What Did You Do To Your House Recently?

General conversations about BMW E28s and the people who own them.
vinceg101
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Re: What Did You Do To Your House Recently?

Post by vinceg101 »

tn535i wrote: Jul 30, 2020 12:18 PM Well done and well said. Your place is a few years older than mine but I recall a lot of even older houses where some sort of storage closet with a window was pretty common and usually on the second story. I love old true divided lite windows like that but hate the glazing and repairs. It's only really worth it if you have the old glass that distorts the outside world just a little. It needs a little distorting for me to tolerate it.
Correct, small ventilation windows in closets back then were not out of the ordinary, in fact it was pretty forward thinking to be able to air out your clothes. What is kind of strange for a small house like this (1,400 s.f.) is that each of the two Bedrooms had walk-in closets. It was more common to see houses of this size with 3 Bedrooms, so with all that extra room, this house has larger than average rooms with a lot more amenities.
Adding to the fact that there was some higher-end electrical and lighting and finish details leads me to believe that this was an expensive house in its' day.
I will have a write up like this later this year once I finish what I started this time last year which was "winterizing" and rehab'ing all the casement windows and French Doors in this house. This house isn't very big but there are 6 casement windows, 4 French Doors, 3 smaller fixed windows (combo'd with those 6 casements), 1 large fixed window and the entry door just on the front facade alone.
This is our Breakfast Room off the Kitchen (you wouldn't know this since my wife's hobby kind of usurped the room and turned it into her plant nursery. I really would like to get this room back for its' intended purpose since we had to put a lot effort into reclaiming from a bad '70's Kitchen remodel. But happy wife, happy life, right?)
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Over the decades through deferred & poor maintenance, bad paint jobs, foundation settling, etc., none of these windows are square and true anymore so every window, every sash is a custom job. Adding to the annoyance is that these are in-swinging which makes weatherproofing are real PITA. While these are all fairly well made units, they only built them with passive rabbet stops with no room for anything active (i.e. foam, spring-brass, etc.). The Living Room has 3 large double in-swinging casement windows; it took me months to go through just two of them (stripping off 75 years of paint, re-glazing half the panes, sanding, priming, painting, new weatherstripping, etc.).
All this winterizing was necessary to stop the air leaks and dust intrusion, not to mention sound abatement; on the few units I got done last year, it made a huge difference.
I may have to replace the 4 French Doors in the Dining Room since the bottoms look pretty bad; they're next on the list when I restart that project. I have to do all this in advance of getting the whole exterior re-painted. Oh and that doesn't take into consideration the 3 windows on the rear that need to be replaced all together. Sigh. It like painting the Golden Gate over here.
tn535i wrote: Jul 30, 2020 12:18 PMI wish there were a place like Anderson near me... We have a good local hardwood shop that even has it's own mill nearby but nothing like that.
We are blessed with another similar type of lumber yard and hardware store nearby: Anawalt Lumber. Their lumber yard has more "exterior" type lumber stock (redwood, cedar, etc.). They've been at their location since the '40's (in business since 1923) and used to be supplied by rail (they had their own spur right into their sheds). They have several locations around LA, but the WLA one is their original. They are sitting on some very, very expensive real estate right now, which always makes me nervous for their future.
(Forgive the crappy, stock web photos)
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We are very proud to support both of these local businesses and have been for as long we've been living in WLA; I will happily keep giving them my business for as long as I am still living here. Anything to stay out of the Big Orange Box or it's evil twin, the Big Blue Box.
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Re: What Did You Do To Your House Recently?

Post by oldskool »

Damn. You really put in the work. Lose the plants . . .
Mike W.
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Re: What Did You Do To Your House Recently?

Post by Mike W. »

vinceg101 wrote: Jul 30, 2020 5:44 PM
We are blessed with another similar type of lumber yard and hardware store nearby: Anawalt Lumber. Their lumber yard has more "exterior" type lumber stock (redwood, cedar, etc.). They've been at their location since the '40's (in business since 1923) and used to be supplied by rail (they had their own spur right into their sheds). They have several locations around LA, but the WLA one is their original. They are sitting on some very, very expensive real estate right now, which always makes me nervous for their future.
(Forgive the crappy, stock web photos)
Image


We are very proud to support both of these local businesses and have been for as long we've been living in WLA; I will happily keep giving them my business for as long as I am still living here. Anything to stay out of the Big Orange Box or it's evil twin, the Big Blue Box.
I (mostly) grew up and a bit afterwards in LA , though it's been some time now. But I swear, there were more independent businesses there and more of a can do attitude than anyplace else I've ever lived. Where I live now I swear businesses have a "Can't do" attitude. You ask they about something and it's no, we can't do that, or no we don't do that, or just nothing. I was trying to get a plastering job done for the County before I retired. I finally got one guy to look at it, $4K, cool. But he needed more insurance. I told him, add it in, we've got some room, add in a thousand for your cost and trouble. Never heard back from him. :evil:
tn535i
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Re: What Did You Do To Your House Recently?

