Thursday, January 11, 2007

More Tile Salvage

If you would have asked me yesterday I would have said I was done with tile salvage. It just seemed to be too far gone to save. Even if I could save some of it, I’m not sure I could get enough. Then there’s the whole labor aspect of it. The thing seems like it’s going to be very labor intensive.

Then I got a few comments from people who think it can be saved. I went back down there last night and my friend Chuck was pulling up the boarder. I think that boarder is too big for my small bathroom anyway, so I was not planning on using it. Besides, Chuck is the one who told me about the tile in the first place, so he has first dibs on it anyway.

Then at work today I started thinking that maybe it can be cleaned up and saved. I mean, what the hell do I know about cleaning old tile. So I figured I would get as much as I can now and worry about cleaning it later. I would never stop kicking myself if I figure out a way to clean and then found out it’s all in the dump.

I spent 2 or 3 hours down there today and got 5 boxes of tile. I was less selective than I was on Tuesday when I only got 3 boxes. There will be a lot of half pieces needed to fill in along the boarders. I settled on two methods for pulling up the tile. There is The Full Pop and The Single Pop method.

With the Full Pop I hammer two 5-five inch scrappers under the tile, spaced 6 or 8 inches apart. I then hammer pry bars under the scrappers and pop up a large section all at once. This is very destructive but it results in more than a dozen tiles coming up at one time. I’m lucky if half of them are salvageable.

With the Single Pop method I use a hammer and a half inch chisel to pop up a single tile at a time. This is more time consuming but I’m able to save more tile. The Single Pop method can only be used when at least 3 sides of the hex tile are exposed. Often times a Full Pop exposes a vein of 3 sided tiles. The two methods sort of work together.

So tomorrow I’ll go down again and maybe Saturday as well. I’ll just keep popping tile until I’m sick of it or feel I have enough, which ever comes first. While I was taking a break I found an old photograph in the building of when the place was a saloon. I photoed the photograph and took some shots of the room as it is today. The big chandelier is still there, and of course, the floor.

As I think I said the other day, the tile floor extends under the front fa├žade of the building about 2-feet out on to the sidewalk in front of the building. It ends with a marble curb and there is some tile patterns along with the word “OBERON” written in tile right in front of the door. I assume the saloon was called The Oberon. Here’s some photos. It's looks like it would have been a nice place to have a beer. I was told yesterday that Jack London stopped in once.


StuccoHouse said...

I keep thinking a Dremel with one of those cutting disks would do the trick.

Christina said...

Assvice - Sacrifice tiles. Cut through tiles to create sections that can be levered up as one. (6x6 or 8x8 maybe?) Then you can take your squares home and work on seperating out individual tiles at your leisure & not on the floor.

Mark said...

I'm thinking a bench grinder with a cloth whell or a brass whell even would make short work of salvageing the tiles.

derek said...

how about salt? I know if made a mess of my concrete steps. I don't know what effect it would have on the tile though... if you dissolved a bag of the stuff for icy sidewalks in a bucket of water. Just a thought.

Greg said...

All good advice, thanks. I'm sure I'm going to be trying everything to find out what works best.

Kristin said...

Oh goody! I'm so glad you're getting the tile. It's so lovely, and you of all people will put it to perfect use if at all possible. That photo is awesome. So sad that it doesn't look that way anymore, and so priceless that you have the evidence of what it looked like before.

Greg said...

That is a great photo, isn't it. It reminds me of those photos at the beginning of the sit-com Cheers. I work alone in the building while I'm pulling up the tile. After I found the photo I had, like, this moment where I zoomed back in time and could really feel the place as an old saloon.

Gary said...

Do you think you could slip that chandelier my way?

Hydrochloric acid would remove the grout when you get the tiles home.

Greg said...

I doubt they'll it, Gary. I'll send it to you tomorrow.

Do you think the acid will damage the unglazed tile?