen-in-an-old-house/

Offline Story

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Re: I thought some here would find this interesting.
« Reply #8 on: August 12, 2021, 11:06:30 AM »
The work I have started there to date is having a dumpster delivered, and working on the old sash windows that are also original to the house... The old sash windows are unusual in that they were built and installed without window weights... I have heard about these but up until now never worked on them.

Before things become too trampled, you might suggest the owners have someone proficient with metal detecting sweep around in the grass by those doors.

A friend of mine would do detecting in a major urban city's old mill neighborhood that was mostly mid-19th century row homes mixed with small individual houses. He had the best luck near doors, around the base of stairs - figured that the guys coming home after a beer or three would dig around in their pockets for the door key - disgorging the coins and all sorts of other stuff he'd find in the process.

Any finds would make for interesting shadowbox displays, hung near the doors where they were discovered.

Offline The original bad bob

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Re: I thought some here would find this interesting.
« Reply #9 on: August 12, 2021, 05:36:34 PM »
 Story, this property has been vacant for at least 20 years.. it is right in the heart of what they call the historic district ... .. The scope of my work keeps increasing on the inside of the house... The lots are rectangular shaped and the yard is quite long and narrow and no one has maintained the yard for quite a while and there are 3’ tall weeds with the worst thorns I have ever seen in my life on them... it definitely needs to be cleaned up before any metal detecting could be done... the inside of this house can best be described as creepy... as in if ghosts really exist I’m probably going to see one.. last time I was there I was talking apart a window and I swore I saw Wyatt Earp walk by the open window... it turns out I did... it was a reinactor Wyatt Earp though.  :D
I’m certain the real Wyatt walked past this place many times and was probably inside the house based on the judge that lived there.
I’m going to be installing new exterior doors there soon as well as taking a few more windows apart to work on restoring them... I’m a little apprehensive about replacing the doors because the exterior walls are real adobe and that is something I have no experience working with if say the door jambs have issues with no or rotted wood backing... remember, this place was built in 1880 before building codes or inspections etc.. etc.... this structure survived the 1881 and 1882 fires and it will be interesting to see what is behind the drywall drop down ceiling that is in the living room or parlor area of the house

I’m sure there was an outhouse at one time in the yard as well as a standing shed that has some interesting artifacts inside ... I will update this with more photos soon.

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Re: I thought some here would find this interesting.
« Reply #10 on: Today at 12:17:53 AM »

Offline Story

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Re: I thought some here would find this interesting.
« Reply #10 on: August 12, 2021, 06:12:46 PM »
Story, this property has been vacant for at least 20 years.. it is right in the heart of what they call the historic district ... .. The scope of my work keeps increasing on the inside of the house... The lots are rectangular shaped and the yard is quite long and narrow and no one has maintained the yard for quite a while and there are 3’ tall weeds with the worst thorns I have ever seen in my life on them... it definitely needs to be cleaned up before any metal detecting could be done... the inside of this house can best be described as creepy... as in if ghosts really exist I’m probably going to see one.. 

I understand completely and don't mean to add distractions to your plate.

Just consider these notions from the Good Idea Fairy that you can pass along to the owners.

Or not.


Offline The original bad bob

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Re: I thought some here would find this interesting.
« Reply #11 on: June 15, 2022, 06:43:05 PM »
Here is a long overdue update.. Lots of challenges on this job for me... The lot has been cleared and a old shed made from corrugated tin roofing and old (real 2x4’s) was emptied and most of the contents deemed of no value  taken to the land fill ... a few interesting finds inside were saddle holders , stirrups, old tools possibly from the 19th century and coat racks possibly from the time the original occupants lived there.

The challenges of working on an old house are many... one of the first was discovering upon removing the ceiling drywall that the house has 2 roofs... the original one that has old growth 1x boards with the old tar paper still on it, some of these one by boards are 20” wide... probably 100K worth or lumber by today’s crazy lumber prices... 2’ on top of this roof is a newer corrugated tin roof that is probably 80 years old... the reality of this discovery will prevent the owners from raising the ceiling height like they planned to do... Too many unknowns in removing the original wood roof and a can of worms not worth the risk in opening from a cost benefit Stand point.

