Random (but not really)

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Project Chairs: Update Part Three

If you have spent more than an hour with me, you know I’m not a patient person.

So much of this project is WAITING. GAH. Waiting for wood glue to dry, waiting for resin to dry, waiting for stain to dry… SO. MUCH. WAITING.

Here’s how things have progressed since last week.

I dug and scraped and sanded all the old glue and gunk and everything to get these pieces to fit together again. (Here you can see prior to work, these pieces are held together with about a quarter centimeter of wood glue.)

These pieces fit together better now...

As do these two pieces.  (You can see the new split on the smaller piece.)

I scraped old glue and then sanded the crap out of the broken pieces to see if I could get them to fit back together smoothly.

Scrape glue, sand, scrape glue, sand. Ugh. I hope I'm making this actually better.

I glued everything back together as carefully as I could. After getting the large piece down I remembered I had small paint brushes–those worked best. Then I taped everything down for the resin.

I hate waiting.

Duh duh DUH!

PROOF I wore gloves! I also had a window open! Safety precautions! I did not bond together anything that should not have been permamently stuck together.

Proof I remembered gloves!

In progress. It’s never going to look good, but BY GUM IT WILL BE STURDY. And smooth. And even. Just ugly. (Here’s how it looked before I started.)

It’s possible if I’d be more aggressive with the sanding it might have looked better, but as this wood is mostly likely 100+ years old, I’ve been terrified of using too much force. And the site I found that showed step-by-stop how to use the resin to fill voids also used a power sander to smooth the resin. I’m positive that made things quite different from my sanding by hand.

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Again you can see how the resin filled in the void.

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Three areas visible here that got resin.

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Let me tell you, working with the epoxy is a giant PITA. I ended up peeling everything off and starting again on two different sets of cracks. The second time I was far more sparing in my application of resin. If I’d thought to get tooth picks it probably would have gone easier.

The resin is supposed to be sandable, but I mostly have just (CAREFULLY) used a razor and exacto knife to cut the resin flush with the wood.

Yes, that is as miserable to do as it sounds. But so far, no trips to the ER.

And here’s where things are now. Waiting for stain to dry so I can polyurethane the chair on the right. Left is also waiting to be polyurethaned and for the back to be finished.

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Another note–the wood here is very light. I’m positive that on a darker wood many of the imperfections and repairs would have blended into the grain. But here I’m stuck with repaired cracks and voids that are much darker than the surrounding wood.

Written by Michelle at 3:22 pm      Comments (2)  Permalink
Categories: House & Garden  

Friday, February 10, 2017

Project Update: Chairs

(First post here.)

The project is moving apace. Two chairs are finished, two are waiting the arrival of the clear epoxy I ordered.

First, what was hiding when I went to recover the seats:

Oh. Well.   Now I'm thinking I'll leave these old layers for a future surprise.

I found three different fabrics.

Of course I left them underneath for the next person to go WTF?

I did NOT strip the wood, just thoroughly cleaned and sanded. Here’s part of a quick cleaning:

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The two chairs that were finished were simply coated with a water-based polyurethane. I’m going to have to purchase a small can of light oak stain for parts of the two remaining chairs that I’m repairing.

Here is the chair that has the busted back. I am super nervous about how the repairs will turn out, but I realized it can’t be worse than how it was. Plus, someone cracked the end of a support bar while working with the legs. (That someone is NOT ME.)

So, I'm doing this.

The clear epoxy should arrive Monday, so I can stain the pieces I sanded over the weekend and they should be ready for the epoxy then.

And here is a finished chair!

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My goal was simply to recover the seats, and add a layer of protection to the wood.

Next week, we’ll see how the repairs go. But if you hear a lot of cursing, you’ll know it’s not going well.

Written by Michelle at 2:40 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: House & Garden  

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Project: Kitchen Chairs

This one is going to be a little more complicated.

I inherited Grandmom’s kitchen table and chairs. She said that they were “antique” when she and Popbo were given them by one of his aunts, who had the set in her attic (or perhaps basement).

Popbo refinished the set, and then they were used every day. Over the years chairs broke and were repaired with greater or lesser degrees of skill (depending upon who was doing the fixing). When they started to get unstable, and she was afraid one might fall apart while she was using it, we used L brackets to brace them up, and at the same time recovered the seats, and that’s how things have been since–the late 90s probably.

