Friday, August 25, 2006

Reconstructive Surgery

Well, another day passed and it was another day that I did not put paint or primer on the side of the house. I am ready to make one last prediction, though. I am now officially saying that I will begin to primer this small section of the house sometime in the next 12 months. This is an official prediction, now. It’s official.

The delay this time came in the form of a badly sun beaten window sill. I knew it was bad because 2 years ago I repaired the one right next to it. You could even tell under the paint that it was in bad shape. Yesterday I scraped the paint off and sure enough it had deep grooves in it from sun and rain damage. The results of 112 years of southern exposure and bad paint jobs.

It has been repaired twice before. The early repair was done with some type of sawdust and paste filler. It was very loose. Then later someone used latex caulk to fill again. It all had to go. I got out the rotozip and dug all the old filler out. I then sanded the surface down with the random orbital sander. I then went back over it with the rotozip a second time. Here’s where I ended up.

Most of the grooves are only a quarter inch deep or so. The long one closest to the sash goes almost all the way through in places. I first drove some 3.5-inch galvanized finishing nails in at an angle to give it some strength. I then filled the bottom half of the gap with urethane caulk. After that I covered everything with the MinWax epoxy wood filler. Tomorrow I will sand it smooth. After I paint, you’ll never know the difference.

I used the urethane caulk for two reasons. It seems better at bonding to the wood than the MinWax High Performance wood filler is. The MinWax stuff is great for filling large gaps but it’s not as good at bonding two pieces of wood together. I think the caulk will also be better in the long run at preventing water from getting down in there.

One thing I don’t like about the MinWax product are the instructions for mixing. They says to use “a golf ball sized portion of the base to a ¾ inch long line of the catalyst”. This seems a little ambiguous. I took a plastics class in high school and one thing I remember is that if you get too much catalyst it can make the plastic brittle and it will fail. The PC-11 epoxy that I use to make small repairs in the gingerbread has a 1:1 ratio of base to catalyst. That is unambiguous. You just get two equal portions and mix them together.

Also with the MinWax product, you seem to get enough of the catalyst for 3 or 4 jars of the base. Why do they give you so much? There is this tendency to want use too much because they give you way more than you need. It just seems like an odd way to package the materials.

As for yesterday’s post, I missed the magic time for the light show, if it even happened. There was a point where the shadow from my house was completely cast over the house across the street. When I went in to the parlor there was a ray of light coming in through the little stained glass window, but it wasn’t hitting the big stained glass window. It was hitting the wall about a half of foot away from the window. I either just missed it or it was going to happen soon. Either way I didn’t see it. The fog just rolled in, so there’s no chance of seeing it tonight.


Anonymous said...

A number of articles and discussions that I've read claim that Minwax High Performance Wood Filler is nothing more than Bondo automotive filler with a higher price tag and that it's no better or worse than using Bondo.

Greg said...

Yep, the first time I used it I thought that this stuff looks, smells, and tastes just like Bondo. They are both variations on a theme: base + catalyst = plastic.

Every time I buy it I think that I should just go buy Bondo, but I'm at the hardware store buying other stuff, and the MinWax stuff is not that much more, so it's not worth the extra trip to buy actual Bondo.