Last week, while I was away, Noel began scraping the mastic off the wall of the back bedroom. This is a test area: he used the heat gun and scraper and removed the heavy material (that reddish-brown stuff you can see to the right), then used the sander to get down to wood.

You can hardly tell, but left is heat-gun only, right is palm-sander only, middle is both. Middle looks pretty nice, no?

Test scrapes of the mastic

It came out looking pretty good compared to what was there before, but it was time-consuming. I'm not sure of any other way to deal with the issue; people have suggested we just remove the paneling and turn it backwards, but our experience with removing woodwork in this house is that your chances of destroying the woodwork in the process are pretty much perfect.

Removing mastic

In a half day of work, though, he managed to get most of a wall cleaned off, which is pretty good.

A finished wall

I think we might have a couple more days of scraping on the stuff ahead, though naturally now we've got a had cold running around the household, and nothing is quite as unpleasant as trying to do hard work in a respirator with a cold.

posted by ayse on 08/17/10


You might consider "get a bigger sander"

My brother has a belt sander which would probably be borrow-able so long as you return it with an equal or better supply of belts. It's not the biggest of its type or anywhere near new, but last time I borrowed it, belts in the right size were readily available.

And yuck - coincidentally I'm fighting off a head-cold this week as well.

We actually have a random orbit sander that he used for the rest of the wall -- that was pretty workable. But if that becomes an issue I'll ping you.

Also, Noel was just diagnosed with pertussis, so it looks like we can look forward to this going on for a while longer.

I was just reading an article that said that more and more people are getting pertussis. When I got my last tetanus shot (I always stay current on that now) the doctor gave me a combo DTaP shot that included pertussis.

I had neurological trouble after my first (and consequently last) flu shot, so I am wary of vaccines in general, but the DTaP was given before that happened and didn't bother me.

p.s. What is mastic doing on the wall?

We think the mastic was there to hold on some paneling that has since been removed -- that's how it was used in the kitchen. The paneling itself was probably asbestos, given the time period, so it's good that it's not there any more.

Note: We're getting pummeled with spam comments, so I've turned off the ability to use any HTML or include any links for the time being. Email with any issues.

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