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, January 30, 2007

Mythic, Paint Eating Beast

Yeah, I know. I'm a slacker. But, if I ever actually have enough time to tell you all what I've been subjected to the last few days, all will be forgiven. Right?

Since I've been called out by Chris (understandable since I left him hanging over the weekend), here is my mythical painting eating beast.

[One of these photos was supposed to be a full frontal, but instead you get two side views. And, you know what? It looks the same from either side! Shocking.]
It still doesn't have a proper name. To us, it is just a paint scraper. However, the work this little bastard does is magnificent. Now, to be fair, there is one disclaimer; I use this almost entirely on old, flaking, cracked (alligatored) paint. I've never tried it on anything that had a good paint finish on it. If the paint is distressed, this bugger will take care of it. I suspect that it would kick latex paint's ass, but I'm not sure about the rest. Maybe I've have to pick a fight and find out.

This scraper works best if held like a hammer. Hold it parallel to the surface to be scraped with the sharp edge of the blade perpendicular and touching the surface. Press down hard and pull toward yourself. And, make sure the blade is sharp, very sharp. I carry a metal file in my pocket while using this. Depending on how much resistance there is, I will sharpen the blade every 10 to 15 minutes.

The scraper came with two interchangeable blades. I favor the one shown (sorry, not a good shot of the blade), with its narrow width. The pseudo-science of why I like this small blade (even for big projects), is that you can exert more pressure with a small surface and it is easier to control.

Chris seemed concerned that this scraper used sans chemicals or other goop would be prone to gouging. Like any scraper, the occasional gouge does occur, but I've never found this technique to be any worse than the others I've tried. I've used this one so much that the corners of the blade are beginning to round off, which has helped to diminish the risk of gouging. The reverse edge is a smaller, rounded blade that is great for small trim, molding, etc.

The second blade is wider, but I don't use it much since I find it harder to control.

Apparently, this little monsters are getting hard to find. We bought two a couple years ago at Lowe's. I was there last night, and I went through the painting section looking for them to see what the hell they are called. There wasn't one in sight. I guess they are now on the verge of extinction; ours may be the only breeding pair left in captivity (I suspect one or both may be sterile though).

I was going to photograph a step-by-step demonstration so Chris could admire this beast's prowess, but my interest in staying up past midnight is greatly diminished with a 5 a.m. wake-up call looming. So, maybe tonight.


Blogger My Marrakech said...

Ah, to have paint to scrape, you lucky dog. Will our house ever get to the painting stage, I wonder.

PS Thank you so much for your vote for the Bloggies. I really appreciated it.:-)

8:48 AM  
Blogger Kristin said...

We have two similar scrapers, though I don't want to have to pick them up again for many many moons.

9:42 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

I've seen those before but hadn't considered getting one. Looks like I'll have to change my mind.

5:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Try a "floor scraper". They work just as well and better if you can use two hands. They are still available at Lowes and H.D.

Those triangular scrapers shown in the pictures are great for getting into details though. We used them with paint stripper on non-failed paint as well as dry stripping. They work great for either application. I never considered sharpening the blades though, I just kept replacing them since the plades are so cheap.

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