Before I get into this, I wanted to take a moment to document one other thing I did on the west wall of the basement. When we bought 173 these many years ago, I noticed that there was a hairline crack in the foundation just under the main beam. I've always kept an eye on it; the crack really looked quite superficial and it never got any bigger. But I figured, while I was doing all this work down there anyway...I put in a floor jack.
It probably isn't doing much, but I put it in nice and snug, so maybe! Besides, for $50 it gives me a little peace of mind - even if it turns out to be nothing more than smoke and mirrors!
Now onto the meat of this post (not to be confused with the one pictured above!). Over the past few weeks I've been (relatively) flying through fixing and painting the basement walls. I mean, just the other day I finished the main portion of the basement, then I had half a wall left in the workshop, then onto the laundry room! I was flying! Then it happened. I started removing the loose concrete from that wall in the workshop and I came across a problem. First, a little back story.
When we got 173, the basement floor consisted of a very thin layer of concrete, that over the years had broken up enough that most of the floor was just dirt. Several years ago now, we put in a new basement floor. Two weeks of sun up to sun down labor and we had a great new floor. But when we got to the wall that separated the laundry room and the workshop, we left the wall in place and concreted (can we make that a verb?) around it. the wall was a bit rough, but it was solid as can be and I really liked my little shop.
So the other day, while cleaning up the loose concrete from the east wall of the workshop, I found that the sole plate was rotted, maybe worse - it may have been bug chow.
|Photo from here.|
So the wall has to come down. To give a little context, in this picture of the phone stand I made, in the background you can see the wall. It's the one with the shelves and pegboard with stuff hanging all over it.
I took all the stuff off the shelves and removed the peg board and here's my wall...
Now, I'm not an idiot (if you ask me - and no one else), but I started removing the wall - the hard way, from the stud side. I know, I know...but there was a reason. As I said, this is the shared wall with the laundry room, and the laundry room side of the wall was sheet rock in pretty good condition, so I wanted to save it. I also knew that there was some space between the sheet rock and the wood wall on the shop side, so I figured I could surgically remove the wall and save the laundry room side.
Yep. Best laid plans of mice and men. First of all, Mr. Mosher (the original owner) meant business when he built walls, as I found out when we remodeled the third floor. He used HUGE nails, 10 penny maybe? I don't really know that stuff very well - my dad does, but I don't. Anyway, these things might as well have been railroad spikes! It took forever to remove just two of these 10" wide boards, but when they came out, I found something cool!
An old advertisement! Here's a better look:
Some of it was a little faded but I'll translate best I can:
In white at the top: Doesn't the old fashioned water heater seem out of place?
Superimposed in orange: Here's the point
In blue: You save money when you buy Niagara Hudson coke on the budget plan.
White at the bottom: pretty much illegible.
Just a neat little piece of americana. I thought about extricating it and keeping it or selling it on eBay or something, but really - it would have sat in the basement for years to come and the next owners of 173 would have found it, said, "Cool, look at this old ad," then tossed it. So I figured...might as well forge ahead. Then came the big surprise!
The ad wasn't in the wall, the ad was the laundry room wall! It wasn't sheet rock - it was beaver board! I learned about beaver board back when we did the third floor, the walls of the original two rooms up there were made of the same stuff. The upside is - it's a whole lot less messy to remove than sheetrock! The downside is this:
That's right...that's the freezer in the laundry room you're looking at. See that window way in the background? That would be the far side of the workshop. So the die is cast, I've crossed the Rubicon, we're all in, there's no turning back now...173 is getting an entirely new laundry room! In the end, it's probably best, but don't ya just hate it when....