Post by tn535i »

vinceg101

The bump out breakfast room with 3 sides full of windows on a cozy scale for just 2-3, maybe 4 people - fabulous. They just don't do stuff like that anymore in houses. Applaud your efforts to keep it as original as possible and would enjoy seeing it. May favorite tool for all the layers of paint is a heat gun and both my wife and daughter enjoy doing that for me. I assume your neighborhood is more of the same kinds of houses and I also think those old neighborhoods (when spared from neglect and too much modernization) are often the nicest in town both location and charm. It's why I like where I live and deal with all the old house effort. Hey isn't that about like driving a 30+ year old BMW ??
vinceg101
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Re: What Did You Do To Your House Recently?

Post by vinceg101 »

tn535i wrote: Jul 31, 2020 1:56 PM vinceg101
The bump out breakfast room with 3 sides full of windows on a cozy scale for just 2-3, maybe 4 people - fabulous. They just don't do stuff like that anymore in houses. Applaud your efforts to keep it as original as possible and would enjoy seeing it... I assume your neighborhood is more of the same kinds of houses and I also think those old neighborhoods (when spared from neglect and too much modernization) are often the nicest in town both location and charm. It's why I like where I live and deal with all the old house effort.

Actually, our house is the odd-ball on the block. It and our neighbor's house to the west of us were moved here after being displaced by the building of the Hollywood Freeway in 1951-2 (as best we can determine). The rest of the original houses are all of 1940's vintage, being very small (like 800 s.f small). We got the information from our elderly neighbor when we bought this house in 1999; he grew up in the house to the east of us after his parents had it built by the tract developer (Ted Charnock, whom our street is named after) in 1941. He and his brother used to play in the two vacant lots and remained empty until he went off to Korea in 1950. When he came back, our house and our western neighbors house were magically there. This sync's up with freeway construction around that time and makes a whole lot of sense when you look at styles; our house was more befitting those in Hollywood at that time. Also, when you consider the greater LA Basin development history, there was a whole lot of nothing around these parts in 1927 (mostly bean fields and scrub land, and a few of the earliest auto race tracks).
Of course that is all speculation since we have no way to prove any of it. It's really too bad that houses and structures don't have VIN's (or HIN's?) so you can track it's history; the county and city only record the land through tax rolls and building permits. So when a house is removed off its' original plot of land, it's history is lost. The same thing happened to those properties condemned by the state when they built the freeways; the county removed the APN's (Assessor Parcel Numbers) from the records and the city likewise removed the street addresses effectively removing them from history. I'm sure there is a document in the bowels of the city, county or state that recorded this information, but it would take a lot to find it. The problem is that even if I could find the original street address and APN for where this house came from, I'm sure the city destroyed the records after the condemnation by the state.
tn535i wrote: Jul 31, 2020 1:56 PMMay favorite tool for all the layers of paint is a heat gun and both my wife and daughter enjoy doing that for me.
I found the best scraper to do this since whatever dark green paint they used in the 20-30's prevented the next 70 years of paint to adhering to it. Not to mention, NOTHING is taking that green paint off (which is fine by me, it survived 100 years, it's earned the right to stay). This is one of the Living Room windows that I used as a test bed for repairs and weatherstripping materials/methods:
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Decades of paint seems to flake right off with this guy:
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Of course, if your wife and daughter want to come out west and volunteer, I'm not saying no...
tn535i wrote: Jul 31, 2020 1:56 PMHey isn't that about like driving a 30+ year old BMW ??
Indeed it is.
tn535i
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Re: What Did You Do To Your House Recently?

Post by tn535i »

I have that tool above in two sizes :) Also a basic portable belt sander is a great way to sharpen the blades. My Bosch 3x21 belt sander bought on sale 20+ years ago is one of my favorite still working great old tools. I generally remove my trim or sash and if it's flat, then after heat gun or scraping it gets a pass with fine grit on the belt sander before the palm sander goes to work. For the muntins with all those wicked grooves I often use a sprayable paint remover followed by denatured alcohol with my odd shaped scraper tools to get all that old paint off.

This is the set I think I have and they are called shave hooks I guess...
https://www.highlandwoodworking.com/set ... hooks.aspx

The old hardware is also really interesting. Nice!
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Re: What Did You Do To Your House Recently?

