house – day 113 – heat treatment

I’m on my own today, Fiona’s mum isn’t well so she’s going to visit her instead of coming to the house.

I’ve got plenty to be going on with. The first job is to treat the hinges, so I can start re-hanging doors. The cast iron hinges cleaned up beautifully, unfortunately, the house is damp and the bare metal is beginning to rust a little. To protect them, I’m not going to lacquer them, I’m going to heat them and plunge them in mineral oil. It’s a treatment I last used when I was silversmithing in the 1970s. You heat the metal with a blowtorch until you get the colour you want (this drives off any residual moisture), I’m looking for a pale straw colour, once the metal has changed to the required colour, you drop it in an oil bath and leave it to cool. This has the benefit of locking in the oil, protecting the metal and providing lubrication – and it enables you to change the colour of the metal permanently (at least until you re-heat it). If rust starts to appear in the future, you just clean it off and and oil-treat them again. It’s a lot easier than stripping off lacquer. I cleaned off any remaining rust from the hinges, wired them to make it easy to remove them from the oil bath and built a rack, for excess oil to drain from the hinges.

With the hinges heat treated and hanging over a drip tray, I the got the last door (for now) sanded, ready for trimming and priming. There is one more door to do, but that’s the old toilet door and that won’t get done until we’ve moved in. It’s the site toilet and it’s not worth decorating until all the other work is complete.

I spent the last couple of hours painting the bare plaster downstairs, cleaned up and drove home. I’ve got a few jobs for Fiona tomorrow.