Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Of Kitchens and Kittens


When we first moved in, we found the door that would go between the kitchen and the dining room, leaning against the wall in our laundry room.  We did what any normal person would do, and shoved it in the garage where it collected dust from every one of Robb's construction projects.

Like so many of the surfaces in our little house, the door has several very good layers of oil paint, and one final coat of terrible latex paint.  That shape in the middle of the door panel is where the latex paint is peeling off.

We'll be doing a lot of sanding, very soon, and so our plan is to re-hang this door in order to contain some of the mess.  Before we do that, we wanted to strip off its paint.

The first part of this process is done with our brilliant Swedish heat-stripper.  It heats the paint -- so they tell us -- to a temperature at which paint softens, but below the temperature at which lead volatilizes.  The paint comes off in large strips, which is reasonably easy to contain.

Here's what it looks like after I got finished with the stripper.  This door had more paint on it than anything else we've worked on so far.  I had to be careful with the scraping, because I didn't want to damage the moulding around the central panel on the door. 

And here's what it looks like after Robb sanded it.  We probably need to do a bit of cleaning up, on that moulding, but I think that will have to wait until we have the perfect sanding tool.  Whatever that is.

Finally, here's the infuriating and truly depressing part.  Here's where the wood panel developed huge splitting cracks, probably due to the heat of my paint stripper.  I'm so pissed off at myself, and at this door.

I've never seen anything like this.  Both Robb and I have stripped more paint than either of us care to think about, and this has never happened before.  As I was working, I was hearing a faint cracking sound.  At first, I was afraid that the wood was somehow smouldering, due to the heat of the stripper.  But it seems that what I was hearing was the wood splitting apart.

I'm a super-expert wood filler, but it makes me so angry that I did so much damage to this antique door.  I get so very frustrated and angry at myself when I destroy old things.  They've survived so long, and then I go and wreck them.  Particularly infuriating when I trash something when I'm supposed to be restoring it.

Speaking of trashed, here's what our kitchen looked like this morning.  We've moved all of the food out of the pantry, and off course all the doors and drawers are being worked on.

Many, many hours later this is how things look.  It's hard to see, but I've stripped away a huge amount of paint.  This is exhausting work, because I'm holding the heavy stripper in place with one arm and using the other arm to scrape off the paint.  The striping machine is quite heavy, and all that scraping requires a lot of force.  The blades dull very quickly, which is a bother.  They start off sharp, and end up working about as well as cheap butter knives.

The kitchen cabinets are made of a baffling assortment of materials.  The galvanized metal is particularly mystifying.  I'm hoping to see our next door neighbors, and ask them to lend me their heat gun, because our heat stripper doesn't fit inside of tight corners.

Sandwiched between the layers of paint is some cheerful contact paper.  I guess it was easier to paint over this stuff than remove it, back in the day.

Here's the chaos in the dining room.  The pantry food is on the dining room table, for the time being.

As always, the cats are being very helpful.  They offer their supervision and critique of our work.


Cricket-bug Corner said...

You are also doing a LOT of work! I love the funny tongue!

Anne Bonny said...

Lol, that last picture has me dying!! We've done the stripping and scraping and it.is.not.fun. Our house isn't nearly as old as yours though, so I can't imagine all those extra layers! It can be interesting to see all the different paint combinations they decided to throw together back in the day!

Rabid Quilter from CA said...

I don't have the gene that gives me the fortitude, diligence, or compassion that you have, Lisa. Only ONE of the many reasons we think you are amazing. Don't beat yourself up about the damage--you and Robb will make it look like the day it was made


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