We had quite an adventure installing the custom-built curved mahogany kitchen benches in the Watch Room. The pictures tell the story.
Meanwhile, Nat and the lads at NMT Woodworking in South Portland, Maine, have been busy.
Living space at Graves Light is at a premium – none mores than the kitchen on Level 6. That’s the old Watch Room, a circular room of bronze and steel that sits on top of the granite tower and just below the glass Lamp Room.
The NMT crew created this custom mahogany bench seat to fit against the curved wall.
They built it for serious chowder eating. The marine-grade mahogany is able to withstand extreme temperatures and salt air.
You can see how the curvature matches that of the bronze kitchen stove that our man Wyatt designed over the winter.
Nat will be installing the bench system this week, weather permitting, as always. So stay tuned.
Winter is a great time for on-shore basement projects for the lighthouse.
We converted an old oak desk into a keeper’s desk. First, we crafted a new top to fit the curved inner walls of the tower. We secured it to the two base drawer units with brass fasteners (no rusty steel in the lighthouse environment) and stained it to match.
The desk is installed on the 4th level, which will be the master bedroom. Next, we’ll start building a space-saving Murphy bed, whose mattress can be stored vertically when not in use, and pulled down flat for the evening.
Some of the clues to the faithful reconstruction of the interior of Graves Light have come from the bottom of Boston Harbor.
Chris, a diver from Boston Scuba, found yet another artifact offshore at The Graves.
Pictured in his hand is a heavily weathered porcelain door knob.
We had already restored the surviving interior door and built two copies on Nantucket, but we didn’t know what the original knobs looked like. Now we do.
So we found four antique sets of knobs at a local wrecking company. Voila! The doors are now complete. Thanks, Chris!
Remember the oak ceiling we showed being built on Nantucket back in April? It’s now installed at Graves Light.
Master carpenter Karl Phillips built perfect replicas at his Driftwood Construction shop, based on surviving original panels and the original architectural drawings.
Karl and G put the new oak panels in place up on the 5th floor library of the lighthouse. G is performing the trimming and shaping.
Karl did most of the other woodwork at Graves, too, including reconstructed oak windows based on the original casement design, interior oak window panels and sills, interior oak doors, and the mahogany staircase handrails.
As we’d previously noted, we decided to leave the original damaged ceiling panels in place, covering them with the new ones to give some future renovators a surprise.
What an amazing week out at Graves!
Carpenters Nat, Karl, Will, and Peter are installing the new mahogany stair rails (see where brass castings of the original fixtures were made) and bunk beds, finishing the windows, and hanging the interior doors.
We’ve never seen this level of activity inside the tower, and it’s really getting exciting out here.
As a safety test, the carpenters camped out a couple of nights. They proclaim the bunk room “almost ready.”
Then we sanded and coated the bunk room floor in anticipation of the arrival of our new bunk beds this week.
That old oak floor sure does look fresh, thanks to Jack, Emmett and Matt. Meanwhile, Wyatt and Paul took care of the rest of the watch deck.
A busy springtime week at Graves Light.
Karl Phillips, our master carpenter, puts the finishing touches on the new oak window sills and paneled surrounds that he made over the winter at his Nantucket workshop.
There are nine of these square windows at Graves Light.
Last year, Karl built exact reproductions of the original casement windows, installing them in time for winter to replace the un-authentic glass block that the Coast Guard had installed for easy maintenance once the original windows deteriorated.
Meanwhile, Mike and Brian Sylvester of CCI, who cleaned and pointed the outside of the tower last season, are now inside the lighthouse. They’re removing the rust that was eating away at the steel floor joists.
As the joists rusted, the expanding iron crushed and split the interior wall, breaking up the curved glazed bricks. About five of the joists need to be excavated from the walls, cleaned and painted, and the brick space around them re-tiled.
The “tiles” are actually glazed bricks. To do the re-tiling, we’re going to steal some curved glazed bricks from under the stairs, to keep the walls original.
We’re getting wicked excited about a winter project that’s entering its final stages.
The oak ceiling of the Graves Light living quarters are being reconstructed, just as it would have looked in 1905.
Down on Nantucket, Driftwood Construction’s own Karl Phillips is working day and night, this time building the amazing paneled oak ceiling for the 5th floor study.
He’s been using the original 1903 architectural drawings to rebuild the ceiling. But since parts of the original ceiling are still in place (despite their heavy damage), Karl was able to take measurements right off the original.
For the fun of future generations, we think we’ll install this new ceiling to cover the original old one, so that in another 100 years, people will have something to discover.
Take a look at the pictures of Karl’s latest work.
Seven-foot thick granite walls make for some deep windowsills, and our man Karl Phillips is making up beautiful trim to complement, in his workshop in Nantucket.
These are the side and top panels for the window wells, based off the original native white oak interior built at the U.S. Lighthouse Establishment wood shop in Portland, Maine.
The originals are gone, so we used the 1903 architectural drawings to make copies.