Installing Copper-Lined Gutters

Carpenters Bob Ryley and Danny Ruffini and copper-work specialist Fred Mitchell install custom fabricated copper-lined wood gutters on Bob's home.

Clip Summary

Carpenters Bob Ryley and Danny Ruffini and copper-work specialist Fred Mitchell install custom fabricated copper-lined wood gutters on Bob's home. Wood has been used for restoration purposes to preserve the old look, but copper lining will last for decades to come.
Hi, I'm Bob Vila. Welcome home again.

As you can see we've got a jump start on side wall shingling here on the back side of the house, and today we're spending some time up on the roof putting red
cedar shingles back on it, also doing some repair to the gutter work.

And inside we'll be looking at new electrical wiring, talking about what kind of cable you use when you're re-doing an old house like this one.

Then we're going to take a little tour of a neighboring house also designed back in the
1800's by Hartwell and Richardson, the architects who did this place.

Stick around. It's good to have you home again.

Bob Vila's home again.

Well there's a lot of roofing repairs to be done here but before we get to roofing, we've been repairing gutters, right Riley?

Yes, we have.

And you and Denny Ruffini here have got a lot of the work completed.

What size gutters did we have here?

There were a lot larger than what we're used to, they are 5 by 8's.


And this is a profile of them right here.

And this is 100 year old piece of wood right?

It's a hundred, it's a one piece gutter. And it's just something you can't find any longer.

Yeah, but it has to be this big to carry this amount of rain water that's being shed by this gambrel roof.

A lot of volume coming off this roof..

So how do you solve this quandary? They don't make these anymore, right Danny?

Right. So what what we did here is we took a stock 4 by 6 gutter and we ripped in half, and we ripped the top off, and we added another piece of vertical grain fir here and here, and glued it all back together.

And this is more practical than trying to actually mill your own gutter out of one big, gigantic piece of doug fir.

Yeah, exactly. It would be some awful big blades for the shaper.


So these are already installed up there, right?


And, here's an interesting place to look at, where you've had to join the gutter. Now why don't you just butt-joint pieces of gutter like this when you're doing repairs?

Well we make a forty five cut, called a scoff joint. It gives us more of a glue area to glue on.

Sure, you can see it right here. If you just made a regular cut through, you'd just have this much area to glue on.


If you have an angled cut, you've got much more


Surface to nail to. And what did I interrupt just now? What's this all about?

Well, we're right in the middle of putting up the planter detail. And one of the things we have to be sure to do is continue our ventilation because now we're re-insulated this whole house, and so we put a soffet vent in and so the venting is in. We've got our face piece on, now we just the back piece on.

And then you put another one back here, and that fills in the flat part of the overhang. Which is referred to as a planchard.



And then there's no real fascia, just a little bit of moulding here?

Just a, just a little bit. Custom molding.

Alright, well the next place we want to look at is around the backside of the house, where we're doing some copper work.

Okay. Here on the south-east corner of the house we can see the, the completed planchard detail.

Right, with the venting in here.


Trim piece that's identical to what was here to begin with.


And the built up gutter of course. But what's the story with all the copper Bob?

Well, a wooden gutter to begin with is not an ideal gutter.
We've taken this one and laminated it, so it's in pieces now.

And you can't really expect that to stand the test of time where it's all glued together.

Yeah, we've done it for restoration purposes, so that we have the look.

That's right, of what was here before. So what we're gonna do is line everything with the copper, and now this will stay here for decades to come, it will stand.

Copper liner should last for practically a century.

Right, and we have Fred Mitchell here on hand, and he's...

Hi Fred.

Hi Bob. How are you doing?

Let's go do some work.

This is very impressive work . Now your specialty is copper work on roofs, flashing and gutters and the like.

Right, whatever's needed.

And what are we interrupting? here you already soldered one of the joints.

Well we soldered the joints, put it and eight, eight foot lengths as long as possible. And then we'll make up our own outlets It is sort of the back scene, cut the whole exact.

So this has been just made up out of the sheet metal.


All snipped around in there.
It has the curve to fit in to the curve of the gutter.


Are you ready to solder it?

And we locked the back seam solder that.


Hoping it falls right in. Put on some of the liquid flux to make the solder stick otherwise it rolls off like a duck's back.

Uh huh.

And then you have been heating those irons up we will heat up our irons in the propane tank.
And with the acid and the iron just the right heat will possibly tack one side then the other side so it's not gonna shift.

Is the solder lead?

Half and half. We're still allowed the roofers are allowed to use half and half. Plumbers I think are now ninety-five and five, is that right, Bob?

Well what's, half what and half what?

Oh. Half tin and half lead.

There you go.

You're right.

Yeah, this is not gonna come in contact with any kind of water that's consumed on the house.
Just rain water. Alright. So that shouldn't be any problem for many years to come.

Now, the next question I have, Fred, is how do you manufacture this?
Obviously this has been bent on a break. And you've gotten that nice drip edge on it and everything. But then up here, how are you going to bend it to fold over?

Well, I usually leave that til last and not try and guess or or think where it's gonna be. Because if it's off a little, it's a mistake. And I can form it with a little 2 by 6 and.

So you just take this.

Just take this and hold it just at the roof line. And then with your hand and mine we'll just fold it over makes it easy.

And it bends right here.

It bends nice.

Then I'll slide it up a couple of inches, and with my hand, I'll go along like that, and as you can see it.

Yeah, you can see it.

Then you can see it wiggling it's way in and it's fine.

So its.

You gotta be careful, you don't run your fingernail in, into the wood and
almost died, but.

But you're doing the whole thing just with your thumb.

Nice and easy.

Yeah. Yep.

And then you nail it right through into the sheathing.

And then we'll nail it right off.

Beautiful work.
Thanks a lot Fred.

We've got to break for some messages. When we come back we'll be touring another one of these great old shingled houses.

Stay with me.