little and nothing
I’ve only had a day or two over the past fortnight to work on the house so what has been done is little and nothing.
The hall is almost finished, though. The finish is rather nice, the walls and skirting have been done with aplomb, they look great. I now look on my previous decorating with a more measured eye, it’s good but maybe it could have been better.
The staircase is especially nicely finished. I would have rather worked better with some lovely Victorian spindles, but they must have been replaced when the house was modernised. The panelling I had to work with wasn’t bad, though. The staircase itself had some lovely panelling, plus what looks like the original bannister and newel post. It took absolutely ages to strip the bannister and newel down to wood and along with painting up the panelling it did all take some time, but hey the results are rather spiffing. The bannister and newel once oiled do look amazing and the panelling definitely improved for three coats of paint.
I’ll do the spindles at a later date, sometime when I have time on my hands and just fancy doing something creative and interesting. When I’m not lounging in the living room drinking vino and reading books… like that’s going to ever happen.
During the week I’d managed to do a lot of filling. The door handles had been moved up to a high waist position on the doors. When the paint had been removed during the dip you could easily see where the rim locks had once been, the carpenter had done a sterling job filling all of the old holes. I now was going to reverse the process and move them down back to their original locations. The first job was filling.
I’m a dab hand at filling, filling walls that is, I’d only done a bit of wood filling but I was confident what I’d done could be reapplied to this job. The filling I’d done in the past was mainly the upstairs floor that had filled so well it looked like a laminate once it was polished an varnished.
Basically what I did was use Lecol 7000 resin, mixed it with some sawdust into a paste and apply it to the area needing filling, it had worked a treat. Problem with the door filling though was that the gaps were huge in comparison, so to tackle this I smeared a plate with Gorilla glue and then I used wood fragments cut to size with some pruning shears – I used dowel – then I rolled them in the glue. I then simply packed these into the holes, filling them as best I could and then once dry filled the remaining bits with the resin based filler. The results were a bit messy but once sanded with 40 grit paper and then some finer grades, they looked great.
This weekend, or the single day I managed to work was spent on the doors. The doors had been stripped some months back and most had been rehung by Sandra and Russell on their visit. This was great but most needed a bit of teasing to get them to fit back in their frames. Some doors seemed to have expanded a tadge, some now rested on adjusted floors and some even had to now contend with deep carpets, they needed a bit of a shave.
Not content with just some planning most of the doors after stripping had some exposed filler. This filler had obviously been applied by the decorator or carpenter prior to them being painted with the fake woodgrain. This filler was white and the doors were woody coloured, this needed to be removed.
I soon established that the best plan of attack was to take all the doors – one by one – off their hinges and first plane them to size. Next it was out with a custom set of sharp tools (scissors, old screwdrivers, paint scrapers etc.) to prise out the filler. Next an all over sand with some 80 grit paper to remove all the paint and slivers of wood poking from the newly dipped doors and then some 180 grit to smooth the doors to a oilable finish.
Next wrestle the doors back into the frames, not too easy when you’re on your own but with a cool head, an impact driver and a short stubby demolition jemmy – to lift the door – it was pretty easy to do. Sometimes one found that the door still didn’t fit and then after a bit of swearing it was back to the start with a bit more planning.
This took the day for all of the doors, by the end of the day I’d managed to do them all, the first door had even been oiled with some Ruskins Danish oil. The filling I’d done earlier didn’t take the oil too well but it wasn’t too noticeable, if it really got me bothered then I’d probably cover it with some finger plates.