The Devil Queen

How my wife and I sold our souls to the Queen Anne Victorian we tried to save.

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Location: Crow Mountain, Arkansas, United States

Synopsis: This is a cautionary tale. A seriously disturbed couple find the charming, old ruin of a Queen Anne Victorian in Russellville, Arkansas, and buy it for $1.00. They tore the roof off, cut it in half, and had it moved to some land they owned sixteen miles away because they didn't know any better. Since then, they have hired and fired contractors, had all of their tools stolen, re-wired, re-plumbed, insulated, and essentially rebuilt the entire house. Their only problem is that after four years it still isn't finished. Now they are tired, broke, and wonder what in the hell it is they've done to themselves. And, it's haunted.
(Last updated on April 3, 2008)

Press: Russellville Courier Article - December 2003, HGTV website article, AP story - October 2006, and Victorian Homes Magazine - February 2008 (link coming soon).
Art: From time to time, I receive requests for my art. If you would like to look at more of my art, go to The Failed Artist. If you would like to buy my art, email me. I am more than happy to answer any questions you might have. Thanks!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Progress = Demonic Possession

I need an exorcist. I worked on the Devil Queen two nights this week. Demonic possession is the only explanation I can offer.

Last night, I ventured into our much blighted master bathroom. The carnage was swept up, I fought a monstrous brown recluse to a draw (it escaped into a hole minus a few legs, I'll be looking for it again tonight), and I caulked the crack to wasp heaven shut.

Wednesday night, the work was more substantive. Here was the situation when I started.

That's right. It's a lovely, refurbished rim lock without a catch. Once upon a time just before our appraisal, I had a lock-catch picked out for this door. I don't know what happened after that. I suspect that I ran out of time and the lock-catch got used for one of the other doors in the house.

Ideally, the catch ought to be the same size as the rim lock. Unfortunately, all the catches I have left are for smaller sized rim-locks. This left me with two options: 1) go to some junk shops to find a matching lock-catch or 2) just us what I have and hope that no one really notices. Besides, since the lock-catch is smaller than it ought to be, I can always substitute a better matching lock-catch at a later date if the little one bugs me.

Since most people have no idea what a rim-lock is or what one should look like, I felt like option #2 sounded pretty good. And, I'm really tired of waiting on shit. If I'm in the mood to do something, I better do it. If I wait for the stars to be right, it will never happen.

After rummaging through my collection of lock-catches and selecting one, I proceeded to strip all the old paint and mystery gunk using the boiling method (see this post for details if you are interested). Then I shellacked the lock-catch to match the refurbished rim lock.

Since the lock-catch is around 3/4 of an inch shorter than the rim lock, I centered the lock-catch on the rim lock's door latch and dead bolt. Once I was satisfied with it's placement, I penciled the lock-catch's profile onto the door jamb. Then, I used one of my favorite hand tools, a chisel, to cut out the lock-catch's nook. Remember, the key to using a chisel is making sure that it is sharp. If it isn't, you might as well ought to use a flat-head screwdriver because the finished product will be about the same.

Here is the cut-out after about 10-15 minutes of slow, patient chiseling.

And, here is the finished product. It's isn't a perfect installation, but it is pretty close. I accidentally made the cut-out about 1/16 of an inch too deep. This means that you have to give the door a firm push to get the latch to catch all of the way. And, I had to shift the lock-catch to the left about an 1/8 of an inch too. This leaves a gap between the right side of the lock-catch and the door trim.

The flash makes the photo look much worse than it actually is. It isn't really noticeable in person. The gap's shadow blends with the hardware's dark finish, so it is hidden in plain-sight. Only a truly anal DIY'er or Virgo would notice.

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Anonymous Tara said...

HAHAHAHA!!! Only a "truly anal DIY'er or Virgo would notice." That is SO true. I'm afeared that I am both. I'll quiz people on "what's wrong with this picture" after I finish a project, and my one friend always mutters, "Silly Virgo, I wouldn't have noticed that until you pointed it out."

It looks great though! No need fill in the gaps with wood putty, and then sand, and then prime and repaint the molding. No need at all... ;) (Kidding!!)

8:52 AM  
Anonymous RemodelingMySpace said...

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Paul Marek

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