Sunday, March 6, 2011

Wall Register Project Complete

When I started this project, I thought it would take me a day or two. Buy some salvaged registers, strip them, repaint them, and swap out the cheap ones. As usual, it didn't turn out to be nearly that simple.

The big problem was the position of the mounting screws. Wall registers for old forced air systems were inserts in larger metal housings, and the mounting screws were designed to fit this housing, versus being screwed directly into the wall.

Once I had cut 4, 10X8 inch holes in the walls, I realized that I really didn't have a feasible way of installing the registers. This meant about 5 trips to Ace Hardware to try a variety of creative solutions.

I actually started going to multiple Ace stores, because I figured I was going to the same one too often and it was becoming embarrassing. After a few failures, the folks at Diamond Lake Ace helped me come up with a plan. The key was to use a J-hook to grab against the lath, plus a coupling to screw into. I used gel epoxy to secure the J-hook and coupling to the top and bottom of each wall opening. You can see how the J-hook wraps around the opening and grabs the lath in the picture below. In the end, I am really pleased with how these turned out. They look infinitely better than the ones the contractors used when the installed the AC. They just look right with the house and they actually work.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Winter Projects Update

When winter rolls around, it becomes obvious that I am not a native Minnesotan. I have absolutely no outdoor winter hobbies, unless you count angry shoveling. No skiing, no ice skating, no snowshoeing, no hockey, no broomball (which is a strange sport played by Minnesotans, and I suspect Canadians). The closest things I have to hobbies right now are coffee drinking and going insane, which usually happens by mid-February.

In an effort to delay insanity, I am still working on slowly peeling the paint off the downstairs doors. It is coming along slowly, but surely.I have also decided to upgrade the wall returns for our air conditioning system. About a year ago, my desire for air conditioning trumped my old-house puristness and we invested in a Unico system. While we like the system, the Menard's style air returns really leave something to be desired. The system required 4 of these and we tried to hide them as best we could.

I have decided to replace them with salvaged cast iron wall register inserts. Originally, a register like this would have fit inside a larger metal housing and would have been positioned through the baseboard, closer to the floor. So, even though it isn't really accurate, it will still look a heck of a lot better than the current one.