Sunday, October 31, 2010

Scary Things

I knew the shellacking was going too well up to now!  I knew the Demon of Klutziness was going to pop out and get me at some point!

Or did I just ignore the Angel of Good Sense?

Friday, I had the fresh shellac for the stairs all mixed up and ready to go.  I'd been decanting the stuff into a square plastic Rubbermaid storage container, which was handy for the brush and had a nice lid to seal it between coats. 

That evening down in my workshop, I poured the tinted mixture into this and managed to fill it all the way to the top.

"You're going to spill that," my good sense told me.  "Pour some of it back."

"No, I won't.  It's better to have more in the plastic container.  I'm going to need it for the last two coats."

So I took the closed and brimming container of shellac upstairs.

Once up at the top of the 3rd floor stairs, the first thing I realized was that I'd forgotten to add the teaspoon or so of 91% isopropyl alcohol to keep it workable longer.  But I was too lazy to go down the basement to get the bottle and add it.

Next thing I noticed was that there seemed to be a lot more hairs and dust squiggles landing in the wet shellac than there were last Tuesday.  You think maybe the vacuuming I did a few days ago didn't last till the end of the week?

Struggling with that, I got the first four or five treads done well enough.  But on the fifth or sixth one down, I was reaching for the smaller brush to do the nosing, and-- out popped the Demon of Klutziness!!!!

No, I got careless.   I jiggled something, or joggled something else, and that full container of shellac tipped over and cascaded down the stairs.

I knew it!  I knew I was going to do something stupid like that!

There was no time to wring hands, or be dramatic, or even take pictures.  The river of shellac was washing over at least three treads, and I had to clean it up before the whole job on all of them was ruined.

I grabbed a clean jar I had at hand, and brushed all the runny shellac I could into it.  Once that was closed and in a safe place, I quickly brushed the wet remainder over the treads that needed to be done anyway

What I didn't think of was that the lowest tread that was spilled on, the one with the least renegade shellac on it, was the one I should have brushed out first.  By the time I'd dealt with the overflow and the two treads above, this one was splotchy and blotchy and too tacky to do anything with.

Yesterday noon I tackled it.  Applied another coat of shellac, hoping it'd blend in as advertised.  So I took a pad of sheep's wool wrapped in a piece of old T-sheet, soaked it in denatured alcohol, and rubbed off the top layer or two off.  That removed the blotching.

Today I've been reapplying the coats to that tread, and I think it's to the point where my scary mishap doesn't show.  Just now this evening I've got the official sixth coat on all the steps . . . which should mean I'm done with them . . . if I didn't think they really need a seventh coat to get the color I want.

We'll see how that goes.  Hopefully the shellac spooks have had enough and will leave me in peace!

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