Old Stone House

Buckets and Gutters

October 13, 2008

Filed under: Day to Day @ 2:49 pm

bucket1.jpgA long time ago my father taught me that one of the best ‘toolboxes’ is an old drywall compound bucket. My father had a bucket for plumbing, an electrical bucket, a drywalling bucket, and the general use bucket. Simple, sturdy, and free.

I have my own bucket arranged in the all important ‘rescue/repair’ configuration – a carefully selected collection of tools that are great for puttering with. Much like a farmers toolbox, this bucket has just the right combination of hammers, caulking and nails to fix damn near anything.

Today I decided that I needed to address a failing set of gutters. I went to the shed to grab some tar where I spotted my ‘bucket buddy’ – a 48 pocket tool carrying sleeve – given to me by father this summer and evidently forgotten!

I dumped my tools and inserted the sleeve, immediately turbo-charging my makeshift toolkit. What you see before you is the ultimate old-house triage kit… (less the drill)…

Anyway, I had a chance to try out the new bucket as I had to address the gutters over the side porch. I noticed that our front step has a perpetual damp spot after even the slightest rain, so I suspected that the gutters needed to be cleaned.

I was right…

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I also noticed that the gutters were almost level, with only the slightest grade towards the downpipes. I’ve overheard a number of different eaves trough experts who claim that so long as there is a slight decline, the troughs will drain properly, and,being near level, they look much nicer.

Well, be that as it may, I also recall my grandfather claimed that one way to spot a good farmer was to look at the gutters on his barn. If they were in good repair, it was a good sign – as nothing would destroy an old stone foundation like rainwater. I also recall that he insisted on a good slope to help encourage water movement. He also claimed it kept things cleaner and the faster running water would help wash away debris.

Either way, I decided to adjust the gutters and increase their pitch. I rehung each trough, set the nails and added a few extra screws, caulked and tarred some of the failing wood etc., and then spent the next hour flushing out the blocked downpipes.

Organizing tools and cleaning gutters may not sound like tons of fun, but honestly, they represent those chores that feel so good to get done – and once completed are infinitely satisfying. A great way to spend a lazy Thanksgiving day!

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