Monday, August 12, 2013
Also on Day 2077...
Upon completion of the kitchen chair, I perused the pile of projects that had begun to gather like an angry mob in the room I had originally designated The Yoga Room (basically a big empty room with a yoga mat and stereo). Now it's affectionately referred to as "The Attic". I set some rules for this new venture. I am not allowed to make purchases on anything but a current project, nor am I allowed to accumulate any more free stuff until I run out of projects that I already have... otherwise, there could be no end to my hunting/gathering and certainly no incentive to actually work on projects... it's so much more fun to acquire projects than to finish them.
My next project seemed to be a simple one. I picked up a steel floor lamp with a bridge at a flea market. I talked the man down from $10 to $3.00. Yes sir, I'll take it.
It was covered in a baby blue paint and has no shade.
This is how I acquired it.
Who would do this blue to a defenseless, steel lamp stand?
The first step was to electrocute myself. The protective plastic tube that covers the exposed wires near the switch was broken, I removed the plastic tube while testing a bulb and shocked myself. Fuck you, lamp. In response I did a shit job of covering the wires with a chandelier piece. I bought two, cut them down the middle and rigged them with scotch tape... go Team Lazy! The shade would cover it anyways.
The second thing I did was buy some powerful stripper at the Home Depot. I looked for the "walk away until you find purpose woman", but I couldn't find her. I wanted to show her pictures of the chair. Anyways, a grumpier, larger, male version of her marched me over to the paint strippers and thrust a can of stuff at me. He grumbled, "don't get it on 'yer skin". I don't think he liked me.
I took it home and slathered it onto the stand with a cheap paint brush. Within the first stroke, the skin on my forearm began to burn, like really, really burn. I realized that my stroke was flicking the stripper back on to my arm. I put on latex gloves and grabbed a rag to wipe my skin. The latex gloves were useless and I spent the entire process burning, cursing and slopping thinner onto the metal. You really have never lived until you step barefoot into a puddle of paint thinner.
I figured out (while doing a repetitive, stomping, burning dance of pain) that the stand came apart (or rather, it fell over and revealed that it came apart). I disassembled it and spread out some garbage bags so I could spray paint it. I had not sufficiently cleaned the paint stripper off and the paint began to bubble and run. Damn it. Furthermore, the wind was blowing the light material of my garbage bags around and the plastic was sticking to the wet spray paint.
At first I tried to adjust the bags and salvage the pieces. Then I just walked away until it dried, it was a God damned mess. Eventually, I went back out and peeled the plastic off of the surface of the paint and tossed the whole project back into the recycle bin where it waited until I had the patience to strip it again. It was now that it occurred to me that, originally, I could have just painted over the original coat. Too late for efficient planning. Strip the paint, take two.
It was then I was introduced to mineral spirits. I stripped the metal again and the spray paint certainly came off easier than the devil's blue original job. I scrubbed the metal with mineral spirit and then sprayed it with a power hose of water to remove any debris, reassembled and spray paint primed it. I found a pink lamp shade at the Goodwill and used a black latex acrylic paint to give it the feel of cast iron.
I'm noticing that a lot of the DIY websites are made up of talented crafts-people and imaginative souls and their whimsical, magical before and afters. I am neither whimsical or talented and my stories will read like a crap shoot of trial, error, procrastinating, compulsive collection of objects and the unrealized potential that comes with your creativity far exceeding your ability to build or create things, more error and a-lot-a-bit of cheap, sloppy rigging (think duct tape and super glue).