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Archive for the ‘Stains and finishes’ Category

Getting Unemployed Properties “Back to Work” – Part 1

One of my mother’s established clients, and two of his friends, purchased shut-down school properties. Then, the men transformed them into facilities needed in their respective communities.

 

A few examples…

 

  1. A one-story elementary school, near Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, was turned into a summer camp for boys and girls from low-income families.

 

  1. A one-story elementary school in northeastern Illinois was remodeled, then licensed as a community-owned and operated nursing home and rehabilitation center.

 

  1. A small, two-story high school, in the Chicago area, was reconfigured to serve as the new home for an overcrowded orphanage.

 

During a twenty-year span, the three entrepreneurs saved over fifty abandoned structures from demolition. In every instance, their goal was to put the property to good use in its local community.

 

For every remodeling project, local people were employed to do the work.

 

  1. A large advance crew cleared out and cleaned up the property, before any other work could proceed.

 

  1. A general contractor handled the rest of the project. That included the employment of the different types of skilled trade and craft persons needed to pull off that particular type of project.

 

The abandoned properties shared many problems.

 

  1. The buildings had been closed up at least two years, usually over three.
  2. The seasonal elements – rain, snow, ice, wind, heat, mold and mildew, etc. – had taken their toll on both the interiors and exteriors of the building(s), also the land.
  3. Sand, wild plants, wild creatures, pests of all sorts, etc. had taken up residence – and in the most unbelievable of areas/spaces.
  4. Woods had warped, rotted, cracked, and separated.
  5. Paint had chipped, faded, crackled,  and washed off many, if not all, surfaces.
  6. Wood stain had paled and turned a greenish black, or black.
  7. Varnishes had cracked and turned ugly shades of grey, or weird shades of red or yellow.
  8. Commercial grade wallcoverings had separated from their backings, and/or peeled from the walls. Then, stuck to the floors.
  9. Exterior metalwork, rails, fencing, doors, windows, frames, etc. had been beaten severely by the weather, and years of neglect. Some of it before the property had been closed down.

 

Working on any of the projects was not an painter’s idea of a dream job. Well, not for most. Even when the pay scale was high, and his or her contractor-boss was likeable, fair and accountable.

 

In July, a retired commercial painter e-mailed that he’d worked on several properties purchased by Jerry’s group.

 

“I was a moderately skilled painter on my first project done for them. I needed the job. Jerry said he saw my drive and potential. By the time we finished that first school, I’d used every skill I’d learned in apprentice school. And, I worked into a steady job, helping to save abandoned small schools, hospitals, motels, etc. Gratifying work if you can fit into it!”

 

I never knew the inventor-entrepreneur that led the small group of property benefactors. He wore many hats.

 

But, his worn coverall appearance, and laid-back, no-nonsense approach to nearly everything that he did was legendary. And, respected. Even among the infamous street gangs – eg. Hell’s Angels – that terrorized and paralyzed older neighborhoods on the northwest, west, and southwest sides of Chicago.

 

Saving shut-down and abandoned properties has become popular, as the “GO GREEN” philosophy and approach grows in North America. And, around the globe.

 

Each of us, including painters, has a role in preserving and protecting the natural resources we have. In  restoring, reviving and revitalizing properties and buildings that already exist. Especially when they are restorable or revivable.

 

Welcome any opportunity to do what you can. One of those opportunities is to repair-renovate-restore-rejuvinate-retrofit-re-use our buildings. And, the lands upon which they set.

 

Read Part 2: Painting Them: Getting Unemployed Properties “Back-to-Work.”

 

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A painter is as entrepreneurial and innovative as the next person – including in the reviving and revitalizing of existing man-made resources.

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Thanks, everyone, for doing your part to make this world better for others.

And, thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

 

Copyright 2015. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved

Painting It: The Dresser!

You probably see your dresser every morning. “What am I going to wear?”

 

Does it appeal to you as much as the items in it? Or, does it leave a dull impression every time you are around it? Or think about it?

