Sunday, March 18, 2007

All Thumbs

I was able to get the cement board on the walls, but I didn’t get to the floor. It’s funny that on Tuesday when I got the email from Keith at Subway Ceramics I enthusiastically replied that I might start setting tile this weekend! Yea, well, that didn’t happen. I could have done the floor today as well, but Sunday has become tile cleaning day. This is The Oberon Saloon tile that needs cleaning, not the Subway Ceramics tile.

I really need to stay on the tile cleaning otherwise the whole project will grind to a halt for weeks because I will be stuck cleaning endless boxes of tile. I need to have all of the salvaged Oberon Saloon tile cleaned and de-grouted before I start the installation of the floor. Until it has all been cleaned and prepped I won’t know how much I have. It’s not like I can get more of this stuff any place. Last week I was walking through Old Town and I peaked in The Oberon. The remaining tile is all gone now. What I have is all there is.

So far I have 9 boxes of bleach cleaned tile and two boxes of de-grouted tile. I’m passed the halfway point on the bleach cleaning, which feels good, but there is still a lot of work to do. If I don’t do it a little at a time it will become this monster job that will drag on for weeks.

The next step for the cement board is to seal the seams. You finish the cement board in a similar fashion to sheetrock. You use the fiberglass mesh tape and thinset instead of joint compound. The carbide grit jigsaw blade worked very, very well for cutting the board. It goes through the cement board a little faster than a regular jigsaw blade goes through wood. It also makes cutting holes for outlets and pipes very easy. I highly recommend it. The dust is minimal and the edges don’t need to be cleaned up.

All of this productivity this week was not without a price, though. On Saturday I drove a philips head drill bit in to my left thumb. I had to put in some last minute additional blocking in the framing. I used 3.5 inch screws for this because it was a very tight fit to swing a hammer. I had a 19.2 volt drill at full speed with all of my weight behind it when the bit slips off the screw. The bit drives right in to my thumb. Major bummer. The damn thing has swelled up and the gash is nasty because of the spinning bit.

Then today, I wore a hole through my right thumb while cleaning tile. Remember The Two Thumb Method for cleaning tile? Well, it works great, but not without a cost. Last week I noticed a tender spot on my right thumb. It seemed as if my thumb print had been worn off on one side. I thought it was from the tile cleaning but I wasn’t sure. Then today I was about half way through the two pales of tile and it just started screaming at me. I wore a pin hole through the rubber glove and I had worn so much skin off my thumb it was now bleeding. Geez! I feel like one of those freaks that washes their hand so much they get sores.


Jason & Heather said...

Damn that looks like it hurts! I know the feeling, I've smashed my hand with my screwgun more times than I care to count. My hands always have a minimum of about 6 splinters and an assortment of about 15 cuts, abrasions and bruises. I've learned to pretty much ignore them.

Anonymous said...

For a couple of hours, please forget that you are male and get to the doctor regarding the screw 'bite' on your thumb. Get a tetnus shot, then stop for an ice cream on the way home. 'Don't need no stinkin doctors' attitude can then resume.

Anonymous said...

You mention "bleach cleaning" the octagonal tiles. Did you just use a bleach/water solution? I have very, very similar tiles, still installed, in our 1903 and would like to clean them.
Thanks, Amy

Greg said...


These are loose tiles that I took out of a 1902 saloon so I'm able to soak them in a pale with pure bleach for a week. They come out very white.

Click on the Oberon Saloon label at the bottom of the post to read more about the tiles and what I'm doing with them.

Jocelyn said...

It's funny how when you're working furiously on something, you can not even notice you are hurting yourself. It's happened to me many times. And then there's the fact that every Spring, I start raking and forget I have dainty "winter" hands that blister from raking without gloves. Will she do it again this Spring? You betcha!

Greg said...

Yea, I know, you really do get in a zone sometimes and the world melts away. I think of us have a special gene that allows us to do these sorts of things.

Delicata Squash said...

It happens to people. I am diabetic and sometimes get itchy feet; i was scratching the top of one foot with the heel of the other and i rubbed a hole in my skin too. ow, ow, ow. pass the bactine....

Kevin said...

For when you can't nail:

You need a palm nailer + compressor.
These little things are just
great. Nice and safe too, in
case you're thinking they're
like nailguns (they aren't..use
regular nails, one at a time)

I like the Porter Cable (PN650) more
than the Senco.

Hey, I remember the time I went
to the ER with 2" splinters
embedded in both thumbs. (pushing
thru to the flesh in the palm)

I knew I had to go because
I had no thumbs to use, and my
wife passed out when I asked
here to get the pliers...Oh yeah
and plus it hurt like hell.

They smirked when I said splinters,
but were mightily impressed when
they saw them.