I had a goal to be done stripping, all the stripping, before July came. That’s not going to work out. Because of course everything is slow. Incidentally, I’ve been watching houses getting thrown up by the dozen on my way to and from work every day. Except that I know a mansion that was in the DuPont family came down to build them. (The crazy one who killed someone.) I was of course mad about that. Especially since half the development is townhouses anyway and you’d think there’d be a way to subdivide the mansion without leveling it. But I was surprised to see that they’re not that bad. Until I saw this. (And yes, I drove the beater car with the junkyard hood that’s the wrong color into the subdivision to take this photo.)
I may be putting 2 years and all my money into the Crooked House. I may have let my social ties lapse, my clothes fall apart at the seams, my hair turn grey, and my parents’ house fill with junk, but at least I will never suffer the indignity of owning a cantilevered chimney veneered in fake stone. If they hadn’t bothered with the stone it would have been better, no? For comparison, here’s the house across from my parents, which shows you that there is a correct way to build a chimney on the same wall as a flat foundation. But a cantilever ain’t it. Cantilever a bay window instead.
Alright, back to my house. I want to say all there is to say about stripping now and be done with it, even though it’s not finished. I’ve been using the heat gun, Klean Strip, and SoyGel. Yup, all 3. The heat gun gets most of the paint off clean, but then I burn the wood if I have teeny bits left, so for these, out comes the KleanStrip. But for what I’m stripping stain grade, the SoyGel works as well as anything, stays wet a long time, doesn’t burn my skin, and cleans up with water. Plus, I paid dearly for it and want to justify the expense. I’m doing the railing stain grade, using only chemicals. There are too many curves for the heat gun to work. Here’s what I’ve got now:
Those little paint chips aren’t stuck to it either. So this is about ready to stain!
Except inside the teeniest crevasses of that volute. You can see them from the underside. And they might drive me insane. Any ideas? I’m talking about inside the crevasse; the flat bottom will practically strip itself.
Then there’s the basement stairway door. Someone busted the panel out and then replaced it with plywood that wasn’t cabinet grade. I busted that out and will replace it again and it’ll look almost as good as new. I was gonna leave the back side because who cares about the basement stairwell. But then I couldn’t fight the urge to make it look decent.
And under the paint I found definitive proof that the door was not free!
And remember how I used a highly alkaline stripper on these scrolly things under my stairs? I’ve finally neutralized them with an acid wash and then (lol) used a heat gun to get off what that complicated process missed.
So there you have it! I’m almost ready to move on to prettier, (hopefully) less labor intensive things!