About

I'm Mike Pope. I live in the Seattle area. I've been a technical writer and editor for over 30 years. I'm interested in software, language, music, movies, books, motorcycles, travel, and ... well, lots of stuff.

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Because novels don't get yanked out of the front of the brain, they can't be bullied into existence by increased focus or a Calvinist work ethic. A lot of what you need is in that great junkshop of memory and experience and emotion that's located in the back of the mind, and it's a place that can't be systematized, made orderly. You can't go in there looking for one thing and hope to find it. All you can do is browse, see what looks interesting, hold it up to the dim light and ask yourself what its relevance might be to the task at hand.

Richard Russo



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Blog Statistics

Dates
First entry - 6/27/2003
Most recent entry - 9/19/2017

Totals
Posts - 2452
Comments - 2558
Hits - 1,983,775

Averages
Entries/day - 0.47
Comments/entry - 1.04
Hits/day - 382

Updated every 30 minutes. Last: 7:29 PM Pacific


  03:01 PM

In the realm of home improvement, few things irritate me as much as people who paint over light switches and door hinges. One or more previous owners of our house engaged in this practice. Grrr. (<— see? I'm irritated) Since we're now doing some painting of our own, it seemed like it was time to deal with this.

I went looking online for non-toxic ways to remove paint from hinges. A technique that several people recommend seems promising: you throw the hinges, water to cover, and a little soap into an old crockpot and soak overnight. Alternatively, you can use an old pot on a low burner. That sounded fine, but our steady de-accummulation of stuff means we don't have old pots (let alone old crockpots) stashed in the garage.

So I improvised. I put the hinges in some empty cans with some dishsoap, and then poured boiling water over them and let them stand till cool, maybe 10 or 15 minutes.


It seems to have the desired effect, namely to soften the old paint:


I scraped a lot of this paint off with just my fingernails. You could use something else, but remember that brass is quite soft. A wooden scraper of some sort would be ideal.


For stubborn paint, I repeated the process, and when I got impatient with repeated soakings, I used a brush. You need something pretty stiff (not an old toothbrush), but again, not too hard (no steel brush). This brush worked great for me:


The end result came out pretty clean:


For extra thoroughness I got out some Brasso and polished the hinges, just because.

Disclaimer: I was doing this for what was clearly latex paint. (I could scrape the paint off in satisfying rubbery sheets.) I don't know if it would work also for oil paint. Maybe? I will note that very old paint can have lead in it, so take appropriate safety measures.

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