Entries by Dan Miller

New Porch for 150 S. Gifford

Many parts of the porch at 150 S. Gifford were rotten or missing as seen at right. The owner was given several code violations forcing him to repair or rebuild it. I proposed several different actual designs for the new balustrade.  The one below came from a porch on Laurel St. This is one from […]

Making baseblocks for old house trim

In my old house woodworking business I often get asked to duplicate old house trim baseblocks. I do not think the old timers used a molding machine or shaper to make them as you cannot mold perpendicular to the grain. I tried it once by putting the wood on a sled to hold short pieces […]


Adding Appropriate porch details

This is how the house looked in 1981. It was overgrown and not maintained. The bank holding the mortgage foreclosed several times as decent owners could never be found.  The bank asked the Gifford Park Association to oversee a rehab to make it decent to attract a good new owner.  They did it and new […]


Replacing rotten elements on a porch

About 10 years ago I made replacement porch rails for 722 Douglas in Elgin. It is an intricate rail so I had a knife made to duplicate it exactly. Below is the profile. luckily I kept the knife so I could make the rail again. It is made in two pieces and then glued together. […]


Adding window decorations to 1154 Bellevue

The owner wanted to change a plain window into one with embellishments like two others on the house.  I was hired to duplicate the elements from the old window.  On the left is the original old window which is to be duplicated on the right.  The framing is finished on the right but the details […]


327 W. Chicago porch by W. W. Abell

Porch reconstruction at 327 W. Chicago W. W. Abell, a prominent Elgin architect, designed the house at 327 W. Chicago. A contractor friend was hired to rebuild a rotting porch and he asked me to make the details.  It was very satisfying working on a porch of that stature. It needed a new porch apron.  […]


706 Douglas porch and more

706 Douglas is a wonderful house in the Spring Douglas Historic District that was designed by prominent Elgin Architect W. W. Abell. Below is how it looked a few years ago. The elderly woman that lived there was strong-willed and opinionated.  I once told her that the wrought iron porch posts were not original to […]


Great new porch on 1846 Greek Revival home

Great new porch for an 1846 Greek Revival home The Historical Society is rehabbing the oldest home in Elgin. The city bought the problem property that was six units.  They are keeping possession but letting the Historical Society rehab the property for their use. The interior is almost finished so they switched to putting back […]


Repairing huge porch posts

The porch columns on this building were coming apart and some of the tops and bottoms were rotting with the beam sagging.  The owner took it apart, put in a new beam and I repaired the posts and remade the tops and bases.   The coopered columns on this apartment building are 18 inches in […]