Post by Mike W. »

vinceg101 wrote: Jul 31, 2020 7:32 PM

Decades of paint seems to flake right off with this guy:
Image
Really? I've tried those long ago and just made screeching noises. Not much paint came off. Might have to try it again though, of course with my current house being stucco it might be awhile.
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Re: What Did You Do To Your House Recently?

Post by sail_or_drive »

I employed a painting crew that, instead of scraping forever, did a first pass then filled the gaps with Bondo followed by quick pass with a belt sander. This was on old 1" exterior cedar siding so there was no concern over making a mess outside.
vinceg101
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Re: What Did You Do To Your House Recently?

Post by vinceg101 »

Mike W. wrote: Aug 03, 2020 10:41 PMReally? I've tried those long ago and just made screeching noises. Not much paint came off. Might have to try it again though, of course with my current house being stucco it might be awhile.
You're right: that kind of scraper isn't very effective; I actually posted the wrong one. This is the one that is the best:
Image

The key is having fresh and sharp blades. But be careful: it will gouge up the wood easily.
vinceg101
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Re: What Did You Do To Your House Recently?

Post by vinceg101 »

sail_or_drive wrote: Aug 03, 2020 11:21 PM I employed a painting crew that, instead of scraping forever, did a first pass then filled the gaps with Bondo followed by quick pass with a belt sander. This was on old 1" exterior cedar siding so there was no concern over making a mess outside.
It's actually amazing watching professional painters work; the really good ones only know one way to do it. Regardless of the size or type of project, they attack it the same way. Also amazing is the amount of Bondo they use in the final painting stages, not just the prep; it all comes out like glass when they're done.
I realize they have waaaay more patience and anal retentiveness than I ever will.
tn535i
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Re: What Did You Do To Your House Recently?

Post by tn535i »

Preparation is everything when painting. Personal experience says that if I strip everything down to wood, sand and work back up to topcoat it will last a long time. Interior woodwork may last until you want to change the color while exterior (where I live) is about a 20+ year cycle. I find some areas I'm back down to near wood with even light sanding as if the paint has simply worn off over time.

btw the last windows I did using a 'newer' S-W water based polyurethane on the exterior. I really liked the way it went on but expensive stuff so I hope it is worth it. I've always used oil based primers and the options there are getting very few now. After all the hard work I have some windows that look like new inside and out but still others that need a lot of work I have not got to.

'Professional' from what I see is mostly just tape over what you don't want painted then spray over a multitude of sins. Looks OK from the sidewalk.
Mike W.
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Re: What Did You Do To Your House Recently?

Post by Mike W. »

sail_or_drive wrote: Aug 03, 2020 11:21 PM I employed a painting crew that, instead of scraping forever, did a first pass then filled the gaps with Bondo followed by quick pass with a belt sander. This was on old 1" exterior cedar siding so there was no concern over making a mess outside.
I've seen painters use Bondo on things like metal doorframes but not wood. I'm no painter but I've used it under flooring to get a flat surface before on some really odd stuff.
vinceg101
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Re: What Did You Do To Your House Recently?

Post by vinceg101 »

tn535i wrote: Aug 04, 2020 2:33 PM Preparation is everything when painting. Personal experience says that if I strip everything down to wood, sand and work back up to topcoat it will last a long time. Interior woodwork may last until you want to change the color while exterior (where I live) is about a 20+ year cycle. I find some areas I'm back down to near wood with even light sanding as if the paint has simply worn off over time...
'Professional' from what I see is mostly just tape over what you don't want painted then spray over a multitude of sins. Looks OK from the sidewalk.
98% of a good paint job is the prep; houses or cars.
With houses this old, when paint jobs get long in the teeth, we're forced to strip it all down to bare wood. 100 years of layers of paint with dings and chips isn't really sustainable or conducive to a satisfactory job. Of course you find all kinds of ugly when you strip down to the wood (or what's left of it); it always ends in tears.

Exterior for us is about those 20 years on the stucco buildings, sometimes longer, but wood anything is baked by the sun and heat so that coupled with changes in paint formulations usually shortens the life considerably. Same goes for asphalt/composition tile roofs; the manufacturer may call it a 30 year roof but here in SoCal you're lucky to get half that.

We use/spec Benjamin Moore paints almost exclusively (work and life). We used to be that way with Dunn-Edwards (more local to CA, but seems to be on-par with S-W), but moved away when D-E started changing formulations. Paints have gotten ridiculously expensive, and good paint more so.

