140330 Heat Gun

I have done my share of stripping paint over the past few years.  When your house is over 200 years old there are always more than a few coats of paint on the woodwork.  I have used strippers and they are pretty caustic and never give me quite the results I expect.

My brother-in-law is a painter, glass blower, jack of all trades kind of guy and he is always giving me tips on how to make my renovation projects easier.  A while back he told me he had started using a heat gun to strip the moulding in a house about the age of ours and the results were amazing.  I had Bill get one through the tool guy at the shop and began my first project of stripping the paint off of the floor in a bedroom upstairs.  The result was nothing short of amazing.

I didn’t fully appreciate how amazing this tool is until I began stripping this door yesterday.  This is one of the doors to the library that has been painted at least 5 times, the last coat being latex (which is a totally different issue).  Most of the paint when heated just popped right off in huge flakes.  It was a mess to clean up but I had most of one side of the door stripped in a matter of a few hours.  Mind you this needs to be done in a room wide open to the outdoors with an exhaust fan going.  Fortunately yesterday was above freezing.

This door has some holes that will need repairing.  The hinges and thumb latches need to be replaced as well.  Williamsburg Blacksmiths is a local forge that produces the reproduction hardware for this period home using the same methods probably used when the originals were made.  They are perfect.  Hopefully by the end of this week I will have this door done and be working on the other.  Then onto the door casings.  Both of the doors in the room do not close so I’m hoping taking them down, stripping them and rehanging with new hardware will fix the problem.  My sneaking suspicion is that a lot of it has to do with the paint, but new hinges will certainly help.

The photograph was originally taken for the 100 Happy Days project I’m working on with a number of family members.  I was thinking how happy I was to be using this tool but the more I thought about it I realized that when you’re stripping woodwork the only happy part is when you’re finished.

Homeowner’s ADD

130512 Heat Gun


I’m not fond of this time of the year.  I’ve come down with a bad case of homeowner’s ADD.  I have a theory that everyone has Attention Deficit Disorder but for me it’s really apparent at certain times of the year.

Part of the problem with the home owning part is the house in Rowe does not have heat upstairs (or power for that matter) so any projects that I want to do have to be done in spring, summer and early fall (or just bundle up while you’re doing it).  Last week I had a conversation with brothers-in-law Mike.  He’s working on a house just up the road from ours and swears that whoever built the one he’s in built ours.  There is the same intricate woodwork. We talked about stripping paint.  I have used all kinds of methods of stripping paint, all involving some rather harsh chemicals but he’s been using a heat gun.  Hmmmmm . . .

I had Bill get a heat gun because I have a small room that once had carpet glued to it.  The carpet was removed years ago but the mastic stayed.  This room is above the living room and I had visions of using a chemical remover and having it leak through the floor onto the new ceiling below – not good.  I tried using this head gun to get the mastic off and it was BRILLIANT.  You can only remove a little at a time but once you’re rolling it goes fairly quickly.  The disadvantage is that I have to sit on the floor in order to do it.  It’s hard on the back so I can only do it for an hour or two before I have to give it up.

The weather this past weekend was really not conducive to working outdoors.  When the sun came out I tried to pull weeds in some of my flower beds but the black flies were so thick that it wasn’t pleasant at all.  I would come in out of the clouds, both rain and flies, and run down my mental list of the wants and needs indoors.  Most of them run into the wants like the floor upstairs but then there is the matter of turning what was once a bathroom into a pantry.  This involves removing the toilet and sink and all respective piping (after removing all of the junk that’s accumulated in there for the past year).  That little project is rather pressing at the moment because we will soon be coming into preserving season and I want that finished before it starts.  I need an inventory of canning supplies as well as making sense of a large closet that’s been used for a pantry for a number of years. Making sense of it is being kind, I can’t find anything in it and every time I cook something I waste a lot of time digging around looking for that special something I KNOW is in there somewhere.

The wood shop has been cleaned up in the past week and I was thinking about that side table that I really need to make for the living room.  That sounded like more fun than stripping floors and moving toilets.  I restrained myself because I knew if I went out to the shop I would never come back in and those inside projects would be still calling my name.

The thing is that I also spent a good deal of time weaving and rug hooking this weekend – going from one to the other.  I think I need medication.

130512 Floor StrippingBut does this look like fun to you?  Good thing it’s a very small room.