Monday, January 14, 2008

Acute Overload

Tonight (meaning Sunday evening) I was down the basement making my weekly offering on the altar of woodwork stripping.

Used the Western Wood Doctor refinisher to take one piece of dining room-kitchen casing down to the bare wood. Dry-chipped the paint off the cornice of the lintel. Used the heat gun to take the paint off the top of the cornice of the long lintel on the dining room side of the casing between the dining room and living room.

Then after a break that lasted till after 11:00 PM, I went back down cellar to tackle the other piece of the casing going from the dining room to the kitchen. This piece was definitely a heat gun job, since it would not dry chip at all. Most of my woodwork has only three layers of paint: off-white, cream, and mushroom-beige; this piece adds a lichen green, among other colors, to the mix. Don't know what it was doing on the dining room side: Maybe it was originally in the kitchen and got moved when the POs-1 did their kitchen remodel.

So there I am at 1:30 AM or so, almost done stripping this thing with the heat gun, all but a few inches on the side edges. I'm on a roll. I could see me cleaning it off with the liquid refinisher before I was done tonight!

Then, suddenly, as I moved around to get a better angle on the remaining paint, the heat gun turned itself off. As did the work light, and the radio, and the pull-chain ceiling light in my workshop.

I should explain, perhaps, that I do my woodwork stripping in the main room of the basement of my foursquare. The workshop is under the former front porch, and it's too long and narrow to set up sawhorses. But there are no outlets in the main room, unless you count the one in one of the pullchain lights, into which is plugged a strange extension cord that leads to something on the furnace that does I know not what. Think it has something to do with the drain thingy that carries water through a long tube and ultimately drips it in my laundry room sink.

So if I want to plug anything in where I was working, I have to use the plug strip just inside the door of the workshop. But obviously, it wasn't just the plug strip that wasn't working, it was the circuit for all that room.

But I had lights where I was, and after shutting off the heat gun, I immediately checked the circuit panel.

Hmm. No circuit switches were tripped.

Tried the one marked "Basement." That turned off the lights in the main basement room.

Turned them back on, and tried a couple more switches that weren't marked.

No effect on the workshop lights.

Tried a couple more. Including, for some cockamamie reason, the one marked "Basement." It turned off the lights again, but when I pushed it back to On, they stayed Off. And that circuit switch is now limp.

Tried flipping the mains switch. No effect whatsoever, except that now I have to reset various electric clocks throughout the house.

There was nothing more I could do tonight, but sweep up the stripping mess by the light of the laundry room ceiling light. (Do not want the cats sampling the paint chips.)

And put in a call to my home warranty company. I may not be covered for this, but at least getting into the automated system will get an electrician out here to see.

(The really fun thing about this is the furnace. There's supposed to be a separate circuit for that; at least, that's what's marked in my panel. But what if that weird cord up to that pullchain light actually controls something essential, Without Which the Furnace Will Not Work?

I guess I'll find out if the toilet bowl water is frozen over in the morning . . . )


Sandy said...

Oh dear. I hope there are no frozen toilets in your future!

Kate H. said...

No, just electricians.

Sandy said...


Sandy said...

I'm sorry Kate. I didn't mean to laugh, but all I could picture is frozen electricians all over!