Monday, March 15, 2010

House Update: Door Prize

Time for a brief house update. While I feel like i've been working on the house all the time, despite a couple weeks off because of the broken foot, progress is slow. Partly because I'm actually doing some finishing work, and partly because life keeps preventing me from working on the house as much as I'd like.

Finish work is rewarding, because things go from being just functional to being nice. But the detail work -- cleaning up messy paint splashes from over the decades, wall/casing boundaries, patching holes, painting, and so on-- is really just as much the devil as they say it is. You think you're just about done with something, but you can spend hours, even days, on one little thing.

A couple months ago I mentioned that the bathroom was nearly finished. That's still the case. Is anything ever really done? In order for it to actually be finished (at which point, I'm sure I'll have bashed or broken something that will need fixing), there are a few details left to take care of.

Bathroom Door
You may be able to see some off-colored splotches. These
are wood filler repairs that still need to be sanded.
The burn marks near the bottom (really the top... it's
upside down) may have come from my heat gun... doh.

One of these was the door. I was very fortunate in that this old wreck of a house I bought, for all its problems, had some very thoughtful previous owners in that the radiators, woodwork and doors had never been painted -- only stained. For the most part, anyway - the inside of the bathroom door had the standard 27 layers of paint on it. Stain is relatively easy to remove or clean up, if needed, whereas paint removal is a tremendously laborious ordeal.

I love original details in old houses, and the largely pristine condition of the finishing elements in this house was one of the major attractions it had for me. Removing paint from woodwork is terrible work no matter how you slice it, and I finally got around to tackling the one door that needed it last weekend.

I had hoped to finish it this weekend, and almost did. The picture here is the result of about 8 hours of paint stripping: Major toxic chemical bath last weekend, followed by several hours of heat-gun paint removal, followed by another chemical bath to clean up the residue. Lots and lots of work with rubber gloves, a wire brush, and a toothbrush to get all the details clean. It came out really nicely, and the door was generally in very good shape under all that paint. Though I have probably suffered irreperable brain damage from all the paint and stripper fumes I've inhaled, I think the result will be worth my reduced IQ.

All that's left to do is some finish sanding and then staining, and I can put it back together and re-hang it. At that point there are just a couple more things to do and I can really close the door on the bathroom (pun intended). The sink support structure needs to be rejiggered a little bit before I can permanently install and seal around the sink, and the floor needs to be cleaned up and sealed.

Oh - and we need the perfect shower curtain, which remains elusive. At that point, it will really be done, and I'll take pictures.

One more project (almost) down, 874 to go.

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