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Saturday, May 05, 2012

Exterior Wood Repair

I have a pine clapboard rowhouse and it is an endless battle against weather and water.  My rowhouse is in a historic district and thus I can never replace my rowhouse facade with anything else but pine clapboard, trim and windows.  To reduce relative maintenance I only use paints supplied by Fine Paints of Europe shipped from Vermont and imported from Holland.  Expect to pay at least $125 a eurogallon for such paints but if you have a historic rowhouse with exterior pine clapboard it is well worth the expense.  These paints hold up better than other brands you might find at Home Depot.  Regardless due to my own neglect I had some water damage to the facade of my lovely rowhouse and I needed to implement a number of repairs.  I have had previous experiences with numerous products and I am going to indicate my preferred wood fillers to do the job. Some wood fillers are really not up for the task of holding up under extreme weather conditions.

Elmers Structural Wood Repair is water proof and relatively resistant to weather conditions when painted.  It is puddy like in texture and is easily formable and workable into place.  It does not run and is similar in texture to playdoe.  Howeven it will not spread easily.  It is more formable than spreadable.  For a more spreadable consistancy I would recomend High Performance Minwax Wood Filler.  High Performance Minwax Wood Filler is very spreadable and slippery like in consistancy but you must be diligent in your application because it will harden in 15 minutes due to a chemical reaction. 

Repairing the damage with Elmers Structural Wood Repair.

Sanding with a Makita GV5000.

These two below products, DAP Plastic Wood Filler and Elmer’s Carpener’s Wood Fillerare are at best water resistant.  I have tried them in the past and they do not hold up more than a year.  They break apart with the first sign of excessive moister that gets under the paint.  I do not recommend them except in very low moister areas.  Initially they set up very well but they do not last if weather conditions are severe.

This below Schreuder Swedish Putty works very well and I have been impressed by its durability yet it must be applied in extremely hot and sun exposed areas to set up and cure properly and cost $125 for a gallon. It has difficulty curing with deep and large patch areas if the weather is not hot and sun exposed. This product is extremely spreadable and will hold up in extreme weather conditions. Nonetheless I prefer a combination of the Elmer’s Structural Wood Repair and the MinWax High Performance Wood Filler products for their two potentially different applications based on their physical characteristics. Good luck to all of you.

Building A Toy Chest

I decided to build a toy chest for my son.  I did go to Ikea and Pier 1 Imports, but I was very disappointed with what they had to offer.  Ikea is great if you are a college student or a recent college graduate moving into your first apartment, but for a 50 year old father of two I wanted something a bit more substantial.  Pier 1 Imports had a couple of decent chests for storing toys and blankets that were attractive but were made with very inexpensive materials.  So I went to Home Depot and bought the lumber to build a chest for my son.  This served two purposes, 1) I would build a substantially better chest and 2) I would get to spend the day with my son.  Living in a rowhouse has limited space.  There is no garage and no basement for storage, so you must be constantly vigilant in improvising on space.  These pictures are the result of my efforts.  I spent about $100 and it took me 5 hours and I had a memorable time with my 5 year old son.  In addition, the woods I used were oak, birch, poplar and pine, significantly superior woods to those I would have gotten from Ikea or Pier 1 Imports.  I am yet to build a lid for this toy chest.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Liberty State Park (Evening)

Liberty State Park near Downtown Jersey City.  Always a beautiful place for an evening walk or bike ride.  Pretty trails and scenic views of lower Manhattan.  All this just a stones throw away from many historic row houses in Jersey City. 

Friday, June 04, 2010

City Reval May Adversely Impact Demographics Of Downtown Jersey City

In the pioneering days of Downtown Jersey City, there were relatively few young married couples with children living here.  I moved here in the early 1990’s and there were mostly adventurous single working people looking to make a life out of the raw environment of vacant lots, abandoned buildings and lack of retail services, i.e. schools, day care centers, cleaners, etc.  Now after nearly 20 years the various neighborhoods of Downtown Jersey City have blossomed into a mecca of young couples looking to make a life here and to raise their children.  Everywhere you look you will find children and strollers and the parks are filled with kids and their parents.  But with Jersey City’s plans for a revaluation, this desirable demographic trend may be put at risk.  Because property values in Downtown Jersey City have risen more rapidly than elsewhere in Jersey City, the revaluation will likely result in the shifting of more of the city’s tax burden on the residences of Downtown Jersey City.  I have spoken to numerous couples with children and many of them are considering leaving Jersey City after potentially being confronted with more tax increases.  The cost of living here is already very high compared to many suburban communities.  Day care is typically double the cost, homeowners insurance can be triple the cost, the public school system can be questionable and a family of 3, 4, or 5 require a lot of space to grow, thus translating into a costly proposition for raising a family. Eventually Downtown Jersey City may turn into exclusively a transient community of young professional couples, with no children, on their way to suburban America.

Article: Hudson Reporter, ”Afraid of the Reval”.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Spring Like Day In Manhattan

West Village near Bleeker Street.

An abondoned building up for renovation.

On Bleeker Street some old vinyl records available for sale.

Soho looking west on Prince Street.

Tribecca / Soho just north of Canal Street off West Broadway.

PS105 student artistic impression of urban tenement living.

Friday, February 26, 2010

February 26th Snow Storm

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Downtown Jersey City Historic Districts

Downtown Jersey City historic districts are Paulus Hook Historic District, Hamilton Park Historic District, Van Vorst Park Historic District, Harsimus Cove Historic District.  For a brief description and history: ”Brownstones and unusual buildings, Downtown Jersey City shows off its historic districts”, Hudson Reporter.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sold Recently, Row House, Hamilton Park

2F on approximately 17’ by 58’ lot sold for $765k, corner of Ninth Street and Jersey Avenue.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Two Renovation Projects Downtown Jerser City

Two renovation projects Downtown Jerser City, on Erie Street and adjoining Erie Street.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Construction on 4th Street, Downton Jersey City

Fourth Street between Erie St and Grove Street.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Another Snow Storm Downtown Jersey City

Snow and wind in Downtown Jersey City, Paulus Hook, Feb 16.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Colorful Graffiti In New York

A truck in lower Manhattan adorned in color, Union Square North at 16th Street and Broadway.

Cupcakes In Manhattan At Magnolia Bakery

The line extends around the corner at Magnolia Bakery with eager customers waiting patiently for their popular cupcakes. 

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Greenwich Village During Blizzard

Washington Square North and the far West Village during February 10th’s snowstorm (below).

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Renovating Row Houses In Downtown Jersey City

Couple of row houses under renovation in downtown Jersey City.  Brick row house on Bright Street and frame row house on Seventh Street (below).


Urban living, real estate, restoration, renovation, investments, and raising children in an urban environment.....w/ an emphasis on the urban row house. Row houses are unique and are more in demand as the number of apartments versus the number of row houses increases.


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