Grandpa Webb's blog

Thursday, 07 February 2013

What do you expect for £4.99?

Who is this Grandpa Webb?Our house is almost as old as I am. It has a separate sitting room, dining room and kitchen. Nowadays these are often lumped together into one living space.

The dining room has unfashionable brown mahogany furniture and recently grandma had the dining chairs recovered in a tasteful red colour. This presented an unforeseen problem: the red chairs clashed with the red wall.

If you exclude external brickwork, our house had only one red wall. It was painted that colour because most of the rest of the interior is painted in magnolia, which is boring, but safe. Magnolia doesn’t clash with anything.

The red wall had to go, to be replaced by apple green. “What you want to do is go over the red with some cheap white emulsion, before you put on the green,” I was told.

At Homebase I bought two litres of white emulsion for £8 which I thought was a bargain as it was a quarter the price of the green top-coat. I then found another unexpected bargain: A Decorating Kit. For use with emulsion and gloss paints. Ideal for interior room projects, it said. Kit includes: 9” roller tray, 9” roller frame, 9” medium pile sleeve, mini roller tray, mini roller frame, 4” gloss mini roller sleeve, 4” emulsion mini roller sleeve, 3 paint brush pack. All for £4.99. 

At that price, for all that stuff, well, it was a steal. Wasn’t it?

Fixing the 9” medium pile sleeve to the 9”roller frame was tricky until I filed down the edges of the plastic wheel so that it would fit into the sleeve. All this for £4.99? It has to be a bargain - hasn't it?The big paint tray had the usual reservoir at one end and a sloping bit leading down to it. In theory the paint sits in the reservoir, you dip in the roller and roll it up and down the slope to remove excess paint before painting the wall.

On this tray, the back legs were a bit short, tipping it backwards, so with the reservoir only part-full the paint spread half-way up the slope. Never mind, a bit of wood under the back legs cured that.

I was rolling on the second coat when I noticed a sort of slapping noise. The medium pile sleeve had come unstuck at one end. It would flap outwards when the roller spun clockwise, broadcasting paint on the floor as well as the wall, and wrap itself back in place on the anti-clockwise stroke. The rest of the wall was painted with an anti-clockwise roller action.

There used to be a shop in north London with a sign: The Best is Always the Cheapest.  Its philosophy was that if you buy a Rolls-Royce, it will last you for your working life, when you retire you can hire it out for weddings, and you can then leave it to someone in your will. There was no mention of running costs.

I wouldn’t say this paint kit was up to Rolls Royce standards. Mind you, I haven’t tried the brushes yet. Perhaps they will be OK.

Anyway, it didn’t cost much.

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