We are in one of the final phases of our decade-long remodel – putting up door trim. We wanted to use some old (and decrepit) painted trim that we had removed during the demo, but it looked like crap. But when we looked a little closer, it just looked like crap on the surface, so we decided to get the heat gun out and remove the several layers of paint that were gunking it up.
Old trim, before stripping.
It went pretty quickly and was much easier and less messy than using a chemical (or citrus-based) stripper. There were still fumes though, so we used masks and good ventilation. After removing the paint, we gave it a quick sanding with a random orbital sander, filled/sanded some nail holes with wood filler, then 2 coats of paint with a self-priming paint.
Looks like new (or at least less crappy)!
The ultimate in blow dryers.
Go Monica go!
Sanding with a sander that is missing its dust bag. Messy.
Stripped and sanded, ready to paint.
Great paint, although I should’ve gone one sheen glossier. Oh well, next time.
Our intention was (6 months ago) to remove the existing mortar bed of the hearth so we could lay a new tile hearth flush with the floor. I’m embarrassed to admit that we haven’t made any progress with this project since last spring. For a reminder of where we left off, read this post.
A quick re-cap: we removed the wood stove and its tile pad, revealing “faux” tiles made from concrete which sat on a mortar bed.
The first layer of concrete was easy to remove with a chisel and hammer, but there was a very stubborn layer of concrete underneath. We went to work on removing it. Continue reading →
Here is a fun and easy project if you ever come across a downed or pruned branch – coasters made from tree branches. When stacked on their base on your coffee table, it becomes a mini-sculpture.
The Project: Stacked coasters made from branch slices with concentric circles of ephemera applied to the surfaces. Coasters are drilled through the center, and are stacked on to a metal rod which is attached to a thick branch base.
We found these HUGE casters at Second Use (where else?) and immediately thought “coffee table”. (Actually what I immediately thought was that the husband would kill me if I brought home another big metal piece of randomness – like this and this and this.)
Here’s a tip: If you have a design idea floating around in your head – a new deck, staircase, fence, arbor, etc… build a quick model from cardboard or balsa wood. You don’t have worry about being too precise or neat – it just helps to see your idea in 3-D so you can see it from various angles.
Below are a couple of prototypes we’ve made – as you can see we weren’t too worried about fine craftsmanship, but it gave us an excellent idea of how things would work together and what modifications to make to the final plan. Continue reading →
Instead of preparing for the holidays, I thought it would be more fun to make a light fixture. I found this old enameled sign at Second Use Building Materials a while back and never quite knew what to do with it. Then last week, I was looking online and ran across a cool light bulb cage (for only $6), and all of a sudden a light went on in my head. (Ha!)
Vintage enameled sign, from an old stove (I think!).
Lamp supplies – cloth covered cord and protective cage are from 1,000 Bulbs. The cage arrived with a shiny finish. To remove that finish and darken the metal, I soaked it in vinegar. Our house smelled like pickles, but the great patina that resulted on the steel was worth it!
When we found this old car jack at Second Use, we weren’t even sure what it was – it just looked COOL! We thought it would make a great lamp base, so when this old utility clamp light came along, it seemed like a perfect match. This project was very simple, with no wiring except for adding a new plug.
This is one of the reasons we started Hammer Like a Girl – helping each other with yucky projects/tasks like this that we put off until the pile threatens to fall over and hurt an unsuspecting passerby.
Before: The pile in my basement. (I’m not proud of it.)
Next time we will take a recycling trip: the plastic bottle tops will go to Aveda, the Styrofoam and peanuts to Ikea, the pvc pipe to RE-Store, and the used batteries to the local Hazardous Waste Site.
We worked out a little system to make this project not so painful. Monica documented the items on a list (for tax deduction purposes) while I went through and bagged stuff up. When we dropped the bags off at Goodwill they gave us a tax receipt which we stapled onto the list – when tax time comes along it will make my life easier when I need to itemize. When it comes to taxes, I need all the help I can get.
This is the first post in a new category where we show little photo collections of some of our projects. The intent is less “tutorial” and more “look at things differently, you never know what can go together to make something new and one of a kind”. Enjoy and please let us know what you think! We love feedback.
Steam table, on its way to the scrap metal yard. Stripping it of its silver paint revealed iron legs and galvanized body/shelf. Removing the screwed-on top revealed a solid copper lining (like a silver lining only better).
Old Douglas Fir lumber from Second Use Building Material.
Old set of hinges, from a gate we removed in our backyard.
Finished side table with hinged plank top for access to storage.
Top lifts for storage.
Steel bar reinforcement.
Original stamp of manufactuer: Stanley Doucette, Los Angeles.
Old exposed hinges.
Doug Fir plank top.
Iron legs and galvanized shelf exposed after stripping of silver paint.
On our road trip this summer we drove through Medora, located in the Badlands of western North Dakota in Theodore Roosevelt National Park. It is a rugged but beautiful area. We stopped and visited the historic site of the Chateau de Mores.
Chateau de Mores in Medora, ND, built in just 3 months in 1883.
The Marquis de Mores was a French nobleman who came to N.D. in the late 1800′s to start a meat-packing business. He and his wife (Medora) were avid hunters and riders and he had this large house built for her. It was simple by their standards, but to the people of the area the house was grand, and they nicknamed it the “Chateau”. The family stayed for about 3 years – the business was not successful, but the house remains as a historical site. You can learn more here. Continue reading →