Author Topic: A kitchen 100 years older than the USA  (Read 4731 times)

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Offline woodbutcherbower

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A kitchen 100 years older than the USA
« on: September 22, 2022, 05:01 PM »
No pictures yet because I haven't built it - but I accepted a commission today to build a kitchen in a local country farmhouse which was built in 1676 - exactly 100 years before the USA existed. I've spent a lifetime working on old buildings, but this is on another level. Roof and ceiling structure beams made using recovered oak from sunken Tudor-period Royal Navy battleships, and walls almost 3 feet thick, made from 2-ton stones quarried 50 miles away, cut up using 2-man iron stone saws working at a cut rate of 12" per hour, then dragged to the site using teams of men, teams of horses, plus wooden sleds and small tree trunks which were used as rollers. I've worked on this building before and I thought I knew it pretty well, but this is the absolute dream job which I'll be starting in around 6-7 weeks from now. Most amazing of all is that when I was taking measurements last week, I discovered that this ancient building is 99.4% square, 98.2% plumb, and the flagstone floor only deviates 2 degrees from horizontal. The farmhouse is 3-storeys and 40 feet high, so those 2-ton stones and half-ton oak beams needed to be lifted up there somehow. No forklifts, no cranes. Steam engines were still a century away.

How did they do it? Just how? This might become an interesting thread for you colonial youngsters.

Pictures to follow at some point in the future. Just thought I'd casually drop by and whet your appetites..................
« Last Edit: September 22, 2022, 06:09 PM by woodbutcherbower »

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Offline Peter Halle

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Re: A kitchen 100 years older than the USA
« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2022, 05:31 PM »
As a fan of yours I totally look forward to your posts in this thread.  I have written before, I believe somewhere on this forum, (good luck searching thru all my posts to find it  [eek]), I love reading about working with wood in different countries and cultures than here in the US especially.  Working on such a home should once again be a test of your skills - Godspeed!

Peter

Offline woodbutcherbower

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Re: A kitchen 100 years older than the USA
« Reply #2 on: September 22, 2022, 06:04 PM »
As a fan of yours I totally look forward to your posts in this thread.  I have written before, I believe somewhere on this forum, (good luck searching thru all my posts to find it  [eek]), I love reading about working with wood in different countries and cultures than here in the US especially.  Working on such a home should once again be a test of your skills - Godspeed!

Peter

Thankyou as always for your kind words, Peter. I shall try not to disappoint.

Offline Peter Halle

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Re: A kitchen 100 years older than the USA
« Reply #3 on: September 22, 2022, 06:53 PM »
I hope my post didn't come across the wrong way.  Don't worry about disappointing me.  I'm easy.  I love posts where members show their work.  Especially in challenging or different situations.

Only ones to worry about disappointing are you and your client.

Peter

Offline smorgasbord

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Re: A kitchen 100 years older than the USA
« Reply #4 on: September 22, 2022, 08:58 PM »
The farmhouse is 3-storeys and 40 feet high, so those 2-ton stones and half-ton oak beams needed to be lifted up there somehow. No forklifts, no cranes. Steam engines were still a century away.

How did they do it? Just how? This might become an interesting thread for you colonial youngsters.

Compound pulleys have existed for centuries - IIRC legend has it that Archimedes used a large compound pulley to move a ship by himself. But, I'm just spit-balling here.

Offline Cheese

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Re: A kitchen 100 years older than the USA
« Reply #5 on: September 22, 2022, 10:42 PM »
Thankyou as always for your kind words, Peter. I shall try not to disappoint.

Guaranteed, you'll not disappoint...just post it like it is. My God, we post house renovations from the 20's, 30's, 40's, 50's and speak as to how out dated the methods and materials are...you are going to post the bones of a building that was built 300 years ago...God's speed.

Offline bobtskutter

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Re: A kitchen 100 years older than the USA
« Reply #6 on: September 23, 2022, 05:57 AM »

How did they do it? Just how? This might become an interesting thread for you colonial youngsters.


The same way the Egyptians built the pyramids, the aliens did it for them  [big grin] [big grin] [big grin]

I'm really looking forward to seeing this.

