Lee Valley Tools    Woodworking Newsletter
   Vol. 4, Issue 1
   September 2009
 
   Hope Mill Restoration
 

Wildlife Damage
The ceilings of the second-floor rooms were removed to clean out raccoon debris. Vandals had kicked in plastered walls, and other parts of the walls had to be removed to clean up raccoon droppings. We used professional help to disinfect the area. Raccoons had chewed more than halfway through some of the wall studs. Many of the cross-bracing members on the ceiling joists were completely chewed through and had to be replaced.

We installed new drywall in the second-floor museum rooms and applied stucco and paint to these new walls. The ceiling is now shellacked knotty pine. Two vertical columns, 11"x12", were rotten; new columns were positioned next to these to take the load. This required jacking the roof structure temporarily to get them in place. We also replaced the electrical wiring. While doing so, we reached over one of the horizontal beams and found that we could lift out rotten wood for a third of its length. The beam was 24' long and 11"x12" in section. We removed it and replaced it with eight 2"x12" joists nailed together.

  The circular saw
  The circular saw
The 48" circular saw and its carriage are located on a mezzanine level, about 8' above grade. This saw-room floor was supported on concrete footings with timber columns. The grade was muck and years of rotten saw dust. The area was wet and smelly due to slow water leakage from the dam. The footings had not been dug deeply enough and were tipping, so we jacked the floor, removed the old footings and poured new 18" diameter footings anchored into the bedrock. The wood columns were shortened enough to remove any rot.

We scooped out all the muck, down to the bedrock, and it became obvious that there was seepage from the dam that would have to be drained. We filled the area up to original grade with crushed stone and covered it with a 4" thick reinforced concrete floor. At the downstream side of the building, we dug a French drain to carry the seepage water back to the river.
 
 
             
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