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This Old Crack House

From log house to farmhouse. Farmhouse to townhouse. Townhouse to apartment house. Apartment house to crack house. Crack house to our house. Our house to our home.

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Thursday, May 12, 2005

This weeks progress report

I have been busy this week with patching cracks in walls and ceilings, putting backer board down on the bathroom floor, picking up the floor tile for the bathroom and small dining room and today I spent some time rubbing an old oak chair down with alcohol to get the old brown "lac paint" off so that I can give it a couple of coats of shellac. I do have an interesting story though.

If you have never used "Great Stuff" before, then I can only say that it is quite useful, but you have to use up the whole can otherwise it will go to waste. "Great Stuff" is expanding foam in a can. It can be used to insulate cracks in things but I also use it to fill the gaps around electrical boxes that I have installed in plaster walls so that I can just put joint compound over it to make a smooth surface. (I saw this on an old episode of "This Old House.") No need for plaster patches or joint tape. It is really useful on ceilings when you install a light box. When it has dried you have to cut the excess off if you want the wall to be flush. I was doing this yesterday. I removed a blade from my Stanley knife (box cutter) and proceeded to cut with a sawing motion a particularly large protrusion of hardened "Great Stuff" while at the same time keeping the blade flush against the wall. Well that wasn't working so I angled the blade slightly towards the box (which has a live socket installed) and then it happened. Zzzzzzzzt! Flash! Crack! Ching! and Thud!
The last time something like this happened was when I was removing some knob and tube wiring in the basement and a piece touched the heating duct. The ching and thud were replaced with a "whoaaa sh*t!".
So lets decipher this;

Zzzzzzzzt! was the sound I heard as the blade hit the live connector whilst in contact with the edge of the metal box.
Flash! was the bright lights dancing before my eyes!
Crack! was the noise as sparks flew in my face.
Ching! was the sound that the blade made when the melted and deformed tip struck the ground and Thud! was the sound my sorry arse made when it flopped backwards in surprise and struck the floor soon after the blade.
I can't remember but there may have been a "Whoaaaa sh*t!" thrown in for good measure.

The good news is that I know the box is grounded!

Don't do this at home boys and girls.......

Be sure to tune in next week for "Frankenstein Lives...."

5 Comments:

At 5/13/2005 1:30 PM, Blogger Scott in Washington said...

Gary,

Wow, what a great advertisement for leather gloves, wooden canes, and eye protection - all wrapped up in one package.

I think your Great Stuff may be the solution to a problem I've been putting off dealing with for years. I'll post pics to my site tonight.

Scott

 
At 5/13/2005 1:55 PM, Anonymous mindy said...

Haha - glad to know you didn't get totally zapped. Scary stuff though.

I ran around the house with a can of Great Stuff when we were insulating, because I'm a frugal girl and don't like wasting things. Needless to say, I came up with some interesting uses for it and STILL didn't go through the whole can. They should make mini-cans so you don't feel guilty throwing out half the product.

 
At 5/13/2005 8:54 PM, Anonymous Nick said...

I've had some success using a partial can of Great Stuff. The trick is unplugging the nipple and the straw before a 2nd use. To clear the straw, use a wire (coat hanger works well). To clear the nipple, use your fingers to twist a short drywall screw into the clogged nipple, then pull it out.

The other helpful hint for Great Stuff is to wear disposable latex gloves. If you get any Stuff on your fingers it wont come off for three or four days.

 
At 5/13/2005 9:37 PM, Blogger Jocelyn said...

Actually I saw a mini can of Great Stuff at my neighborhood hardware store- They exist!

I agree on wearing gloves. I have used a metal chore boy to get that stuff off my hands. This is why I have skipped manicures for the past 4 years or so- why bother?

 
At 5/14/2005 3:29 AM, Blogger misschrisc said...

Ouch! Scary stuff.

You gave me a great idea for filling a hole between our stone wall and drywall with you Great Stuff. I'm going to tell Seb I came up with this idea all by myself though. He'll dub me a genius for solving this nagging problem and I'll get to bask in that all weekend. Thanks for the tip!

 

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