Sunday, January 6, 2008

Not My 2008 Project Resolution List

No. That I still have to put a bit more thought into.

Drumroll, please . . . This is about me this evening actually starting to keep a house renovation resolution, one I was coerced (!) into making when I went to eat pork at some friends' house on New Year's Day.

"We're all going to go around the table and make our resolutions!" said my friend. "We'll write them down and next year we'll see who's kept theirs!"

Her husband resolved to make steady headway on their house rehab. So what could I do? I resolved to do something at least once a week towards getting the woodwork paint stripping done.

(Sunday's five days from Tuesday. That's still within the week, right?)

My intention this evening was merely to use the dental picks to get some of the paint out of the crack between the lintel and the cornice of the dining room doorway casing.

But I quickly figured out that the paint was on the plaster goop the previous-previous owners used to fill the crack. So I got my pry bar and eased off the cornice and took it down the basement to work on it there.

But I already had a trim piece down there on the sawhorses, the jamb from the living room casing. It's been there since last July. It really took priority.

And the heat gun that was recommended to me by Reggie at Howard Hall Farm has been down in my basement since August, and I've never yet used it. In fact, it still had the twist-tie around the cord.

Okay, why don't I have a go at using it this evening?

You would be so proud of me. I actually decided that melted paint residue wouldn't look good on the new jeans and black leather oxford shoes I was wearing. And took the time to change into my grubby work clothes.

And then I went to work with the heat gun on the jamb piece from the living room. Don't know if I just lacked patience, but it didn't seem to make much headway on the paint that'd been treated with paint stripper then dried again.

So I got out the old standby: Howard's Western Wood Doctor Refinisher and medium steel wool.

And it worked. On that living room piece, at least. Happily, we're having a warm spell here in southwestern Pennsylvania, and I was able to open the basement windows. But boy, was I glad when it was time to take the dog outside when I was done!

(I'm also glad that the one cat that ventured downstairs to investigate turned tail and ran upstairs the minute he got a whiff of the refinisher.)

Going strictly on this evening's experience, it looks like I'll have to take down all the trim, use the scraper to get off all the loose paint, use the heat gun to lift the paint that's stuck, and use the Wood Doctor to deal with whatever's left.

I'd hoped to keep the existing natural finish intact as possible and just use another Howard product to even it out, but forget it. Once the stuck paint's off, everything next to it is devastated. Best solution may be to jump on the shellac bandwagon and redo all the trim using that. I've got a spare piece of the 1916 trim left from the time my POs-1 reconfigured the doorways, so I'll have something to match the color by.

I stopped when I ran out of medium steel wool. Following on the mindset resolutions already made, I won't run to the store for it tomorrow. I'll take a day or two and make sure everything I need is on the list-- and anything I don't really need is not.

Doing one piece a week, I may get the crud off all the woodwork by, oh, next September?

Yes, but if you don't do at least one piece a week, it'll get done, like, when?


Jennifer said...

Little by little...
I'm having to break jobs into pieces, too! I didn't put it on my list, but one of MY goals is to mentally split some of the larger tasks into 2 or 3 day chunks that might actually get done! Good for you for doing that!

Sandy said...

Nice job on those trim pieces!