The day I'd anticipated for a week had finally come. My belt sander was due to be delivered today, and I could finally start stripping! Sure enough, it arrived right on time.
I was relieved when I opened the box to discover that I'd ordered the sander that you can plug in. I couldn't remember if I'd ordered that one, or one that I'd have to wait 13 hours for the battery to charge. So, yay! I could start stripping right away!
Well, after work, that is.
And work, well, it was rough, I tell ya. My work day started at 4:00 AM, which is bad enough. When the regular shift started, we had some people out on our line, so Group Leader Theresa asked me to go help out over there for today. I was happy to go where I was needed, but the other sub brazer...well, let's just say, she couldn't handle the job by herself. Now, remember, the sub brazer who'd been over there up until now has moved to third shift. This is a different one. She's an experienced brazer, but she's not a worker like I am. She's been over there two weeks now. When she first got moved to sub brazing from line brazing, she spent the first few days bragging about how Theresa thought she was hurting her, but she was really doing her a favor. She could walk around and talk, lean up against the stand, go outside, eat...it was like being on vacation for her. And it was, as long as I was there to get the work done.
Which brings us to today. Group Leader Theresa asked me to go fill in for someone who was out, and suddenly, without me there to carry the line for her, this other brazer completely falls apart. It's so bad that an hour before quitting time, she doesn't have any headers ready for the line to use. Not only that, but the order she'd just finished brazing was wrong, and she was having to re-do them. Theresa told me to go help her out, so I ended up having to stay until 3:00 (on Saturdays, we work from 6:00 - 2:00) to get some headers brazed up for second shift to have something to start on.
As Theresa stopped to tell me goodbye on her way out the door, I told her to consider this a dry run for when I start taking my days off in two weeks. I said, "When I'm off, you won't have me here to swoop in at the last minute to save the day." Judging by the way things went today, well, I'll just have to pray for second shift. Pray really hard.
Finally, the work day was over and I could come strip! I drove home like a bat out of hell, changed clothes, started a load of laundry, and broke out the belt sander. Safety first, I put on my goggles and my dust mask.
No, I did not take a selfie of me wearing them. But I did put them on, and after the first few minutes, added ear plugs to the mix.
But lookit how clean it got my mantle.
Kindly ignore the little pile of sawdust. I vacuumed it up shortly after I took this picture.
I'm going to have to find an extension cord to get back into the corner there, but I got quite a bit cleaned off, on both sides. I'm going to have to strip that little decorative molding by hand, so that'll be a bit of work. Also, there is a piece of metal screwed to the underside of the mantle right over where the stove is. I tried to take it off, but you guessed it, the screw heads were so clogged up with paint, I couldn't even get the screwdriver into them. These people loved their paint, I tell ya.
After I'd stripped the top and sides of the mantle, I started picking at the paint on the bottom. I managed to peel a piece this big. It feels like plastic. I've never seen the like.
Then, just for defecation and laughter -- that's something we used to say back in the Navy, only we didn't say it exactly like that, but this is a family friendly blog, so we won't go all the way there...
Anyway, for defecation and laughter, I ran the belt sander up my bricks just to see if it would distress them and what it would look like. Guess what I discovered under the white paint....yep, a layer of black paint.
I'm thinking it's going to take some doing to get all the paint off those bricks. But that's another project for another time. (I do see the blue spots, but I'm not sure if that's another layer of paint, or just the white paint separating into its pigments.)
When I was at the store yesterday, I went to look at the stains to decide which color to do my mantle. I quickly narrowed it down to these two:
I really like the red oak, but wanted something a bit darker, so I went with the walnut. However, I bought the kind that has the stain and polyurethane together. You can see the little can back in the picture of my safety equipment. It's going to be several days before I can stain the wood, though.
Several days and several sandings. I don't want to start staining, and suddenly see a bit of old paint still on the wood.
With my luck, that's exactly what would happen.