Natural Looks Decorating

Existing wood in your home has probably never seen the light of day — yet it can be stripped to give a new look to a room or to make a feature of something that has long been covered up. Doors, windows, skirting boards, stairs, bannisters — all of these are traditionally made of wood — can have their warmth and graining revealed and then can be sealed to protect them. The range of sealants available are as durable as paint indoors.

Wood that is exposed to the elements — a front door for instance — needs to be made weather resistant. Stained oils are the best bet in this case, or perhaps exterior grade oil-based varnish if you prefer a clear ‘rustic’ finish.

Which stripping method you choose can depend on where you’ll be working (blow-torches are a problem in tight spaces and where there’s lots of glass) or the condition of wood (pastes reduce the necessity for a lot of scraping). All are messy so remember to protect all surrounding surfaces. If using a blow-torch, don’t let piles of paint strippings collect as they are a fire hazard. If using chemicals, it is important to neutralise them before any stain, seal or finish is applied.

Old doors will present similar problems: many layers of paint or varnish or both, and very difficult to get at mouldings. Remove the door if you can so you have a horizontal surface to work on. Uninterrupted areas can be stripped with blow-torch and scraper — but take care not to gouge the wood. Any scorch marks can be removed later with an orbital sander.

Tricky parts around panes and mouldings need liquid or paste chemical strippers. Pastes take longer — they have to be covered and left to do the job — but they get into awkward crevices and when you remove the ‘blanket’ or plastic, the paint comes too. Chemicals have to be neutralised with white spirit or water — a scrubbing brush is useful when removing pastes. For the last remaining bits of paint in crevices, use a bladed scraper or a folded piece of glasspaper held at right angles. Check that all knots are firm — don’t use ‘knotting’ if a clear finish is intended as it darkens them. Use a similar coloured wood filler to fill gaps, splits etc After stripping, sand down till absolutely smooth, then wipe with a soft cloth to remove dust.

Cannot be pulled apart it is sometimes used for underground pipework, but capillary joints will do equally well in these situations.

The joint usually comprises a male and a female union nut. These are slipped over the pipe ends which are then flared (’manipu-lated’) using a special steel tool called a Jointing compound is smeared on the inside of the flares and a copper cone is inserted between them. The nuts are then screwed together lo complete the seal.

How a compression joint works

The olive (thimble) is the key part of a non-manipulative compression joint. When the cap-nut is rotated clockwise the olive is forced between the casing and the pipe and is considerably deformed in the process.

A watertight seal is dependent upon the pipe ends having been well prepared so they butt up exactly to the pipe stop in the casing. This forms a primary seal and ensures that the pipe is parallel to the movement of the rotating cap-nut. An even pressure is then

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