Wednesday, December 27, 2006

A Strip Tease

Actually here is some advice if you are thinking about stripping paint. I received a comment last week assuming that I would use liquid stripper on my door after using a heat gun. I don't use liquid stripper any more. It is way too messy! So I was stripping my door and thought about what I do differently now that I didn't do way back before I became knowledgable in the ways to strip wood. Well the answer is simple. Besides being much more patient and aware of the true nature of the task at hand, I don't try to strip away long peels of paint in a continuous forward motion with the scraper any more. I used to try to remove a strip of paint as wide as the scraper blade and as long as I could get it before it would burn up on the scraper sending wads of smokey fumes up my nose. This tends to leave paint still attached to the wood surface that you are removing it from and requires the use of chemicals or a go-over with the heat gun. Now I tend to make numerous short swift scrapes with the edge of the scraper removing about a half inch wide by one inch long strip of paint accross the width of the wood being scraped and then I move forward and remove another inch. This method is much more thorough and produces a pattern that looks like this;

Now before you get too excited, it took about 6 hours to get this far:

It took another two hours to scrape what was left and then I got to flip over the door.

This side only has 4 layers of paint not 8 like on the reverse. If I can get the white and grey layers off then the original coats come off a lot easier. Removing the top two layers revealed the original two tone colors of this door. It also makes removing these green layers much easier.

To get this done took about 30 minutes. After 3 hours the door looks like this;

Once the paint is stripped I then use a palm sander. I start with a #60 grit paper to remove the flecks of remaining paint. I then fill the holes with wood putty before sanding with a #80 grit paper and then a #150 grit paper. Here is the door that I did last week after the #60 grit sanding;

I won't stain these doors either. I will probably use the boiled linseed oil and turpentine (or paint thinner) mix on them because the wood is quite dry and then shellac them. I expect they will turn out like this one in our bedroom;

So for all you potential strippers out there who want some advice on technique, here is what I have to offer. Not much, I know but every little bit helps. Now if you would like to slip dollar bills my way then feel free to do so! I just have to put my garter belt on....

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The Obligatory Christmas Post

Since Elizabeth was acting up all week I put in my last minute order to Santa for a sack FULL of coal. I figured that if I get my chimneys lined I could use it to heat the house. Anyway, it turns out that my order went in too late or Santa has lost his contract with the anthracite supplier this year and he left her presents anyway. I noticed that the only thing in my stocking this year was a piece of chocolate that I put there myself (how pitiful is that?). Funny though, he left me a whole big pile of reindeer poo on the Crack House balcony. I could bury it in the basement and hope that in about 20 million years it turns into coal.....

As for the house, I was going to post some tips on stripping paint without losing your mind but Blogger won't let me upload pictures that I took on Sunday. So, you will all have to wait patiently for that post which is good practice for when you actually strip your own wood. In the meantime you can exalt in the fact that the days are getting longer once again.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Let There Be Light!

Now here is a first! This room has never had a ceiling light, ever! Years ago, when I replaced the roof, I ran a length of BMX cable across the brick wall that divides these rooms on the 2nd floor since the attic above this room has no access to it and dropped it into a hole that I made in the center of the ceiling. I hooked up the wire but capped the ends so I wouldn't get shocked if I decided to hold a screwdriver above my head as I walked through this room. Since I am working in the room next door and it gets dark early, I need a light in this room in order that I can find the stairs without walking into the worlds heaviest bath tub which has migrated into this room now and is that much closer to going down the stairs. So I rigged this up;

No switch yet. This is one of those lights that you turn on with a twist of the bulb. Turning it off requires that you own a pair of heat resistant gloves!

So, this weeks quiz is "How many of you readers have one just like it in YOUR house?"

Monday, December 11, 2006

Kitchen Cleaning?

More good advice from the 1909 book of Household Discoveries.

