Sunday, March 19, 2017

My Date With A Stripper

[continued-in-part from here]

Work on the stairs:

After removing both the rails and the metal balusters, I started to sand away the paint coating the lower rail. This proved slow going -- even with 60 grit paper on a new random orbit sander. So I went all chemical on it:




Stripper contains methylene chloride which dissolves practically anything (except wood). You just slather it on as a paste and wait for the paint to blister and then scrape it off- right onto the concrete floor in my case. I had to do a couple cycles of strip and sand because the paint was so durable. It's still unfinished because the sides are particularly hard to treat. But here is some real progress:



Bonus photos:

Recall the end grain detail from the rail:

Here is the end grain from the base:


And here is the end grain from a small decorative piece which is off to the right in the first photo:


That is a flat top rail adjacent to the steps. You can see a closet door knob for scale. The wood appears to be doug fir but its growth ring pattern suggests it's intermediate between the rail and the foot rail. Also note that it's made of two joined pieces.

I await Sixty's expert opinion.

14 comments:

chickelit said...

I really like the no baluster/rail look (so sleek and chic) but oh so un-code.

Lem said...

Had me completely fooled.

edutcher said...

She's flat as a board.

chickelit said...

Penetration was a problem with that particular stripper. It wouldn't go deep enough.

Sixty Grit said...

They cut the spline grooves too deep - they are just too groovy.

The wood looks good, however, and you are doing a great job.

Personally, I like the verticality of the original handrail, after all, what is architecture, aside from Frank Lloyd Wright, about, if not verticality.

Here is an idea - simply build the knee walls higher and you can eliminate the balusters altogether.

I gave some sage advice earlier today - I said to it "Be patient, I will be digging a post hole next to your roots, but I will backfill and you won't know the difference".

I guess what I am trying to say here is that I am fresh out of sage advice.

But you are doing a great job and it is good to see you making headway on that project.

Leland said...

Did the stripper come and take away all the poles?

chickelit said...

In the end, the rail and base board will be the same color -- both much lighter than the rail is now. The balusters are going to be stripped and either painted or powder coated flat black.

rcommal said...

At the end of the day, what I will always remember is that I first met a number of you back when my son was a toddler and back when I was a different person. There are a whole number of you whom I will appreciate, always, and--in specific cases--from start to finish including unto the end of time, bless your hearts. and so it goes.

rcommal said...

Now, he's a second-semester, 3rd year and and half unto a high-school education, entirely not subsided by either a federal or local government. We did it ourselves.

On account of all of that, in what is clearly a different age. you folks won't remember. You won't take it into or unto account.

rcommal said...

You just demanded that sort of thing (demanding is easy). You didn't do that sort of thing (doing is hard).

MamaM said...

What in the Name of Mystery does anyone here know about what other "folks" remember or what some nameless "you" will or won't take into account?

Yes it's a different age than it was when the ball dropped on 2000. Life moves on.

From my early exposure in the 60's to the non-biblical Prophet, the following stayed with me in the moving on, to be realized as truth through my own lived experience, with the last line being the one that stuck, while the rest of it stood in need of refreshment:

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.


In the FYI department, Gibran is listed in the wiki as the third best-selling poet of all time, behind Shakespeare and Laozi.

In the I Wish I Hadn't Looked department, I read about Saint Nicholas Owen yesterday, the 16th century Jesuit carpenter/cabinet maker who built hiding holes for priests in England during the period when Catholics were persecuted by law there. He faced grotesque torture under which he died, with the graphics of that description dovetailing with my experience of seeing Madame Tussaud's Chamber of Horrors in London when I was eleven. (Some gifts from parents last a lifetime!)

I appreciated this about him: When he remained stubborn, it is believed that he was transferred to the rack, where the greater power of the windlass forced out his hernia which was then slashed by the plate, resulting in his death. However, Owen had revealed nothing to his inquisitors. He died in the night between 1 and 2 March 1606. Father Gerard wrote of him:
"I verily think no man can be said to have done more good of all those who laboured in the English vineyard. He was the immediate occasion of saving the lives of many hundreds of persons, both ecclesiastical and secular."


That a child or children we've managed to raise would show signs of authenticity, integrity, humor, joy or goodness is a matter for grateful celebration, anything more tends toward puffery.

And this, the man who saved many hundreds of persons, and was a genius at finding and creating places of safety: subterranean passages, small spaces between walls, impenetrable recesses was also only slightly bigger than a dwarf.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicholas_Owen_(Jesuit) for the torture graphics

AprilApple said...

Nice work.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I love those home remodeling shows and now we have insight into one done by someone we actually KNOW...well sorta....on the internet.

I love the look of the vertical balusters and combination of wood with metal (or metal-ish looking balusters) Raising the knee walls would close off and box in the open feeling of the staircase...IMHO.

Keep posting pictures....we can all feel like we are vicariously participating :-)

Methadras said...

Nice work chick. I miss those days of restoration, but then I remember what it was like and i don't envy you.