Rent A Heat Gun

I’ll never use stripper again.  I bought a heat gun from Home Depot when I needed to strip the paint off my 1st bathroom door.  It didn’t put a dent in the layers of paint.  The scraping tool that connected to the end of it actually bent.  The paint never came to a blister.  I returned it and bought stripper, hence my post The Battle of the Strippers.  Assuming all heat guns are created equal when it came time to start stripping the office door I found at Columbus Architectural Salvage I immediately planned to buy Citristrip, but I also remembered a conversation I had with Britt Sang, the guy who painted my door when he came out to give me a quote on painting my house.  He said he’d use a heat gun to remove the paint from around the windows.

I decided to try a heat gun again, but this time I was going to rent a professional one.  Unfortunately the door was returned to me too late to rent one last Saturday.  I had already lost 8 days when it was not returned on the 21st as communicated by Scotti at the WoodShop, so instead of doing nothing until Monday when the rental store opened I ran to Lowe’s and bought Citristrip.  It took two gallons of Citristrip and two days to get one side to the state you see in these pictures.  The fine grooves in the two vertical panels still had paint on most of it.

Frustrated by the slow process (I swear it worked better previously) Monday I headed out to Schuloff Tool Rental for a $12/day heat gun.  Before leaving the shop I asked for tips on using.  He said to heat an area, put the gun down and scrap.  He recommended using a 5-in-1 tool, which I wasn’t sure what it was so he sent me to a Beck Paint and Hardware Store 20200106_083406down the road from them.  When I saw the tool I then knew what it was because I had two of them.  I asked the clerk about getting paint out of the grooves and he recommended the Hyde Coutour Scraper.  You get a handle and six different attachments.  I used the one you see pictured.

Heating an area and then scraping did not work.  As fast as it bubbled up, without the heat it cooled down.  Remembering how the attachment from the one I bought worked, I put my scrapper down and held the gun inches above it and once the paint started to blister I pushed the blade..  The paint came up like butter.  I was amazed.  In about 5 hours I had the door completely stripped.  The Hyde tool worked fabulously in the grooves.  I was so focused on that area that I didn’t take any pictures.  As you can see from the pic on the left I singed the door a bit, but wasn’t concerned due to my dark stain.

The bad thing about paint strippers is that they do something to the molecular nature of paint, as when I turned the door over to use the gun to clean up the strip side, the heat just made the residual paint gum up.  When I tried to focus on the grooves I unfortunately held the heat gun to the plastic handle of the scraper and it melted the mechanism that held the attachment rendering it useless.

I decided to just sand the door and then apply the stain.  I knew the next day that I had not sanded enough. I could tell that the lighter areas still had residue of the paint/stripper.  My sanding pad gummed up quick and instead of changing it I used it for the entire door.  Once gummed up sanding pads are not effective.  I decided to sand the lighter areas again, but instead of using my belt sander I used my orbital.  I went through 3, 80 grit pads, which means there was a lot of paint residue on that door.  I used the orbital on the heat gun side too.  In comparison I used one pad and it never gummed up.

I knew after one coat the heat gun side was going to look better, so thankfully that is the side of the door that faces the hall and will be seen the most.  When I thought I would have the door back before Christmas I decided to hold a Birthday Open House, so the eight days I lost stopped me from spending more time cleaning up the detailing.  Perhaps one day when I’m bored and I get another Hyde Contour Scraper handle, I’ll go back and clean up the grooves.  For now it will just have to work.

Road Trip for the Elusive Office Door

20191123_114730Saturday I made a quick trip up to Columbus, OH to pick up the only missing door in my house; the elusive, 2-panel (vertical), approx 32″x 80″ door for my office.  You cannot restore old houses without having an arsenal of salvage stores to shop.  I found Columbus Architectural Salvage‘s website months ago when started searching for doors for my house.  They have always had the 2-panel vertical style I needed, but not until last week did they have one in the size I needed.  I paid for it in advance to ensure it would be there.

