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!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Arbitrary Deadline Death Match

In short, I lost. However, despite my best efforts I didn’t die either. Doesn’t that make me a failure on both counts?

As of 9:20 PM last night, the Big Question for me was: can I load the drum sander into the back of my car without throwing up or passing out? I was pleasantly surprised to discover the answer was “yes.”

In the delusional dream world that I inhabit, the kitchen, rear hall, and mudroom-laundry would have had their floors sanded, stained, and sealed with at least three coats of polyurethane by day’s end Sunday. It didn’t happen, but it wasn’t for lack of trying. There are no pictures either. Saturday I brought the camera with, but the battery was dead. Sunday the battery was recharged but I’d forgotten the camera. Oops.

The most amazing thing about being me is my unfailing ability to set unobtainable goals for myself on a regular basis.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but my first floor sanding experience was a cake walk. We used salvaged 3 inch, tongue-in-groove floor boards for the master bedroom floor, and, before we put them in, we ran them through the planer. This took all of the old varnish off, so leveling them was the big concern. We used the same floor boards in the kitchen and other addition to the Queen, but we didn’t run it through the planer. God, I wish we had because this stuff was a freaking nightmare to get off. Add working our way around the kitchen cabinets and weird doorways, and it an awful, time-devouring process. It took me a full day just to get most of the varnish off.

Sunday Jack came up with his arsenal of palm sanders, belt sanders, and angle grinders to spot sand the trouble areas while I worked the floors over with the fine grit paper on the drum sander.

I have learned something new about drum sanders. If you rent one of these babies, I suggest checking all the screws and bolts on it before you start using it. These machines shake like the Devil, and sooner or later the screws start working themselves out of their holes. In my case, a screw worked itself loose under the sander. There is a metal plate with four screws directly behind the drum that runs parallel to the floor. As far as I can tell, it is there to help collect the dust and channel it up to the dust bag. My sander only had two of the four screws when I began my project (which I discovered after the fact). As I worked my way down the back hall there was a bang and loud grinding noise like a box of nails being run through a jet engine. The 60 grit paper I’d just put on was turned into confetti. Cussing, I pulled the drum off the floor and shut the damn thing off immediately.

Jack and I inspected the sander. The screw dropped out of the machine and was shot down the hallway (thankfully missing the glass door). The metal plate now only held in with one screw pivoted forward until it hit the drum and WHAM!

Somehow, the floor wasn’t damaged in the least. Jack found the screw, and I put it back into place. While I was at it, I tightened all the other screws and bolts I could find on the machine. I discovered that the handgrips and control portion of the machine is supposed to be held on with 6 screws, but only 3 were in place and they were all loose. I’d hate to see what would happen if the handle came off while you were sanding.


Blogger Gary said...

Now you can appreciate the joys of drum sander ownership.....

No rush, no fuss and you don't have to finish in two days! A window fan blowing air out is a must for dust reduction.

7:00 PM  
Blogger John said...

If I could find one for sale (used), I'd have one. I'm just not willing to buy one new. While it would be convenient, it's still cheaper to rent it a room or two at a time. There also seems to be an artifical shortage of floor sanders in my part of the world. Maybe I'm just not looking in the right places?

8:40 AM  
Blogger Kristin said...

"The most amazing thing about being me is my unfailing ability to set unobtainable goals for myself on a regular basis."

I have the same problem!

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