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Squirrels and the hazards of Restoration Contracting

April 21st, 2008 · 1 Comment

Sometimes it’s not worth working on Mondays. Let me back up just a bit, last fall exactly. One of the joy’s of restoration carpentry is when a missing or deteriorated piece of ornate molding can be repaired by a length of the original material that was found in the basement of the subject house. When this happens in the fall, one looks forward all winter to reinstalling the original crown molding with the, also original “new” piece, on the pediment over the porch.

Well, spring finally came to Vermont and the time came to repair that beautiful ORIGINAL crown molding. Did I say original? So Monday was going swimmingly, we cleaned and prepped all the surrounding woodwork, caulked and filled and primed. Now the time was here, check and recheck measurements, cut some small scraps to double check the compound angles. O.K. cut, prime end cuts, position and…nail. Two corners and one return later, wow, if I don’t say so myself things were looking pretty good. Not bad for a Monday. Clean up a little early and come back tomorrow to caulk and paint the first coat.

Tuesday morning, feeling good, pull up to the job and…oh my god the corner of the crown is completely gone! A long, wide hole is right where my mitered joint should be! It looks like a…HE’S STILL THERE!!! The squirrel in question is sitting right there looking at me as if I showed up too early. Imagine, like I did something wrong. Well as you imagine I circled the yard looking for a rock and cursing under (or not so under) my breath. Dam lawn guys are good, not a rock to be found anywhere. Anyway he ran away. After I calmed down, not really, not yet, I found a scrap that I could make a “Dutchman” repair out of. Tuesdays being generally better than Mondays I decided, after checking into the space above and banging around, that I could repair the damage. Everything back in place, a little putty and caulk the seams and I almost couldn’t see the repair. Time to clean up and get ready for tomorrows first coat of paint. What the, what’s that squeaking?

I didn’t used to hate squirrels. O.K., sure I could have hosed out the rafter space or rented an air horn but I thought after not seeing a nest and banging all around with a stick that that should have sufficed. Well I was wrong. With one squirrel trapped and the other rushing us from the side yard I had only one choice, alright a couple of choices but I chose to open up a repair on the soffit and allow the little…cute animals an access in and out hoping that they would leave the crown molding alone. So far I was right – for once – no more damage and now it’s a waiting game, me, them, and a hav-a-hart trap with peanuts!! I’ll let you know how it goes.


Tags: Wanamaker Restoration

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Kevin Worden // May 9, 2008 at 7:29 am

    It too have had a series of squirrel battles… like the gopher and Bill Murray in caddie-shack it can wear on one’s sanity. I can only guess that their determation stems from the fact that trim peices they chew through were once the tree they called home.

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