What a super cool store and so well organized, I could spend hours.  It was sensory overload.  The budding up-cylcer in me was roaring to come out and buy, buy, buy for project ideas.  I resisted and came home with just a door, a mortice lock to fit it, and a couple of hinges I will need for my master bedroom refreshment center project, stay tuned for that one.

The door will need to be stripped and stained to match the others in the house, but this won’t be my first stripping rodeo.  It will also need to be reversed as it is currently 20191123_151632oriented to swing in the wrong direction.  I’ve already solicited Scotti, from the Wavepool Wood Shop to tackling getting it fitted for the door jamb.  One day I will learn the process of retro-fitting doors and jambs, but at this stage of the project I’m invoking my old time is money adage.  At my current skill set (which is advanced and getting stronger) I would take days to fit the door and that’s not time I have to give at this stage.

Having that door allows me to truly see the light at the end of the tunnel.  The first floor trim, moulding, and setting of five doors is all that is left from calling the inside of the house complete.  I’ve put myself on the clock to have the inside complete by my birthday in mid January, so no holiday trim the tree gathering again this year.

The Battle of the Strippers

One of the things that I loved when I first toured my house was the fact that the doors and trim were unpainted, except for two doors.  Actually 1.5 doors, the 1st floor bath linen closet was painted white with a white glass door knob and the inside of the bathroom entry door was painted white.  White glass knob on inside, clear glass knob on outside with a dark brown stain.  Both were peeling badly and would need to be stripped just in order to refresh the paint.

I decided to turn the entry door into a pocket door as I had three doors within a 3′ area (linen closet, hall closet, and entry door), why too much swinging in tight quarters in my opinion.  In order to use the original knobs I will need to turn the door around, causing the painted side to be on the outside.  Just to avoid needing to completely strip the painted side I looked into boring a new mortis lock hole on the other side, but a professional carpenter advised me against that.  I have only that one door, so no room for error.

20180804_190354I had started trying to strip the linen closet door first and was getting absolutely nowhere with the Jasco Premium Paint & Epoxy Remover.  This was recommended to me by a Home Depot employee.  States is starts working in 15 minutes.  It did, but removed one layer at best.  I followed that with the Star 10, a product recommended to my by an employee at Woodcraft.  Stripper of choice by wood craftsmen, or so he said.  It didn’t do much either as you can see.  Both gave off strong fumes.

Nicole Curtis (#nicolecurtis) of Rehab Addict (#rehabaddict) always talks about an orange, safe stripper, so while I am not sure of the exact product she uses I went back to Home Depot and got CitriStrip Stripping Gel.  The carpenter pointed out to me that I needed to have the door inserted before putting up trim and I need the trim up in order to lay tile, so the entry door moved to the head of the line.

I started stripping about 11am and believe I could have gotten the entire door done in a late night, but I had to get home to let out and feed my dogs.  This is how it looked at the end of day one.  I believe one treatment went through at least three layers as I saw white, yellow, and mint green:

20180804_212132I actually applied a second coat, but when I realized the time I knew I couldn’t give its full time to work.  In the short time it was on it did not bubble as you see above, it actually got milky white.  As I rubbed one area with the paint brush I could actually see wood.  It was liquefying the remaining paint.  I wasn’t sure if I would return the next day, so I  wiped the door clean instead of letting it sit overnight.

I did return the next day, applied another coat that sat for about two hours before I used a putty scraper to get to the picture on the left.  A third coat aided by a bladed scrapper and small steel brush (for inside panel edges) got me to a completely stripped door shown on the right.   The directions suggest using Odorless Mineral Spirits with an abrasive stripping pad to loosen remaining residue.  I dipped my brush in it, but did not try a pad.  Before staining I’ll use a fine grade sanding pad on my rotary sander to open up the pores.  I used the entire 64 oz bottle on this door and about a 1/4 of a new bottle.  I believe I could have gotten by with one if not for the abrupt ending on day one.

20180805_181635I won’t strip the stained side, just sand it, apply a primer, and then paint it with semi-gloss paint.  The harder challenge will be in matching the original stain.  Stay tuned.