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Peeling away the layers - Sing With Me If It's Just For Today... — LiveJournal
If I should fall behind, Guyster, wait for me.
Peeling away the layers

The master bedroom, which I currently use as a guest bedroom, is large, shabby, and lush with its wood and tile fireplace carved with curlicues, Victorian posts and a built-in beveled mirror. The room also has a separated sitting area dominated by grand windows that face the thicket of an enormous ficus tree that looks like it wants to throw apples at Dorothy. The previous owner had stripped away years of paint from the ornate mantel, but the rest of the molding in the rooms was still painted dingy beige, the eighth or ninth color choice made over the past hundred years.

When I suggested to Joe that I wanted to strip all of the woodworking, he warned of dangers I never imagined from skin burns and blindness to the house collapsing in a flash fire. It was a verbal Red Asphalt and I decided I wanted no part of it, choosing to add yet another layer of paint on top, a color that would be wood-like.

A few weeks ago, I ignored Joe’s cautionary tale and jumped right into the world of chemicals and facemasks. I started with a toxic brand of stripper, one that promised to lift all paint and leave nothing but the original wood intact. That may have been true if this wood had been dusted with a light coat of latex, but not through choice after bad color choice of lead paint. Somewhere in the fifties, the room was a deep pink. It may have been the nun years. I don’t know.

A neighbor suggested a soy gel. It isn’t toxic to breathe or touch, and again the promise was to go straight through all of the paint. After three gloppy coats of “Soy grown in America,” hours of waiting, and the bicep-building use of a plastic strip tool, I see wood. It’s a fine honey pine, and last weekend I worked on the large archway that leads to the sitting parlor. One-third is completed.

At this rate, I’ll probably finish sometime around 2008, perhaps just after the election, and I can stain the bare wood in the bedroom a warm glow with the peace of mind that a new administration is in charge.


16 comments or Leave a comment
From: inkprincess Date: March 30th, 2006 04:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
mondragon From: mondragon Date: March 30th, 2006 04:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
My experience is that stripping wood is very arduous, toxic - both from the chemicals you use to strip as well as the nasty lead that so many layers of the paint are likely to have - and requires a level of dedication that I just don't have.

More power to you. The wood in our house has not been painted over and I turn red in the face when Ernie suggests that we do.
guysterrules From: guysterrules Date: March 31st, 2006 02:52 am (UTC) (Link)
Keep Ernie away from that paint! Don't do it, Ernie!
mondragon From: mondragon Date: April 1st, 2006 03:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
To be fair, a lot of what he's wanting to paint is cheap 1950's door trim that can easily be replaced.

fabulist From: fabulist Date: March 30th, 2006 04:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
I didn't tell you not to strip, you dumbass—just that you shouldn't jump into it half-cocked and uninformed because you saw it on Extreme Space Makeover™ and thought it was a twenty-four hour job.

Good to see myself as the finger-wagging naysayer again.

From: umkinda Date: March 30th, 2006 05:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
That face mask is slowing you down, AND those gloves. How do you expect to get finished if you don't just dump it straight on the floor and just push it around with your hands? That's how I did it and my floors look absolutely jafeija;3i331ej333j3j33323232222
guysterrules From: guysterrules Date: March 31st, 2006 02:53 am (UTC) (Link)
Finger painting is fun!
mengus From: mengus Date: March 30th, 2006 07:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
Try this product, it's the industry standard, and my choice for stripping.

It fills me with such pride to see someone I adore do good work in my craft.
guysterrules From: guysterrules Date: March 31st, 2006 02:53 am (UTC) (Link)
Phew! I read this link, and it actually seems like the solution. Thanks, Lin!
mengus From: mengus Date: March 31st, 2006 02:57 am (UTC) (Link)
Use the Peel-Away 7. It's still not a panacea, but it's far and away the best product. De nada, mi amigo.
guysterrules From: guysterrules Date: April 11th, 2006 01:31 am (UTC) (Link)
Hey Lin. I ordered lucky number seven, but I might call you for some insider tips.
mengus From: mengus Date: April 11th, 2006 01:51 am (UTC) (Link)
You may call me at any time, for any reason, Mr.
From: cuppajohn Date: March 31st, 2006 02:32 am (UTC) (Link)
what, you don't like george bush? huh?

adding a wood-like color... that's humorous, my friend.
guysterrules From: guysterrules Date: March 31st, 2006 02:58 am (UTC) (Link)
If George Bush had his wood exposed, I'd like him a lot better, but he's painted such an awful color.
notoriousbrb From: notoriousbrb Date: March 31st, 2006 01:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
My dear friend Pale used to name paint colors as a profession. He tried to slip "Inner Labia Pink" past the approval committee. He says that it made it through four people, but Pale has a tendency to tell tall tales. Anytime I see that horrific pink paint color, I think of labia.
poodler From: poodler Date: March 31st, 2006 02:29 pm (UTC) (Link)

I'm impressed

You do realize that you need to reshoot that shot with shirt off, no flash, and at an angle so that we can admire the "whole" view.

Sounds like a project which will be very rewarding at the end. Good to hear that you found a non toxic stripper, though I presume that you're wearing gloves to keep from touching the lead paint.

Is the mantel also pine? Will you be clear coating or staining?
16 comments or Leave a comment