Monday, October 17, 2005

This Old House: Austin The Sandpaper Chronicles

This weekend I spent several hours trying to save some money by sanding paint off some bathroom cabinets. I've had worse jobs than using a power tool in the shade of a pleasant fall day, but I've had better as well. Whoever did the painting and stuff in an attempt to make our new house more sellable deserves to be taken out back and shot, or at least strung up by the thumbs for a while.

They appear to have done none of the things you are supposed to do when painting, for example. It would have been better if they hadn't painted at all. They painted latex paint over oil, and so it will just flake off. They used exterior paint on the inside (or was it interior paint outside? Whatever, it was wrong). They did a slapdash job of preventing spills, drips, and overbrushing that created as much mess as it prevented. They painted over dirty wood, rotten wood, and in some places no wood. It is, in a word, crap. The people we have hired to paint things the way we want have spent a lot of their time scraping off the most recent paint in order to do their own.

So there I was in the back bathroom with a palm sander and a lot of coarse texture sandpaper sheets, hoping to save us a few bucks by giving our paint crew a hand. Thank God for power tools. I don't want to think about what it would have been like to try and get that stuff off purely by muscle power. As it was, I was incredibly stiff and sore at the end of both days.

Of course, you would figure that the half-assed way the previous people did things included really laying the paint on thick in those places it was easy to reach, like the tall cabinet doors in the water closet. The paint on those doors almost ate my sandpaper, rather than vice-versa. Those doors were what I spent all of yesterday afternoon working on.

Although tiresome, the previous days work on drawer faces and under-sink cabinet doors and stuff seemed like child's play compared to the grunt work those tall doors presented. Naturally, I was covered in paint particles from the sanding. Arms, hair, beard, shoes. An inch or more deep in spots on the floor. I wore a surgical mask, but I would rather not think about the amount of gunk I almost certainly inhaled despite its presence.

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