house – day 63 – real progress

Lying in bed early this morning, I thought of a different method to strip the doors – I’ll get an orbital sander. Paul had used one on the walls to good effect. I’m reluctant to spend more money (especially on tools – Fiona thinks I already have far too many), but what else am I to do? I’m not going to dip the doors as it wrecks the doors’ construction and I’m not willing to spend four days on each of the remaining five doors. So I got out of bed, did more online research to find a suitable sander and decided on a DeWalt machine that was on sale at Screwfix. I ordered it for collection, along with 40 coarse grade discs. I was determined to get the bloody doors finished without any more interruptions. Getting to the store was a slow process, the traffic was very congested, it took ten minutes to move about 500 metres, but I finally got there. Whilst there I also picked up more dust masks, as it’s probably lead-based paint I’m removing and a new pair of ear defenders. My ears were ringing all evening after yesterday’s work and (like most of my stuff) the pair I already have are still in storage. They’re only £2.99, but it’s an unnecessary £2.99 and that irks.

Despite the congested traffic around the store, the journey to the house was pretty quick. I arrived at a reasonable time and felt I’d be able to accomplish a good few things today. The plumbers were in the house, installing radiators and the new radiators for the downstairs rooms had arrived earlier in the morning. (I hadn’t been informed of that delivery either.) The replacement toilet cistern had also turned up. After weeks of removing stuff from the house (is it five or six skips?) things are going back in now.

After talking to the plumber about some of the work to be done, I went up stairs to attack the doors. The weather forecasters were right. Yesterday, when I left the house to go back to the flat, the temperature was 23C, but today on the drive to the house it was 7C and raining. What a contrast, but the cold weather is good for working with a hot air gun – it was hot, uncomfortable work yesterday. I unpacked the sander, hooked up the extractor, fitted a new sanding disc and set to work. I started on a large door panel which had a crack that I’d filled with resin. After what seemed like ages (but probably was only twelve seconds), I felt nothing was happening, so I tried using the sander on a different part of the door. I persisted a little longer this time and realised that the paint really was disappearing.  I tried the first door panel again and I noticed I could see bare wood. It looked like the new sander was working and working quickly. Not only was it working, but the discs were not clogging up either. In about an hour and a half I’d cleaned around the door frame all the way back to the bare wood. It had taken me about six hours to clear about 25% of this area yesterday. Now I feel I’m getting somewhere. This new sander is an impressive piece of kit and far less noisy than the other two sanders. It should be much quicker stripping the remaining doors now.

Unfortunately, I still have to use the hot air paint stripper to remove the remaining paint from the cupboard door as I’d used that yesterday, but even that seems a much lighter task now I have a way forward to prepare the remaining doors. (And as it’s such a cold day, the heat’s welcome). It took most of the afternoon, but, finally, I had both doors ready to be undercoated. It meant I could now rehang the front bedroom door, to keep the dirt out of the newly prepped room.

By the time I’d finished with the doors, the guys had finished working on the house for this week and had gone home. The new kitchen walls were partially boarded, all the accessible radiators had been installed and the brickwork down the side of the house was complete.

With the house to myself, I re-hung the bedroom door, cleaned my tools and tidied everything away. After taking photos of the day’s work, I set off for the flat, driving along the coast for a while to enjoy the spectacular sunset.

Yes, it feels like we’re finally getting somewhere.