The Office Trim in Progress

So as I mentioned yesterday I am well into refinishing the wood baseboard trim that was originally installed in my house in the 1930s.  It has been an adventure from the start.  This is one of those projects where you know you are opening a can of worms and you have no choice.

Getting the trim off the walls was fun.  The paint was literally falling off in places.

The trim is made up of a big flat board, a curvy top piece and some quarter round in the front.  That means for every wall there are three pieces to refinish.  Here on my work table are six pieces of wood trim which make up exactly two walls.  The short walls.  In addition to these are 6 pieces of trim for the longer walls and then nine pieces for the closet.

On the right in the above picture you will see the gallon jug of SoyGel.   I can’t tell you how much I really love this stuff. It a ecofriendly paint stripper made out of soybeans.  It won’t eat through the shower curtain and garbage bag I have used as a drop cloth.  The company has a tutorial where they say you can touch it with your bare hands and use it inside.  In other words it’s awesome.  For simple jobs with one or two coats, it works surprisingly quick for something that doesn’t burn your fingers off.  I prefer to put it on and let it soak in.  If you leave it overnight it dries out just enough that is no longer gooey and the paint comes off in sheets.  Very soon I will post a tutorial.

Here is a shot after the stripper had been ‘cooking’ for awhile.   Instead of dissolving the paint it breaks the bond the paint has with the wood.  It starts to pop off and wrinkle up.

Usually after I strip something there is very little sanding to do.  I like this fact.  As loyal readers know I hate sanding.   I thought that since the main board was flat it would be pretty easy to sand things off quickly and get going.  Hahahahaha

This is old growth wood which is so much harder than anything you can buy today.  Mine is pine so I thought it wouldn’t be very tough.  It was.  I have been sanding forever.  The wood laughed at my 80 grit sandpaper.  It has this lovely texture where the face of the wood isn’t totally flat.  In the pic below, the bottom darker boards are stripped of painted but not sanded.  The old stain and years of wear are still there.  The top board has been sanded for what seemed like 3 days in the sun.  (I am totally going to have a farmers tan for the wedding.)  The grain is so cool and kind of looks like the clouds on Jupiter.

So far I have all the pieces stripped of paint.  As of yesterday all 6 short wall pieces are sanded.  Using a orbital sander on curved molding just well, sucks but it is better than hand sanding. It didn’t help that every hour it would start raining for four minutes.  Literally. Between the sanding and the carrying everything in and out I can barely move my arms today.   This is a top curvy piece that just has the coolest wood grain.

And finally as of last night I have filled any old nail holes and glued a cracked piece. Then one coat of stain went on.  We are going with Durostain from Safecoat in Walnut.  I use this stain all the time for my furniture because it’s really eco-friendly.  It will need another coat but you can get an idea from this pic.


It’s a lot of work.  It’s taking waaaaay longer than I thought but that’s rule number one in home renovation.  I have to keep working fast since TB may not go through with this wedding if the office isn’t put back together.

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