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The Other Side and CalcimineTuesday, February 26, 2008
To see how easy (or rather, hard) it is going to be to strip the paint off the other side of the glass panel, I flipped the door over and started with a small patch.

As you can see, I was able to get off the upper layers, but at this point I was a bit flummoxed as to how I will be getting the paint out of all those grooves... then I started examining the border around the glass, and rather than being an integral part of the door, it looked like the glass was being held in with some small moulding. After a bit of prying, I was thankful to see that this was indeed the case!

Now that the glass is free from the door, I figure that we should have a few more options for removing the paint!

With a renewed sense of success, I started chipping away at the paint at the bottom of the door, and found that the top 4-5 layers would easily come off with just the putty knife (thanks to the extra gloppy top coat), leaving behind a layer or two of yellow paint, which was quite easy to remove with a single or double coat of the stripping compound.

Why, oh why don't they put warning labels on paint cans to keep people from painting perfectly good wood?

Taking a break from the door, I decided to start scraping down some of the peeling paint in the room. It seemed very odd that the paint was peeling clear down to the bare plaster, and it was coming off in rather large strips and sections. Below is the result of probably ten minutes of scraping...

Realizing that this was basically the same thing that we'd noticed when we were re-painting our bedroom, this got me to start searching the internet to see what might be going on. Then I learned about something called "Calcimine", which was used years ago to whitewash plaster walls and ceilings. Being a combination of chalk, water, and glue, it doesn't form nearly as strong of a bond as the adhesives in modern paints. Now, when Calcimine is covered with modern paint, the paint-Calcimine bond is significantly stronger than the underlying Calcimine-plaster bond. So long as no forces develop which would cause any of these bonds to break, everything should be fine. However, when gravity (in the case of ceilings) or shrinkage (caused by the combination of changes in temperature and moisture) result in such forces, the Calcimine-plaster bond is the first to go, and this is exactly what we've been experiencing. Not surprisingly, the best solution for such a problem is to go ahead and strip the walls down to the bare plaster and repaint (I've read about some "Calcimine-covering" paints, but I haven't heard anyone say that they actually do a very good job).

Looks like we will be investing in a few more paint scraping tools :-)

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