Thursday, March 15, 2012

Old Mother Hubbard

Ok, I've been bad about posting about the projects I'm working on lately. Part of the problem is I didn't work on many notable projects for a while. (Cleaning, dishes, laundry, etc. don't count as projects.)
Well I decided to tackle a huge project that will take me months to do even with assistance. A while ago I got some free cabinets from the owner of a design blog I follow. (Link here) She ripped them out of her kitchen and offered them up for free! They are nice solid oak cabinets that originally had a dark stain and had been painted an off-white color. Rather than add more layers of paint to the already thick layers of paint on the cabinets, I decided to remove it as best I could.
Here is our stash of cupboards on our back porch. Maybe I can get it cleared off in time for summer so we can spend hot afternoons playing out there.
First I tried using a sander. It sanded through the paint alright, but it rounded parts that weren't supposed to be rounded and it was impossible to get inside the details without ruining them. Here is a picture of the sanding results. See how it doesn't sand evenly and all the paint is still in the grooves and edges? Yeah, that's a problem.
So I decided to call in the stripper. Paint stripper, that is. I rounded up all the supplies and safety precautions from the local hardware store: Safety goggles, painting mask, special gloves, plastic stripping tool, abrasive pads, and mineral spirits. (What a family friendly post! Strippers, tools, and spirits!)
I set up shop on the front porch during Joshua's nap and got to work. (The above picture is after working for two hours and cleaning up most of the paint.) I may or may not have looked like a mad scientist with all my gear on, but I have no photographic proof, so you can't prove it. Here is a cool picture I took after I put the first coat of stripper on the first cupboard door. Can you tell which one has bubbled up?
I learned a few things during my first stripping session paint stripping experience. You really need to slop that stuff on the paint for it to work well. When the directions say to wait 15 minutes before testing a spot, they don't take into account that you live in an arid climate and are working in the warm sun. Some areas just won't want to come off no matter what you do, so it's a good thing you're painting these anyway. You will still need to sand some spots. Last but not least: this project may take you the rest of the year. 
All in all it was fun, and it was wonderful to be out in the nice weather today. I think I may have even gained a few freckles, if that's even possible. 


The Fleming Family said...

So are you going to keep at it if it is going to take a year? You didn't say...
Good job so far!! Stripping is hard work! (That's why people here get paid so much to do it!) ;-) hehehee

Sarah Franz said...

yes, i'm going to keep at it. my goal is to work on it at least once each day. the whole project of the kitchen in general will take a while, too.