Saturday, September 26, 2015

Ongoing Projects: Bookcase and Fireplace

With the temperature cooling down a bit outside, I have added to my list of busywork. My ongoing weed battle has returned and hopefully will be ending for the season soon! After everyone else is in bed I can also escape to the garage and work on this project:

Yes, this is the bookcase which I had in my dining room.

A normal person would have just put it back in after finishing painting and then worried about it after the rest of the house was under control in the project department. I guess I felt I needed a 57th item to add to my daily schedule last spring. Off course it got to be 110 degrees before I finished so it has just been sitting in the middle of the garage for 6 months. It's ok though because I find stripping paint with a heat gun at 11 o'clock at night rather therapeutic.

Another thing I've been working on is cleaning out 100 years of crud from the fireplace.
This is what we've had in the fireplace for 5+ years.

Yep, the first thing you see when you walk in the door. A spray painted, squished gas insert which is way too small for the fireplace opening. This, and the gross carpet on the stairs. But I won't add another half finished project to my list yet so just this, a weird looking fireplace insert.

And here is the actual size of the unit without all of the extra metal framing they added to make it "fit".

I am now left with:
At first glance, I thought they had painted the inside of the fireplace but once we finished pulling out the gas insert I could tell it was just gross fire crud. I looked online to see if vinegar would clean a fireplace and sure enough, Apartment Therapy had that suggestion. About a 50/50 water, vinegar mix. They also mentioned not using it on an old fireplace due to the acidity but wouldn't any official fireplace cleaner be harsher? Maybe if I was cleaning it out every week? But I have a delightfully tacky, log shaped electric heater to sit in here so I don't plan on really scrubbing it again. I used the vinegar on the bottom stones to the left in the photo and you can see they cleaned up nicely (they were the same as the right side). Of course, the gunk on the right side barely budged when I used my vinegar concoction so I'll have to test something a little stronger on it.

It was nice they ran the gas line through the ash trap door and tucked the original cast iron trap door and frame behind the insert so we just popped them back in place. I figured there was going to be a giant hole of some kind under the insert we were going to have to patch. The porcelain log is sitting on the trap door as it pops open if you put pressure on one side or the other. Convenient if you're sweeping away ash, not convenient with a curious cat and hyperactive 3-year-old. My dad was concerned about the cat. I was more concerned about fishing out a Thomas or favorite race car from amongst 100 years of ash/dead whatever in that hole in the basement. Yuck!

1 comment:

  1. I did a lot of paint stripping between the hours of 11PM and 4AM this summer due to the heat. I can totally sympathize. :)