Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Back Band Hunting

I may come to the realization that this is the going rate, but I sure was in for a surprise yesterday when I stopped into a local millwork shop to price replacement trim for my windows. I knew it was going to be expensive, but I didn't have a clue it could go this high.

I'm looking for back band to replace exterior trim on my house that was either cut away when they installed the aluminum many years ago.....or had just failed on it's own account. As I've been stripping the woodwork around my front windows, I noticed that the back band was in pretty bad condition here too. There is rot, some splitting and chunks of the profile that look like they are just worn off - not to mention that someone along the way thought that using glazing putty on the trim instead of caulk might be a good idea.

So, I decided that I should replace all of the back band around the front windows and then use what I can salvage of the old to do minor replacements in the other spots (1 foot here and there). My goal is to never, ever have to deal with this exterior stuff again once I have it painted, so I want to do it absolutely right the first time.

I haven't been able to find the back band as a stock item (no big surprise). But I knew that there was millwork place nearby that had a profile very close to mine as part of their profile catalog - meaning they had the blade, but make the run to your order. They do not have to create a blade.

I need 21' of back band for the front window - a 10' piece for the top and two 5' pieces for the side. Their price in basic pine - drum roll, please - $205. Any other wood better suited for exterior, say cedar, would run more. When I asked if they had any other option he showed me an overrun from a custom order (see photo for small sample). Again, it was pine and was about .5" wider than mine. He had one 8' and two 7' pieces that he would part with for $5 a foot - $105. I'd have to splice the pieces for the top of the window.


It may be that I have to go back and pay $105 for that trim and be happy to have it. But, because I'm not in a huge hurry I'm going to continue to do some hunting. I can certainly see why one of the previous owners just replaced one side of the front window with a flat profile.

Rejuvenation, out in Portland, has the exact back band profile I need as part of their standard catalog (see photo of their catalog page). The exact one. Next week I'll give them a call and see if they would be willing to ship four 5' 3" sections. We'll see. Maybe if I cry over the phone ;-)


Greg said...

Boy, that is expensive. The price per foot would probably go down fast if you needed a lot more. I'll bet more than half of that cost is just a set up fee.

StuccoHouse said...

Greg - Yea, I thought so too. It was kind of funny cuz there was another customer ahead of me getting a price quote for what I don't know...but the guy quoted him something like $375. He kind of gasped and then said "I need to talk to my girlfriend" and left. I felt his pain.

I think you're right about the set up charge. I really wish I knew more about woodowrking, cuz it seems like it should be so easy. Choose the blade...put it in the the wood through. Whalla. I did check out each window to see if there were any other spots I had missed...thinking if I need to pay set up I may as well order everything I will ever need now.

Maybe Rejuvenation will come through for me.

Ellen said...

I'll be interested to see what Rejuvenation can do.

Here's a hint, though - don't accidentally send them nasty e-mails that complain about how long they're taking to ship something. Hitting "reply" is not the same thing as forwarding something with comments to your husband. Not that I've done that or anything...

(Actually, they were very gracious in response to my mortified and apologetic e-mail. Hypothetically, of course.)

StuccoHouse said...

Ellen - Your comment so reminded me of a former coworker of mine. Her boss snet out a long winded email and her email reading "blah, blah, blah" was supposed to be forwarded to us....instead it was sent as a reply to her boss. Much to her horror and our amusement.

I'll post about my call with Rejuvenation.

aaron said...

When I priced out 30' of Oak baseboard cap, the cost was 150- bucks. I found 140' of the exact same stuff at the salvage yard for 10 cents a foot. I'd encourage you to do a little hunting at the salvage yards. I need a piece of that backer board for my back door. Hopefully I won't have to sell the farm to pay for a 3' piece of trimwood custom milled.

StuccoHouse said...

Aaron - Yea, I'm normally all over salvaged wood....the thing about this back band is that it is exterior no one rips it out....and if they do I gets torn up to get the the big pieces of trim. Its pretty fragile....especially if is buried in stucco.

Of course, this whole hunt has given me a sick feeling because I too need base cap (in a funky size) in maple for my kitchen. And we just know that isn't going to be found easily or cheaply. Although, I do see that Menards now carries base shoe in maple now.

