Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Tub, Shelves, Groundcloth, &c. &c.

We have been very energetic lately.

I touched up all the scuffs and smudges (that I could find) on our walls and doors, stripped and varnished a book shelf, and painted the outside of the pedestal tub. Also, Matt & I installed more metal edging and put down weed barrier.

Painting & Varnishing

The first two were pretty straightforward. Here's what's worth mentioning:

1) I impulse-bought a little bucket from Sherwin-Williams that is made for touch-ups. It has a special little lip so that you can scrape the excess paint off your brush without it going down the outside of the bucket; it has a magnet to hold your brush in place when you aren't using it; and it has a rubber handle that fits snugly over your hand.

The result is that you can carry it all over the house to make touch-ups without every dripping or spilling--it's a miracle! I was actually annoyed at the time of purchase--I had wanted just a cheap-o plain bucket for the task, not this fancy-pants professional-grade bucket with all the special features. However, there were no cheap-o buckets available, and as it turns out, the special features are killer. Love this bucket.

2) I bought a stain/varnish combo for the book shelf (which is an attractive but chintzy item that we got second-hand and originally came from Target). I didn't think it merited the complications of first staining, then varnishing. On a scale of 1 to 10, I'd give the varnish something like a 7.8. It's easy to use, but in the miserable sauna that is our metal garage in August, the varnish tended to a slight gloppiness.

Also, in order to get a somewhat even finish, you have to apply 3 coats, which is annoying. And finally, it instructed me to use steel wool between the 1st and 2nd coats. But steel wool leaves little steel fuzzies which apparently hang suspended in the air until you put down your next coat of varnish, at which point they materialize out of nowhere and leap on the wet lacquer all at once. Most aggravating. Still, for refinishing second-hand bookshelves from Target, it's all right. And if I'd used sand paper instead of steel wool, I'd have given the product an 8.6

Chintzy but attractive bookcase. Original finish was chipping off. Sanded & refinished.

The Tub Rebels

The tub is... more difficult.

Stuff I learned about tub epoxy:
1) Really, really, really don't put it on too thick. If you do, it may never, ever dry.
2) If you have glops or imperfections, rub at them with a xylene-soaked rag sometime before they're 100% dry--xylene dissolves partially dried epoxy.
3) Buy the air canisters in bulk if (like us) you idiotically opted not to buy a power sprayer.

I ended up rubbing off the bits that kept not drying; hopefully by now (2 days after the xylene and about 2 weeks after initial application) the tub's first coat will be dry, if very uneven.

I painted the outside of the tub a darker shade of the wall color, although Matt (presciently) implored me not to. It isn't that it looks bad--it just doesn't look at all exciting. I had thought it would be really zingy. Alas. The color wasn't as pretty as I expected, and it has surprising nautical connotations--if the Navy had pedestal tubs, they would probably paint them this color. It's not terrible, just... meh.
Oddly institutional grey-blue of our pedestal tub. Oh well.
I dunno--maybe when I install a new shelf and cabinet, and add the bathmath, and so on, it will all pop into place. Maybe.

Taming the Front Bed

I'm quite happy about the week barrier. The roundup worked a treat on the burmudagrass, so now we're covering their browning corpses to prevent them from ever returning again. Later, we'll mulch on top of the weed barrier. Hot work, though. Not hard work, per se, just hot--I absolutely rained sweat.

The brown bits are the dead bermudagrass--Mwahahaha!

But the steamy outdoor work gives me a proper appreciation for our front porch, which is nice and shady and even catches the odd breeze. It's surprising how much a variance of a few degrees matters--you would think everything over 95F would just be bad, but actually, when you go from our oven of a garage out into the yard, you'd swear the outdoors was cool and delicious. And when you go from working in the yard to our shady porch, that 98-degrees-in-the-shade is remarkably refreshing.

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