I intended to post again last week with an update about how everything was crossed of my list and I was moving on to the little building project I had planned...
But then it snowed and I wasn't able to get the last bag of cedar shreds put down around the flagstone pathway through the kitchen garden, so that couldn't be crossed off the list.
And then there was the happy surprise of my cousin coming for a visit... which meant I didn't get any else crossed off the list either because we were busy visiting and thrifting, and not thinking about to-do lists...
I really should have finished the last two unfinished bits of projects yesterday... but instead I started on a new one.
Yes, my attention span is very short.
But this was something that had been bugging me for years, and yesterday was the day I just couldn't stand it one. more. minute.
It was the mantle in the master bedroom. The mantle that Annie and Carl (the original owners and builders of our house) decided to use a huge piece of rough sawn lumber for.
I imagine it was beautiful when it was new...
But we live on a dirt road, and that bedroom is in the front of the house and gets dusty (DUSTY!)... and it's impossible to dust rough sawn lumber. It holds onto the dust and dirt, tearing up my rag (adding little fibers of rag to the dirt that's already there) when I try to wipe it down and vacuuming it does little to nothing to clean it.
As I started cleaning that room yesterday morning, I decided it was time to fix that mantle... to sand it down.
I pulled out the big belt sander (that I rarely use because it's so powerful it feels like it's going to run away with me) and got started.
("Before" on the left, with stripes from my trying to vacuum it...)
It was a huge mess...
A HUGE mess.
Did I mention I pretty much trashed the room?
It took a LOT of sanding... starting with the big belt sander to take off the super rough surface (and all the surface dirt!) and then moving to the orbital sander as I started smoothing it.
As the decades of dirt and grime came off, I saw that Annie and Carl had picked a special piece of wood for the mantle... one with the dark streaks that are found in beetle kill wood. The decades of dirt had completely hidden the true look and grain of the wood... It was amazing to watch it being revealed again.
I sanded until it was silky smooth to my fingers.. (that crack is just "checking" in the wood... it happens in logs, and log homes, as the wood dries and ages.. it's nothing that needs to be repaired)
... and then I sanded a little more.
I did not remove all traces of the saw marks from the wood (the diagonal streaks you can see in the wood), I think they add interest to the mantle and show a little of it's history... I did give it a light coat of Ipswich Pine stain, and several coats of polyurethane.
Until, finally, it looked like this...
It was a super messy project (it's funny how the whole rest of the room had to get so dirty to get the mantle clean!) but it was so worth it. I'm loving how it turned out.
(An now I should really start thinking again about finishing those last two little things on my to-do list!)