Friday, January 15, 2016

winter ventures

I've been working on some house updates since the great outdoors has been a bit chilly. First on the agenda was the utility room.

There's nothing really wrong with this room except it's dark and the cabinets don't work for me. Before they put this house up for sale the previous owners painted all the non-paneled and non-papered walls in the house this dark griegy-mauve and all the trim a bright white. The paint was good for a temporary spruce-up, but because they put latex paint directly over oil paint it wasn't long before the paint started peeling off, mainly on the cabinet doors.

 I removed the cabinet doors and installed a brighter light bulb. The room felt so much better I decided the doors were not coming back. Great paint job, eh? They just slapped the paint on without even removing the doors. I spent hours cleaning paint off the hinges from the bathroom cabinets; I was so glad I wouldn't have to repeat the process here.

First step was going to be filling the cracks at the back of the cabinets and all the holes where the hinges were. That's what I've been working on for the last few weeks. I experimented with a couple of wood fillers and wasn't happy with the results, so I finally settled on Bondo, a quick-drying two-part resin usually used in auto repair.

I had to get some kneepads, because it didn't take more than a minute of kneeling on top of the washer or dryer for my knees to start yelling at me.

I have arthritis, so I can only kneel and reach for a short time, but every little bit of work adds up. Every day I'd tape off all those holes with masking tape, mix up some Bondo, and jam it into those holes.  Then I'd peel off the tape and let it cure. It's extra work to tape off, but it minimizes sanding time later. It's great that Bondo hardens so quickly, but it also means you only have about 4 or 5 minutes of working time. You also need to wear a respirator when sanding this stuff. Bondo smells pretty bad, and it takes a few days for the smell to dissipate, so it doesn't take long before I get tired of the smell and stop the whole process while I work on something else.

These two videos helped me tremendously with Bondo:
How to repair a crack in wood using Auto Bondo
DIY - Repair a door with Bondo Auto Body Filler  - This one is long, but shows the patience required to layer the Bondo on deep repairs.

I used putty knives to apply the Bondo and found old plastic cards (such as credit cards) worked well to scrape the material off the blades of the knives. I wear disposible vinyl gloves when mixing and applying Bondo because I tend to make a mess when I'm working. This case was no exception.

Look at that! Nearly done!

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