Saturday, December 8, 2012

Restoring a Home, and a Wood Stove

So, in the time since I've last posted, we have suffered a death in the family, been through a horrible bout of some kind of nasty virus, and moved to a entirely different home.  It makes me tired just to write it out.

The place we've moved to we absolutely love.  It's definitely more of a permanent place for us, and we have the option to buy if we decide we would like to make it ours for good.  But, the moving in was incredibly difficult.  It's a very long story, but the short version is our very sweet landlady was taken advantage of by someone close to her and the home was hoarded and then pretty much abandoned.  It was supposed to have been clean, safe, and ready for us to move into, but that didn't happen either due to some bad circumstances, so we ended up doing a lot of the work ourselves.  It was hard, dirty, gross, and there's still a lot to do, although the main living spaces are clean and are renovating nicely.  After Christmas, we hope to take on the apartment and storage spaces that are still full and badly in need of some tea tree oil.

So far, we have, in addition to cleaning out the home (many truck and trailers' worth of trash hauled out, a metric ton of cat hair, urine, and feces cleaned, and making everything fresh, safe, and non-sticky), added chandeliers to the dining and living area and a ceiling fan to the girls' room, painted the girls' room, added solar lights to the sidewalk, taken out the upstairs carpet so we can finish the wood floors, oiled and polished all the wood surfaces, fixed the dryer, cleaned off the front porch and added a gate, chased away a million spiders, and generally made the place a home again.  All in the last two weeks.

Tonight's project for me was refinishing the wood stove.  It is a sweet, sturdy, cast iron thing, just wanting to be loved again.  It was covered in rust (and cat hair and dirt) and the first thing I did was vacuum it.  I wish I had taken pictures...actually, I wish I had taken "before" pictures of the entire place, but I was in survival mode just trying to get us into the new place on schedule and make it on that ragged edge of acceptable for the girls to be in.

Anyway, the top was covered in loose rust and I just vacuumed it away to see what I was working with.  It was pretty rough, pocked and pitted, but seemed to be just surface damage.  That was as far as I got until tonight.  I bought a tub of Imperial Stove Polish from Lowe's for less than five dollars, and some SOS Pads.

I began by using the steel wool to scrub away as much of the rust as I could.  I was really surprised by how much of it came off, it actually came away very smooth.  I was worried I would have to sand it, but that wasn't the case.  I washed off the soap with wet rags and let it dry.  I then began applying the stove polish with a piece of cloth.

Ugh, so sad and dingy!
I started at the top and just covered the whole thing.  A word to the wise, wear gloves.  Unless you have no common sense, like me.  Then just plan to paint the rest of your nails black.  Also, don't touch your face or you'll look like you've been making out with chimney sweeps *again*.  Don't ask how I know.
 The last step is to buff the finish with a soft cloth to bring out the satin finish.  There is no odor to the polish, it's just carbon black in a paste form.  It may smoke a bit when you put your next fire in, it will only last a few minutes as the finish cures and is nothing to worry about.

Then, just enjoy the beautiful heart of your home!
Isn't he gorgeous?