Saturday, February 28, 2015

Claudia the claw foot

One of my most sought after Pinterest projects is now final!!!! For the record this project was estimated at one weekend. It took us 7 months! I have to admit, it was well worth it! We found beautiful Claudia in our upstairs bathroom when we bought Nell. She was an original cast iron, clawfoot bathtub made in she is the same age as Big Nell...besties, I imagine. BFFs. They must have some stories to tell. As soon as I saw her, I envisioned her downstairs in the master bathroom. The downstairs bathroom did, however, have a monstrous cast iron tub, although it was neither in good condition, nor a a beautiful clawfoot. It took a sledgehammer and some muscles to get big Bertha out. (I have a thing with names.) It was not near the feat to remove Claudia from upstairs and carry her all the way down the stairs. Big Bertha was a mean beast. Claudia, on the other hand, was slender and lightweight, but as you will gather in a moment, she is a diva of the high-maintenance kind!

I began working on Claudia in August. I was big, pregnant and impatiently waiting on Jude! This tub needed a lot of work, but we had it all figured out! It would be done in a few days and into our newly remodeled bathroom to go alongside out new big daddy shower. Claudia's exterior was painted a drab gray. The inside porcelain finish was stained, dingy and there were a few gouges that needed repair. These were our first looks at Claudia.  

After we brought her from upstairs, we put her in the front yard to refinish. Little did we know that  every Tom, Dick and Harry would stop by to inquire about my tub!!! Many a stranger stopped by with inquiries about buying it, scrapping it and just plain curiosity.

 This is her before I ever laid hands on her.
 Taking all of the old, rusted hardware off was a job for the manly, man...aka my hubby.

 First, I washed her off really good. She was caked with years of dirt and grim.

 Then, I sanded her down smooth. Let us all reminisce for a moment back to hot August...almost TEN months pregnant! Only in the south will you find that pregnant of a mama wearing some shorties of this nature. 
 Still not pretty, but smooth and ready for paint.

 This is the underside with the manufacturing date stamped into the cast iron. She is the real deal!

 Help me Rhonda, this was after 74 coats of automotive spray paint. I finally had it as smooth as I wanted it. It was either too thick and starting to run, or grainy. The outside was complete!

 We used Bondo to fill in the gouges in the porcelain finish and sanded those smooth. Then, we moved her inside.

 We put her legs back on her.

 She was then moved into her new home and prepared to be refinished with an epoxy kit.

 We applied some kind of chemical wash. Then rinsed her. 
Then used steel wool to removed any stuck-on debris.
 With our cute little respirator masks on, we picked a late night to apply our epoxy kit. We had to time it well. We only have one bathroom Currently and eight people to date. We started at 8:45 just after the last child pottied. We had to apply another coat after 3 hours. We ended up putting a third coat which gave her a near perfect finish.
 Then we added the fixtures to match the era of the tub.

 She works like a charm! We are so proud of how it turned out. She is not perfect (and not just because my plumber scuffed it with his massive boot before my very eyes and made my heart hurt! But, I could not even tell him. He has been too good to us.), but the character she has makes up for her minor flaws and then some.

Mama got the first, and well deserved bath!!!!!

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