 

Over a course of years, your dresser may have lost its allure also. This can be fixed easily.

 

By washing, sanding and painting, your worn out-looking dresser can appear like new. Spend a few dollars. Apply a lot of elbow grease. And, it can become a major attraction in your home.

 

Follow these steps. And, you’ll be on your way.

 

1. Find a place you can work.

A. Select a place with good ventilation.

B. Lay a drop cloth or some plastic sheeting on the floor.

C. Place your dresser on top.

D. Also, place blocks of wood underneath, so the piece doesn’t rest directly on the floor.

 

2. Take a screwdriver and remove all hardware – eg. handles and knobs.

A. Wood: Clean gently with mild soap and warm water.

B. Metal: Clean gently with mild soap or baking soda and warm water. Polish with metal polish.

C. Brass: Clean gently with mild soap or baking soda and warm water. Polish with brass polish.

 

3. Wash the surfaces of the dresser.

A. Use a sponge, cleaning brushes, and a suitable detergent.

B. Pay special attention to drawer edges, molding and crevices on drawer faces.

C. Rinse with warm water.

D. Let air dry; or force dry with heat gun or hair dryer.

 

4. Sand entire surface.

A. Use #220 sand paper or sanding block.

B. Fill imperfections with wood filler.

C. Let dry.

D. Then, sand smooth.

 

5. Wipe the entire surface down.

A. Use a tack cloth to remove any dust residue.

 

6. Apply a thin coating of primer to the whole surface.

A. Use a brush, and a low nap roller cover, three-sixteenth.

B. Or apply by spray painting.

C. Using spray cans may render a very fine job – whether you’re a painter or consumer.

D. Conventional spray or HVLP equipment is recommended, and generally used, by professional painters. Consumers that do a lot of painting, including furniture refinishing, also rely on spray equipment to get the job done.

 

7. Lightly sand surface once more, when the primer has dried thoroughly.

A. Use #220 sandpaper or #400 wet sand until surface is smooth.

B. Wipe down with tack cloth.

 

8. Apply the finish (top) coat using same method as in step 6.

A. A hard enamel or oil finish is desired.

B. I have found that an automotive grade acrylic enamel works quite well, also.

Note: It is highly durable and has superior color retention and wash ability. It does cost a little more than conventional paint.

 

9. Let the dresser’s new finish dry completely. A full 24 hours is ideal.

 

10. Re-install your hardware. Slide in the drawers and you’re all set.

A. Your dresser will look as good as your clothes inside it.

B. New-style tip: Change the hardware: Hinges, knobs, drawer pulls, etc.

 

A THINK TWICE TIP: Is your dresser an antique? 

  1. Carefully and gently clean with a soft cloth.
  2. Repair only the necessary parts of it.
  3. Gently rub linseed oil into all wood surfaces. Apply with the grain.
  4. Do not paint unless the piece has lost all of its value.
  5. CAREFUL! Most antique pieces of furniture maintain, even increase, in worth because of their signs of age, and their imperfections.

 

Want to perfect your skills even more? Or, do you want to try a similar creative project?

Maybe, your child’s dresser needs a facelift, too.
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DRESS YOUR DRESSER FOR SUCCESS!
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Have a great day!  And, thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

 

Copyright 2015. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Painting It: “627” Bathroom

Some persons are so creative, that it flows into every area of their lives. Even to the most unchangeable things. Where nothing could be done to improve it. Or, so it may seem to you, or I.

 

In one quiet week-end, one of these creatives turned what was once a small, service station bathroom into a comedic conversation piece. And, a great place to hide!

 

Room: Utility bathroom.

Overall dimensions: 8 ft. length by 6 ft. wide by 8 ft. height.

Features: Solid knotty pine paneled wall (30-inches length); 26-inch sink vanity cubicle, built-in corner shower stall, lavatory cubicle, knotty pine paneling built-in wall.

