Saturday, January 16, 2010

Step Four: Sanding

This is the fourth part of my series about stripping woodwork.  This is the step we really didn't want to do, but since the stain originally put on our wood work became blotchy when we took off the old shellac, we had no choice -- we had to sand.  It really did slow the process down.  Any regular readers might recall I was planning on doing the entire main floor this winter.  I am still in the hall I started in.  So it goes; we didn't really think I was going to have such high productivity did we?

Anyway, on to the sanding.  Any area that could be power sanded, got treatment from the random orbital.  While doing the outdoor project, we invested in a hose attachment and connectors so we could hook up the  shop-vac and the sander.  It really cuts down on the dust produced by the sander. We got the hose attachments at the Orange Store.

For sanding the trim, we went with four grits: 60, 100, 150, and 220. During the finishing phase we are using 400 to sand between coats.  Looking at the boards that are done, there are a few things I would have done differently.  I have a few of those curly scratches from the random orbital sander, and I think from now on, I will check the boards more carefully and hand-sand any of those out.  I will also work in a more well-lit area of the basement so I can see them better.

The trickiest part of sanding for me is when I am hand-sanding.  The boards that must be hand-sanded are the ones with the curves and detail.  It's hard to make sure I am keeping the profile crisp. I use a combination of hard sanding blocks and those soft foam sanding blocks that you see by the sanding paper at the store.  When I feel like the block itself is losing its grit, I just wrap new sandpaper on top.  I use the foam for any curves and the harder sanding block for corners and hard edges.

Once I was done sanding the boards I removed, I also began sanding the boards that remained installed.  These are the door frames. I found something kind of interesting when doing this.  The round doorway has a stop installed, like it used to have a door.  There are no ghosts of hinges, however, so I think the stop is just decoration.  Anyway, we thought removing the stop would make sanding a lot easier, so I began to pry it away.   The stops on our windows is mounted flush to the frame. On the round doorway, however, there is a channel cut into the frame. The joinery is so tight that the wood underneath hasn't even aged.

This picture above shows the straight piece of the stop removed, and the rounded still installed. I don't dare try to take it off the rounded area. I have a theory that the stop must have been installed before the frame was put in; all of the nails are sticking point side out.  Incidentally, it is a good thing there are no small children running around this house, because there has been at least 20 nails sticking straight out of the doorway for a week.

This picture gives you a good idea of what the wood looks like sanded down with 60 grit.  I make a point not to sand it down to make it look like perfect, new wood.  If there is a scratch, I don't sand it all out.  Although there is still some blotching I will sand out in future passes.

When working on the frames, I went to strip the paint on the kitchen doorway, and discovered it had always been painted.  I had mentioned what wood that was originally painted would look like when stripped. This is a good picture of it; see how underneath the paint it looks almost whitewashed?  It also shows the paint color we decided on for the hallway (the green on the left). I plan to strip this doorway and repaint it to match the kitchen woodwork.

And what has Kevin been up to while I have been working on the hall?

Making himself a woodworking bench.  It is his pride and joy; the top is individually laminated solid pine, when finished comes out to about 4 inches thick. The legs are also laminated together, all of it was hand-planed down smooth, and all of the mortises are hand-chiseled.  He really is a pretty talented guy.

And finally, a sneak preview of the finished boards. Next, I will report on the finishing and installation.

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