Having finished painting the porch parts (at least until that guy decides the real lengths we’ll be using and chops off a bunch of baluster and railing ends—sending me back to the brush), I’m returning to the window project. Parts of the bottom sashes had rotted out, so I soaked them in an epoxy sealer to stabilize and strengthen the remaining wood. And I’ve been puzzling my way through replacing the missing wood with an epoxy filler, an oak-colored wood filler, and new oak.
The other night, I was working on the sashes in the kitchen because I was plum sick of being in the basement. I was debating with myself about whether it was going to be worth it in the end to continue with my approach of filling the deep gaps with epoxy and then embedding a piece of new wood as the top layer. The concept being that it would look better to have wood on top rather than the epoxy patch, which is white (and I’d have to do faux-graining over with gel stains). Then I noticed the oak dust in the corners of the plastic container I’d been carrying these little oak scraps around in, and I experimented with jamming them on top of the epoxy to create a wood layer. But I ran out of oak dust. Then I saw the food processor on my stove that I’d used the night before to make pesto out of my mountainous basil. And—look out—the lightbulb popped on over my head. That guy was alarmed to see me running oak bits through my old Oskar, and he wisely reserved comment and went away. But it worked! And I scored more oak dust. Now, a couple days later, I think this approach worked well. It’s a lot easier than trying to shape little pieces of wood to fit the irregular gaps in the sash.
So today I had to fill some more gaps and, knowing that my cohort is a clever, tool-using monkey, asked him whether he had a better idea than my food processor. And he did. He directed me to hold a baggy around the dust chute of the radial arm saw while he chopped repeatedly through a piece of oak. And voila—baggy full of perfect oak dust. So I sludged that up with the epoxy filler and got an excellent gap-stopping goo.
I only just wish I’d thought of this earlier. Oh well—call it evolution.