23 September, 2010

Stripping Wood Doors, Part 3 -- Using Citristrip on the Hardware

We were busy this week doing a few repairs at the rental condo. Between that and client work, I haven't had much time to get back to stripping the bathroom door. But before going to bed last night, I decided I could spare a little time stripping the hardware for it.

I used Citristrip. Remember how the doorknob and plate looked a few days ago?

Here it is now. Ta-dah! Shiny.

And here it is with the rest of the hardware in various states of the stripping process.

Unlike the wood, I only need to leave it on the metal for a half hour or so, and the paint wipes right off. I used a turkey lacer to gently rub it out of the grooves. (It's the long metal needle-like thing with the curved end, on the bottom piece of paper towel.) For soaking, I use a disposable metal tray with a lid. (In this case, a pumpkin cake mold.) The lid keeps the Citristrip from drying out, and I can reuse it again. Afterwards, I wash everything in mild dish soap. It's important to bag and tag everything so as to remember where all the parts came from--there are dozens of tiny screws, in different sizes.

We won't be doing anything to polish the old brass parts; I rather like the patina. And even though the polished nickel has worn off in parts, we won't be replating it. I want it to look like the hardware has been here for generations.

I think this is even more satisfying than revealing the old wood

21 September, 2010

Stripping Wood Doors, Part 2

I can tell how irritating a current client project is when I find that I'd rather strip paint than work on a book layout. But, duty called, and I had to put off removing the Citristrip from the bathroom door, which is not really a bad thing, as the paint has been stubborn and an extra long soak will no doubt save me a little effort down the line. Twenty-four hours after initial application, I was ready.

When I first started stripping, not knowing any better, I used a metal scraping tool. This has the potential to gouge the wood, because the stripper softens the surface. I put many a nick in the bathroom trim until I found a Web site that recommended using plastic only. Since then, I've had no problems with making permanent dents.

As this is a bathroom door, it's probably always been painted. Eighty-five years later, and with the removal of six coats of paint, here it is. Well, a portion of it, anyway.

Of course, while most of this side of the door has been stripped, it's far from done. I now have the nasty task of getting the enamel paint--which is immune to the heat gun and resistant to the scrapers--out of all the nooks and crannies. I use a combination of toothpicks, a brass-bristle brush, tiny scrapers, tons of curses, and metal turkey lacers--the lacer has a curved end just the right size for running along the groove. It will take hours, whole evenings dedicated to the task, and as work-that-pays-the-bills seems to be getting in the way this week, it will be a few days before I update the results.

The dreaded enamel paint and the very bane of my existence.

As a total non sequitor, and because I like word origins, I had to look up the phrase "bane of my existence." Here's what I found:

"[B]ane" was once a very serious word. The Old English "bana" meant literally "slayer" in the sense we now use "killer" or "murderer." Early on, the English "bane" was also used in the more general sense of "cause of death," and by the 14th century "bane" was used in the specialized sense of "poison," a sense which lives on in the names of various poisonous plants such as "henbane" and "wolfbane."

From this very literal "something that kills you" usage, "bane" by the 16th century had broadened into its modern meaning of "something that makes life unpleasant, a curse."

So there you go, your word for the day, courtesy of the now-defunct "Google Answers" page.

19 September, 2010

Sweating Pipe

Lest you think Ted is slacking while I strip paint, rest assured he's been working on plumbing. Here he is in the garage "sweating pipe" for the new bathroom supply lines. His work surface is the old sink we pulled out of the bathroom. It's worked very well for him.

Stripping Wood Doors, Part 1

I hate stripping paint.

It probably wouldn't be so bad if some previous owner didn't use peachy-flesh-colored enamel on everything. It's nearly impossible to pull up.

I blame this paint for me dragging my heals at attempting to strip any of the doors, but the time has come in our bathroom restoration for it to be done. This will be my first door project.

And so, for the next week or so, we'll be without a bathroom door as I work to remove the six layers of paint that coat it. Yes, six. I counted. We're using a folding screen as a door, designated shower times, and the honors' system that we won't peek to get us through the week.

So here we go. This is the door in question.