Basic construction: Concrete block walls, and shower stall walls, poured concrete floor, drywall ceiling.

Post-construction upgrade: Pink and White, alternate set, 3-inch tiles glazed ceramic over: vanity wall, shower stall walls (inside/outside) and entry, also room’s floor; pink and white, alternate set, frosted ceramic mini-tiles on shower stall floor. Knotty pine paneled wall (8-ft length): built-in lounge seat (36-inches), 2-30 inch one-half closets, overhead blanket cupboard.

 

PREP WORK

 

1. Removed all door knobs and movable fixtures.

2. Gently washed all knotty pine paneled areas, baseboard, built-in mirror frame; also entry door.

3. Once dried, sanded above surfaces with No. 220 sandpaper.

4. Thoroughly dusted all surfaces with clean, soft cloths.

 

SURFACE APPLICATIONS

 

5. Brushed and rolled thin coat of red semi-gloss interior enamel (Gliddens) on all knotty pine surfaces.

6. Once dried, lightly sanded wall surfaces and door. Re-dusted all areas with clean, soft cloths.

7. Glued over twenty, 6-inch by 8-inch black and white newsprints of British ZIGGY cartoons on paneled walls and door interior.

8. Areas were left to dry.

9. Carefully brushed thin coat of clear gloss varnish, slightly tinted with same red paint coloring used in thin first coat application.

 

SOME POPULAR, AFFORDABLE DECORATING OPTIONS FOR AN OLD BATHROOM

 

1. Stenciling – Graphic shapes, large letters, silhouettes, on the ugliest wall.

TIP: First, lightly sand with No. 220 sandpaper. Then, brush on a fresh coat of paint. Examples: white, off-white, or white ivory interior latex. (Or acrylic latex).

2. Sponge random pattern onto that same painted wall and baseboard.

TIP: Add 1-2 drops of acrylic paint – a favorite color – to one-half gallon of the white base paint.

3. Do the reverse: First paint the entire wall, or half wall, with the tinted paint.

TIP: Then, mark one horizontal line one-half distance between floor and ceiling. Mark a second horizontal line 3-4 inches below that line. Use BLUE masking tape to tape along each line, with one edge of tape on line, other outside of stripe area.

4. Create your own vertical half-wall/board effect.

TO-DO TIP: Use yardstick, or metal tape measure to mark space, horizontally, into 4-to-6 inch vertical “wood” planks.

 

The Homeowner’s True Story…

 

January, 1972— Thirty-five stranded semi-truck drivers enjoyed the cozy and clean accommodations of that colorful bathroom. For nearly three days, they huddled together inside the concrete block house under major reconstruction and expansion.

 

The truckers drank hot, black coffee and ate thinned down, home-made chili or chicken-noodle soup from small Styrofoam cups. They made quick, long-distance calls home, to let their families know they were okay. They leaned against bare wall joists, and dozed off. Totally exhausted, and feeling unsettled.

 

Every hour or so, the truckers bundled back up and braved the miserable weather to check on their diesel-powered rigs. Kept running –in place on U. S. Highway 30 – to prevent the engines from freezing up.

 

Northwest Indiana was a living nightmare for those, and thousands of other, long-haul truckers. The massive ice storm and subzero temperatures had paralyzed the area. Closing all major north and south traffic: I-65, seven miles to the west, and I-149 to the east. Nothing was moving!

 

For over fifteen years after their unplanned visit, semi-drivers whizzed and roared by on U. S. 30. Saying “HI” with their loud TOOT! TOOT! TOOT! They filled the property’s mailbox with cards and notes. They told their own extended stories of the adventure in 1972. Ones they shared with their families and friends.

 

More than one-half of the truckers joked about the little red “cartoon” bathroom. They recalled their favorite cartoons. And, they told the homeowners: “Keep that bathroom just the way it is…Don’t touch it.”

 

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Family friendships are the best! Especially when made, or rekindled, unexpectedly – and/or when especially needed.

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Thanks, everyone, for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2015. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

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