Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Don't Light A Match!

I spent the morning under the house for what I hope will be the last time for a long time. A few months back I decided to move the stove but never moved the gas line. I think I was putting it off until the last minute just in case my mind changed again. Push officially came to shove this morning because I want to get the last of the bead board up and finish paint stripping. So, gas line moved. No leaks. Bead board up.

My neighbor Gary has been a plumber in this town for 25 years or so. He is indispensable when it comes to this sort of thing. Last year when I replaced all the other gas lines in the house I went to ask him if he new a good plumber to do the work. He convinced me to do it myself. He came over and toured the house. He showed me how to measure properly and how much to deduct for fittings. He advised me on pipe size. He then told me to draw out a diagram with measurements and he would review it. I did that and took it over to him. He went over everything and then got on the phone and called the plumbing supply house he deals with and called in the order. I picked everything up the next day. All of the pipe was cut and threaded to my exact measurements and well below retail. Gary loaned me some tools and then gave me a quick lesson on pipe fitting. When it came time to run new copper and fix drains he is always happy to give advise. He tells me he won’t do any of the work, but if I need anything else, all I have to do is ask.

Well, today I got the pipe moved but I was missing one fitting so I trotted across the street to Gary’s. We go out in his garage and he has every conceivable pipe fitting you can imagine. It is better stocked than most hardware stores. All of it is leftovers for jobs he has done in the past. He has cast iron waste pipe, copper up to 6-inch, black pipe, galvanized, PVC, CPVC, and ABS. I mean everything. Sure enough, he pulls out a bucket of ¾ inch nipples and dumps them out. I tell him I need a 2 inch so he digs out 2 of each 1.5-inch, 2-inch, 2.5-inch, and 3-inch. He tells me to just bring back what I don’t use. When I had to replace a cast iron elbow he did the same thing. You go over and say you need a 45 degree elbow and you leave with 4 or 5 fittings at various angles. Just bring back what you don’t use.

I spent the weekend stripping paint on 4 entry ways. It went pretty smooth. I start with the heat gun and get most of the paint off. The woodwork is ornate Victorian so it is slow going. This room was originally faux grained in oak, and then over the years it was painted several times. The faux graining is alcohol based and may be tinted shellac but it does not come off quite as easily as plain shellac. I’m left with a good amount of residue. Normally I would switch to alcohol and then sand paper. However, I tried something different this time and it seems to work really well.

I take Jasco Semi-paste paint stripper and use it with steel wool like a soft scrub cleanser. The Jasco semi-paste is a thick, slime like substance that adheres well to vertical surfaces. I spread it on about 2 feet of casing then scrub with the steel wool. It gets most of the residue off and what is left is smooth enough that very little sanding needs to be done. I’ll probably just wait until I’m ready to paint and then go over it with 100 grit.

That’s enough for now, back to paint stripping.

1 comment:

Trissa said...

That was a productive weekend! I'd love to have a neighbor like yours. He seems like someone who was very good at his craft, but wants to help others learn how to DIY. Congrats on getting the gas pipe completed. We've got some more of that on our long "to do_ list.