Regards
Bob

Offline mino

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Re: A kitchen 100 years older than the USA
« Reply #7 on: September 23, 2022, 07:11 AM »
Wonderful job to have indeed. Congratz!

... no cranes ...
Cranes were certainly used. They were a thing in Egypt, more than 5 millenia ago.

We tend to think how our forefathers did not have today's tech. Sure. But they had their time's tech. Mostly human or animal powered so less "eficient" on manpower but often more efficient on energy per se.


I would also argue that is no "Farmhouse". Whoever lived from farming could not afford such a house construction. IF he could, his taxes would be immediately raised to "rectify" the situation or he would use the income to acquire some nobility level first.

So either way it would fit as Manor house or thereabouts in my view.
When The Machine has no brains, use yours.

Offline woodbutcherbower

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Re: A kitchen 100 years older than the USA
« Reply #8 on: October 10, 2022, 05:55 PM »
And so, earlier than expected - it begins ........

Although the house was built in 1676, the kitchen's going into a subsequent extension to the building which is way, way newer;



An initial site survey can only ever tell you so much - and as you'd imagine, you really have no idea what you're going to find until you start ripping stuff out. What I've found is an unholy mess. There's damp, crumbling plaster, rotten baseboards and door frames, illegal electrics, leaking plumbing, an unstable main ceiling beam, plus another 10-15 smaller issues which all need dealing with before the actual kitchen can even be dreamed of. The large stone arches (almost tall enough to walk inside) formerly housed a bread oven (the original iron door is still there in the centre) an open fireplace for roasting, and one other aperture whose purpose is unknown. The sealed-up arch ceilings have partially collapsed. The stonework is very badly burned and stained, so my sandblasting guy's coming on Friday to blast it all back to clean stone;



A lot of the damp has been caused by years of the wrong paint being applied. The walls were originally plastered using lime which allowed the damp to evaporate out into the building. Covering the lime with layers of vinyl paint just seals all the water in. It will all get hacked off, allowed to dry out, and re-done properly using traditional limewash. The building has no mains water connection - it all comes from a natural spring in the winter, and from a borehole during the summer. Having worked in many other houses in this area with boreholes, I know that the water has to be filtered to make it safe, but I couldn't find the filter system anywhere. Removal of a large built-in cupboard revealed this. Whoever decided to bring in the water supply a meter high off the floor wants his butt kicking;



The building is heated using a ground-source heat pump. Removal of another cupboard revealed this;



So it's going to be an 'interesting' one for sure. I knew I'd inevitably find horrors like these and have priced the job accordingly, and I've also built all the cabinets offsite with extended sides and no backs. This will allow the sides to be scribed to the uneven walls, and the backs will then be attached to battens inside the cabinets once they're in place. Update again soon ......

Kevin

« Last Edit: October 10, 2022, 06:05 PM by woodbutcherbower »

Offline bobtskutter

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Re: A kitchen 100 years older than the USA
« Reply #9 on: October 11, 2022, 03:22 AM »
Wow, Looks like you've got involved in a Grand Designs project.
It sounds like it was some sort of scullery for the main house, i.e. bread oven AND roasting "space".  Could the extra alcove have been for a wash drum?
The hooks holding up the water filter look like some I bought from Lidl a few month ago.
Looks like that's an electric water heater (possibly from Screwfix), not a heat pump, unless the compressor unit is outside of the building and that heater is to boost the low temp water from the heat pump.
That's an expensive energy saving circulation pump, probably to help offset the huge cost of running that 6kW electric heater!

Can't wait to see more pictures.

Regards
Bob

Offline tsmi243

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Re: A kitchen 100 years older than the USA
« Reply #10 on: October 11, 2022, 04:38 PM »
Must be REALLY old, it's got copper plumbing



ha

Offline Peter Kelly

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Re: A kitchen 100 years older than the USA
« Reply #11 on: October 12, 2022, 11:44 PM »
Looks like that's an electric water heater (possibly from Screwfix), not a heat pump, unless the compressor unit is outside of the building and that heater is to boost the low temp water from the heat pump.
That's an expensive energy saving circulation pump, probably to help offset the huge cost of running that 6kW electric heater!
12kW unit in that photo....

