Sunday afternoon project

Our friends Nate and Kristen just had their kitchen remodeled, and before demolition, they offered us two built-ins that came with the house. Never one to turn down another time-intensive project, we selected the smaller of the two, which was the top of a hutch. This piece has two solid three-pane doors with good brass, and the wood is hard (pine? poplar?) with a nice grain and no knotholes: perfect for a bookcase or even a buffet.

I got the entire outer shell heat-gunned and sanded yesterday, and about 1/3 of the lower shelf to see how thick the interior paint is. Both of the shelves actually come out, so doing the interior will be less work than I’d thought. Then, I have to knock the glass out of the doors and strip them carefully (windowrames are the worst) before we can start testing stains. Hopefully I can get it all sanded by Thanksgiving.

I would have had a ‘before’ shot here, but I forgot to switch the settings on my camera at first, and they’re all blown out.

Date posted: November 5, 2007 | Filed under house | 2 Comments »

2 Responses to Sunday Afternoon Project.

  1. Linda says:

    What is heat-gunning? I think it may involve a gadget I could potentially get my dad for Christmas. It’s a real coup to find him a new toy. 😉

  2. the idiot says:

    Imagine a hair dryer on steroids. Aim it at a wooden object covered in paint (preferably wearing some form of particulate/lead fume mask) and let the paint heat and bubble. Scrape the heated paint with a sturdy flat blade-I prefer what is called a “5 in 1 tool”-and if you time everything right, 9/10 of the paint comes off, right down to the bare wood. A pass with a random-orbital sander and medium grit paper will yield bare, smooth wood suitable for paint or stain.

    Drawbacks: paint/lead dust; Fumes from cooking paint. I do this all outside with a mask, and shower immediately afterwards. It is also possible to scorch the wood with too much heat; generally this can be sanded out. It takes a steady hand and some practice to do without gouging the wood.

    Advantages: No greasy kid stuff-gel strippers get disgusting and messy. Gel also has a tendency to soak into the wood, leaving it damp for a few weeks afterwards, which makes sanding a pain in the ass.

    Look here for a good example-I have the previous model.