Sunday, July 3, 2011

A Question of Trim

At the Cheney Cottage, I've been painting on the outside, and stripping paint inside. Surprisingly, it's all very satisfying.

The parlor has beautiful woodwork, all of which was painted at some point in the past. We've been slowly stripping it, and most of the paint is coming off relatively easily - but it's still a big job, and going to take a long time. So I try, every time we're there, to spend at least part of the time stripping paint. I'm using the heat gun that we bought to strip paint on Wool Street in San Francisco, back in 1983.

The reason the paint is easy to remove ("easy" being a relative term - it's still hard work) is because the wood was originally shellacked. The original finish kept the paint from adhering permanently to the wood, and, once heated, the paint tends to peel away. But in places where the wood was never painted, the paint grabs and is almost impossible to remove. This is also true in places where the wood was damaged, and then painted.

Every time I strip a door frame, I come across the same thing: When I strip the top piece of trim (the lintel), there are two vertical marks directly above the side pieces. Clearly, there were two pieces of trim that at some point in the past were removed. Now that we're removing the paint, the unfinished wood refuses to give up the paint, so I can clearly see the marks left where the trim was.

See below for some pictures of what I'm talking about. We've never seen trim with this pattern before, so I'm hoping someone on the blog has a house with similar trim, and can send me a photo of what it looks like.

The door to the dining room, in process of being stripped.
Detail of door trim - note the two vertical marks above the capital

As for today: despite the fact that I'm up so early, we plan to get a lot of work done over the next two days. The exterior siding was delivered yesterday, so we plan to replace the worn out siding on the west side of the house, and then continue working on putting up the half timber trim that we removed to cut the house. Most of that trim has been replaced on the east and north sides, but we still have several pieces to put back on the south side (the back of the house) and the west side.


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