A recipe for stove polish but first some advice;

Before polishing the stove rub lard under the finger nails

Stove Blacking.- Dissolve 1/2 ounce of alum in 1 gill of soft water. Add 6 1/2 pounds of plumbago mixed with 12 ounces of lampblack. Stir vigourously. Stir in 1 1/2 gills of molasses, next 1/2 bar of white soap dissolved in 3 pints of water, and lastly 1 ounce of glycerine. This is a commercial article which has a great reputation.

Or beat up the whites of 3 eggs and mix in 1/2 pound of black lead. Dilute with sour beer or ale to the consistency of cream and boil gently for 15 or 20 minutes.

Or mix 8 ounces of copperas, 4 ounces of bone black and 4 ounces of black lead with water to the consistency of cream.

Or melt 1 pound of hard yellow soap with a little water and while hot stir in 1 pound of powdered soft coal. Cool, and preserve in tight fruit jars or wide mouthed bottles for use.

Or mix 4 ounces of black lead with 2 tablespoons of vinegar, 1 teaspoonful of sugar, and a piece of yellow soap the size of a butternut. Melt the soap with gentle heat and reduce while hot to the consistency of cream with coffee strained through a cheese cloth. Stir in 1/2 teaspoonful of alum.

Or use vinegar instead of water for mixing any of the above. The work of polishing will not be so hard and the polish will last longer.

Or mix with oil of turpentine. This prevents and removes rust.

Or add a little sugar or alum to any of the above; or a little benzine or naptha to help cut the grease. If these are added the stove must be polished cold.

Failure to observe that last bit of advice could result in some interesting consequences.

Now that you are completely confused, plumbago is graphite. A gill is 1/4 of a pint. There is no such thing as sour beer in this house and who in their right mind has EVER strained coffee and cream through a cheese cloth?

Friday, December 08, 2006

I'm Sellin' Out!

It's true. I've finally decided to sell out and capitalize on this blog.

I have toyed with the idea for several years and even got the solicitations from some suppliers to advertise on this blog but have held all contenders at bay.

My reasonining was simple. Most people reading my blog would be reading other house blogs where they chose to advertise. This seemed to be the case about one year ago. We would all be advertising the same things to each other and nobody would be generating the click-throughs needed to generate income. I wasn't comfortable promoting a company that I hadn't done business with either. I felt it wasn't a worthwhile venture. Lately though I have noticed a surge in hits from Google searches. It seems that people aren't just wanting to know what "crack smells like" or what "raccoon poop looks like" any more. They have legitimate searches regarding plaster, shellac, wood stripping and concrete counter tops.

Yesterday it was cold outside and I wasn't able to work on the "Crackhouse" so I got bored and started thinking. I am dangerous when I start thinking, real dangerous! Within a couple of hours I came up with a bunch of amusing sayings that could be marketed to the growing home improvement market. As far as I know these are all original because I actually thought them all up! So I have sold out in the name of capitalism, but the products are truely "This Old Crack House" related and original. Here are two of them. There is even PINK for the ladies!

If you click on either picture you can see my gallery of items and just in time for Christmas too!

You might want to check back a few times in the next week because I have more "Garyisms" to add. I seem to be on a roll!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Getting on my knees and squealing like a pig!

I've been stripping slop off this floor for DAYS!

See that area marked by a black line? 8 hours it took to get it stripped to a sandable surface.

8 hours bent over on my knees alternating between the silent paint remover and heat gun. Heating the floor to remove the remaining linoleum, mastic, tar paper, shellac and paint. That coupled with 8 hours of Blue Grass music on NPR (National Public Radio) makes me want to take a canoe trip in West Virginia and learn to play the banjo!


Friday, December 01, 2006

The Fungus Amungus!

Enquiring minds wanted to know! Proof that we do have a mushroom growing out of our ceiling.

There is an ancient Chinese proverb that goes;

Confucius, he say, "Man who live in big house with small family have mushroom to grow."