Sunday, October 18, 2015


No, no, no - it's nothing embarrassing or awkwardly intimate or weird medical stuff or anything like that: it's floors. Specifically, sheet vinyl kitchen floors and the removal thereof.

(If you were looking for beading stuff, scroll down to the bottom. There's a little).

My big project is my kitchen. It's big for me, but in truth most of the changes will be cosmetic.

I needed to trim the door of the pullout trashcan thing I made.
 Whoops! Now I know what they mean when they say you can't use a jig-saw like that (with a guide that you rest the thing against). I actually do better just cutting freehand as I have a decently steady hand and eye, but oh well, too late. Guess I need a new drawer front.
 So this table had two very ugly laminate legs which I replaced with a single Y-shaped leg made from pipes. Apart from the way it looks (which I vastly prefer) it's also configured so that the stalls can now fit underneath the counter all the way instead of bumping into the legs.

The current huge sub-project in the kitchen is the floor.

It's a nasty cream sheet vinyl floor with faux tiles that reeks of the nineties and which I'm planning to replace with cork. Yes, "replace", not "cover".

Last weekend I started with the removal. My friends Google and Pinterest led me to believe that if you saturate the papery backing with a solution of detergent and warm water, the glue and paper will just magically come away from whatever it's attached to with just a smidgen of scraping.

Not so.

It took me TWO HOURS and a lot of muscle last weekend to remove a couple of square feet at which I suddenly panicked and wondered how old the floor was and if it contained asbestos. Then I read all about mesothelioma and panicked some more.

Fortunately my basement had a leftover piece with the manufacturer name and serial (or whatever) number and collection name (Memories - honestly I'd rather forget) and so I called them and they assured me that it was made in 1997 and per the website they stopped manufacturing sheet vinyl with asbestos in 1983 so I'm safe from that at least.

The tide-and-water thing was making me depressed so I went and bought a heat gun for the glue removal, still figuring that wetting the paper backing (the vinyl top layer peels right off. It's pretty thin. No wonder my floor was looking so cruddy) would help the glue removal go faster.
 It sort of did, but it was exhausting and too aerobic and blister-forming and back-breaking and besides when you saturate the paper it's hard not to saturate the plywood underlayment and when you have soft wood it's hard not to scrape up gobs of wood which will later need to be filled and smoothed so that my new floor isn't lumpy.
 This is where I was last night. Perhaps a third of the way through.

I should state that my intention was to have it all off by the end of this weekend so that I could lay the cork next weekend, but at the rate of about five square feet an hour I realised that I needed to adjust my goals after adjusting them last weekend via my asbestos-inducing panic (which may have had an upside in terms of professional asbestos abatement but I suppose that given the absence of asbestos I could throw thousands of dollars at a regular contractor and not only would they remove the vinyl and underlayment, but pretty much do almost everything in the kitchen that I'm planning to do myself so there's that).

And with the state of my hands and my back I needed to adjust my technique.
 So this is what it looks like when I don't bother with the Tide-and-tea (which by the way is the perfect fast way to extremely rough hands, if ever you need such a thing) and instead just use the heat gun.

I tear the vinyl off an area I can clean in an hour (a widthwise strip of faux tiles), and then  methodically scrape up parallel strips of paper-and-glue. I'm sadly not very ambidextrous when it comes to finding the sweet spot of pressure, angle of the scraper and speed of scraping so my right hand feels liked it's still locked in a death grip around the handle of the scraper tool.

I scrape for an hour and rest for half an hour so by the end of the second day of scraping I'm left with probably six hours of scraping.
And that's completely ignoring the floor of the pantry, the bit under the dishwasher, and the part under the drawer under the stove which I'm pretty sure will be really gross and disgusting because you can only clean under a drawer if you remove it and no one removes drawers unless they have to, do they?

I may not get to the cork next weekend.

I have been making shoelaces though.
 These ones were going to be something else but I didn't like the way they were turning out, so I flipped a few cards, twisted a few and changed the forward/backward count and I really like these a lot now.
 These ones less so. I prefer the crispness of the diagonal patterns. This is bold, but it's not really doing anything.
And these would be a lot better if the contrast was more extreme. 

I'm still feeling my way with the card-weaving so I don't really mind repeating patterns or their variations. I'm also not sure that I want to be bothered with patterns where you have to periodically flip the twist on cards, or twist some forwards while others go backwards, or where the twisting isn't symmetric and the twist builds up and is irksome.

Early days yet in my tablet-weaving world.

So I made this for last Tuesday's class. I'd already made one using the same bead studs, so I tried to choose completely different accents instead of sticking to the same area of the colour wheel and I think it works.
I like it well enough that there's a kumihimo rope in process.

I also made this for the class in a week or two.

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