Category Archives: Building

Kitchen Window

The original sash window in the kitchen had been replaced by a picture window in the 1980s, but the original crooked brick arch remained in place.  We decided a sash window would look nicer.

kitchen-window2

It was quite a job to remove the concrete lintels from above the picture window,   We removed them in two halves so half the opening remained supported while we bricked up the other half.

kitchen-window-brickwork

The new window was made by John to match the original Edwardian windows elsewhere in the house and looks lovely.   He made another 3 windows for upstairs which we will fit next year when the weather warms up a bit.

new-kitchen-window

Bond Timbers

I’ve seen bits of wood embedded in the inside of walls before and assumed they were intended as something to nail things to.   It turns out they are called bond timbers and were commonly embedded in walls up until at least 1850 as a reinforcement that might stabilise the building a bit should you have forgotten to build foundations.  One of my bond timbers had rotten so I’m replacing it with bricks.  The rest aren’t too bad.

bond-timbers

The Edwardians built the half brick internal wall to the right and they also put some bond timbers in, but they missed the point and put them where they wouldn’t tie to the timbers in the external wall.  The external wall doesn’t seem to have moved much recently as there were no cracks in the modern plaster, but it is worth making things a little more sound while the wall is exposed.    I put in a few new bricks in to the corner and re-jointed other bricks to tie the walls together all the way up.

kitchen-corner

I have taken on some more work, partly based abroad, so progress will likely slow even more.

I have ordered some new sash windows for the rear of the house to replace the nasty 1996 efforts, and I have come up with an elegant custom secondary glazing system for the front of the house which will give me something to do in the winter evenings.

Back After a Break

I’ve been a bit quiet recently.   The weather hasn’t been very inspiring so I’ve been busy earning money this year to pay for work on the house instead of actually working on the house.   Also I didn’t have any matching bricks to tidy up some of the holes in the kitchen wall – this hole was from the industrial extractor fan outlet.

extractor-hole

I found bricks at Solopark in Cambridge which I think will match reasonably well.  They are still wet in the photo but should lighten as they dry out and end up quite close.

extractor-hole-bricked

The hole made a lot of difference to light in the kitchen.  I have planning permission for a ground floor window beside the hole but a full height window doesn’t work with the ground levels and a domestic sized oven extractor would become difficult.   I’ll try to borrow light from the snug and shed instead.

I’ll be quiet again for a while – there are a few similar holes to brick up that I won’t bore you with, but check back after that for the the exciting kitchen window.

Drainage

Drains have been a problem since we moved in but I need to fix the damp wall in the kitchen before I go much further with that.  The drains tended to become blocked in much the same place in the yard, but much less often since the willow was trimmed.

It turns out the kitchen drain had a botched concrete joint and no rodding access.  Later on a land drain was installed by knocking through the pipe and concreting in the new connection. Tree roots had found their way under the concrete and filled the drains with roots.

concrete-drain-connection

Replacing the defective joints with an inspection chamber was fairly straightforward, but lowering the hopper is taking a lot more thought.  Ideally it would be at the bottom of the trench as that would hide the pipes and keep the kitchen wall dry, but I don’t want any overflow to end up in the trench.

inspection-chamber

I ended up building a retaining wall with a 2 inch gap to the kitchen wall with the side open to the trench that runs around the house. It is just enough gap to clean out with a stick and I’ll put a cover on top to keep leaves out.  The gully and hopper are set to ground level and will have an edging behind so any overflow will flow into the yard drain and not the trench.  All the drain pipes still need to be realigned.

kitchen-gully

Finally the land drain has been brought closer to the inspection chamber to allow ground levels beyond to be raised a little, and I’ve added a new hopper for a gutter on the shed and a pipe to extend to the barn gutter later on.

drains-completed

The building inspector was happy so I could move tonnes of earth back into the hole.  You can save money on pea shingle by using wooden shuttering close to the pipe and filling the pipe side with pea shingle and the other side with earth.

pea-shingle

I’ve filled to about 3 inches below finished level.  I’m planning to surface using granite setts, but might decide to lay them later on once the outside wall of the kitchen is finished.

filled-in

Finished! (Almost)

I can only claim to have finished the exterior of the upper storeys of the main house and it only took 4 months longer than planned.  I’ve not really started on the building regs change of use stuff that I’m supposed to be doing.   A final coat of limewash on the north gable and some cleaning up are the only things left to do before the scaffolding comes down next Thursday.

