Sunday, June 7, 2009

Oh, Sh!t!!

5:44 PM--I'm back at the Great 3rd Floor Study Stairway plaster repair project, and I am an IDIOT.

And any other hard names you'd care to spit at me.

About a half hour ago, I was drilling a Few More Holes to make sure I'd get the loose plaster well secured to the lath on the sloped ceiling. But the vibration was too much for it and a big square piece about 18" square came swinging down, literally hanging on by the cattle hair along one edge.

And I am a world class GOOF, BLUNDERER, and IDIOT. Did I dash over and ease it off in one piece? Did I, o did I?

No, I did not. I thought it'd be so cool to have a photo of it for the blog! So I picked up my digital camera, turned it on, and--

When I'd barely pressed the shutter, the monster loose piece came crashing down to smash on the stairs below, along with big chunks of the plaster that'd been next to it.

I wasn't even in time to get a shot of it falling.


I picked up the broken pieces. Maybe I can put them back together like a puzzle and glue them back up?

Or maybe I'm going to have to use what I learned at Howard Hall Farm in July 2007 and fill in the gap with real haired lime plaster.

Meanwhile, I'm waiting for the Big Wally's conditioner to work so I can at least stick down the edges of what's still up there and keep it up.

6:58 PM-- I don't think so. No. I got part of the droopy plaster back up, so it's not falling down, but overall it's no go. Most of the plaster is gapping by 3" or more, and the part I secured still has a gap of 3/8" to ½" between it and the lath. There's too many broken off plaster keys behind it that're keeping it from snugging up. And the really godawful loose parts are so warped that when I try to bring them up with the washers and screws, they bend and break. That is, if I can even reach the lath with the ends of the screws. And I don't have enough Big Wally screws and washers to secure it all anyway.

To make it worse, some of the laths are loose from the rafters and I'm not sure how to put them back in place without causing more vibration and bringing more plaster down. And it's got to be put back in place, or the plaster will still be insecure.

O vae mihi! vae mihi! Oy vey iz mir!

Okay, Kate, deep breath. The loose pieces that are still up don't look ready to fall down. Not right away, at least. Now if an overweight robin lands on the roof, all bets are off. But right now, stay cool, don't make any sudden moves, and maybe, it'll stay up till tomorrow.

So tomorrow, I shall have to get Advice. Yeah, I'm going to call the Big Wally people (aka Rory Brennan) in Vermont. And maybe a local plasterer or two whose business cards I picked up at past Home Shows. At the very least, I need to find out how and where to order the ingredients for lime plaster without having to buy enough to do an entire Victorian mansion. And help me figure out how I can get the loose but uncracked plaster farther into the room fastened back to the lath without causing a high magnitude avalanche. After that, whatever lath is exposed I can (I hope!) replaster without worrying that the old stuff will pull it away.

And it's gotta be me who does it. Spending bery menni munniez to hire a plasterer is Not. An. Option. Neither is drywall. Du nawt liek driwahl. Ai can haz nu plassturr?

And tonight in mine afflictions I will pray for grace and mercy that nothing else falls down, and give thanks that no dogs or cats were on the stairs when the plaster fell before.

And go eat supper. I'm hungry.


Sandy said...

Oh dear. I just about fainted when I saw the photos. I can't even imagine how you felt.

Kate H. said...

Thanks for the sympathetic thoughts.

How did I feel? I uttered the immortal phrase you see tastefully titling my entry. At the moment, I'm trying not to panic. After all, why did I take that plastering class if I wasn't going to use it for situations like this?

But o crap, it really puts me behind, since this I can't ignore.

Gene said...

Oh my. But better to discover the major looseness problem now than later. And you get to practice your plastering skills! I've only done modern mudding, not traditional plastering, but I remember watching this Italian-American guy doing my parents' kitchen many years ago. Definitely an art form.

Kate H. said...

Definitely an art form, yes. And a very rustic one the way I've done it in the past. O deer o deer o deer!

Jennifer said...

Oh! I hope the fix is cheap and relatively painless