The Devil Queen

How my wife and I sold our souls to the Queen Anne Victorian we tried to save.

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Location: Crow Mountain, Arkansas, United States

Synopsis: This is a cautionary tale. A seriously disturbed couple find the charming, old ruin of a Queen Anne Victorian in Russellville, Arkansas, and buy it for $1.00. They tore the roof off, cut it in half, and had it moved to some land they owned sixteen miles away because they didn't know any better. Since then, they have hired and fired contractors, had all of their tools stolen, re-wired, re-plumbed, insulated, and essentially rebuilt the entire house. Their only problem is that after four years it still isn't finished. Now they are tired, broke, and wonder what in the hell it is they've done to themselves. And, it's haunted.
(Last updated on April 3, 2008)

Press: Russellville Courier Article - December 2003, HGTV website article, AP story - October 2006, and Victorian Homes Magazine - February 2008 (link coming soon).
Art: From time to time, I receive requests for my art. If you would like to look at more of my art, go to The Failed Artist. If you would like to buy my art, email me. I am more than happy to answer any questions you might have. Thanks!

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Blue Wood

My mother-in-law has a real flair for decorating and house designs, and, since she gets bored with her house every few years, this is a good thing. Here most recent adventure in home renovations is the new wood floors in her two bedrooms.

In addition to being inventive, my mother-in-law is cheap. I don’t mean this in a negative way. I really appreciate people who have a lot of control with their money. I do better than a lot of folks, but the truth is I’m pretty bad with it. I aspire to be cheap in a lot of ways, but usually fail when it comes to houses and anything that my wife wants. When these two weakness of mine come together, bad things happen to me (like buying a Victorian and moving it).

My mother-in-law has been contemplating this project for years, but the hassle and the cost have kept her from committing to it. Hiring Kenny took care of a lot of the hassle. That just left the cost to overcome. Her solution to this looked pretty good on the front end; she bought 1” x 6” pine boards (think interior wood work) for her floor. Kenny and Burt did an amazing job laying the stuff even though they “hadn’t done anything like this before.” They fixed the boards to the sub-floor with a construction glue (F-26?) and faced nailed it with finishing nails.

It looks goods, but I don’t much like the idea of construction glue. Working on houses has taught me that no matter how well something is built, sooner or later someone will have to take it apart to fix, maintain, or repair it, and usually it is me.

Here is a picture of the floor.

Here is a close-up of the wood. Notice the blue streaking.

Originally, Kenny and Fidge thought these streaks were on the surface and they’d sand out. Jack spent the weekend working the floor over with a drum sander, and the blue is still there.

Fidge thinks the blue is some sort of mold in the wood. My wife and I think that it is either part of the tree (sometime soil may effect coloration) or that it resulted from the treating/drying of the wood. In any case, the wood is blue.

Fidge is now left with problem of what to do with the blue. She has tried several different stains on some scrap wood, and the results are less than inspiring. Anything with an orange’ish color turns brown-green when applied. Regular browns (like walnut) look odd too.

My wife and I are advocating the use of colored gels. We figure a white or light gray would look good and work with the blue. Last I heard Fidge still hadn’t decided what to do with it. It ought to be interesting to see what she does.


Blogger Gary said...

Try amber shellac. Put at least 5 coats on a scrap piece and see if it works. If not, you can seal the floor with shellac and then try the colored finishes. By sealing the wood, you fix the color in the wood and stop those knots from weeping sap. Any applications after that are applied to the shellac seal. You would have to use topical stains because penetrating stains would be voided by the seal. Personally, I would even consider using clear shellac for a natural finish.

11:11 AM  
Anonymous davidLBC said...

You could try wood bleach (oxalic acid) or hydrogen peroxide. These sometimes work to remove mildew and water stains on wood. Maybe they will remove the blue. Oxalic acid is usually available at the big box store or local hardware.

3:10 PM  
Anonymous Yokel said...

I'd almsot be tempted to leave it. For me it adds a bit to the character of the wood (Always a good excuse!)

But I suppose if it's just in one area, and in a new floor ...

Dropping acid sounds good too.

1:44 AM  
Blogger Mike said...

Just stain the whole floor blue. Problem solved.

7:33 AM  

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