Thursday, April 23, 2009

Slow Going

I will be really happy when I am working on a project that doesn't involve stripping paint or finish. That said, I am making slow, but steady progress on the woodwork. The great news is that the wood underneath looks awesome. With the weird glaze finish removed, you can really see the rays in the quartersawn oak. At least now that the weather is improving, I can actually work with adequate ventilation, which is nice.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Push Button Switches

Since we moved in last summer I have been meaning to replace the light switches on the first floor. At some point, one or more of the previous owners clearly fell in love with dimmer switches. Literally every switch was a dimmer. I guess I just don't see the need for that much dimming. I finally got up the motivation this weekend to switch all the first floor lights back to non-dimming push button switches.

I started by ordering 6 single reproduction switches from Classic Accents. Normally I try to get original versions of everything, but starting a quest for 6 matching, antique, functioning push button switches sounded pretty painful.
Once I had the switches I made a trip to Guilded Salvage in North Minneapolis. This is my favorite of the salvage places in Minneapolis because their stuff is well organized and the service is great. I was able to find 5 matching switchplates including 4 singles ones and 1 double. All 5 are solid brass, but the double one has a great copperish patina on it. The 4 single ones needed a little work. They really didn't have a lot of patina to begin with, so I decided to fake it. I used lacquer thinner to take off the remaining paint, lacquer and grime. I then used 0000 steel wool to even out the color a little. I followed that with the cleaning instructions on this blog. I used the "baking method" to age the brass.

I baked the switchplates for a little over an hour and am very pleased with how they turned out. They still don't have the patina of the double one, but I am going to let time do the rest.