May 16, 2012

Repaint > Reuse

During my recent visit to the Bay Area, i could spot many advertisements in Craigslist wherein people were throwing (or giving away) lots of items which would still be a luxury in any Indian home. Or even if you just were to collect all these items, refurbish them and sell them again, i am sure you would be creating a huge industry in itself.
Charity begins at home, and after much procrastination i decided on one fine day that i would refurbish the Ironing Table and the Washing Machine stand - to make it reusable for another 3-4 years.

I got this Ironing Table from Freecycle - though we went to pickup a telephone stand, the owner also wanted to dispose off this table which was quiet old. We were in twin minds whether to take it or not, as it was heavily rusted. But then it occurred to me that few hour's job would make this table as good as new, and even if the effort fails, i can always give it away to someone; and hence i took the table.

A small Black Paint Can : 19 INR
A medium Sized Brush :   10 INR
Fine Sandpaper :  4 INR
4 Bush(for ironing table) : 4*4 = 16 INR
Total Expenses = 50 INR

And hence it summarize, the process is pretty simple :
1. remove dust or anything sticking to the surface
2. sandpaper the whole surface - remove all rust
3. remove durst again - so that any rust powder or dust is not present while painting
4. (take rest and then) Paint
5. IF needed, paint one more layer on the surface.

Reclaiming the Ironing Board/Table
A nice Friday morning it was (which happened to be Ugadi - Holiday), this all started. Armed with 2 pieces of fine sandpaper this lone ranger entered the arena.Took the Ironing Board to the balcony (prefer to have it outside living spaces, as there will be lots of minute suspended particles which is not good for the health; better to cover your mouth+nose too ) and started scraping the rust and the old blue paint using the sandpaper. The screws and the corners were heavily rusted, and hence had to rub the sandpaper more than a couple of times.

Took a small tea break, and then applied a layer of black paint. The paint dryed very fast - almost in an hour and it looked nice. Just to make the surface a little more smoother --- applying paint on curved surfaces is tough , the pain does not spread uniformly --- i  did a quick layer and a few minor touchups. And Voila! this board was ready :)

Reclaiming the Washing Machine Stand
The washing machine stand was only 2 years old, but the emulsion paint had some signs of wearing off. Plan was to remove the emulsion layer from the few places and coat them alone. But as soon as i started tearing off the paint(yes, the paint had become like a plastic layer and was 'tearable'), it just came off. After removing the emulsion paint layer, which had hardened like a plastic sheet, i was introduced the gory world of rust. I could not even believe my eyes - the stand was totally rusted - though the structure was solid, but the rust had affected every nook and corner of the stand.

I guess, the main factor for rusting here was the exposed stand which had to bear brunt of rains etc. But i did not expect so much rust! The below picture is that of the peeled off emulsion paint from the stand. Note that the paint is actually white in color, but the rust has stuck to the layer like a paint in itself.

The whole of next hour was spent in sandpapering the stand to remove the dust; and this was a tough exercise! I had to sandpaper the stand a couple of times to remove most of the traces of rust (but the bugger still managed to hide in some corners).

And after a quick tea break, the paint work commenced. I knew that this stand required atleast two layers of paint; and after the first coat, i was happy with the end result.I planned to do coat one more layer the next day, after letting the present layer dry.

Just see the transformation in the below sequence:

After 2 layers of painting, the stand was perfect to be used for another couple of years without much pain. And after all this, i still have some paint left!

A 65 year old American couple was asked my a reporter:  How did you manage to stay together for 65 years?
The woman replied, "We were born in a time when if something was broken, we would fix it"

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