Saturday, July 17, 2010

So What Now?

If anybody's checking my project trackers over there on the right these days, you'll notice something has changed.

Yes, finally, the one for the stripping of steps to be refinished is at 100%.  Cheers and huzzahs!

About ten days ago I went at the painted stringers of the steps to the 3rd floor with the heatgun, then took a break and devoted my home improvement energies to garden work.  But today I seized my refinisher and steel wool with both hands and got the stringers and the last risers and treads cleaned off and done.

That was completed by around 4:00 this afternoon, with no thanks to a last handful of embedded carpet staples.  If this were ordinary times for me and my energies weren't sapped by the aftereffects of chemo (sorry to have to mention it, but it's true), I would have put up the dropcloths and dust barriers and gotten on with the sanding.  As it is, I cleaned up the stripping mess and retreated to the computer to read other people's houseblogs and contemplate what's next.

1) I managed to chip paint off the trim of the doorway at the bottom of the 3rd floor steps.  I repainted that myself seven years ago.  It's going to stay painted.  I tried smoothing it off with refinisher.  But it's going to need sanded, regardless.  Do I do that first?  Or, given the stricter lead paint regulations, do I just say oh, phooey, and strip that as well, just to get that much more lead paint off?  No, it wouldn't be done according to all the current EPA hazmat rules; I'd be doing well if I put up with wearing a mask in this heat.  But it'd be done.

2)  The treads and risers will need some light sanding, at least.  Can I do that with the animals in the house?  Should I make sure I have the shellac ready to apply right after I sand, so I don't mess up the bare-bare wood walking on it?  That will mean sequestering the critters, somehow, somewhere.  But how, and where?

3)  Have I waited too long since I mixed up my aniline dye colors for the shellac?  I did it on the 24th of May; where did the time go?  Should I have put the jars in the fridge?  Should I get myself in gear to make me some shellac out of the buttons I have in the fridge since last year (they're still good, definitely), or should I go the easy and standardized way and go pick me up some Zinsser's at Lowe's?

4)  How much barrier plastic am I going to have to put up against the sanding dust?  Which would be worse, croaking from the heat and no ventilation with the plastic up, or cleaning yellow pine dust off everything the next five years if I scamp it?

5)  Given the fact that I have to work around the chemo tireds, how long should I allow to sand and refinish the hallway floor and both flights of steps?  Two or three days?  Can I get space in a local kennel for that long at this time of year?

5)  More to the point, how should I finish the risers to the 3rd floor?  Back when I first took the carpet off, I was thinking I'd paint them white and leave the treads natural.  That'd demark the study and its stairs as different, maybe more private. But the stairway comes down past the doorway and I'm not sure I want the white "intruding" into the Craftsman ambiance of the 2nd floor hall.  But maybe that's just my lack of guts talking.

I was hoping to work with a photo of the stairs to render two or three different color schemes for them.  But my cheap-ass photo editing software so far hasn't allowed me to do that.  Or maybe I just don't know how to use it.

Well, one good thing about writing about my worrywarting:  It's shown me how silly a lot of it is.  I mean, just do it and get it done, for goodness sake!

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