Thursday, March 25, 2010

Better Than New + Scrap $$$

While I was stripping the staircase I came across several areas that had paint and caulk deep into tiny crevices. I tried using my putty knife, my scraper, and even my dental tool pick but I still was unable to get all the residue.

In some areas all I managed to do was make the crevice bigger. So I hauled out my tiny Wonder Bar and removed the piece that was keeping me from getting to the dried up paint and caulk.Here is a photo of the pieces after they were sanded.
The sanding of the newel post revealed the original carpenter's pencil mark that he used to align the trim. Thanks Mr. Carpenter.
The joints are now tight and the the trim is straight.
The other pieces of trim that I removed were these two flat pieces that were attached to where the staircase meets the ceiling in the first floor hallway. I stripped and sanded both pieces and the first piece went back into place without a hitch. The second piece was another story.
One of the problems was that we were both trying to stand in the same place, on the same step, while one of us held the wood piece in place and the other held a pneumatic air nailer. As hard as we tried the piece just would not lay flat. After much debate we came to the conclusion that the piece was about a 1/4 inch too long. This would account for why there was a gap and why it was chock full of caulk.

R trimmed off an 1/8th of an inch and we tried again. The piece was still too long so he trimmed another 1/8th of an inch off the piece. This time it fit perfectly. But by this time my arms were so tired that I could no longer raise them in the air to hold the piece in place. Thankfully we have a full array of clamps and we were able to clamp the piece in place. Now that piece is better than new.
Yesterday I trimmed back my Pink Diamond hydrangeas in front of the dining room windows. This gave us access and space to work on the coal chute door.
Last year I was able to remove a lot of the thick peeling paint with a putty knife but the remaining will need to be removed with our portable sand blaster. But first we needed to shovel the dirt away and decide how we will keep the dirt from returning.The concrete pad has sunk down and pulled away from the foundation wall about 2 inches. We thought if we dug down deep enough we could lift the whole piece up into place. R dug down 12 inches and did not find the bottom of the concrete. We decided at that point if we ever did find the bottom that it would weigh far too much to move.
On to Plan B, which is to leave it alone and slope the dirt away from the concrete pad. We will use large rocks to build a mini retaining wall along with some landscaping fabric to hold back the dirt when it rains.

If you are wondering what is that piece of sheet metal that is attached to the center of the coal door......well we don't know. We speculate that based on the size that at sometime in the past they cut a hole and installed a dryer vent. Now why oh why couldn't they have at least placed the opening in the center of the door? We are hopeful that once it is painted and the hydrangeas grow back that no one will focus on the ill placement of the sheet metal patch.

FYI.....R just returned home from taking a load of scrap to the scrap yard. Scrap metal is currently $250 a ton which is high and should go down as the summer approaches. R sorts out his copper, aluminum, and brass because that pays more money. He received $65.00 for his semi precious metal and $133.68 for miscellaneous metal for a total of $198.68. Not only does this put money in your pocket but it keeps good recyclable metal out of the landfills.

Just the other day I was watching Modern Marvels on TV. They were showing how copper is mined and refined. The initial cost along with the amount of energy that is used is staggering.