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!

Friday, March 09, 2007

Poor Bastards

I have now joined the ranks with these poor bastards.

[Caillebotte, Gustave Les raboteurs de parquet (The Floor-Scrapers)1875; Oil on canvas, 102 x 146.5 cm (40 x 57 3/4"); Musee d'Orsay, Paris]

It seems that back when I was sanding and refinishing some of our floors one of you (Angus?) mentioned that you'd sanded all your floors by hand. What you didn't mention (or maybe you did and I've forgot) was what a never ending visit in hell this is.

After nearly six hours of sanding and scraping (razor sharp paint scrapers in case you're wondering), I still have roughly three hours more before I can stain the hoary bitch.

I did learn one little tip from this painting though. Note one small detail on the far right of the painting, a bottle of wine. In case you're wondering, beer works too. Everything is better with beer, except turbulence.

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Blogger Chris said...

No amount of beer in the world would get me to do that. You're a brave man John - it sounds back-breaking.

2:21 PM  
Blogger Jocelyn said...

Steve wants us to do this! You know hand scraped floors are very in now. sigh.

4:45 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

Hand scraping a floor: Now that's Hard Core!

Actually, I did a form of this in the bathroom and it was back breaking work. I scraped paint with the heat gun, though, and sanded with an RO sander. It did suck, and wine did help.

5:45 PM  
Anonymous mindy said...

I have to admit, I have thought about hand-sanding the floor in our upstairs craft room because I can't bring myself to consider the giant orbital sander again just yet, and it's not in awful shape... but then I think, do I really want to make myself that miserable over a floor in a craft room that no one but me will ever see? Maybe a cheap bottle of wine will help me come to a decision.

That painting is beautiful and I have never seen it - thanks for sharing!

6:10 AM  
Anonymous Brenda from Flatbush said...

Same here as Mindy--toying with hand-sanding/chem stripping landing floors due to Orbital Horror Aversion. Beer a brilliant variable to add to the decision-making process. (Combination of beer and razor-sharp paint scrapers: priceless.)

9:56 AM  
Blogger gnewfry said...

Oh my! i may have to post that picture too. it's exactly what i'm doing. well, i'm scraping off the tile adhesive. i toyed with handsanding and then came to my senses.

6:50 AM  
Blogger John said...

Chris, I think "stupid and desperate" are the words you are looking for.

Jocelyn, you have no idea how much this innocuous comment of yours has disturbed me. Why would he do this to you?

Greg, Amen.

Mindy, let me hold your hand for a momement. Repeat after me, "No, I will not hand sand my floor." Drink some wine. See, don't you feel better? Regarding the painting, you're welcome. My pleasure.

Brenda, remember that drum sanders are your friend. Orbital ones are not (in my opinion, you just can't trust them).

Gnewfry, good for you. Hand sanding is the Devil. Or, is that plumbing?

11:01 AM  
Anonymous davidLBC said...

John, this is a cool piece of artwork. Thanks for sharing.

Notice how the workers have removed the finish in alternating bands to create stripes? I think they are using hand planes, hence the wood shavings. It would make sense for these planes to be slightly convex (curved) so the corners don't dig in and gouge the wood. This also means that neither the plane or the floor have to be perfectly flat for the plane to cut. You can see the stripes vary in width. The stripes are likely made at the joints.

{drink a glass of wine)

Once they formed the stripes I imagine they came back with a wider and flatter hand plane to remove the hump of material and finish in between, as shown in the lower left of the painting.

(drink a glass of wine)

Then they probably used cabinet scrapers to finish leveling the surface.

(up end remaining bottle of wine into gullet; tell homeowner "see ta floooor shiz profecry fwat")

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