Ask TOH | Lawn Repair, Curved Molding

Landscaping contractor Roger Cook helps two homeowners repair the damage done to their lawn when a new well was installed. Then Roger, along with general contractor Tom Silva, plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey, and host Kevin O'Connor ask, "What is it?" Then, Tom shows a homeowner how to make a piece of curved stair molding with some red oak and a few simple power tools.

Repairing a severely damaged front lawn

Roger helped two homeowners repair a front lawn that was severely damaged after a crew installed a new water well. During the installation, two large trucks had driven onto the lawn, leaving behind compacted ruts, stone dust and gravel all over the yard. To repair the tire ruts, Roger stripped the grass with a sod-cutter, set it aside, and roto-tilled the soil underneath to relieve compaction. He then placed the sod back on top. Next, he used shovels to remove the gravel and stone dust in other parts of the yard and replaced it all with new topsoil. With the yard repaired and ready for new grass seed, Roger turned his attention to the ugly wellhead sticking up in the yard. To hide it, Roger covered it with a fake rock and surrounded it with other real rocks and mulch, creating a new garden bed for perennials.

Where to find it?

The roto-tillers and sod cutter used in this project can be rented at most tool rental centers.
The fake boulder that Roger used to cover the wellhead is manufactured by:

Artificial Rock Outlet
(888) 578-7771

What is it?

The guys try to guess the intended purpose of an unusual-looking product.
Roger showed a battery-powered device used to ripple water in a birdbath, which attracts birds and prevents the breeding of mosquitoes.

Where to find it?

Water Wiggler
Allied Precision Industries, Inc.

Making your own curved molding

Tom helped a homeowner recreate an original curved stair molding that had broken apart when he replaced his oak stair treads. To make the molding, Tom traced the curved part of the stair riser onto some paper and transferred it onto a thin piece of plywood, which he used as a template. Tom cut the template using a jigsaw and fine-tuned it with a small belt sander. Tom then mounted the plywood template onto some straight pieces of oak and cut along the template using a jigsaw mounted upside-down. To create the profile of the "scotia" molding, Tom used a router with a cove bit.
Plywood, oak and fast-setting glue can all be found at your local woodworking store or home center.

The type of fast-setting glue that Tom used is called "cyanoacrylate" and can be found at most woodworking and hardware stores.

The flexible scotia molding that Tom showed in the loft is available from:

Anderson & McQuaid Millwork
170 Fawcett St
Cambridge, MA 02138

Have a question you'd like answered?
Submit your question to the Ask TOH Team.

TV Listings

Find TV Listing for This Old House and Ask This Old House in your area.

Ask TOH TV Partners