I’m planning to keep the gable covered with hessian over winter to reduce the chance of frost damage to the new render, so this is a sneak preview of how it might look when it is revealed next spring.

limewash

The oak will darken over time and the frame will become black and white.

You can’t see a lot through the plastic sheeting, but from the road the timber frame in the gable looks like another part of the half timbering on the facade.  I think it will look interesting when it is finally uncovered.

view-through-sheeting

Snagging

The rear gutter wasn’t mounted well – some screws miss both the gutter brace and the the facia board and just manages to engage in the tip of the rafter. There is a long row of these.  I think I’ll have the gutter and facia board off and do it properly as it’s not a job that can be done later from a scaffold tower.

gutter-screw-rear

With the ends of the slates supported by the facia board there was a fair risk that we would break some.  We were lucky.  The new facia board is 2 inches taller than the old one.  The plastic eaves protector came out with the old facia board and needed to be nailed to the new one before fitting.

facia-removed

The north corner of the house is slightly lower than the south so there isn’t as much fall as there looks in the photo.   We placed a hosepipe at the end and adjusted the gutter height so there weren’t any puddles.  It was quite a fiddle to set accurately.

gutter-installed

This is probably the first time that water doesn’t puddle in the gutter – it had always followed the line of the roof which isn’t straight. The eaves protector has been trimmed at the gutter mounting points to avoid forcing the gutter down.

no-puddle

A few cracks had appeared in the verge caused by the cement being pushed past the battens.  Also the undercloak has separated from the cement.  I’m planning to seal the gaps with lime.

verge-cracks

I made up a 1:1 lime to soft sand mix with some black cement colour powder and worked it into the cracks.   Hopefully that will make it fail less quickly in the future.

filled-crack

The rest of the roof is OK – it doesn’t leak any more, there are no condensation problems inside, and nothing has fallen off.

Rendering the New Timber Frame

It is late October and it is madness to be considering lime rendering at this time of year.   Normally you would get your exterior lime work out of the way by the end of September.   The trouble is the lime will take a month to dry in cold weather and will be damaged by any frost before it is dry.  I’m gambling against a frost in November else I might have to do it all again next year.

The render will be applied onto woodwool boards which are fixed onto roofing battens screwed to the oak frame.

woodwool-frame

Both oak and lime require stainless screws.   The tannins in oak corrode normal screws and electroplating doesn’t like lime.  The holes need to be pre-drilled and a steel screw driven in and then removed to reduce the chance of the stainless screw breaking as it goes in.  There is no chance of removing the stainless screw from oak.

The bricks immediately above the oak frame were not supported and had come loose so needed to be removed and replaced again.   I have fitted a slate undercloak between the bricks and the frame.

slate-undercloak

Hessian is my plan to reduce the chance of frost damage.  It should prevent dew forming on the surface of the lime and freezing, and will hopefully insulate a little to retain heat from the wall.  It is supported on eye bolts drilled into the brickwork with a rope threaded through.   I’m hoping to come up with a plan which will allow the rope to be withdrawn from ground level after the scaffolding has come down.

hessian

More than half of the first coat went on in a day.  My current recipe for render is a bucket of rendering sharp sand, a bucket of soft sand, and a bucket of lime (NHL 3.5 to help avoid frost damage).  1:2 lime to sand is quite a strong mix, but tests with less lime proved crumbly.  The surface will be roughed and scratched when it becomes firmer tomorrow.   I had planned to whitewash the infill to match the front of the house, but the earthy colour of render looks nice.  I might try adding some pigment to the limewash.

first-coat-render

Late October turned out to be warm and the render is drying well.   It is still drying slower than it did in the summer but that is handy as it allows me to use lime late in the afternoon and finish it the next day.  It should be possible to apply the final coat around 5 days after the scratch coat (which has been scratched).   I brushed the remaining smooth bits after the photo to help the next coat stick.

scratched

The final coat of render seems to be taking about twice the time of the first coat.   I troweled on the lime trying to make it smooth and level, then after a few hours used a polyurethane float to flatten it, filling in low spots with more lime.   Next day I went over it with the polyurethane float again, then lightly wiped it with a damp sponge to fill in the imperfections.  This left a flat sandy finish which I will claim is traditional.

