Using His Hat
Great moments in building history: No cheesecloth here
About 21 months ago, my wife and I undertook a major project on our home, the original structure of which was built prior to the turn of the century. We remodeled the existing house and built a two-story addition that nearly doubled our floor space. We did most of the work ourselves, with help from my stepson, a contractor.
Having endured just about every possible problem imaginable while trying to match new to old, I encountered another small but frustrating hitch while I was priming and sealing some drywall.
I had purchased a 5-gallon bucket of drywall sealer and had used some of it. I reopened the bucket and poured some sealer into the roller pan. As I coated the roller and began painting, however, I discovered a problem.
Much to my horror, the painter’s nightmare appeared: Those much-hated “paint curds” had formed in the slightly dried and thickened surface of the paint.
After I calmed down, I realized that my economical nature would not let me toss the remaining two or three gallons of sealer. It was clear that I needed to strain the sealer in order to remove the curds. “Cheesecloth,” I thought to myself. “If I only had some.” Because we live in a small village and because it was a Sunday afternoon to boot, I knew there was nowhere to go for cheesecloth.
In looking around the room, I found the solution: our contractor’s (my stepson’s) white baseball cap! It had a vinyl-looking mesh backing, and I had no doubt it would do the trick. Because I was working alone at the moment, I picked up the cap and balanced the bucket of sealer on my knee. While I held the hat over the paint pan, I filled the cap with sealer. Using a brush, I carefully stirred the paint and immediately saw the milky substance flowing into the pan. After repeating the process several more times for additional, curd-free sealer, I took the hat to the bathtub, thoroughly washed and rinsed it, hung it on a broom handle, and stuck it out the window to let the sun and the gentle breeze do their thing!
I had great sealer, and the hat looked whiter than white and brighter than bright, a whole lot better than it had in months. My stepson was none the wiser, although I may tell him one of these days if he asks.
My Mom and Dad always told me to use my hat—uh, my head. So I did!
— Kenton L. McCoy, Parsons, W. Va.