This weekend found a major push in finishing off the siding replacement on the west-ish side of the house. We're replacing windows at the same time, so it's a multi-step process. We've discovered that -- when possible, the siding is easier to remove by pounding on the reverse with a sledgehammer rather than prying from the front -- who knew? Working from the bottom edges is working best for us.
When our siding was originally hung, they used 2in T-nails which are mainly used for flooring these days. the T-nail is nice as the head sits below the surface of the siding, but in our case, it seemed like they were getting paid by the nail... far too many in my opinion (about 2X too many).
As I mentioned, we're also replacing the windows along the way which also gives a good opportunity to replace the sill and trim. We're using redwood when/where possible, especially on the sills which is a pretty simple creation -- 4 cuts on the table saw and a jigsaw cut at the edges. It actually takes less time and money to make new sills than to restore (sand/strip/fill) the old ones.
The previous owners cut a window in the garage as they converted it into to bedrooms (a very, very large family). We've converted it back into a garage/workshop, but we love the window. Since they cut it in while the house/siding were together, the structure wasn't quite right for a proper window install (header, supports, etc.). Opening the wall gave us the opportunity to rebuild the structure and reinforce the sill-plate which was a bit loose on the foundation (hello, new hammer drill!).
Oddly enough, the beams in this area do not actually run the length of the house and in this area, there was no beam over the window area. Since all the other windows were installed beneath beams, we wanted to recreate the effect (and structural integrity). With two 2X6s sistered together for the structural part, we installed the reinforcement. When we lifted the beam in place, you could hear a bit of a creak, indicating that it was indeed taking a bit of load. On the face, however, we had to get a bit more creative with the "beam effect" to make it look like the others. We opted to face the area with some exterior/marine plywood the width of the original beams. These will eventually be painted the same color and I doubt you'd be able to tell the difference.
The project also allowed the insulation and drywalling of the garage. While a bit excessive, I'm spending quite a bit of time in there as of late and the insulation and clean walls will be nice later on.
Lighting was also an added element... a replacement fixture by the sliding door a new one by the garage window. While the switch for this new one will be adjacent to the inside garage window, it'll be nice to simply have some light up there as it gets pretty dim -- and with the wall open and lots of new electrical circuits in there (2 new 20amp circuits), the wiring was a snap. All fixtures from Progress lighting which we've installed around the house to replace the older, Early-American-style fixtures (and temporary $2 plastic ones).
Something that wasn't as available 45 years ago was the variety of caulks, glues and insulation... The original windows were installed with almost no caulk or weatherproofing. We're using a generous amount of the latest stuff and far too many cans of spray foam.