You really scored on the oak boards you found.

Hofersj said...

I feel your pain. My wife and I are restoring a large A&C home in South Minneapolis and I have purchased millwork from A&A Millwork. I've learned to brace myself for the impact when they give me an estimate.

I'm in the process of choosing a router and table so I can do some basic millwork myself. It will save money over a few projects, but in the short run it gives me an excuse to buy another power tool.

Off topic - I noticed your link to Frank's Plumbing. Did you know they are going out of business?

StuccoHouse said...

hofersj - I'll start by giving A&A props for doing the old house thing. Having said that, they are very expensive. I just can't bring myself to pay what they want for *pine* moulding. I know there mark up is steep - when I was looking for the hardware for my storm door, I stopped in was something like $120-150. I got the identical thing online for $70. There wood storm windows are made by a guy in St. Paul, if you buy direct from him you can see the mark-up A&A is charging. But, it's supply & demand and they have the supply :-)

Lol...if you get a should take customers ;-) I'll sign up.

Franks in the new store is closing? Wow, I'm surprised they moved all the stuff only to close. Well, I suppose I shouldn't be too surprised because I still have to restore my bathroom....and of course it couldn't be easy...with a vintage plumbing store nearby. I suppose the owner made a gijillion off the sale of his Washington building...and decided to retire? Someone should buy the stock and go online. We need a store like that in the midwest.

Hofersj said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hofersj said...

I don't begrudge A&A Millwork. I'm glad they are available to us old house folks and that they do high quality work. It would just be nice if the supply and demand curves for their products met at a lower price!

I'm in the same boat with bathroom plumbing fixtures. I just finished one bathroom restoration, but I have another that I will be looking to start next year. I was able to buy all of my clawfoot tub fixtures for my recently completed bathroom from Frank's for less than anywhere on the internet. And I received lots of good advice in selecting fixtures (I was actually talked out of buying a more expensive tub faucet).

Unfortunately, the owner apparently has life-threatening illness and business has dropped off since their move. One of the plumbers that works at Frank's also told me that Bauer Brothers will be closing in a year. I haven't confirmed that. I was there this weekend and there was no indication that they were closing. I was going to ask, but the people in the office were busy helping customers.

StuccoHouse said... would die if you knew what they charge for that stuff out west ;-)

That's too bad about the guy from Frank. They were always very helpful when I stopped by there. Maybe someone will step in and buy the place.

Not Bauer Bros too! They are my absolute favorite old house place in the Twin Cities. Wow.

It's a shame to lose those places....they really gave us a running chance at being able to restore our houses. I always pity other cities when they talk about what they have available. I hope were aren't left with just the big $ shops.

Geez, I just reread my last comment. I really do know the difference between "there" and "their."

Hofersj said...

I'm hoping the rumor about Bauer Brothers is just that. It can sometimes be difficult to find what you're looking for, but the scope of their inventory is amazing. I share the fear that we'll only be left with big box stores and over-priced boutique shops. I can't buy everything at the Nicollet Ace!

I have full confidence that you know the difference between "there" and "their", so I won't sic Bryan Garner on you just yet.

Anonymous said...

Go here:

They are based out of New Jersy, but can ship UPS in tubes. Cheap.

StuccoHouse said...

hofersj - From your lips to God's ears on Bauer Bros.

Anonymous - Thanks for the link. They have something very close (if not identical - it's hard to tell by the drawing) to what I need in their standard profiles. I will give them a call asap. Ok, things are looking up....

Anonymous said...

ACMI in Albany, Ga. Ship worldwide @ simple UPS rates.

StuccoHouse said...

anon - Millwork companies that ship are pretty common. The thing I'm having trouble with is first finding my exact profile I need...and then getting them to ship. Otherwise, I'd be better off just buying something local. From the ACMI website, they charge for their catalog and I don't see backband as one of their products :-( Its not as common as one would think.

Anonymous said...

custom Millwork may have the back band for what your looking for. didn't have mine, but maybe yours. Never have done business with them, so I can't tell you if their good for crooks.

Good luck, David

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