Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Actual Work Getting Done

Shellac dries fast.  This is good.
Really.  The shellac work I'm doing in my stairhall is actually starting to look like something.  I may actually be on my way to getting this done.  

And that's scary.

(That was a joke.  I think.)

The inner casings on the five 2nd floor hall doorways are all done, including the casing to my bedroom door that I had to take down to mend.  That also has primer on the bedroom side.  The blotchiness problem I solved thanks to some advice I dug up the other night on the Internet-- A forum suggested cutting down the amount of tint in the shellac and let the application of successive layers build up the color.  I was just upstairs, and was getting a little worried that maybe I've got it a fuzz too dark, but it's not as dusky as it originally was, and we're talking at night under only a 60 watt lightbulb.

The flash makes it look brighter than it really is
The stair rail and shoe are done as well.  I really like the way the bannister came out.  I've figured out that if I start shellacking the piece well short of the top, work in the length between the initial wet area and the top with a dryer brush, then keep stroking upward (or in one direction only, if working flat) into the wet area, I can minimize the blotches and keep the finish uniform.  It worked on the bannister, I think.

The balusters are done as well.  They were theoretically mostly done last summer with the two coats I gave them then, but I saw that my intended three coats wasn't going to give the tone and sheen to match the stairrail and shoe.  They have five coats of shellac on them now; six on the outside faces.

Now I have to lay on more coats of shellac to the shoe and rail fillets.  They're laid out on my workbench downstairs, waiting the next time I have available.  But first I have to strip (waaaaagghh!) the cap to the 1st floor newel post.  I didn't have enough light in my workshop, and didn't notice till it was too late that a wide brown-black line of walnut-mahogany shellac was accumulating all around the bottom edge.  Yuck.  Strip it off and start again.

Stairs to 3rd floor study
The top newel post is done-- I think-- and today I got a second coat on the risers to the 3rd floor and on the main stair stringer on the stair rail side.  (I ran out of the right tint of shellac after that, and the main stair risers and the opposite stringer had to wait till I could mix up more.)

Last evening my friend Hannah* and her husband Steve* were going to come over to help me reassemble and rehang the casing to the bedroom door.  They couldn't fit it into their schedule as it turned out.  And now that I've remembered that I really want to get the finish on the hall floor before that trim goes back up, I see it's just as well.

Guess what-- this trim isn't that dark. Stoopy camera!
But in anticipation of getting the bedroom door hung, I shellacked its stop moulding, though I haven't touched it for any door else.  So this afternoon I took a piece of that stop upstairs to make sure I was getting the shellac-white primer divide on the casings right.  I stood the piece up against the closed door to the guest bedroom, flat against the shellacked jamb.  And, oh, my!  Wow.  It actually looked like something!  Like real work getting done!  Like maybe sometime before the Mayan calendar runs out my house might get out of my head and into reality!

That's scary.


Joanie said...

WOW - the woodwork is beautiful!

Sandy said...

The beauty of that wood just makes me sigh. Excellent work!