Friday, March 25, 2011

My night job

In the evenings I moonlight as a stripper. A paint stripper that is! Gotcha!

You see, in purchasing an 82 year old house we acquired 82 years worth of history with. We also got some awesome solid wood doors. Solid as in at least 70 lbs. a piece. And we got 15 of them to be exact. 15 doors with at least 15 coats of paint on them....and their original solid hardware.
Way back when we started this renovation (when we were really in novices), we thought we'd strip the paint from each door, sand it and repaint them white. Well after working on that very first door for 2 weeks and still not getting it all off, we gave up on that idea and hired painters to sand and repaint our doors. Our painters however did not make our door hardware pretty - in fact, we're pretty sure they gave it another coat of white even though we specifically asked them to not do so!

So with our doors freshly painted and our hardware uglier than ever, we found ourselves in a bind. It would be impossible to strip the paint from the hardware with the doors still in place, so they'd have to come off, one at at time. And just that they have been doing over the past 6 months. We cheat a bit and take down 2 or 3 at a time to speed the process along.

It's not easy since they're so heavy, so it's a good thing my handyman is in really good shape!
So he removes all the hinges, doorknobs, and what have you and drops them in the bucket of XXXX (some toxic goo) for a few days. That's where I come in. Me and my rubber gloves.

After bathing in the stripper for a few days, the paint is good and loose. SoI don my rubber gloves, grab my wire brush and head to the kitchen sink (we don't have a utility sink yet). Luckily we have a t.v. in the kitchen so I can pass the time catching up on some shows while I strip. It takes hours. Did you hear me? HOURS. By the time I'm through my hands are wrinkly little prunes and my neck aches like crazy.

But the fun does not stop there. We would have loved to leave them in their original antique brass state, but not all of it is a pretty brass. A lot is stained dark and some parts have been replaced over the years and don't look original, so we opt to paint them an oil-rubbed bronze instead.
I've prepared an area in our 2nd floor specifically for painting. Since we don't care about anything up there we don't worry about getting a little spray paint on the rug! So I lay out the goods and get to work priming. Because of the nature of spray paint, it takes a couple of coats which takes a day or so.

The spread

Cool locks, huh?
We even got some of the original skeleton keys too!

Soldier screws - a recent tip I figured out.

After a few coats of primer.

Then I move onto the bronzing. We chose Krylon's Oil Rubbed Metallic Bronze. It's a blacker look than some of it's competitors. This process takes several coats and several days. The hinges and bolts are all curved so I have to get them from several angles on both their sides. That paired with the fact that we don't "live" upstairs so they can easily be forgotten, makes for about a week of painting. (Sorry, I forgot to take pictures of this process.)

Once everything has been painted, it then has to be lacquered. It helps the paint be a bit more durable. It'll still scrape away as any paint does on metal, but the lacquer does help. Plus it gives a nice shiny coat which makes the hardware stand out more.

After all the lacquering is through, I pass the torch back to my handsome handyman and he gets to work re-installing the doors. This process usually takes at least 2 evenings....and a lot of grunting. Once he's done his thing, I touch up any chips that have occurred in the re-installation process with our handy dandy paint pen. The color isn't a perfect match, but it's good enough.

And that my friends is the lengthy process of making our 82 year old solid doors "new" again.

PS: If you ever stop by to visit, please comment on how nice they look. (It kills us to think that these little details that we slave over, would go unnoticed by visitors and/or future home buyers!)

1 comment:

Mom said...

Your dedication & attention to detail is to be commended. You guys are doing a great job on your new home; projects galore, but great satisfaction as well.