Ok - Bob came up with that blog title. Full disclosure. He was very proud of himself. :) But, seriously, BONDO is my life. This stuff is amaazzzzzing. I seriously now want my own show on the HGTV network where Mike Holmes comes in and spends 14 days fixing something and i just show up and say "dude, why didn't you just use bondo?" And then I win an emmy.
So i was really stressed about using this stuff - but it is really pretty easy. Part of the reason why I was wigging out is because the instructions are kind of nonspecific. It has two parts - kind of like epoxy works. It's a big ol' container of goo. The goo is like peanut butter. And there there is a little tube like a travel sized toothpaste. Except it's blood red. So vampire toothpaste. And you squeeze 'a little' and mix it with the goo. The 'a little' was what was freaking me out - but once you experiment, you realize it is, quite technically, a little. For a golfball sized glop of goo it's basically about a one inch long line of red stuff - but not a big thick line. Like a skinny line. The red stuff is the hardener. And it takes it's name pretty seriously. One that stuff goes in there, you've got about 2 minutes. Honestly the hardest (or rather most time consuming) aspect of this bondo stuff is you can't make a bucket of it and slap it on like joint compound. Mix the cream and the goo and you end up with pink peanut butter. I'm assuming it does not taste as delightful as 'pink peanut butter' sounds as a concept. And after your peanut butter is pink you have about 2 minutes max before your goo is as hard as a rock. Which, once it happens, is officially called Bon'DOH!
I saw on a little youtube video where some guy suggested mixing it with a screwdriver - and it's perfect. I just used a plastic spoon to dish out the goo. I went to the dollar store and bought a couple $1 cutting boards and used that to mix. You can't use cardboard to mix on (there is some bondo rule apparently). But you CAN use cardboard as a palette knife - which is ingenious (thanks again youtube dude). Cuz i would have tried to use a plastic or metal spreader and in about .2 seconds it would have been permanently covered in goop and a nightmare. So I just cut up a little piece of cardboard and then dispose of it once the 2 minutes of goo-gone-hard has occurred.
Suffice it to say - I'm finding bondo exciting. A friend of mine on Facebook read that and thought i said "bondage". Which, I think less people would want to watch me do 20 feet up in the air outside the building on a summer sunday. Not here at least... i mean certain places in the East Village, i think that is a full time profession.
So - the pack leader and I took turns power washing the thing (we still have one little corner cuz i have to hijack rich from working over at the house to do it.) Now that I've done the power washing myself, I can assure you that it is, indeed, just the worlds largest water pick. Except the force of a water pick doesn't nearly push you over on a 12 foot ladder. Allegedly. I've heard. I mean, not personally, I read that happened once. Yah. Anyway - power washing is SLOOWWWWW. But we needed to get as much of the peeling paint of as we could - cuz we did not want to be doing this AGAIN in two years. So after the power washing it basically looked like a hot mess. It looked like a sign they doctored with CGI for "Life after People".
So then I could finally begin the bondo adventure. There was some question about what to use to cover the holes. The guys at auto zone were, um, enthusiastic if not totally confident with their recommendations. It was kind of like "ok - what's the difference between this can, and this can". answer: "um... this can is red". But eventually (after asking about 12 very helpful people who came into auto zone that looked like their middle name had to be either 'skull' or 'dog', we settled on mesh. Little packages (about the size of a big paper napkin) of metal mesh, which you use to cover a hole...usually on a car it would be a rust hole or whatever. For me it was just - um - a big hole. I was very confused about how to get that mesh to stay in place... and then when i started to realize that on the back of it's it's sticky. Amazzzzing. It's seriously a metal post-it. I am in love. So - cut the piece to size... stick in place. Then mix bondo and run ilke a crazy person to spread the stuff on.
Now - I have not mentioned that there are giant puddles on the marquee area because it keeps raining. So it's kind of like being a frog and jumping around various lilly pads to keep from ending up in the water. So that also makes it fun.
So in case you think i always had it this easy - this was the only section that had two holes NEXT to each other. There are about 30 holes on each side. The mesh is 9 bucks a package and I can do 8 holes with a pack. So a buck a piece, pretty much.
