Staining the Fence

Liz and I woke up early, had some breakfast, and were out around 9AM throwing blankets over our plants… preparing for our big day painting/staining the fence. We bought an airless paint sprayer last night, and wanted to make sure everything was protected.

Tools in place, and setting things up to prime the machine for the first time. The one problem we ran into: the sprayer wouldn’t prime!

After trying several times, re-reading the directions several times, and looking online for help (we tried tapping the bottom of the sprayer with a hammer, and also pressed the inlet release button a lot)… we realized we were stuck. And that I had to drive back down to Harbor Freight (a good 30 minutes away) to get a replacement.

Let me take a moment here, and insert a small aside. Prior to today’s work, I was worrying and stressing a great deal. Liz had done all of the research, but I was wanting to figure out all the specific steps – down to what we were going to put in which bucket, things like that.

The night before, my brain got into this state that I refer to as “locked up.” When trying to figure out what time to wake up, my brain started going into this infite series of if-statements, and it just cascaded into more questions, and on and on – to the point where I wasn’t able to really think straight.

I wanted to approach our fence painting in the same way we approached our garden box construction – very specific steps in a very specific sequence. Which was unrealistic on my part, and more than a little neurotic.

I think know that I’m not an easy person to work with, particularly when it comes to new/complex tasks. I wanted to mention this here, mostly because in a flurry of photos… the actual work behind the scenes gets glossed over. Liz was very patient with me, and I wanted that noted. And I wanted to add a note to remind myself, for the next project.

I mention all of this (my wanting to plan out and know each step from the start)… because before we even started, we needed to start over. And so I hopped in the car, and drove to get a replacement sprayer, with the clock ticking away in the distance.

The night before, I made some worried remark that I didn’t think we’d get started until 11AM, despite waking up early. And it was as though the universe heard this, and decided to teach me a lesson in patience and humility.

At Harbor Freight, getting a replacement unit. They were all very nice about the exchange, and I was in/out fairly quickly.

I had brought some buckets and an extension cord with me, hoping I could get access to their breakroom or some outlet somwhere… so I could verify that the machien would prime, before heading home. But no luck.

At home, we went through the steps again – and this time, success!

We decided to start with the other side of the fence first, and were able to gain access to our neighbor’s backyard. We set up shop on a small little table in back.

Getting things in position.

Mixing it up! Up until now, I’d been used to the regular-sized paint mixers (for one gallon buckets). The five gallon mixer is a big step up.

Respirator selfies!

I worked the sprayer, and Liz followed after me – using a brush to catch any drips and areas that built up, and to tackle areas I might have missed.

We tried to protect what we could, as we worked. To help keep this bush off of the fence as we worked, I jerry-rigged up a little solution.

Can you tell that I’m a web developer?
Can you tell that I’m not a very good web developer?

Back on our side. After stopping for a quick lunch (and cleaning the sprayer), we went back to work.

Cracking open a new can of paint, and adding it to the batch we were working with.

Plants covered. The sprayer, pulling paint from the yellow bucket. The orange bucket was our waste bucket, which I used whenever we got any clogs (and I had to clear the sprayer).

After we stopped and resumed working a second time, we started getting clogs more often.

Our fence, half painted.

Back on the neighbor’s side.

The stain requires two coats, and the first coat needed a minimum of four hours to fully dry before the next coat.

Our second pass went much, much faster. I was doing a second pass, but it didn’t need the same amount of saturation.

The business end of the sprayer.

On the left is the first pass. On the right, is after the second.

Looking back, looking nice.

As we were working on the neighbors’ side, we had to occasionally come back over to our yard and move the sheets bit by bit. This definitely slowed us a bit.

At this point in time, we realized that we had to stop for the evening. The paint our side hadn’t had enough time to really dry, and we didn’t want to push our luck. So we opted to hold off on the second coat until tomorrow.

All told we used about 5 gallons on the fence, for three coats (two on the neighbors’ side, one on ours). Which comes out to about 1.6 gallons per side per coat.

Liz, looking over the cleaning instructions. I liked the way the light was hitting our driveway area.

Lots of dirty buckets to clean.

Our side of the fence, at sunset.

A very full and very long day. Our victory beers. Or, to be precise, our oddly-named victory beers.

As much as I love the design, I have to say I’m not a fan of Le Tub. I’d had Humpenscrump before, and think it’s incredibly delicious – and a perfect summertime beer.

My old glasses, covered with little specs of paint. We put in a full day, today.

We Have a New Fence!
Backyard Tree Removal: Before and After Photos
Clearing the Wilderness: Backyard Transformation, Day 1
Beautifying the Backyard

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