You've obviously not been around higher level professional painters much; of course not a lot of us can afford those crews. Occasionally I get the benefit of a "family & friends" or "Good Buddy Contractor" discount from my contacts and reap the rewards of their skills. That happened in our Kitchen remodel a few years back. As a favor and a great discount, the top level painter I work with parked a guy in my kitchen for a week. Like I said, they only know one way of doing things so he meticulously painted that whole room. Calling it the nicest paint job in the house would be an understatement.
vinceg101
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Re: What Did You Do To Your House Recently?

Post by vinceg101 »

Mike W. wrote: Aug 04, 2020 4:21 PM
sail_or_drive wrote: Aug 03, 2020 11:21 PM I employed a painting crew that, instead of scraping forever, did a first pass then filled the gaps with Bondo followed by quick pass with a belt sander. This was on old 1" exterior cedar siding so there was no concern over making a mess outside.
I've seen painters use Bondo on things like metal doorframes but not wood. I'm no painter but I've used it under flooring to get a flat surface before on some really odd stuff.
I thought that was weird too the first time I saw a crew at work final painting a house; a bunch of guys in white outfits with a paint brush in one hand and alternating with a pallet of Bondo and putty knife in the other. The whole room looking like it had measles covered in little grey spots. But I didn't think it was crazy after I saw the results.
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Re: What Did You Do To Your House Recently?

Post by cek »

Interesting that the household projects that get me motivated are the ones where I realize I get to buy a new tool to accomplish.

Case in point for 18+ years we've struggled to keep the basement door open (it has an auto closer) when using the yard. Usually some piece of basement junk has propped it open.

I found this great magnetic holder on Amazon ($66):
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The ceiling is concrete. While I have some concrete drill bits, I mysteriously did not have a concrete hammer drill. I do now:

Image

I'm normally a DeWalt guy, but they don't make a hammer/drill compatible with my batteries. Plus the way the products at Home Depot were assorted gave me a headache decoding which battery/charger kit to buy. The Milwaukee unit was more expensive and that means it's higher quality, right? So that's what I got.

Image

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The 1/2" concrete anchors were way overkill for this job, but I actually had them some on hand (?!?!).
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Re: What Did You Do To Your House Recently?

Post by Mike W. »

cek wrote: Aug 04, 2020 7:32 PM Interesting that the household projects that get me motivated are the ones where I realize I get to buy a new tool to accomplish.

Case in point for 18+ years we've struggled to keep the basement door open (it has an auto closer) when using the yard. Usually some piece of basement junk has propped it open.

I found this great magnetic holder on [url=https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B075R ... =ceklog-20]Amazon ($66):
I am so on about magnets these days. I've gotten some rated at ~80 pounds from Amazon, cheap, ~ $1 each, and done some great stuff with them. Holding doors open, holding doors closed, hanging stuff, a back seat cover for the Datsun that magnetically attaches to the body of the trunk cover. I rigged up a test rig with a scale that would have made Rube Goldberg proud and with my less than instrument grade testing I came within lets say 10% or closer. Close enough.
vinceg101
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Re: What Did You Do To Your House Recently?

Post by vinceg101 »

cek wrote: Aug 04, 2020 7:32 PM...I mysteriously did not have a concrete hammer drill. I do now:

Image
Is that the M18 Fuel cordless drill or corded?
I recently switched over to the M12 line of tools after I had the 12v Bosch Lithium drill (great little drill & 1/4" impact, BTW).
Milwaukee has a expansive and great line of tools and batteries in both 12v and 18v, which is the reason I switched over. It's also the majority of tool systems I see in the field these days (well, the last time I was out on a jobsite anyway).
Besides the drill & drivers which I seem to use every week, my favorite is this little guy:
M12 Tire Inflator:
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I use it at The Hangar all the time and it's a great little tool.
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Re: What Did You Do To Your House Recently?

Post by cek »

vinceg101 wrote: Aug 05, 2020 11:38 AM
cek wrote: Aug 04, 2020 7:32 PM...I mysteriously did not have a concrete hammer drill. I do now:

Image
Is that the M18 Fuel cordless drill or corded?
M18 Fuel.
sail_or_drive
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Re: What Did You Do To Your House Recently?

Post by sail_or_drive »

Another Cordless Option:

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I believe that they call this the "John Henry Special" I have used it a number of times but when I have to drill more than 5 or 6 holes I head to the rent-a-center.
vinceg101
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Re: What Did You Do To Your House Recently?

Post by vinceg101 »

^^^
AKA: The Persuader

Nothing like a ~6lb sledge when you need to go all John Henry on something.
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Re: What Did You Do To Your House Recently?

