Friday, May 7, 2010

Ancient Secrets of Rustic Cedar Garage Door Finish

Who would have guessed? To make the wood right at the big buck Brit's home away from home you need a large container of sour cream, one of strawberry spread, and a loofah. That's all there is to it, other than some 220 grit sand paper, and some 120 for the toughest spots. Oh, and a wire brush, used sparingly.

Not sure what's up with that strawberry spread. I think it is a berry cream blend. Just judging from the containers the secret formulas were in when Raul showed me how to apply the stuff. I was hoping he was going to ex foliate my back with the loofah, however that may have been a little too intimate and I would not have been up for anything more.

Actually, he is still holding out on the exact product brands, hence the containers. Just to be sure I tasted the sour cream sealer and the strawberry wax. They tasted different than the labels implied. I think I figured out what the sealer is. The wax, maybe, however what is used to tint the wax, I do not know.

No matter what all that is made of, the doors require a tremendous amount of detailed hand sanding. Tedious is the word for it. Of course, as soon as I'd prepared a couple of the planks, about an 8"by 2 foot area, I had to apply the final wax to see if I could duplicate the little bitty section he'd done to show me how it should look. He picked the one tiny part of the whole 500 square foot project which required nothing special.

At first the pieces I did looked like a nightmare. Way too dark and too much grain darkened. The wax did not wipe off to a lighter hue as it did when Raul demonstrated. Bummer. So, after trying to buff it wipe it, sand it, I called it a day. That was last night at sunset.

Today, I started anew on my quest to undo the bad wax job, before Raul comes back to the area and checks in to see how I'm doing. I've stretched the humility all I care to on this project. Out of the sky came a sudden thought. Why not try a scrub brush? Nothing. It had no impact. How about wetting the bush a little? BINGO!! It buffed down with this technique to a very acceptable finish. Maybe better than that little ringer piece Raul did.

In case you try this at home, I think the problem was that the sealer was not on thick enough. The stuff is very thin and milky so you do best laying more on as the first stuff soaks in but before it is very dry. If it dries, lightly hit it with 220 grit paper then put on some more. Let it fill the grooves a bit as well as just seal the wood. You hit it again with the 220 and then the loofah after it is completely dry. You used the 220 and the loofah before applying it, too. This is secret info.

The loofah is used at particular phases of the preparation. Whether it actually does anything, I can't say. I go through the motions anyway. He may have just thrown that in to see if I'd fall for it. Considering the massive amount of work yet to do, I may as well take no chances. I got myself in enough trouble as it is, and the loofah can't hurt.

What an odd life. I will do a bunch of work around the corner from the Brit's because I need the money and already have a handle on it. Both jobs need to be done within a close time frame. The garage door saga may be a losing proposition money-wise, but it is possible they will understand I was not given good info and went off the edge as a result. Either way, I took the job, messed it up, and am making it right. It is my responsibility no matter what. The around the corner place is a regular gig.
That owner is one of the behind the scenes people who run the world. Spooky. And ironic.

The guy who works for the major contractor, which builds most things around there, was by this afternoon. He's the one who found out who'd done the doors to begin with so he's kept up with this saga. He thought the panel I did looked great, which was a good confidence booster. I'd forgotten how it was really supposed to be, and he hadn't.

Soon I hope to once again be able to boast about what good work I do. Then I want to get big bucks to do things like tell people what I think. It would be sort of like using my mind. There are people who get paid to express their views, and actually thinking is optional much of time. Who would know when you are really using your brain and when you aren't? That's the gig I want; get paid to appear to be thinking whether I am or not.

In time, I hope I will again be able to tout my conscientious craftsmanship. This was a set back which dropped me down a notch or three. I shall again have the swelled head and inflated sense of self appraisal.

Maybe it's only 300 square feet. This is the kind of job where an inch becomes a mile.

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Ballistic Mountain, CA, United States
Like spring on a summer's day


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