Offline luvmytoolz

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Re: A kitchen 100 years older than the USA
« Reply #12 on: October 13, 2022, 05:37 AM »
Must be REALLY old, it's got copper plumbing



ha

You guys don't use copper plumbing?

Offline Bob D.

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Re: A kitchen 100 years older than the USA
« Reply #13 on: October 13, 2022, 06:17 AM »
Must be REALLY old, it's got copper plumbing



ha

You guys don't use copper plumbing?

Nope, this is the Shark-bite generation, they don't know how to even light the torch let alone make a proper solder joint.
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Offline mino

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Re: A kitchen 100 years older than the USA
« Reply #14 on: October 13, 2022, 07:30 AM »
Nope, this is the Shark-bite generation, they don't know how to even light the torch let alone make a proper solder joint.
This is funny.

Over here the copper plumbing is actually seeing a renaissance thanks to the forced-circulation systems becoming the norm.

Just 20-30 yrs ago, most systems installed in new homes were still gravitational - with all the complications of hydraulic balancing. This made per-room temperature control kinda finicky, so whole house was usually balanced and then heated same-ish with external-temperature following curves. These systems need low resistance, so 1" tubing was the norm and copper would be prohibitively expensive.

Recently, with the move to per-room thermal regulation, forced circulation is requid and the tiny tubing can be copper or copper-sheating with plastic inner sleeves. So the cost is not too much anymore and longevity wins.
« Last Edit: October 13, 2022, 07:33 AM by mino »
When The Machine has no brains, use yours.

Offline tsmi243

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Re: A kitchen 100 years older than the USA
« Reply #15 on: October 13, 2022, 02:59 PM »
Must be REALLY old, it's got copper plumbing



ha

You guys don't use copper plumbing?

Homebuilders here mostly went to PEX for everything maybe 10-20yrs ago.  Dunno exactly when. 

Us remodel guys obviously still do copper  [smile]  There's tons of it in existing homes. 

Offline 4nthony

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Re: A kitchen 100 years older than the USA
« Reply #16 on: October 13, 2022, 04:28 PM »
Nope, this is the Shark-bite generation, they don't know how to even light the torch let alone make a proper solder joint.

A couple years ago, I wanted to install a whole house water filter but I didn't know how to sweat pipe. I bought some kit and over the course of about 6 weeks, spent about 25-30 hours practicing on copper pipe joints. I put some effort into learning and I felt like I got pretty good at it. Then I went down into the crawl space to put my practice to work. It's one thing to sweat pipe while standing up in a wide open space. It's entirely different being 6'-2" and lying on your stomach or back with only about 12" of vertical space to move around while trying to maneuver a torch and solder a joint between some floor joists. It was so awkward and uncomfortable that I didn't even bother to light the torch.

A fun experiment but no thank you.

I crawled out and bought a roll of PEX, a crimping tool, and a few Sharkbite fittings to interface with the copper. Done in less than a day (and still leak-free).

Signed,
A proud member of the Sharkbite generation [cool]
Recon Tool Notifications

Anthony

"The best way to get a correct answer on the internet is to post an obviously wrong answer and wait for someone to correct you." - Kevin Kelly

Offline Bob D.

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Re: A kitchen 100 years older than the USA
« Reply #17 on: October 13, 2022, 07:53 PM »
It's not as easy as it looks. I've soldered everything from 1/8" tubing up to 8" Type K copper.

But you are right the hardest is when you can't see the whole joint and you're working in a cramped space in an awkward position.
And if you don't have the right torch you just doubled your aggravation. Working with a torch mounted on a propane cylinder you've already got two strikes against you.
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Offline tsmi243

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Re: A kitchen 100 years older than the USA
« Reply #18 on: October 13, 2022, 08:09 PM »
It's not as easy as it looks. I've soldered everything from 1/8" tubing up to 8" Type K copper.


I can beat that!

Capillary tube-
with oxy acetylene-
15% silver-
in a plastic lined refrigerator-
freezer on the bottom-
and filter/dryer was copper to steel.

And it was raining outside.  On a Monday.  During a recession.   [big grin]


Offline bobtskutter

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Re: A kitchen 100 years older than the USA
« Reply #19 on: October 14, 2022, 03:05 AM »
We're getting a little off topic  [wink]

Has anyone heard of brass compression fittings?