Sooooo, a number of hours (and rainstorms) later, I had the patches done. Each hole needed at least two coats of the bondo. And then I had to sand it down. The orbital sander was really helpful - and with a grain of sandpaper that I think is normally described as "shredder of death" it worked great. I also spent a LONG time today basically buffing the sign with the sander and knocking down the remaining paint as much as I could and giving the metal at least a little bit of a rough surface to help the bondo and the primer grab on too.
Then it was time to prime the thing. We got a 'metal and rust' rustoleum spray that is FREAKISHLY close in color to the signs original main coat... it's so weird. If you look at this picture - the maroon at the bottom is the new primer... the curve at the top where the 'the' still remains, is the original part of the sign that hasn't yet been power washed. Weird, right?
By the end of the day I had gotten this far... I had to stop because my orbital sander committed suicide. Janice ran to Walmart and picked me up another one to start with tomorrow for the remaining section I still need to buff.
It lived a fruitful life. I must have gone through 8 of the sander pads already.
So then rich drove the genie lift outside and he and bob came up to my level (for once, I mean seriously!! ha) to help me fix up the overhang portion of the sign. Bascially the the front end of the sign at the bottom was... well... no longer present. The whole corner was rusted and gone and basically really the most depressing part of the sign.
The plan was to replace it with bondo as best I could. But i needed something to keep the mesh in place. Rich came up with this BRILLIANT plan to use scraps of the metal 2x4's from the auditorium and the metal screws. So he and bob basically built me a skeletal structure to run the mesh over....
It hasn't been sanded down yet - and it will need another coat to get it more smooth....but NOT BAD,kids, right? I mean THERE WASN'T A CORNER. NOW THERE IS A CORNER.
So - that was my weekend. Tomorrow i'm gonna get the whole thing primed and hopefully start painting with the metallics. Also - i got some sun. It didn't kill me. I'm no longer luminous day glo white.... I'm eggshell.
MEANWHILE - at CLUB D'NAJUCH... Lots is getting done...
Janice is doing a great job with the mudding... She's sort of the tortoise in the tortoise of and hare of sheet rock... she spends about 4 hours on one screw hole... but by the end of the four hours that screw hole looks.. well, you can't see the screw hole any more, which is the point. Go go Janice!
Seriously - that ceiling was driving Rich and I insane for five years. When we got the house ready for the first cast it was all down to the wire. it was like 2am. Rich had been concerned that the framing wasn't hefty enough for a drywall ceiling in there. The plan had been to use laminated luan whiteboard sheets. Lightweight - and then the plan was to use the sheetrock tape for the edges and paint. Well - it was kind of a catastrophe. It was our first total, out and out 100% renovation FAIL. The whiteboard warped and buckled when it was painted, the seams didn't hold - it looked like some kind of sad, janky, modern art installation on the kitchen ceiling. But there wasn't time to fix it - and it was clean, and safe. So it wasn't doing any damage. So NOWWWWW Rich put in a drop ceiling and it makes that kitchen look soooo much nicer. I'm a happy camper.
The living room is getting an overhaul too... at one end of the room was this jutting-out closet that housed the furnace. And it made the living room this pokey little awkward room that wasn't really particularly ergonomic for anything. Basically when we did the renovation the priority was to make everything NEW and to give the bedrooms the most space - so the living room kind of suffered. Well, Rich had the idea to move the furnace to a closet in the upstairs. So he whacked out the closet. We got the furnace upstairs. And now that room looks AMAZING - i mean seriously twice the size. It's such a great difference that I know anyone who ever worked for us before that comes back will see the living room and go 'OH MY GODDDDD THIS IS GREAT!!!". it's really homey and conducive to four people relaxing. Yay.
That far side is where the closet was - they in the process of installing new sheetrock. Around the top of the cieling you can see the track for drop ceiling which means Rich can then run duct work to get the heat more effectively to all the rooms in the house (it wasn't evenly spreading before).
PLUS the roofing guys that we hired.. wait? what? we hired someone to do something? no. omg. i know... awesome right...