The finished render is recessed about 5mm behind the frame which will make it easier to lime wash.

final-coat-render

It’s about time the scaffolding came down.  The lime work is finished.  I used a mix of brick and tile to infill between the new and old frames and have fitted some steel to hold them together.

brace-and-infill

New Timber Frame

The new timber frame started going in on Saturday (the original was rotten).  My cousin John made it from air dried English oak.   It was nerve wracking removing the old frame – the inside of the house is full of acro props, the chimney extended to support a purlin, and various braces added to support the brickwork.  In the end it turned out the original frame had stopped being structural a long time ago.

timber-frame-started

The original wall plates are better than they look.  The ends were damaged by waterproof paint but the rest was able to dry into the bedroom wall so hasn’t been too badly damaged by beetles.  The wall plates stuck out from the wall to allow material to accommodate a fish tail joint in the tie beam.   Some lead hats were fitted before the frame was pegged together.

wall-plate

The current roofline is shallower than the original, and the oak timber ends behind the facia board before it meets the chimney and does nothing useful structurally.   We kept that feature because I wanted to indicate the original roof line, but annoyingly the new wood is curved and probably could have been extended all the way to the chimney.  I might stud and resin fix some new oak in place to complete the rafter.   The tie beam is extended past the wall plate (it was originally cut diagonally) so it can support the facade.

roof-line

The studding is taking a long time because all the wood is a funny shape and each joint has compound angles.   The pattern of stud work matches the original apart from some slight modifications to avoid gaps of more 600mm between studs which is the width of the woodwool board infill.

studwork

The frame is starting to look nearly finished with most of the second floor studding in place.  I’ve still to finish off the barge board on the front of the roof which is tapered.  I tapered the wrong face and need to buy another bit of wood but the frame took a week and it is Saturday again today.  I’ll get on with the infill.

first-floor-studding

Gable Undercloak

The front gable has an 8 inch overhang.  Originally the roofing battens were exposed but now the roof has been felted. I wanted to add some sort of cover under the felt and hit upon the idea of ply secured by strips of wood about the same size as the original battens.

undercloak

I think it turned out quite nicely.

undercloak-painted

The plan was originally to sort out the timber frame in the other gable before completing the paint.  The new plan is to finish the paint, install the remaining leading, repair the paint, then ruin it all with dust when the timber frame goes in.

The leading was out of schedule partly because I didn’t notice a tiny crack in the original leading until I was just about ready to start painting.  It’s on now and just needs rendering in place and the paint touching up.

oriel-leading

Black and White

The first coat of linseed paint has been going on over the weekend.   I quite liked the natural wood but it will last a lot longer with UV protection and some oils.

Linseed paint doesn’t crack or peel (unlike the modern gloss paint that ruined the timber), and is breathable so the wood should remain well protected.   It should only need nourishing with boiled linseed oil every 15 years.

first-coat-linseed-paint

The window frame used to be white but I’ve gone for black for more of a Tudor effect.   I still haven’t finished the first coat – The edges take a long time so it will probably end up taking 2 full days per coat.  It’s starting to look nearly finished now.

front-linseed-paint-first-coat

Rotten Timber in Chimney

It turns out the new gable timber frame is due to arrive at the start of October (the old one was rotten) but before the frame arrives there is a lot of work to do.   There are two beams that pass right through the chimney, but beetle infested wood isn’t great structurally so needs to go.  Some unusual use of acro props with a strongboy at each end (I’m working higher than the longest acro so can’t use the ground for support) will hopefully dissuade the chimney from falling over while the beams are cut out.

acrow

It seems the timber frame is earlier than the chimney, and was much modified when the chimney was added.  The brick size and English bond pattern used in the chimney are characteristic of the 17th century.  The first records of a pub on the site are from 1646, but I don’t know whether the building had a previous use, or whether they decided shortly after building it that a brick chimney might be nice.  If I can find any wood that has survived the beetles I’ll hang on to it so I can have it dated at some stage.

beam-through-chimney

When the chimney was built 2 inch thick brick tiles were added to either side of the timber beam in order to support the chimney brickwork.  The tiles on the inside were still supporting the chimney so I left them in place and replaced the timber with bricks before putting the external tiles back in place. The mortar will look tidier and match the rest of the chimney after brushing.

bricked-up-chimney

Further up the chimney a 2 inch thick beam was removed and replaced with tiles so I could retain the tiles on the outside.   This section is near the top of the 9 inch part of the chimney so had a course of bricks behind.

chimney-top-beam

Limewashing the Facade

I am using Pozilime from Ingilby which is limewash with a few additives that allow it to stick to masonry paint, and will use normal limewash on the new lime render.  Limewash is weird stuff – it is transparent when applied thinly and then goes white a few hours later as it dries.

limewash-drying

It looks magnificent even after just the first coat. Later after 4 coats it looks much the same but has finally covered the old paint.