(just thought I'd throw that in there)

Regards
Bob

Offline luvmytoolz

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Re: A kitchen 100 years older than the USA
« Reply #20 on: October 14, 2022, 06:56 AM »
We're getting a little off topic  [wink]

Has anyone heard of brass compression fittings?

(just thought I'd throw that in there)

Regards
Bob

Brass compression fittings and copper pipe are pretty much standard fare in OZ. Some places built around the 70's used gal pipe, but these tended to develop pinhole leaks at any point, including inside the walls which was annoying, whereas the copper pipe installs seem to last just about forever in most cases.

Offline bobtskutter

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Re: A kitchen 100 years older than the USA
« Reply #21 on: November 13, 2022, 03:16 PM »
hay @woodbutcherbower, how's this job coming along?
Regards
Bob

Offline woodbutcherbower

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Re: A kitchen 100 years older than the USA
« Reply #22 on: November 14, 2022, 04:21 AM »
@bobtskutter Apologies for the lack of updates - my workload is loony-tunes. The house is unoccupied, and I took on the job whilst being involved in three other major projects at the same time - the clients had no problem with this and were more than happy for me to keep dropping onto this as and when I had capacity to spare. They were just happy that it was finally getting done, and they are great to work with.

I’m currently in the shop building a batch of 6 x oak doors and 10 x sash windows, I’ll be back on this kitchen in around 2 weeks time and I’ll post more pictures when I get back there. It’s challenging, but progressing nicely. SO much profiling and scribing …… Here’s where I’m currently at with it;













I’m also doing all of the electrics in here, and this involves stuff like picking up a power feed from the adjacent room. As I said in the opening post, the walls are a yard thick;



Kevin



« Last Edit: November 14, 2022, 05:58 AM by woodbutcherbower »

Offline luvmytoolz

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Re: A kitchen 100 years older than the USA
« Reply #23 on: November 14, 2022, 03:51 PM »
I'm really enjoying watching all this! Beautiful work!

Offline Lbob131

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Re: A kitchen 100 years older than the USA
« Reply #24 on: November 15, 2022, 03:28 PM »
Lifting   huge  weights  is  easy when  you find   the center  and  balance  the weight   on  the center.
Which  becomes  the fulcrum.
The  fulcrum  is  then  off set  slightly.  Thus a  very  small weight  in  comparison   to   weight being  lifted,  raises   the object upwards.

The  large  weight can be  dragged  over  level ground   with the fulcrum already  in place. Then  the sides  excavated   to  create   the see-saw action.

Offline bobtskutter

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Re: A kitchen 100 years older than the USA
« Reply #25 on: November 15, 2022, 03:56 PM »
Wow, that looks fantastic.  That scribing looks painstaking!
Love the storage box, it looks like you could stand an elephant on it.
Regards
Bob

Offline squall_line

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Re: A kitchen 100 years older than the USA
« Reply #26 on: November 15, 2022, 05:52 PM »
It's posts like these that make me wish I had the life flexibility to apprentice with some of the members here for a month or three, or even just a week (although that would probably be a very painful week for all parties involved).  The skill and craftsmanship displayed in here is very inspiring.

Offline woodbutcherbower

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Re: A kitchen 100 years older than the USA
« Reply #27 on: November 15, 2022, 06:18 PM »
It's posts like these that make me wish I had the life flexibility to apprentice with some of the members here for a month or three, or even just a week (although that would probably be a very painful week for all parties involved).  The skill and craftsmanship displayed in here is very inspiring.

If you ever happen to find yourself planning a trip to the UK (it's great here, you'll love it) - shoot me a PM. I've had maybe a dozen hobbyists ride shotgun with me over the years - and I've even paid them for their time, since everything they do - (even sweeping up) - is something that I don't have to do. Consider this a permanent, longtime offer. You'll learn a lot, have some fun, get endlessly and mercilessly taunted for being American and still working in stone-age imperial, and walk way with a happy heart, a new friend, and some beer money. What's not to like?

Kevin

Edit = you'll also learn what proper beer tastes like.
« Last Edit: November 16, 2022, 02:44 AM by woodbutcherbower »