Monday, October 12, 2009

"I'm ready for my closeup Mr Demille"

Old woodwork and old Houses are a lot like good wine and great women - they get better as they age.

However, there are times that blemishes appear and must be taken care of. Am I right ladies(?) - you know what I mean.

Also, as women know, the right application of make-up and candle light can cover a lot of problems.

This post is proof positive that smoke-n-mirrors can take care of many flaws - especially in the world of home restoration.

One of the biggest problems that face woodworkers, and home restorationists, around the world are the little blemishes that show up after wood-stain is applied.

These blemishes can be caused by many things - wood characteristics, stripping chemicals, previous paints and stains, and wood fillers to name a few.

One of the biggest of blemishes is the 'doughnut' that can appear around an area where wood filler is used. There are chemicals in these fillers that make the absorption of the stain less than perfect.

I was not immune to this. In fact, one of the things that took the longest time in preparation was eliminating them. For the most part I'd say I was pretty successful at doing this, but there were a few spots that just didn't seem to want to go away.

In order to make these spots less obvious there are various tricks one can use. This is one of them.

Sorry about the picture being so bleached out, but you can see the 'doughnuts'.

I must have used about every trick I know on these spots, and several others, but they just did not go away. Once the stain was applied they were magnified.

Turning to one of my bag of tricks I thought I would try a little trompe l'oeil and see what would happen.

These colors are the basic ones I used.

Now, if this had been an extremely fine piece of furniture, or something that would come under a lot of scrutiny, I would have used different paints, brushes and methods. However, since this is something that is noticed, but not scrutinized, I chose simple hobby paints and brushes.

Also, keep in mind, the spots are noticeable from just about anywhere if not fixed. All you are wanting to do is trick the eye into not noticing the spots. Since these areas, in our case anyway, are not at eye level in our case, as much care as normal is not necessary. Keep this in mind as you look at the rest of the pictures.

Now here is the finished result.

Note that it isn't perfect - it's not intended to be. The intent is to camouflage and fool the eye.

Even though the spots are still visible at this close range they are a bit harder to detect.

Here they are at about 3' away.

Now they are getting even harder to see.

This shot is at about 4' away and at eye level.

The spots are just about impossible to see.

And here is the view from the center of the kitchen.

Can you see the spots, or any other blemishes?

Here is another sample of the spots 'before' from above the stove.

Again, for some reason this picture is bleached out too - sorry.

And now 'after'.

You can still see some of the spots and blemishes, but once the woodwork is buffed, and top coated, they should be virtually invisible.

However - that's a BIG however, the buffing and the top coat could take a turn for the worse and make the smoke-n-mirrors worse. Hopefully it will turn out as planned.

We will know by tomorrow.

Well, I'd better get back to work.

Till next time...


Sunday, October 4, 2009

Humidity & Wall/Ceiling Paper

I was just visiting over at The Sow's Ear and really enjoyed the post called 'Not on the Agenda' about humidity and wallpaper.

This prompted me to tell you all about the problem the funky, humid, muggy weather we've had for most of August, and a lot of September, caused here. Like at The Sow's Ear, the weather has caused portions of the wallpaper, on the walls and ceilings, to curl up and come loose. It has mainly occurred along the seems, but the ceiling papers are worse than that on the walls.

This would make sense since heat travels up.

Anyway, the rooms on the second floor that have ceiling paper look really sad now. For some reason though the library on the north east side of the house is worse than the rest.

If you don't believe me, just look at the pictures!

Here is the biggest area where the paper fell off.

You can also see the waves in the paper where the wall meets the ceiling. This is from the house shifting as well.

If you look to the right you will see what looks like a hole in the ceiling - I'll get back to that.

Here is where a long strip came off.

The far right point of the missing section is where it actually started peeling/falling. A piece of the paper was hanging down so low I touched it with a bayonet. This brief touch caused it to peel away more and then the weight took over. Before I knew it a section, almost as long as the room is wide, peeled right off!

Some of the original paper is still up there (it's fabric) but the closer the peeling paper got to the wall it started to take the original paper with it.

There is still a lot of spots where it looks like more is about to come down. On the bright side, at least it's easier to remove when it's like this!!

Oh, back to the hole in the ceiling. Do you see it there - just left of the light fixture? That's where the light fixture was originally located. It was not centered to the room. In fact, none of the lights in the house were centered to their rooms! It's like the people who put the electrical components in took the lazy way out and just put them where they were convenient to attach to a ceiling joist.

I have centered all the lights in the rooms upstairs. The lights in the living room and dinning still need to be centered and the one in the foyer is close. It will be fun working on these!

Till next time...

Larry ~

Another Up-Date

Well, it's been a while so I thought I would throw out another group of pictures showing some progress.

The past couple of weeks have been filled with a whirlwind of things having nothing to do with the house but requiring all my time nonetheless.

In fact, the past two weeks have been as though I was tied up and thrown in either the trunk or rumble seat of Mr. Toad's car while on his wild ride!

The next two pictures are of a project that was not planned, but needed to be.

With a little thinking you should be able to figure out what it is.

1st coat.

The cowl, or Elizabethan Collar is there to protect the surrounding area and to work as a way to keep the spray paint within this area. I needed to do this to try out an idea I had.

2nd coat.

The idea was to have the shop vac going while spray painting.

With the paper cowl forcing the paint mist to stay in this area the hose sucked it up while I sprayed.

The idea seemed to work; I found no paint residue on any of the surrounding area.

3rd coating.

The color alone should indicate what this thing is!

The woodwork is coming along rather well. There are several little spots that need to be touched up and the top coats applied. There 'should' be some dramatic changes in the kitchen by this time next week - keep your fingers crossed.

Here are the doors leading to the powder room and the basement.

Doorway to the foyer.

And the doors to the utility porch and the dinning room.

Note - the plumbing chase column is not stained. There are plans afoot for this!

Main bay of windows.

Do you see it(?!) - no junk on the tavern table!!!


I spent two days sorting the various aspects of restoration clutter and putting it all away.

It enabled me to put a few things back where they belong.

And the prep area corner window grouping.

Now, if you can't figure out where the first three pictures are from something might be wrong with you.

Also note - like the plumbing chase column the little side wall to the left as not been stained either. Again, there are plans afoot!

Tomorrow I go get paint.

We do have paint left over from when we did some work in the main bathroom - when we were just trying to make it livable. However, the paint is old and I don't really trust it. So I'm going to look at getting more. Problem is, it's a three part paint system and I don't remember which paint was used in what part of the process. It ought to be fun figuring it out!

Till next time...

Larry ~