It is so nice to rid the front of the magnolia paint.

limewash

Preparing the Facade for Paint

I’ve spent a week on the front of the house getting it ready for paint.  So far I’ve finished stripping the modern gloss paint from the wood and mostly sanded it, applied the final coat of render to the oriel window, and made a small repair to the timber frame just above the middle of the window.  The old timber was chiselled out at an angle so water doesn’t run into the joint.

bay-before-roof

Gaps in the timber have been filled with linseed putty. The frame is far from perfect, but is generally sound. The wood will be finished in Linseed oil paint which doesn’t crack in the sun and is breathable unlike the modern gloss on the downstairs windows which needs stripping and repainting after only 2 years.

linseed-filler

After 4 months boarded up the windows are just about back in place in the oriel window.  I used linseed putty which turns out to be easier than modern stuff when you get the hang of it, but time consuming to apply.  The glass looks very much older than 105 years, but I suppose that was the original intention.

windows-fitted

There used to be a big hole in the sole plate of the timber frame.  I think the pegs rot out, water gets into the peg hole, then after further years of neglect the frame rots.  For that reason I’ve replaced all of the broken pegs.   A piece of Edwardian softwood recovered from the attic made a perfect repair.  Angling the bottom and knocking it into place should provide good support for the post.

The silicone sealant between the frame and the plinth didn’t do the frame any good.   I’ve scraped out the damp loose stuff and filled the gap with lime mortar which should allow it to dry out.

sole-plate-repair

All of the various gaps have been filled with lime on the infill panels and linseed putty on the frame.  The strategy is to use breathable materials to keep the frame dry, and use them to seal gaps to keep water out in the first place.  The first coat of limewash will go on soon.

Rendering the Oriel Window

I had the idea of rendering the exterior and plastering the interior of the oriel window at the same time because I was using the same lime mix for both.  This was a bad idea – making the exterior watertight before messing with the interior would have been more sensible.

The oak window sill (needed to go in before plastering) was made by Cardington Joinery and is marvellous.

oak-sill

The timber above the oriel window was originally in-filled with brick then roughcast rendered (in a very early use of portland cement – yuk).  I wanted to reduce the weight of the window because the lintel over the window below has a pronounced bend.  Woodwool board would have been an ideal infill but it isn’t widely available and delivery would have cost £100 for the £6 sheet I needed, so I went for lath.

In hindsight the span is slightly too long for lath and it bent when the wet lime render was applied.  Then it sprung back as it dried so I might end up with a feature bulge.

lath-oriel-window

It didn’t go well.  The lime failed to set and after a week was soft and crumbly.  I suspect I let it dry too quickly, or it is possible the mix or some component was wrong.  Whichever It needs to come off and be done again and I’ll experiment first to make sure I have sorted the problem,

Plan B is back to the original plan using wood wool board.  I only needed small sections and used offcuts pulled from Anna’s skip.  Thanks Anna.

woodwool-board

The lime failure turned out to be my fault.  The plastering sand is washed so is poorly graded and needed about 1:1.25 lime to sand compared to the 1:2.5 ratio I tend to use for mortar.

The new render was much stickier than the old, and the wood wool board turned out to be very much easier to render than lath to the point where I hardly dropped any plaster when doing the ceiling.   The first coat went on nice and flat and will dry (and be wetted) for a week before the finishing coat.

first-coat-render

Next job will be fitting the windows.  But I can’t do that yet as I need access to tend the lime plaster inside.   Next job might be getting ready for the limewash and paint on the front as that needs to be done in the summer but it is already Autumn.

New Bay Window

The original upstairs bay window was rotten and couldn’t be saved.  (It turns out it is an oriel window as it doesn’t touch the ground.)   The new window frame was made by my cousin John and was installed today.

The profiles were recreated using spindle cutting tools modified to exactly match the original, and further mouldings were guesswork based on old photos of the originals.

new=bay-top-detail

But the frame isn’t an exact copy of the old one.  It looked nice but It would be mad to copy something that only lasted for 100 years.  We’re having another go at it.

