Saturday, August 21, 2010

Victorian Dingle Balls

So much for slacking on the couch. I was so close to finishing the stripping of the stairs I decided to just do it. There were 2 small boards that needed to have the shellac stripped off and then I needed to oil the wood. After that came parts replacement.

The methyl chloride based strippers work so well on shellac you are basically left with bare wood. Today I went over everything with #1 steel wool first. By this time, a week or more after the last of the majority of the stripping, any residue of the stripper is crunchy and comes off easily with steel wool. This is really only the occasional thin streak. After that I essentially wash the wood with boiled linseed oil and turpentine. I wipe down the wood with a rung out sponge and then quickly wipe it down with a paper towel.

Next came putting on what are really just the Victorian version of dingle balls. I still can't figure out why so many are missing. I had to pry one off to take it to the mill when I had the missing ones reproduced. They were each put on with 4, two and a half inch finish nails. It took effort to get it off without breaking it. My working theory is that they were all removed by the same person who had some sort of necrotic obsession with them. I was left with 3 originals.

Once on, the stairs look so much better.


Anonymous said...

i am obsessed with your newel caps. they look so gorgeous without finish, and lovely with. good work.

Greg said...

Thank you very much. The stairs are really turning out well. It is a huge relief.

Joosmeister said...

Hi Greg,

Been following the adventure via RSS, and your stairway with new plaster and woodwork is a true restoration, not a simple heavyhanded renovation.

Larry said...

Why is 'Jingle Bells' going through my mind now?!

"Dingle Balls, dingle balls, dingle all the way..."

Greg said...


Thanks, that means a lot.


Gee, thanks! Now I've got THAT song stuck in my head :-)

Sean said...

I am blown away what difference those pieces make - The railing didn't look bad without them, but with gives it a whole new dimension.

Greg said...


Thanks. It really does make difference.

Jamie said...

Wow! It really does look so much better with the dingle balls installed.

Greg said...

Yes, it is odd how noticeable it is to have the dingle balls back on. I think it shows how much thought went in to the original design.