Thursday, June 21, 2007

Solar paint stripper

The casement windows in the sun room have hinges on the exterior. Over the years so many layers of paint have accumulated that the hinges now keep the windows from easily opening and fully closing.

I removed the bottom hinges on the windows that face the front of the house. Last year on one of the home improvement shows on TV they demostrated using a crock pot filled with water and a little dish soap to soak your hardware overnight to remove any paint. Like I have a crock pot!!!!! That would come awfully close to actually cooking....something I try to stay away from. But I do love a bargain. So for the last 6 months I have been scouting all my favorite consignment shops, resale shops, and eBay for a good deal on a crock pot to use specifically for paint stripping. Well....I hate to say this....because at work they tell me I should be a professional shopper...that I can find anything...from an old Clock (German) key to car parts. But could I find a cheap crock pot??? Noooooo. So I had to come up with something that met all my criteria. Well by "all"...I mean cheap and easy.........the method of paint removal.....not me!!!! Geees.

So this is what I came up with. I took a glass jar (Jif peanut butter, creamy not crunchy) and filled it with citrus stripper. I placed the paint encrusted hinges into the jar and put the lid on. I then tipped the jar so that the hinges were completely coated with stripper. Now for the tricky part. I placed it in the sun to steep. Think sun tea.

The rays of the sun warms the stripper which seems to enhance it's performance. I let it sit approximately 6 hours. I then used needle nose pliers to remove the hinges, allowing for the excess to drip off (waste not want not). I then wiped off the paint slime with a paper towel and rinsed with warm water. I used a toothbrush to remove any remaining paint left in the crevices.

I think this method would qualify as being "green". Recycled glass jar, organic stripper, no electricity was involved, and solar heat was used (Ed Begley Jr. would be proud of me!!). Does that mean I didn't leave a "Carbon footprint"? The hinges are solid brass and in fairly good shape. So that is "green" also, because I reused and didn't add anything to a landfill. I could have scrapped the hinges and bought new. But that would have left a "carbon footprint" plus it would have cost $$$$ to drive to 3 different stores to get hinges. There is absolutely no way that I would find hinges at the first store. After store number two, I would be so frustrated that I would need to stop at McDonald's and buy a Reese's McFlurry to ease my suffering. So not only did I save the environment with this project, I also saved myself 500, no wait...I would need a large size..... 650 calories.

So I give this project 2 thumbs up!

The "PLAN" is to have all prep work done before June 2nd in anticipation of completing the painting of the front of the house by July 15th. We are keeping our fingers crossed that we do not get any long stretches of rain.

This next week is the Buick Open. Living as close as we do to the golf course , really puts us in the middle of the...........traffic, intoxicated spectators, golf carts, traffic, empty beer cups, empty beer cans, empty beer bottles, used condoms (no really.....geees get a room), slightly buzzed spectators, vehicles who's intoxicated drivers feel the need to take a short cut through your yard, and people who use your winding driveway as a short cut (I'm sure they think that plaque on the gate pillar that says "PRIVATE" is just a suggestion and doesn't refer to them). But I'm ready for them this year, I'm going to let them get halfway across our property and then make them go back. I think they need the exercise...looks like they have been eating too many Reese's McFlurries.......large ones at that.