Thursday, February 18, 2021

Slow Painful Progress


We are making slooooooooooooow painful progress stripping the original built-in cabinet.  Progress is extremely slow even with the Speedheater.  We learned during the process that the entire cabinet and all of the surrounding trim on the wall had been completely sanded down to raw wood.  We guesstimate this happened sometime in the 50s or 60s based on the nature of the oil based paint layers.  The extremely strong oil based paints made a VERY STRONG bond to the wood grain making it next to impossible to remove the paint.  

Throughout this process we have been using the Speedheater to remove as much paint as possible without damaging the wood.  When we scrape with too much pressure we gouge the wood, which we've  done in a number of places.  That will lead to more sanding and difficulty during the finishing process.  We have resorted to using chemical stripper to remove the final layers of oil paint that have adhered to the raw wood.  We are using Multi-Strip Advanced, which I have used in the past.  It is less toxic, but still pretty strong stuff.  The trick has been to leave the stripping paste on the surface for at least 10 hours before the final scrape.  It leaves quite a bit of paint residue, but we expect to be able to sand most of it out during the final finishing stage.

The good news is that we did a test run on the box beams and surrounding trim in the dining room and the original finish was not sanded off.  The Speedheater penetrates through the paint layers, softens the shellac layer, and the paint slides off like butter.  We are hoping that this cabinet and surrounding trim is the last of the sanded wood work.  Why would anyone bother to sand all of this and then cover it all up with paint?  Not sure we'll ever understand exactly what happened here.  The mysteries of an old house!

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Another Win in the Finish Column


We took another project over the finish line this weekend!  This one wraps up the workshop makeover we started in January.  We got the workbenches and a really nice tool chest installed which mostly completes the space.  This small space was a big challenge, but we couldn't be happier with the outcome.  It is bright, well organized, and allows us to easily set up different tools depending on the type of project we are working on.  It is really nice to have this complete!  The sad part of finishing this means we have to stop procrastinating and start paint stripping the woodwork in the house again.  I'd rather do just about ANYTHING else .... :-)

Saturday, February 6, 2021

Lawn to Garden


After numerous walks around our neighborhood we have been considering a lawn to garden conversion.  There are quite a few people in our area that have done this.  Anyone else reading this blog been through this process in another city or in Long beach?  The city here offers a program to do this which includes a 3$ per sq ft grant.  The city recently replaced our street and curbs, and our front strip got pretty torn up in the process.  In addition, they took out the 40 foot tall eucalyptus tree that was located in the front yard along the sidewalk.  This has been an invitation for us to consider what to do with the small front-yard space.

I did a first draft landscape drawing of what it could look like should we choose to go this route.  Plants corresponding to the numerical identifier on the drawing can be found here.  I can't help but think that this would be much more visually interesting and require a lot less water.

Trying to convince myself not to do the conversion this year, but who am I kidding.  I might have this done next week :)

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Final Push to the Finish

 Why is it that the final 10% of work on a project always takes such a massive effort to finish?  Perhaps because it is always detailed, or maybe it's the mental difficulty of pushing past the finish line.  Nonetheless, our studio makeover project was no exception to this rule.  It was one of the first projects to be started in January of 2020 and yet we just pushed it over the finish line this month!  

I am proud to report that all the door and window trim is in!  Even the baseboards are hung :). We trimmed the doors/windows using poplar and left it natural with a shellac finish.  We used the newly acquired planer to custom mill the board depths to match the craftsman detail of the house.  Overall, very pleased with the outcome and happy to have this marked off the list.  The project was an excellent test of the workflow of the newly remodeled workshop and we are pleased with the result.  Looking forward to moving on to a different room now...