The power is now on as is the water.. the electrical situation is that sometime in the 1940’s or early 50’s the knob and tube wiring was replaced with greenfield metal sheathed Romex wire and all the electrical boxes are brown Bakelite plastic which I have heard of but never seen in person until now..which is good but the entire house only has 3ea 20 amp breakers which is inadequate... so a larger electrical panel is going to be installed so additional circuits and breakers can be added.

The house is completely gutted with only the lime plastered adobe interior walls and 2x4 bare bones walls standing... we are currently addressing plumbing issues and replacing some galvanized iron pipe with ABS and copper water lines.

I will post some photos soon.


Offline Professor Marvel

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Re: I thought some here would find this interesting.
« Reply #12 on: June 16, 2022, 12:54:16 AM »
You might consider PEX instead of ABS if it is for fresh water. The joining system is simple and fast and very solid. After using both, i think The savings in time and labor
When using PEX is worth it!

Re doors and windows in adobe….

I would be willing to do the “restore” on windows. But Doors…
I would be inclined to salvage the doors themselves if at all possible,
but would seriously consider installing modern steel security door frames.
I an adobe, the window and door openings “ought to have been” framed with lumber;
Either post-and-beam style or wooden lentils and frames.
One can Anchor steel door frames to the existing lumber with lags and liquid nails
Thus providing a solid secure frame for whatever door is desired.

The resulting steel and wood can then be covered the correct concrete or stucco product
Which will then give the old time look of plastered adobe.

I have long loved adobe brick as abuilding material, but only when used with post and beam construction. Unfortunately adobe is for the very rich who can affordto hire it all done… ior those with more time than money who make their own bricks and lay them themselves.

Please keep us informed, and any photos would be greatly appreciated!

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Offline The original bad bob

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Re: I thought some here would find this interesting.
« Reply #13 on: June 16, 2022, 02:20:48 PM »
Professor, I have used pex type “A” before.. I even have an wirsbo expansion tool... The problem is that the house is fed from the meter with a 1/2” galvanized iron pipe and it may be clogged with calcium and lime cholesterol buildup making the pressure situation inadequate... This main waterline goes under a public sidewalk and concrete driveway.., so we are going to replace any galvanized pipe in the house with copper and determine if the pressure is adequate for the two small bathrooms... if the pressure is not adequate we Will obtain the permit to saw cut the sidewalk and replace the galvanized pipe with 3/4”-1” copper pipe.... another challenge is that this home was built before city water and sewer existed in Tombstone.. so all the plumbing is literally drilled through the adobe walls from the outside of the house... Even the water heater is in a crude wood closet on the outside of the house..there are 2ea 20” thick interior adobe walls that through the years no one had the courage to place attic access windows into to run things like electrical and plumbing through the interior attic space of the home ... I am going to attempt this by adding a wood lintel beam and removing a 24”x18” window in the attic interior adobe walls so central ac ducts can be run in the attic throughout the house... please wish me luck LOL

On the exterior and interior doors we have sourced original nal style 4 panel clear pine to replace and restore any non original existing doors that were replaced in the 140 years since the home was built... there are about 6 such doors that need to be replaced.

Adobe has termites in it, so there are window sills and door frame bottoms that have to be replaced or repaired.. I’m going to spray Termidor termite killer in these areas and either repair with wood epoxy or cut out the damaged wood and replace it.

The attached photo is of the house I am working on.. It was taken by CS Fly in 1884 on one of the big hills south of town.. the black mark on photo denotes the house (back door view of house) and you can see the bird cage theater in background as well as shefflin hall and the San Jose house .. The real Tombstone is very different than the Hollywood fake version

Offline The original bad bob

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Re: I thought some here would find this interesting.
« Reply #14 on: June 16, 2022, 03:53:08 PM »
Attached is a photo of the living room area of the house as it appears today.. you can see the lime plaster crumbling off walls because termites have eaten the wood window sill away allowing water to enter into the adobe walls .

As modest, creepy and run down as this place is currently ...back in 1880 Tombstone Arizona territory this was considered a  luxurious home owned by one of the wealthier individuals in town... believe it or not...I have learned that many residents of Tombstone In this time period lived in canvas tents.. This is what I mean by Hollywood vs reality

Offline Professor Marvel

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Re: I thought some here would find this interesting.
« Reply #15 on: June 17, 2022, 08:37:20 PM »
Thanks for the photos. This is amazing stuff. I hope the owners have enough time, money, and grit to see it through.

yhs
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