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24 San Diego Uptown News | Feb. 4-17, 2011 FEATURE/HOME IMPROVEMENT FROM PAGE 7 WOOD


Diego, gumwood is reviled in the South, where it grows wild. In the 1920s, an association of Southern lumber producers started marketing Red gum, or Gumwood as they decided to call it, to Southern California homeowners and builders. Their loss was our gain.

4. JUST A LITTLE LIGHT SAND- ING, AND WE’LL BE DONE Wood refinishers love to sand.

It creates a lot of dust, makes a lot of noise and creates the illusion that you’re really doing something important. But sand- ing removes the oxidized layer that gives old wood that old-wood patina. It makes something old look brand new, which is not the goal. It’s also a lousy way to strip wood. It’s more likely to liquefy the paint and force it back into the grain of the wood than it is to remove it. You have to sand away the wood to remove the paint. And destroying the wood is also not the goal.

But sometimes sanding can’t be avoided. Particularly when wood is damaged, either by exposure to water, sunlight or angry people with power tools (sanders, for example).

This sounds like a Charlie Sheen tabloid headline, but it’s actually an abbreviated version of a recent article in a local newspaper (not this one), which blamed a house fire on “strip- ping materials.” Paint stripper isn’t flammable. Many other materials used in refinishing are, however. Lacquer thinner is highly flammable. It won’t just burn down the house, it will blow it up as well. Rags soaked in linseed oil (which is used in stain and varnish) can sponta- neously combust. Alcohol will burn, as will mineral spirits. Even sawdust can spontaneously ignite. But methyl chloride strip- per, despite what you may have read, doesn’t cause fires. (It just feels like you’re on fire when you get it on your skin.) Wear protection!

If you seek further enlighten- ment on the subject, read Bob Flexner’s “Understanding Wood Refinishing.” Then read it again. For in-person wood advice, or to swap colorful stories, contact me at

Shown here, highly-figured Red Gum from a house in Mission Hills. (Michael Good/SDUN)


construction industry for almost 20 years, specializing in wood flooring for more than 10. His knowledge of the product and at- tention to detail ensure complete satisfaction on every project. The mobile showroom is available for free estimates and operates in San Diego with an emphasis in the Uptown community. Top Flooring offers a wide range of wood flooring choices and will work with customers to find the right product for their application and budget. Top Flooring even offers pet-friendly flooring options. Furry friends are welcome to board the mobile showroom while customers shop!

Modul Studio 2136 Kettner Blvd. San Diego, CA 92101 231-1550 Javier Garay, owner

Little Italy welcomed a chic new studio and showroom to its streets this past summer, add- ing to its already trendy design district. Modul Studio occupies a large showroom on Kettner Blvd. showcasing the industry’s most

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