Sunday, December 04, 2011

Taking a hiatus from stripping until after the holidays

The final piece of work in the living and dining room that was left undone before thatnksgiving was stripping anad refinishing the built-in.  This week I took it apart and began that work.  I finished the stripping yesterday and am "done" with that aspect of the work in the two rooms.  Now that I've perfected my method, I will pick up on finishing the two hallways early next year.
The built-in was more difficult than other parts of the room because there is a lot of detail to it and it has a lot of moving parts.  I had to take off the art glass doors, clean up the capitals, and also remove the drawers so they could be done. 

After one coat of stain, it looks pretty good.  I should be able to finish a second coat later today.   
Working so closely on the wood in the house, I have found tons of mistakes made by the original carpenters and POs.  The hatchet job the PO did on removing all of the trim, "stripping" it and then bashing it back into place left many broken and splintered pieces of trim.  I spent about two hours fixing one small section and wish I had the patience to do the entire house but it probably would extend this project to a 12 month project as opposed to a one month one.  The glass doors to the cabinets were installed wrong - or better, they were each installed differently: one with the trim facing the inside of the cabinet and one facing outside.  I never noticed this before so doubt others would as well.  There are also some water stains here and there that I couldn't get out of the wood, no matter how much I bleached or sanded them.      
The drawer hardware is my latest beef.  It is a minor issue but one that will gnaw at me.  The PO installed new hardware that was different from the original rectangular-stock hardware.  You can still see the ghost of the original hardware on the drawers (below).  The new hardware has a round escutcheon behind each pull post.  Also, the new hardware has mounting screws that are closer together than the original so a new hole had to be drilled for them.  Of course, the PO couldn't drill them neatly and evenly so they are all over the place. Or, God forbid, find some hardware that matched the original mounting holes.  I don't hate the the new reproduction hardware enough to remove it but I don't love it either and would like something simpler and  I wish I knew what was originally on the buffet.  For now, I am going to live with it.  
I should be wrapping this project up this week.  It will be finished except for the mural I will be painting above the high dado.  I'll post on that separately.  Now that it is almost done, it is hard to remember how bad the wood originally was.  I bet most folks that come to the house will say, "I thought it looked fine before, what changed?"   As a reminder, I feel like printing and framing the photo below and hanging it in my dining room so that folks can be reminded of how bad it used to be.

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