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Decorating Dinosaur Nightmare

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beech1948

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I've just finished a major extension and refurb of my new "old" house.

Almost the last internal task is to strip out the downstairs loo, remove some polystyrene tiles from the 60's and to replace the electrics.

The electrics are a cord operated switch and a ceiling rose for a pendant light fitting. If I can remove them I will donate them to the museum of modern art.

BUT they are covered in many layers of emulsion. Not just the bodies but the whole darned things. I've tried to manually unscrew them and failed even when using a rubber python as gripper and lever.

I've considered using my Fein multi-tool to cut them up but am reluctant.

HOW do I get many layers of emulsion off or loose enough to let go when I try to unscrew. Anyt suggestions from the assembled intellect here would be eagerly perused. Any ideas.
Al
 

mailee

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When I was helping my friend an electrician we used to just smash them off and replace them. Unless you want to keep it of course.
 

Hudson Carpentry

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As Mailee said. Turn of the circuit at the CU (or pull fuse), then whack it!

You could try a stanley blade around the joint. You could also try tightening it first to brake the layers then loosen. It sounds strange but its a known method of releasing screws thats bonded its self to some material. You can normally get more force or weight behind you when tightening things which is why it works.
 

hanser

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Another vote for the 'Manchester screwdriver' . With age/heat the plastic parts will be brittle anyhow. Be bold!
 

Alf

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Gosh, that's disappointing - I was hoping for a plea for help on how best to spruce up a T-Rex. In lieu of that, I suggest a T-Rex applied smartly to the offending article. Or a hammer, as suggested. Whichever's more readily available.
 

beech1948

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Sorry Alf to disappoint. Probably over hyped the title.

The dinosaur part was because of the 12 brass screws which held the cistern, basin etc. All 4 inches long and at least 14 gauge...they were massive and so tight I had to use an SDS drill to clear the heads, a hacksaw to clear the damaged slots and a 60 yr old turnscrew, blade filed to fit slot, with a mole grip added to the blade to get them out. Took all day damn it.

So the consensus is to use the Manchester Screwdriver. H'mmmmmmm.
OK then I have my 4lb lump hammer ready, am about to strike and ......................................................... I'll let you know.
Al
 

Eric The Viking

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Waaaaaaiiiit!

If it's not too late, WITH THE RELEVANT POWER OFF to the fitting, try running a hot air paint stripper over the surface, until it's slightly uncomfortable to touch, then try something like an old tea towel wrapped round it to help you unscrew it by hand. You might want to score round where it meets the ceiling or the wooden mounting plate with a Stanley knife first.

The heat will make the outer cover expand more than the inner part. Once you've got it into two pieces, you can clean it up really well with Nitromors followed by warm soapy water and something like a nail brush. Don't let it spend too long in the stripper. Neither gloss nor emulsion paint sticks well to shiny Bakelite, so if it hasn't been sanded down to key the paint, you might be surprised at how nicely it comes up afterwards.

We've got an Edwardian house, and a few of the remaining roses are >50 years old at least (the wiring isn't!). I cherish them as in context they look so much nicer than the modern ones.

Hope I'm not too late!

E.
 

beech1948

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Eric,

You stopped me in time...saved by the email. I've tried a few things already.
1) I've tried to run a Stanley knife around the point where they unscrew but have found that the emulsion has gone inside the ceiling casing somewhat
2) I've tried a little bit of Nitromores on an old towel...no effect
3) I've tried to use a rubber python..its a bit of 1/4 inch sq rubber on a plastic handle....tried rocking it both ways.....the ceiling moves more than the damned light fitting
4) I've tried scraping the emulsion off but its so thick it will take ages

I don't think that these are anything special eg Bakerlite. I think they are 60's cheapo plastic. Certainly the appearance of these is 60's utilitarian.

So having said all that I'm going to use the Manchester Screwdriver but I'm going to use my old claw hammer instead of the lump hammer to improve my technique and to apply a little finesse.

Al
 

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