The original wood (a slow grown redwood) is resilient and would have been fine but it isn’t easily available these days so we used Douglas Fir.   The window will seal only to the inside face of the frame, and if (when) that seal cracks water will be directed into channels and some holes to a ventilated space below the window cill.  There are no horizontal surfaces – everything sheds water, and there are drip features and overhangs all over the place.

bay-detail

I like old stuff and conservation, but mostly that is because I like quality of workmanship and materials.  I think this is the best bit of the house.

There is still some work to do.  I’ll need to fit the crittall openers and leaded glass, then fill the remaining bits in lime to keep everything breathable.  Then secondary glazing to keep building regs happy.

new-bay

While measuring up for infill panels later I found I couldn’t measure as accurately as the window frame has been made.  It must be to 0.1mm tolerance.

Cavity Stud Wall

On the other side of the rotten timber frame is the main bedroom.   It’s a bit dingy in there as the window has been boarded up for the last few weeks.

To avoid too much more inconvenience I’m building new stud walls on the inside before removing the outside wall.   There will be a 25mm ventilated gap between the stud wall and timber frame on the outside wall which will help keep the timber frame dry.  The studwork is 3 by 2 with 75mm Celotex infill.

stud-wall

Exposed beams in the bedroom were plastered fairly recently, presumably mostly in the 1970s when old looking things weren’t fashionable.  The beam on the outside wall was plastered much earlier in lime, and it was this plaster that was holding the wattle and daub infill in place.

hole-in-wall

I don’t like plasterboard but it seemed cheap and convenient and would be at the back of the wardrobe so hardly mattered.  But It’s messy to cut, fiddly to match to oddly shaped walls, there is huge wastage, and the filler sinks and needs doing twice.   Next time I’m going to splash out on lath and plaster.

plasterboard

Installing the stud wall lost 4 to 5 inches of space from the alcoves.  The pole supporting the curtain that hides the wardrobe now has an industrial looking extension to bring it forward of the chimney.

curtain-rail-hanger

Finally, 6 days into a 3 day job, it’s all finished.   The plastic sheet covering the room was very effective at containing the mess.  The room will be decorated properly at some point when we get around to decorating, but I need to remember to rebuild the outside half of the wall first.

completed-wall

Well that was all very boring.   It’s the other side of the wall where the action is going to happen.

wal-rubble

Waterproof Paint Causes Even More Damage

Most of the stuff I’ve been doing on the house has involved removing waterproof paint.  That’s not for eco or idealogical reasons but because waterproof paint has caused some very expensive damage very quickly.

The problem is it is waterproof.  When it cracks water will get in but can’t get out again (because the paint is waterproof).  This isn’t just an old house problem – it’s also the reason why wooden windows don’t last more than 20 years any more, where previously they were good for hundreds of years.

For some reason I have the ends of oak beams sticking out of the north wall.   The ends were clearly fairly flat before they were gummed up with cement and waterproof paint maybe 20 years ago.  The paint was still flat on the outside until I prodded with a screwdriver and made a hole.

painted-beam-end

Underneath the paint the oak has rotten.   Fortunately it’s only the outer inch that has gone.  Oak is a wonderful material and resistant to abuse.  But even oak can’t stand up to being sodden wet for 20 years.

rotten-beam-end

Let’s just be thankful I don’t also have a 17th century timber frame under the modern paint (which was rendered in 1910 in an early use of cement just for good measure).

Oh wait,  hold on – it turns out I did have one.

rotten-oak-post

I wonder if the people who peddle waterproof paint as the solve all for preserving your building will offer to pay for the repairs.   Of course they won’t – the guarantee on the most posh ones is only for 6 years, and that only covers the paint not what it damages underneath.

The building did perfectly well for the previous 400 years using breathable materials like lime and linseed oil.  Modern paints and cement have turned the original wood to dust.

Crittall Windows

All of the windows in the front of the house are leaded and the slightly different angles of the glass reflect light in a wonderfully faceted way outside.  They all match, and they are all 105 years old.  How mad is that in this day and age for a window to last for over 100 years?

I’ve mentioned some issues with the upstairs bay window.  Due mostly to ill treatment and lack of maintenance the rot is only held together with paint and there isn’t enough wood left to save.  But I’m not going to be the one to get rid of the windows.

upstairs-bay-inside

Some maintenance is necessary though. The opening windows at either side were made by Crittall and are steel framed.  They were screwed to the wood frame by 2 screws through each edge of the frame plus several more screws all around holding a spacer bar.  We’ll need to add secondary glazing for building regs as they aren’t great thermally.

