Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Going Bare

A friend's recent blog post about stripping paint reminded me I could use a heat gun on my chippy old mantel. This is the third mantel we're planning to add to the house, making a total of four fireplaces (some fully functional, some more decorative).

Stripping paint is such a relaxing, meditative task. At least, it is for me. I'm a bit of a "picker"; you know, someone who always has to pick that scab or squeeze that pimple or pull that hangnail. So carefully peeling and scrapping away bubbly, gooey layers of paint feeds right into that obsession. I didn't quite get it all done in one afternoon, and it was so hard to stop and lay down the heat gun. I kept needing to get just one more spot!

Jeff checked in and documented my progress from time to time. There is a weird reddish "stain" impregnating the raw wood, but since I'm planning to repaint, it won't matter.

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Almost gone!
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  1. Looks great. I'm the same way...removing paint and wallpaper is just calming. :)

  2. It was your post about the banister that prompted me to whip out my heat gun, too! We had to strip quite a lot of wallpaper at our first old house, and I definitely didn't enjoy it as much as paint stripping with a heat gun ;-).

  3. I am simply amazed that you know how to do all of this. Or maybe it's more that it actually comes to your mind to do it! It's so far beyond me, it wouldn't even come to mind...I'd have just tossed it out and bought a cheap one, or made a cheap one! Repurposing. It's definitely something I need to think more about! I'm amazed you know what to do with it... even if I did strip it... what do you do THEN? Just paint over it? Anyway, I'm excited to see the end project...and the inbetween!

  4. That's funny, Anna. I'm sure people ask you all the time how you know what to do with four kids! Or simply how you DO it with four kids ;-). I can't pinpoint the source(s) of my accumulated knowledge, but just as you've gained quite a skill set over the years of being a mother, I suppose I've acquired the knowledge of renovator. And in my new field, I've come to appreciate the craftsmanship and quality of vintage items. They just don't make 'em like they used to! So restoring this mantel is definitely worth it.

    To answer your question, since it's bare wood, I'll sand it with 100-120 grit to smooth the high spots and close the grain a bit, then prime it and give it two coats of my favorite waterborne semi-gloss trim paint. Then, knowing us, it will probably sit in the shop for six months until we get around to installing it ;-)