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$6.50 of curtain magic

2 Sep

I had made drapes to go on the pocket doors. I used some of the gorgeous dark blue brocade fabric that I used for the curtains in the living room (parlor, parlor, parlor). They look fabulous on the windows. They looked kind of lame on the pocket doors. I had to take them down for paint removal anyway, and I had the brain storm to put them up over the false door/coat rack area that lives next to the main doors. What a good idea!

A couple of years ago (December 2008, to be exact), I put up some hooks to hold coats in the false door. So today I went to Home Depot and got a closet clothes rod ($6.50) to hold the curtains. It makes a HUGE difference. It looks great with the other door curtains. I thought it might be too much, but pas de tout. I have to hem them and do something about the goopy paint remover that got on them, but those things will happen later. For now, I’m enjoying having that little doorway out of sight.


Done, done, and done

28 Aug

Pocket doors — done. Phew! What a difference it makes to have them nicely and neatly wood again instead of that hideous white paint. I have a sneaking suspicion that they might have been in a lovely wooden state prior to the previous owner (who was a realtor) putting the house up for sale — I think she may have had a “paint it white” frenzy to prepare it for sale. Sigh. Best not to even think about that.

The important thing is that they’re done; they look great, and I can cross that off my project list (this gives me immense satisfaction). And here’s how the two rooms look with the doors open, and in case we’ve forgotten…. here’s where we started:

Pocket doors — finished on living room side (yay!)

27 Aug

So here’s my proven Gudenov paint removal method for doors:

1) Scrape off as much as possible with a heat gun and metal putty knife
2) Use Peel-Away 7 to remove remaining paint and varnish — this is especially helpful on molding and curvy carvy bits.
3) Wipe everything down with mineral spirits, using steel wool
3.5) If you’re really nit-picky, you can also wipe down with denatured alcohol
4) Use dental picks and sand paper to get up any other resistant areas
5) Give up on getting the corners of molding totally clear of paint

I’ve tried so many different methods, but that seems to be the best — fastest, least amount of muscle power, and with dramatic results.

I’ve now put one coat of stain and one coat of wipe-on poly on the living room side, and I think that’s how they’re going to stay. When they’re totally dry (next weekend), I’ll polish them with Burt’s Furniture Polish.

And now, to the dining room!

Pocket doors round two

25 Aug

I remembered why I was dreading doing these. The dust, ugh. It gets everywhere, including up my snout, even though I’m wearing a mask. I look like I have a deep mahogany tan, too. It’s such a mess. But the end is nigh.

I gave up on these doors last fall (early November) when I ran out of personal steam and also needed to turn on the steam heat. I’ve been working like a dog all summer (not my dog, whose idea of work is choosing which couch she’ll sleep upon, but like a busy dog, maybe one that works on a farm or teaches English), but have this week off-ish. I did prep work yesterday (napping was involved), but have been uncharacteristically industrious today, completing the final sanding of the dining room side of the doors. This just as the power sander bit the dust, as it were.

So am going to explore chemical stripper in the basement for the parlor/living room side of the doors. It’s too much for my feeble arms to sand by hand without the electric sanding guy. I’m hoping to get them both in their barest state today and start the staining process tomorrow. I’d like them done by September 1. They look pretty fab, if I do say so myself. And they’re going to be AMAZING once they’re all stained and sealed.

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As done as it’s gonna be in 2010

3 Nov

I did the final bit of heat gun paint stripping to the pocket doors today, and cleaned ’em up and put ’em back in the wall. I have to say that they slide in their pockets much more easily now that all that paint is off ’em. They must have been precision manufactured and didn’t allow for those extra millimeters of space (Springfield, Mass, of course, was the center of precision manufacturing and machining back in the 19th century b/c of all the talent that came from the Armory).

I’m not going to sand them this year. I will look forward to that project once heating season is over (April 1, 2011, barring sub-zero April days). So it’s all cleaned up and nice and tidy in the living room (parlor — must call it parlor), and dining room. And it’s waaaaarrrrmmmm. How nice to have heat! It was getting ridiculously cold in here.

I’d like to note that I’m typing this post wearing my new bi-focals. I picked them up today. The youth at the opticians advised me not to do “anything crazy like rushing up stairs” while my aged eyes get accustomed to them. I’m looking forward to the moment (youth says in a week or so) when the blurry line between the two realms of near and distant vision disappears.

I have decided that I will now answer “over 40” to the question of my age for the rest of my life. I like to think that I look young for my age right now (though the bi-focals will just kill that foolish notion). I keep hearing the optometrist saying “well, you’re over 40 now, and your eyes are turning into marbles. There’s no avoiding reading glasses. Your eyes will just continue to decline.” On behalf of me and my marbles, thanks. So now, “over 40” may elicit the odd surprised reaction. But as time goes on, when I’m really extremely over 40 (God willing), it may elicit the odd bemused reaction (say, when I’m 80). It’s a long pay-off for a joke, but what else have I got to do?

Brain cells re-activated by ancient varnish fumes?

30 Oct

While the electricians were busy installing the new lights and taking down the mammoth front hall chandelier (that I need to bring to be re-wired and give a proper cleaning to), I was busy heat-gunning the last section of pocket door.

Last door heat gunned.

Last door heat gunned.

I still have to do the second round on the bottom, but tomorrow’s another day.

Here’s the chandelier awaiting re-wiring:

And this is the spacial hole left behind:

But the inspiration I had was to fish out the super heavy duty curtains I’d made several years ago for the downstairs front door (out of school uniform fabric that cost about 99 cents a yard on sale at the late lamented Hancock Fabrics) and use them in the kitchen. The orange velvet wasn’t working for me, and after spending all that money on the electricians and new eyeglasses, I didn’t fancy buying a bunch of fabric and insulation and making new drapes.

I think these plaid blue ones have a nice Yankee feel to them, and they’ll look quite dapper indeed with the black ceiling that is to come. I felt absence of draft as soon as I put them up. Three cheers for the brain restoration powers of varnish fumes — hip hip.. gaaarrarra…………

How long does it take to strip paint?

28 Oct

This represents four hours of work with the heat gun and scraper:

Still to come: all over sanding and chemical stripper for the molding — about two more hours of work time and at least 30-60 minutes of wait time while the chemical does its thing. Plus if I’m going to be good about it, another round of sanding.

So I’m going to call it eight hours of removal per side of each door, making it 32 hours of removal, plus a couple hours total of staining and oiling or polyeurathaning. 35 total? So if one were to pay a skilled professional, one might want to think about the time involved. Though a skilled pro might have all sorts of other tricks and techniques to make it go a lot faster.

And how much paint was removed in those four hours of heat gun stripping? Voici:

It doesn’t seem like much in the photo, but it seems like a LOT here on the ground. Well gang, there ain’t no stoppin’ me now. I’m on the move. I’m going to get the rest of the heat gun work done on Friday and Saturday and Sunday’s going to be my big sand-a-thon and stripeze-fun house (it’s also Halloween).

And then…. they’ll be so close to done. It’s taken me almost nine years, but I’m finally tackling them. woohoo.