Post by sail_or_drive »

All John Henry aside, it works remarkably well and is faster than you would think. My Brother in Law introduced me to the manual bits charms when I brought home a box of good old American Steel from a garage sale and there were several sizes included in the hoard of chisels, files, punches, etc. I did not know what the bits were for when I first saw them .
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Re: What Did You Do To Your House Recently?

Post by Mike W. »

Star Drills! I've got a couple I inherited from my Dad. Although he wasn't hands on, I can't see him ever using them. They work, not terribly well IMO, but they do work.

Hand sledges are generally 3 or at the most 4 pounds. A long handle sledge will start at 6, and is a full fledged sledge hammer, going up to 8 and then 16 pounds for a double jack. Throwing a 6 pounder is work, 8 more work, 16 is like WTF, this thing is heavy!

I've got more time behind a soldering iron and meter, but it's not like I'm a stranger to the brute force tools either.
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Re: What Did You Do To Your House Recently?

Post by cek »

These bolts went in the ceiling. In a corner. I can't even imagine using a sledge for that.
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Re: What Did You Do To Your House Recently?

Post by davintosh »

Jeez, Vince; I open this page and the first photo I see is the window you're stripping, and I almost had a panic attack! I just finished stripping & repainting four casement windows like that! One of them has been reglazed, and am not exactly looking forward to the next three. But it's gotta be done...

Our house isn't quite that old; built in 1948, and still has the original Anderson casement windows in the living room. I refinished them once about 18 years ago, and they were due. I'm glad you posted the photo of the carbide scraper; those things are the bomb. Between that and my putty knife & paint gun, it doesn't take long to get down to bare wood. The windows probably ought to be replaced, but we'll leave that for the next owners. :D

The house is clad with redwood lap siding, which originally had a natural finish, but sometime in the '60's the owner decided the upkeep was too much and it got a coat of paint. Whoever that was did a crap job of prepping the surface, so when we got the house in 1999 the paint was flaking and bubbling everywhere but the north-facing wall. So in about 2005 I started stripping siding too, and did one side every-other year or so. Heavy on the "or so"; I just finished the fourth wall this year.

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But the most recent, and most exciting thing we did with that house though is sell it! My wife has had a burr under her saddle about moving to a different house for the last year or so. Up until six months ago I was pretty convinced that we'd never move out of that house, but I relented, and we ended up finding a newer place not far from the old one that checked most of the boxes, was priced right, and has a great location. Lots of space in it, especially garage space. It's got an oversized 2-car garage on the main level, which was built with a prestressed concrete floor to create a workshop of the same size below it. I say "workshop" because while it does have an overhead door, there currently isn't a way to get a car in there. Currently. But that's something I hope to rectify soon. It's a walkout basement that opens to a sunken patio with a retaining wall around it, so it'll involve tearing out a section of the wall, moving & packing some dirt at an appropriate slope, putting in some gravel and pavers... Piece of cake, right? ;)

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Anyway, moving here from the old place with its one car garage is a treat. Now I just need to get things organized... It feels like someone took all the stuff from my garage, shed, and workshop, threw it into a big box, and shook it real hard. Yikes.

I knew the old house would sell quickly, but had no idea how quickly. We had two offers in hand before the listing went live on Monday of this week (8/3). We told our realtor that we wouldn't consider any offers until after 5 that day, and had a total of four to mull over. I'd never heard the term escalation clause before, but now... I like escalation clauses. ;) But I'm gonna miss that house and the neighborhood!
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Re: What Did You Do To Your House Recently?

Post by Mike W. »

vinceg101 wrote: Aug 04, 2020 7:00 PM
Mike W. wrote: Aug 04, 2020 4:21 PM
sail_or_drive wrote: Aug 03, 2020 11:21 PM I employed a painting crew that, instead of scraping forever, did a first pass then filled the gaps with Bondo followed by quick pass with a belt sander. This was on old 1" exterior cedar siding so there was no concern over making a mess outside.
I've seen painters use Bondo on things like metal doorframes but not wood. I'm no painter but I've used it under flooring to get a flat surface before on some really odd stuff.
I thought that was weird too the first time I saw a crew at work final painting a house; a bunch of guys in white outfits with a paint brush in one hand and alternating with a pallet of Bondo and putty knife in the other. The whole room looking like it had measles covered in little grey spots. But I didn't think it was crazy after I saw the results.
I wonder if it was bondo or spot putty? Bondo, AKA body filler, is a PITA and cures so friggin' tough, it's almost impossible to sand it down. But spot putty while it won't fill as deep a gap, sands easier and is more workable in a way. Plus it's one part and it dries, unlike bondo which you have to mix it with a catalyst and have limited working time.
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