Friday, March 7, 2014

RIP My 1/4 Sheet Sander Friend

Darn if Murphy's Law didn't rear up and bite me in the ass. I had just commented on Ron's For Lack of a Better Plan blog about how I didn't hand sand drywall anymore once I found out my 1/4 sheet palm sander could do a better job with much less effort and time involved. I was always careful to try and suck the dust away from it so that it wouldn't clog the internal parts and kill the thing. I've been doing it that was for over 10 years of various drywall projects, including an entire basement remodel at my last house, countless dozens/hundreds of wood sanding projects over those years and it has never failed me. Well after reading Ron's comment about him not using his random orbit sander because he was afraid it would kill it, I went upstairs and went to sanding my drywall and my 1/4 sheet sander up and died. That thing has been with me for probably 15 years and I'm saddened to see it go. But on the plus side, I'm guessing new ones vibrate way less than that one did and now they come with handy features like vacuum connections and dust collection bags. Until my replacement arrives, it is back to hand sanding for me. I'm not sure what I will do the next time I have drywall to do.

Dry walling for me is the most hated part of home renovation. I just suck at it. No matter how much I try, the sheets end up unlevel and thus requiring large swaths of drywall mud to hide joints. Until recently, I struggled to even apply the mud in an even manner so that I could minimize sanding. I finally figured out that the go to applicator that I've been using was too stiff and a more flexible one I had did a much better job. Despite that, it seems like I am constantly sanding and then touching up spots multiple times more than necessary. I do realize that the perfectionist side of my nature may be causing some of this but I know if I don't get it perfectly smooth, that I will be walking by it like that one spot near the couch in the living room and seeing that tiny patch that didn't get final sanded and regretting it for years until I finally break down and fix it.

The other thing I hate about drywall is that it is time consuming. Once you apply the mud, you have to wait for it to dry and then sand it. Then you have to apply another layer of mud the next day, let it dry and sand it. Then you have to do it again perhaps the third day to touch up those spots that got missed and then let it dry and sand it. I can't really start anything else during this time because I don't want to get everything I'm working on in the mean time coated in drywall dust or clean it up every day. So for the better part of a week, I've been in a holding pattern as I wait for the drywall to be finished. Hopefully as I write this, tomorrow will be the final sanding because I just did touch up mudding today and after getting everything cleaned up, I can move on to tiling the floor.

In the meantime, we went and looked at vanities at the local big box store and bought tile for the floor. We found an excellent deal on the perfect tile that my wife wanted and grabbed enough to do the project. However the accent tile we liked was discontinued and there weren't enough sheets there to do the job. So we had to go to another floor and tile store here in town and buy it there. For eight sheets of accent tile, it cost more than the entire 8 cases of floor tile we bought! Ridiculous!

The vanity search however was a different matter. Vanities that we looked at seemed for the most part to be way over priced and very cheap looking. They almost looked like a disposable toy you might give your daughter to play 'house' with. So after much looking, I decided that I would make our vanity. So while I wait for the drywall to dry, I've been sketching on paper trying to figure out how I'm going to build this thing. Fortunately it sounds like it may warm up enough next week for me to spend some time out in the garage getting it built.


6 comments:

Ron said...

RIP, little sander...

I think drywall is more frustrating in small amounts than in large amounts, personally. For large amounts, the wait times are still the same, but at least you feel you've accomplished something substantial.

There is faster-drying compound that you mix, but I just try to work things out so I'm not twiddling my thumbs when I'd rather be working on things. I'm not always successful with that.

Ed said...

Ron - When I did my basement in drywall, it seemed like I could finish one side and begin sanding the other. I don't mind the breaks in truth. It gives me a chance to catch up on non-project stuff that always seems present.

warren said...

So sad...sorry for your loss...

edifice rex said...

You may already know this trick but just in case you don't....we always thin the drywall mud just a little when applying second, third coats and so on or just touching up small spots. I use the rectangular pan and after you put however much mud in there add a little water. I keep an old crappy hand mixer for this and mix it good. Works great to get it real smooth. It is much easier to apply a good smooth layer and dries faster too. I also always use a good metal knife, usually a 6 inch. The plastic ones are crap.

Leigh said...

Just getting caught up on your bathroom remodel posts. Do they every bring back memories! So glad I'm observing from this side of the fence, LOL

I agree how ridiculous prices are getting. Tools too. Sadly the quality goes down as the price goes up.

roaring40 said...

A friend of mine was a plasterer and showed me some of the techniques. But the truth is all that does is show up the fact you need to be doing it regularly for most of it is a muscle memory in how you grip the plastering float. You simply know where you are mucking things up, and why but with no true way of fixing it. What I do know is you are going about it correctly by building up the coats. What you may not know is to fill any hollows and then the whole not the other way round.