All of the glass needs to come out of the frames for maintenance.   I have been advised to stick some ply to the glass with silicone sealant to support the leaded light when it is removed from it’s frame.   However the leaded glass repair guy has suggested next time I want to get windows out I should get him to do it.  Presumably there is a better way.

ply-glued

Only the bottom of one of the opening windows has any real damage to the metal frame.   Condensation running down the inside of the glass has rotted the frame and caused the glass to push outwards and upwards.  The lead will need a little repair but I think the metal frame might be OK.  Condensation won’t be a problem again with secondary glazing.

I think there were once similar opening Crittall windows on each side of the big bays.  Those have since been replaced with plain glass with stick-on lead.

window-corrosion

More later!   My cousin John will be making a new wooden window frame to match the original profile together with a new bay to put it in.  My job is to fix the Crittall windows and send him some dimensions. More likely I’ll sub out the fixing of windows and get back to pointing.

With the windows removed and some of the frame fallen off the window is not at it’s best.

boarded-window

I’ve taken a section from the bit that fell out to send to John who will try to make the new frame look similar,

section

Next – restoring the metal frames and leaded glass.

Re-building a Window Arch

I’ve not posted much for a week as I’ve been doing boring stuff, mostly pointing.  I want to get most of the scaffolding down soon and it’s mostly pointing holding that up.  I can manage about two square metres a day of pointing when it’s just wall, but tidying up 20th century bodging (cement or carnage from the boiler installing muppet) slows progress,

Today I was sorting out Georgian bodging and a loose arch above the north window. It is a very shallow arch and the pointing had eroded badly on the vertical joins causing it to come loose.

failing-arch

The wood board is a former for the new arch supported from the window sill by 2×2.   It’s set at a lower level to catch any bricks that might fall when I remove the arch.  After raising I screwed it to the window frame to hold it in place.

I did a trial fit of the bricks to figure out the spacing, then marked the joint positions on the board to make sure I had enough room for a brick when I got to the middle.

starting-arch

The arch only really holds itself up.  There is a wooden lintel holding up the inner wall, then a course of header bricks bridging over the arch to help support the outer wall.

The joints are tight at the bottom of the arch.  I built the arch with a finer sharp sand and have recessed the joints a little to allow pointing with sand that matches the rest of the gable.

first-course-arch

The arch is finished bar pointing.  Another photo soon unless the wall falls down or I get distracted and start doing something else.   Several weeks later it looks like it has always been there.   I’ve also replaced the silicone sealant around the window with lime mortar, though I will also need to replace the window with a sash for building regs fire egress.

finished-arch

Timber Frame Stripping

The front of the house is half timbered with a timber frame on the first floor.  1930s semi detached house builders adopted this feature along with many other Edwardian features, however this frame is structural and holds the roof up.

The timber frame has been poorly maintained and repairs like replacement lead on the snug bay window have caused issues.  I’ve been removing the paint to assess the condition of the wood.  The layers of modern gloss paint had cracked and were allowing water in.   Of course the paint was waterproof so the water couldn’t get out again.

puddle-on-bay

The wood appears to be a slow grown softwood similar to Scandinavian redwood.  The finish is generally very well preserved without UV damage which suggests it was painted from new.

wood-1

Photos of the original paint finish are only available in black and white.  Most of the original paint has been stripped previously, but there is some left higher up the building. The white was the original finish to the windows.  It was a linseed oil paint with a lead pigment.  The next coat was green.

original-front

The rest of the timber was also re-painted green but below that is a very thin mid brown coating with the grain of the wood visible through the pigment.  Below that (and visible through the brown) are brush marks and I wonder if they aren’t a faux wood grain.  It is possible the original finish was linseed paint with a brown pigment and a wood grain effect to make the softwood look like hardwood.

original-paint

The timber frame isn’t as bad as I feared.   In many places what looked like rot turned out only to be cracking and peeling gloss paint.

Figuring out how to re-finish the wood will be a challenge.   The Edwardians left the lime render unpainted which would have aided drying of the wood.  I can’t remove the modern waterproof paint from the render without also removing the rough cast pebble finish.  I’m guessing a linseed oil based finish to the wood, maybe with some pigment to keep the UV out will be the answer.

stripping-front