Saturday, March 10, 2012

More Dust in the Wind

As piece by piece and bit by bit I stripped the wood trim the past few years, I comforted myself with the idea that due to the type of stripper I was using, I wouldn't have to sand any of it.  The Howard's product doesn't raise the grain and leaves the surface nice and smooth and ready to receive a new finish.

But a smooth surface requires more than smooth grain.  It also implies that holes and gouges and cracks and pits be brought level as well.  So, as stated previously, I've been doping in the wood filler.  Big campaign in January until I ran out, another spurt last month getting a second application onto the stair hall pieces so they could all get shellacked (as they now are), then the last of the job taken care of earlier this week.

All this means, yes, sanding.  Lots of it.  Which I've tackled these past two evenings.  I'm happy to say it's mostly accomplished, all except some pieces where I discovered splinters that needed to be glued down; I'll fill and sand those once the glue is good and dried.  It's been more gratifying work than my struggles with the living room plaster.

Back when I was thinking "Thank goodness I won't have to sand all these pieces!" I was visualizing having to do it by hand or maybe with my palm sander, with lots of expensive precut fabric-backed sheets from the big box store. Back then I didn't have my Bosch half-sheet orbital sander to help me.  Now I do, and the work went pretty quickly.

But!  but!! What also went quickly is the sanding dust, all over the basement.  Pooling on the sawhorses.  Coating the floor.  Changing the color of the nearby stacks of wood.  Floating in the air, and getting up my nose.  This shouldn't be.  The sander has a dust catcher, and the residue should be sucked into the holes in the sandpaper.  Obviously, it's not.  Not much of it, anyway.  When I go to empty the dust catcher, it's hardly half full, even after an hour or two of steady work.  I read stories about spontaneous combustion due to sawdust accumulations, and dust fires started by pilot lights-- so this isn't something I can ignore.

The sander is working fine.  Maybe it's the filter that needs changed.  Odd thing, when I go online and look up my model, it shows it with the dust catcher with filter for purchase new, but when I look up spare parts, it only has an ordinary dust bag.  Guess I'll have to call them and find out.

However.  Soon as I finish gluing the mitred returns onto the lintel mouldings, fill and sand down the last two or three mended spots, and vacuum up the residual dust, I can start shellacking the living room trim.  Hope it goes faster than the stair hall work did.

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