Most times, mending various pieces of yard art only requires a little paint and a few nails.
In the case of a neglected windmill at the Jake and Cricket Van Pelt home, a little more work was required.
In fact, according to Mr. Van Pelt, it pretty much needed a complete overhaul.
“It has needed repairs for a number of years,” the Sunnyside-area homeowner admitted.
This summer was the year in which those repairs absolutely needed to be completed.
The Van Pelts’ daughter, Rebecca, is getting married later this month. As the parents of the bride, they wanted to host the rehearsal dinner at their home.
So, cleaning up the gardens, yards and landscapes has been a priority, Mrs. Van Pelt explained.
But how to repair an aging windmill?
The couple called upon their friend, David Van Dyke of Grandview, for some help dealing with the Dutch-style contraption.
While he said he wouldn’t be able to do the repairs, he knew a man who could – his 91-year-old father, Dave Sr.
The elder Van Dyke was eager to tackle the project. After it was moved to his Grandview shop, the veteran carpenter got busy surveying the yard ornament’s various repair needs.
“It was a giant puzzle,” Van Dyke said.
Admitting he had never worked on a windmill before, he figured it would be a project he could tinker around with.
Not one to back away from a challenge, Van Dyke studied the structure from every angle for several days before tackling it.
“There were several times I wished I had a set of plans for it,” he admitted.
Van Dyke had to completely disassemble the windmill in order to replace rotted wood sidings. When he began re-assembling it, he quickly realized that all eight sides were designed to fit within the mill’s lower deck. He said the upper decorative deck encircling the windmill was built as a support for the entire structure.
It took a little time to figure out that aspect of the construction, said Van Dyke.
In addition, repairs had to be made to the windmill’s arms, and new shingles had to be cut for its slanted roof.
Even though it took Van Dyke a few months to complete his repairs, it now stands refreshed and painted in colors to match the Van Pelts’ home.
“I had a lot of paint left over from other projects I’ve worked on for my grandchildren, so it was easy to find the right colors,” he said.
“We couldn’t be happier with the results,” Mrs. Van Pelt said.
The windmill, which has been a part of the couple’s landscape since 1975, was originally built by the late Frank Laverman.
He built it to resemble a typical Dutch windmill like the ones Van Pelt’s parents grew up with.
“I think Dave did a fantastic job. It looks brand new,” Mr. Van Pelt said of the restored treasure.
As for Van Dyke, he is happy the project is done.
“I don’t think I’ll be working on another windmill any time soon,” he smiled.