12 midnight. 12 MIDNIGHT! He’d been zedding for two hours by the time I finished sorting my poor broken corbel, but I definitely went to bed a happy stripper.
Whilst we were taking apart Moregeous Mansions ready to be rebuilt again, one of the hallway corbels, a gorgeous original plaster wall feature, had literally dropped off the wall with a giant crash. I was quite traumatised at the time, as were the within-earshot builders by my rather choice language. Luckily an intact one remains on the wall so Leo the plaster artisan can cast and fix fresh leaves to the bottom of the broken one, but regardless of leaf loss, the old paint had to come off both.In Edwardian and Victorian homes over many years, different families and decorators layer fresh paint on their featured plasterwork, softening the curves, filling in the recesses and generally losing all the intricacies of the original design. The features become blunt and sometime even practically detailess.
I decided, you know, whilst he sweats away piping up for bathrooms, that it’d be an important priority to strip these back. And I wonder why he rolls his eyes at me 😉
Brushing the surface with the amazing PeelAway 7, I covered it with the plastic sheeting provided, then waited patiently 48hrs. Here’s the thing. I didn’t put enough on. I’m a bit tight and that didn’t work to my advantage here. When I peeled back the plastic sheeting, only the first few layers came away, leaving a couple more underneath, albeit it very softened.
I learned my lesson and will put more paste onto the still wall-mounted corbel and more on the cornices as I start to restore them. I used PeelAway on cornice a few years ago and that did ‘blanket peel’ off, so I must be getting tighter in my old age?!
However, even with the thinnish layer I put on, look at what it did! The top coats curled back like a chemical face mask, revealing detail and edges and indentations….
I carefully used a small chisel to lift away the most of the rest, which had been softened completely by the PeelAway 7. It’s tempting to put some more on to get the rest off, but actually I quite like the effect of what we’ve got below and am deliberating not even painting it!
Doing a project like this is trial ‘n’ error and even though I’ve been working on property renovations for twenty years, I’m always learning new skills. Or skillz, to be more 2016.
I’d never PeelAwayed a highly decorative corbel before! Yes, indeed, there’s a first time for everything. Good job I get a second chance on No2 tonight….