Thursday, March 14, 2013

A Whole Lot of Nothing

We are constantly busy and even actually accomplishing things.  But nothing so exciting that I think I can make an interesting story about it.


The big news is that Lee has finished all the electrical work.  He just finished the last three this morning.  That is a huge job and I imagine his fingers are grateful to have a break.  Every outlet and switch is now operational and all the overhead lights are in.  There are places that aren't as bright as we would like, but we didn't want glaring bright lights everywhere.  We intend to put in a few table and floor lamps to finish things off and for all levels of light.

Speaking of which, I am going up to visit my brother and his wife soon.  They are kindly hosting us and arranging to show us some of their favorite estate sale sites.  Whatever we don't find on this trip we will get later, or maybe Jane will find it in her heart to pick up a few pieces when she finds them.  There is no rush on furnishing an unfinished house.

We are waiting for the tile contractor to give us a bid.  Kinda scary.  Like Lee says, though, "It's only money."  Wait a minute.  ONLY money??

I took off the railing in the stairwell to paint the walls.  It is made with unfinished wood and I decided to put a Tung oil finish on it.  A long time ago, back in the days before HGTV (yes, Virginia, there was such a time) there was a show I used to watch with Homer Formsby.  He did some beautiful furniture refinishing and he used Tung oil.

Based on his recommendation, I have stripped and refinished some pieces using it and I really like the effect.  It gives a nice finish to the wood and protects it, yet it is not a varnish and super shiny.  The intent is to nourish the wood and give the appearance of a hand rubbed finish.


Lee set up some saw horses and I sanded the railings with smaller and smaller grit paper.  Then I polished it with some very fine steel wool.  I used 0000 steel wool and then wiped off all the dust.  A tack rag works well.  Smooth as a baby's bottom!


Homer ( I call him Homer because we are like this...picture fingers crossed ) would use his bare hands to apply the finish and rub it in. The instructions on the Tung oil container...and it IS his formula... say to use gloves, so I do.  I discovered I only had a left hand glove.  The right hand one was ruined on the last project, so I got a quart size Ziploc bag, put my hand in it and it worked great.  It wouldn't have worked for a big project, but this is a little one!


Tung oil should be applied in three coats.  The first one soaks right in the raw wood and you can barely tell that you have applied anything.  You have to wait 12 hours and then use the 0000 steel wool lightly before applying the next coat.  I usually just do it the next day.  The first time I did it I wondered if I was taking all the finish off I had just put on.  Do it anyway.  Don't forget to wipe all the dust off before applying the second coat.


You can really see the results after the second coat.  The temptation is huge to just stop there.  And you can.  But you already have at least two days into this project.  What's one more?  You can see how it looks, even in poor light.  On the left is after two coats and the right is after three. 


We will re-install the railings tonight and then I will feel safer when walking up and down the stairs.  Not a fan of stairs without railings!  And one more thing off the huge,  gigantic,  enormous list.


  1. Oh yes.... stair railings! I've got one more coat to do on mine but I've been putting it off for the last 10 days. We're living a parallel life!

    It's looking great! Can't wait to see it all finished.

  2. This job looks a little easier than some recent ones with nice results. Do you ever need to reapply the tung oil?

  3. My husband says that too... "it's only money", but boy, when I spend too much of it I hear about it. LOL

  4. You are indeed busy! Wow. Beautiful job on the woodwork. You are every husband's dream wife, I think! Can cook AND do all the household chores!