Friday, September 7, 2012

Adventures in Sandblasting

It's been a while since the last post, mostly because we haven't been doing much preservation-related. We got a sandblaster back in July that sat in the living room for a couple of months because a part was broken. We had gotten so used to it being part of the scenery that I had forgotten it didn't belong there until I started to dust it. We've gotten the sandblaster fixed now and moved it from the living room. We've also gotten the cast iron claw foot tub that precipitated the need for the sandblaster. This is a friend's tub that had been used outdoors as a horse trough for a while. The inside enamel is fine, but the outside wasn't quite ready for prime time. Enter the sandblaster.

We're learning about sandblasting as we go. While we've done it before, it was in a shop situation where everything was set up for us. We didn't have to choose the sand and find out the hard way that a sieve is really, really handy. In other words, the first day's sandblasting was a bit of a dud. The play sand clogged up the hose and more time was spent unclogging than blasting. We found blasting media at a local Tractor Supply and tried that next. It worked much better, though still clogged periodically.

The tub is going in our downstairs bathroom which has white tile with black accents. We decided the outside of the tub would be shiny black so it was primed first.

We then used 3 coats of black spray paint to cover the tub. We did this Labor Day weekend, which, anyone in the eastern half of the country knows was still stuck in the weather patterns caused by Hurricane Isaac. There were storms popping up here and there all weekend. It seemed that every time we went out to sandblast or paint, it would start sprinkling, then pouring rain. Persistence paid off though and we got it done!

Now the other story that goes along with the clogged sandblaster and the popup showers is that a cast iron claw foot tub is HEAVY!  We got it onto the truck with help from friends. The sawhorses you see it sitting on in the photos were about the same height as the truck bed so we could just slide it off and onto them. But getting in the house?? Not a job for the 2 of us (the one of us not pictured is just too whimpy!) So the tub sat in our yard for a week under a tarp and, since we live 30 miles away from our strongest friends, once it was painted we had no idea how to get it into the house. Fortunately, we were saved by a Virginia Tech football game. Friends dropped by our house to see us and we got them to help move the tub in.

Now the tub's inside and sitting on its side. We got to see inside the tub for the first time and are now working to clean all the stains from its previous life. We also need to decide what color to paint the claw feet and find the missing cleat for one of the feet to attach it to the bottom of the tub. Then we can flip it upright, plumb it, and relax in warm, blissful bubbles!

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