Back to Work?

I’ve had a great time doing things that are not remodeling. Really. But I also want to get some things done sooner or later. Plus, I didn’t have a lot going on this weekend, so it was back at it. I was staring at dust bunnies under a table in the living room a couple days ago. The old plan was to tackle those. The new plan? Sand the banister.

A refresher: in October 2015, in one of my biggest screwups ever, I carefully set aside a fragment of wood. But I didn’t wrap it in tape and tag it “save” so my dad threw it away.

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And so, instead of finishing this before the floors were done when it would have made sense, I abandoned it. Then, my friend gutted his house and gave me what I thought was the perfect material  to make a patch. (I believe this banister was an off the shelf product in the 1930’s because it’s  all over the city. Note that this one is a mirror image.)

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The Irishman fixed the disaster with a whole lot of wood filler, and I let the banister go like this for a year and a half. It’s still better than the drippy candle faux finish a previous owner applied.

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But anyways. I did a lot of sanding. And I put down a lot of sheets and masking tape. Yawn. The Irishman put a big dent in the railing at some point and remembered it when my sandpaper got down here.

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And so I steamed it out. Pretty simple procedure. Dribble the dent with water, cover with a wet paper towel, then iron it. Repeat like 30 more times. I probably ironed more yesterday than in the last 5 years combined.

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But it worked pretty well! There’s still a small dent though after I sanded it out it was hard to tell. Also, shout out to my roommate for getting these really flattering shots of me.

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And then came the finishing! I used what I got for the doors upstairs, General Finishes High Performance Topcoat dyed Brown Mahogany. My thinking there was that it would penetrate the wood less and camouflage mismatches between old and new wood better, and be less blotchy if any remnants of original finish were still in place.

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The balusters and newel are paint grade and will be off white like all the other trim, and the balusters that spiral around the volute have to go back in. Hopefully my motivation is sticking around for a while. I also have no interior doorknobs that work right except my roommate’s bedroom and the bathroom.

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12 thoughts on “Back to Work?

  1. Mary Elizabeth

    Iron story: When I moved to Alabama in the 1970s, with a little baby, I dutifully brought my iron with me, although I avoided ironing like the plague. A year later, I received a little baby dress that needed ironing, so I dug the iron out of its box. Tried to pour water in the little hole provided for the purpose. The water would not go into the hole, so I poked at it with a toothpick. A very pale yellow and angry spider came out. From then on, I had a laundry basket I euphemistically called “mending,” stowed in the bottom of a closet. Into that basket went any stupid bit of clothing that required ironing. I think irons are much better used for steaming up old tile, etc.

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