So I have a table and chairs that are in need of a good deal of work, but also very old. And more importantly, of great value to me because they were Grandmom’s.

Essentially, I don’t want to make things worse, but it’s reached the point where something really does need to be done.

The table I can probably manage, since I’ve refinished tables before.

The chairs, however, worry me.

I’m not worried about the sanding and refinishing, but it seems silly to do all that work without repairing them, and THAT I am not comfortable doing.

The chair in the right is in the worst shape. You can see it was badly broken and poorly repaired. We try to make sure small people never sit in this chair.

Kitchen Chairs

Here is a closer look at the repair job. The back slat was replaced with a mostly-matching piece of wood, but the repair where it was rejoined is–awful.

Kitchen Chairs

The bracing is on the underside, out of sight in this view, but somewhat visible from the side. It’s just a brass L bracket, carefully screwed into the wood.

Kitchen Chairs

Here is the view from the back.

Kitchen Chairs

I’ve started by simply cleaning the wood with Murphy’s Oil soap and an old toothbrush and nail brush and soft cloths, and that’s helped, but they really need sanded and several new coats of polyurethane. (Several coats, because this is MY kitchen table now, and I use it every day.)

So, here is the question. Does anyone have advice or recommendations for me? Or is anyone willing to trade delicious baked goods for assistance in this project?

I’m assuming the wood is 100+ years old and so I am extremely leery of removing any existing screws for fear of causing further damage (or not being able to get things back together without breaking something.

Did I mention delicious baked goods of your choice in trade?

Written by Michelle at 8:21 pm      Comments (1)  Permalink
Categories: House & Garden  

Project Floors: Part III

I’ve just finished up the hallway (and by hallway, I mean the tiny expanse of floor between the two bedrooms and the bathroom) but I also decided to see if I could do something about the floor grates.

I tried cleaning them, but they were still ugly.

Then I remembered the existence of spray paint!

Here is a painted grate next to one that has been cleaned (no, really, I cleaned it!) but not yet painted.

Redoing the Floors: Air Vents

And here we were in situ!

Redoing the Floors: Air Vents

I possibly should have gone with a darker color, but standing in front of the spray paint options was a bit overwhelming (like, half an aisle of spray paint) and it might just look odd to me because it’s clean and shiny.

Written by Michelle at 8:00 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: House & Garden  

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Project: Floors, Part II

After putting the living room back together, I moved onto the NEXT room, the guest bedroom (or, as I still sometimes refer to it, Grandmom’s room).

This floor has a lot more deep damage to it–quite a number of burns that predated our purchase–but I still think damaged hardwood is a zillion times better than carpet.

And if you needed further evidence I’m weird:

See that line along the bottom of the door? That’s where Grandmom’s walker would sometimes scrape the door as she maneuvered in an out.

I still, after 6 1/2 years, can’t bring myself to permanently repair that scrape.

Written by Michelle at 8:56 pm      Comments (1)  Permalink
Categories: House & Garden  

Thursday, January 19, 2017

PROJECT! Floors

Our wood floors have need some aid for a while now, but it’s a huge hassle, so we’ve kept putting it off.

UNTIL NOW!

Obviously, I’m not stripping the floors and refinishing them, just cleaning them up as best I can and putting down quick-drying polyurethane. (There IS such a thing! It’s pretty good!)

Because we can’t go somewhere else for a week while I’m redoing the floors, I chose a quick-drying polyurethane, which is allowing me to do part of a room, then (carefully) move the furniture and the do the other part.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a huge hassle to be cut off from half the house for 2-4 hours while the floor dries, but 2 – 4 hours is doable. Especially since there are bathrooms in both halves of the house now.

And because our house is so small, it’s not like I can just move everything into an empty space.

But is IS manageable, and I’m delighted to finally get this taken care of.

And in case you were wondering–here are the contents of part of one of the living room bookcases.

Written by Michelle at 1:03 pm      Comments (2)  Permalink
Categories: House & Garden  

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Sunday Flower Pr0n: DAY LILIES!

I do, in fact, have many cultivars of day lilies. And they’re all blooming right now.

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I have a couple other things blooming as well.

Balloon Flower (Platycodon grandiflorus)

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I HAVE A RASPBERRY!

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Gerbera daisies. I didn’t get an orange flower this year, which is too bad, because they’re my favorite.

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Written by Michelle at 10:00 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Flowers,House & Garden,Photos  
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