The hook, we discovered, is early plastic, but broken and painted over so is not worth saving. I hate the skinny towel bar, but because it's vintage, I can't throw it away. It goes into the storeroom on the shelf of vintage house parts that I don't plan on reusing, but won't pitch out.

Here's the doorknob.

The shiny nickel finish is wearing off on the knob, but we're going to keep this one. I like the idea of 85 years' worth of hands turning the knob. The plate looks like it's in pretty good shape (I removed some of the paint to take a peek). It's also polished nickel. The reverse side of the door has a glass knob, as do most of the doors in the house. The bottommost layer of paint, under five different layers of five different shades of white, is not, as it turns out, the dreaded fleshy peach, but yellow. Not a bad color, but we have no intention of repainting the door. It also turns out that it's about as difficult a paint to remove as the peach.

The first step was a $20 heat gun, set on high. It took about 2 1/2 hours to remove the bulk of the paint.

A closeup.

So now, as I type this, I have the entire side of the door coated in Citristrip. Of the strippers I've tried to date, I like how this one works; it doesn't give me a headache and if I accidentally splash it on my skin, it doesn't instantly burn. It's slow-acting, so I'll leave it for about 12 hours before attempting to see what's underneath.

Curious? Join me tomorrow to find out what we discover.

16 September, 2010

Busy Quilting...

Mom has posted a few of her latest quilts on her quilting blog. Check them out at Evanston Quilter.

12 September, 2010

Behr Masonry and Concrete Stripper

We're going to turn the old coal room (one of two in the basement) into a summer bedroom (it's much cooler down here). This room is also Ted's office. We cleaned it up pretty well, and set up our 1930s bed against the far wall.

There's a nice view of the garden, too.

As with my office, this room is going to need a little help. We want to keep at least one foundation wall of the brick and concrete exposed, and not repaint it. The only problem is, it's been painted an ugly yellow on the top, and an even uglier green on the bottom. We also plan to tile this room, so the green chipping paint on the floor--yes, the floor was painted--needs to come up. We've tried numerous stripping products, including SoyGel and PeelAway, and nothing seems to work. It's frustrating, and has led to more than a few arguments spirited discussions on whether or not we should even leave the brick exposed at all.

At Home Depot this week, we spotted a product by Behr specially designed to strip masonry and concrete. What the heck, what's another $30? We decided to give it a try.

We slathered a test spot on the floor, on the concrete wall, and on the brick. We left it on for about an hour and a half, rewetting the surface once because it did dry out very fast. We then scrapped up the paint with a plastic scrapper, then took a wire brush and water to work it out of the grooves. It only took a few minutes at that point. Here's the floor:

And here's the concrete wall:

And here's the brick:

We're seriously impressed with how it cleaned the concrete; we should be able to further clean it and then use a terra cotta colored concrete stain. The brick was more difficult to scrape the paint from, and there's still quite a bit in the grooves. Maybe a second coat would help. If not, I'll take it back as far as we can, and dry brush a "white wash" look to it, so it will look kind of old worldish, but not yellow.

Overall, this is the best product we've come across for stripping paint from masonry and brick.

*In answer to a few e-mails I've received, my mom made the quilt on the bed for me and Ted. It's a double-wedding-ring pattern.

01 September, 2010

Basement Office By Night

Is it charmingly rustic, like I have myself convinced it is because I spend half my waking hours here, or does it really still look like a basement? The room is doubling as a guest room, is unheated, but comfortable enough on all but the coldest days, and then I have a space heater. I like the exposed brick on the top half of the wall. The bottom half is half-painted green, half bare concrete. I was considering getting concrete paint in a warm terra cotta color to paint it over, so it looks even and complements the rest of the wall. Has anyone used concrete paint before? Thoughts?

The other half of the room has my desk. I had removed the grotty old drywall without putting anything else up, so the wall boards are still visible. The ceiling boards have been removed, too. Eventually, new boards will be put up.

For now, my budget is $0 -- any suggestions for making this room more cozy in the short term, or does it look okay? We hope to have a houseful of guests in early October, and I don't want the person who sleeps here to feel like it's a basement. At least there are two decent-sized windows.