Sunday, September 09, 2007

Back to work

"Holy shit, he's working on the house again!!!"

You're right, the well-ventilated house with all of the windows open and 80's punk and New Wave blaring from it can only mean one thing: I am back to stripping the wood in the bedroom!

Simple job. All I have left are the window heads and sills, apron, and cornice. Yeah, simple until I started actually stripping and found that these areas were once covered with something odd.Am I crazy? Was all of the other wood stripping this difficult and I only fail to remember it because it was so long ago that I did any actual stripping? Are these pieces of wood abnormally dark or am I holding the Speedheater on the pieces a little too long?

Why the hell did I ever start stripping this wood in the first place? There are plenty of people, in fact most people in America, that get along just fine with crappy painted woodwork. Why couldn't I be one of those people? Why I couldn't I just go to Home Depot, pick out a stark white paint (or maybe settle for a nice light cream), and go on with a painted and sane, frustration-free, life? Nooooooo, I have to get all fancy and have natural woodwork and wood floors and earth-tone paints and la dee da dee da.

O.K. I think I got that out of my system.
I am not sure but I really think that something was initially applied to this part of the window trim that did not get applied anywhere else. The Speedheater is absolutely useless. O.K., maybe I am exaggerating because it got off the first 6 layers of paint. Unfortunately, it is not helping with the last two? I was at this small 6' section for over 5 hours. This is disheartening as I got the entire door frame (jambs & head) completed in the same amount of time. I am not sure what this will mean aesthetically for the head of the window when it is seen in relation to all of the other woodwork in the room but I will persist and hopefully no one will be the wiser when they look at the final product.

Don't forget: vote early and often (at least once daily) for "Pleasant Home" at Partners in Preservation !!!

5 comments:

Marty said...

Is there a bottom barrier coat of shellac? It may be that the wood was painted originally (white putty in the original nails holes would give that away). You might be dealing with an old lead paint - very impervious to all kinds of paint removal processes.

When your house was built, the woodwork in bathrooms and kitchens were always painted '(with lead - very durable and washable), and bedrooms, very often.

If you're dealing with lead, which you probably are, take all the necessary precautions. If it was mine, I would just paint it like you mentioned. Or just replace the wood. It's cheaper and safer.

Tiny Oak Park Bungalow said...

Thanks Marty, I am pretty sure you are correct that our bedroom woodwork was all originally painted. Though it is the same wood used throughout the rest of the house, the way the paint sits on and lack of varnish on the first few coats seems to point to this.

This was the last piece of stripping and the only piece I had trouble with. It's done now and we were VERY well ventilated during the entire stripping process.

As for paint in the other rooms: I don't know about the bath but the kitchen was most likely originally natural wood (atypical, I know). Two doorways in that room are still original and paint is very easily pealing off other pieces of trim and door. This room has the only oak trim in the house (the rest is birch) so it will be nice when it is all re-done. Problem: I want to significantly change my 8x9 kitchen and move some walls and windows so I am not sure how much of this trim will be left after the reconfiguration.

StuccoHouse said...

It would be a shame to pull out that old growth wood to replace it with inferior HD stuff just because of the paint - but you know that;-) I'm with you on the paint stripping.

Wouldn't it be funny if back int he 1920's the original home owner stained the header.....then said something like..."There are plenty of people, in fact most people in America, that get along just fine with crappy stained woodwork. Why couldn't I be one of those people? Why I couldn't I just go to [local lumberyard], pick out a dark stain (or maybe settle for a medium stain), and go on with a stained and sane, frustration-free, life? Nooooooo, I have to get all fancy and have painted woodwork and wood floors and earth-tone paints and la dee da dee da." Trends change, huh?

I think I have that same funky, beige, base paint on my interior & exterior woodwork. It actually has a "fluffier" texture to it that the old oil based paint. It think it is a vintage primer and it is a bear to remove.

. . . Lisa and Robb . . . said...

Oh hilarious! Several years later, thousands of miles away, I'm blasting 80s punk (and classic soul) and stripping paint on my 1925 house with a speedheater. Well, actually, I'm not just at this moment. I'm watching paint dry at work.

Shasha Kidd said...

I feel your pain--5 years late--but I'm still feeling it. I wish I could have lived with painted wood too. I still have one more room to strip, but it will wait until next year.