Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Big Idea

I knew that scraping the house down to bare wood was going to be a slow and awful job...but I didn't realize how slow and awful.  That paint is tough, y'all.  We tried an angle grinder, a heat gun, a disc sander, and White Trash Bob's Metabo thingy and none of them work as well as a pull scraper and a putty knife.  Most of them (the grinder, the heat gun, and the sander) didn't work at all.  WTB's Metabo works only on perfectly flat trim, not the clapboards.  That means hours and hours of chipping away at paint and making not much progress.  I was whining about this the other day when Charlie said, "The next time I'm workin on the house and I get an idea, I'm keepin my mouth shut."  I asked him what he meant and he said, "This whole thing is my fault.  You would've been happy with your little plan about the caulk and then I came along and said we should start all over."  It's true, it was his idea, and I recorded that conversation for all eternity right here.  Now I have someone to blame.  (Not really; the house will look so much better when we get done.  In three years....)

Anyhow, when Charlie said he'd keep his next big idea to himself, I knew he didn't mean it.  So I waited (with my own mouth shut) until the next idea came along.  And, I didn't have long to wait.  A couple of days ago he was scraping paint off a piece of trim under the eaves when he said, "Ya know, this would be a lot easier if we just took the trim off the house."  What?!  Take the trim off the house?!  That sounded like a huge pain in the hiney to me...but then I got up on the other ladder, started scraping on the trim, and got a crick in my neck in the first five minutes.  I went and got a wrecker bar and we took those trim pieces right off the house.  (I say that like it was easy--it wasn't.  Those things were practically welded to the house by caulk and paint and getting them off the house without breaking them was difficult.)

We started with this:
A quarter-inch of paint in places.  Much like the rest of the house.  It looks bubbly because I put Jasco stripper (which I highly recommend) on there before I thought to take a picture.

And then it looked like this:
Wow, right?!  I think it's actually chair rail.

And then I painted it:
Inside my house, to avoid the heat of the day.  There might be a couple pieces of cat fur stuck in the paint.  Don't tell Charlie, okay?  (The paint is a little darker than this pic in real life.)

And then we put it back on the house, but I didn't get a photo of that because the trim's hidden up under the eaves.  Yep, all that work for trim you can't even see unless you stand in the flowerbed and look straight up. The only places on the house where this trim will really show are on the gables, and there I think it will stand out and look really pretty.

I can't wait for Charlie's next idea.  I predict it'll happen by the end of stay-cation on Sunday.


  1. The after picture looks like a new piece of wood. I can imagine those carved boards lose detail with so many layers of paint on them.

    It sounds like Charlie and I have the same problem, we think out loud. Oh theres been so many times I wish I'd kept my mouth shut.

  2. You deserve the Academy Award for old house restoration.

  3. I totally sympathize. We've been scraping paint indoors for months!

  4. I love that you've found your "idea" man. The mother and I have a running joke for when she says:"I've got an idea." I require a 10-minute headstart to disappear. :-)

  5. It looks like you have clapboard siding? I use the Paintshaver Pro to strip all the paint from the exterior of my house. I tried a million ways before that. I wouldn't even attempt to do it without that tool. It's specifically designed to strip lead paint from clapboard siding. It makes two cuts, the face of the clapboard, and the bottom edge of the clapboard above. You can individually adjust each cut to the thickness of the paint. And it sucks all the dust into a hepa vacuum. They're expensive ($600-700 new) but I found mine used for about half the price. I will re sell it when I'm done using it.

    I am able to strip an entire side of my house (2.5 stories) in 2-3 days. However, it doesn't get everything. You still have to get the edges next to trim, and some of the trim itself with another method (I use the heat gun/scraper). But it is the fastest method out there.

  6. Wow - what dedication! Looks great :-)

  7. Nina, I just looked at the Paintshaver Pro online and the mechanism of it seems to be a lot like WTB's Metabo paint stripper--although as far as I know, the Metabo isn't made specifically for lead paint and it doesn't make two cuts. I'm going to ask around and see if anyone has one I can borrow before I buy one, even used. Thanks for the info!

  8. It's mid July. Should we be worrying about Charlie, or has the shyste...ah, attorney delayed things again?

  9. Karen Anne, You were right the first time. ;) Charlie's case has been moved to a different division before a different judge at the request of his attorney. I'm not sure of the reasoning behind that decision. Anyway, he goes to court again July 30th, and I predict another continuance since the shyst--lawyer--hasn't contacted him with any sort of plea agreement offer.

    Thanks for asking, it means a lot to me.