Fan Arrival, Prep And Stupidity

The “Bala” fans arrived yesterday and as I suspected, they are really Ellington fans.


I immediately got to work converting the blades from wood tone to black.  The first thing I did was mask the darker side just in case I messed everything up and needed to revert to something original.


I scuffed up the lighter side and used some spray paint (Valspar Satin Black).


That’s where things got stupid.  Being in the South, the humidity here is typically over 100%, so painting is typically a futile effort, or at least the drying portion of the painting is.  Somehow, my brain said that I should paint these in a lower humidity environment, like my garage.  My garage is not really a garage, it’s been converted into a game room.  The bottom line is I spray painted the first set of blades inside my house.

After the first coat I stepped back and realized what I had done.  My fuckup was pretty obvious with the cloud of paint spray floating around and reflecting in the sunlight.  I closed the door off to the house, opened the windows and turned on a fan.  At least I could contain this stupidity, right?  I took the other set of blades outside, sprayed them and brought them back in to dry.  That would’ve been the smarter thing to do the first time, but what’s done is done.

But it was far from done.  While the blades were drying, I went around back and took care of the pool.  When I finished there, I went back in the house and was floored with paint fumes.  The game room was closed off, but the game room is also air conditioned.  That means it has a return register.  That means the paint fumes enclosed in the game room got sucked up into my A/C and efficiently distributed throughout my entire house.

I spent the night with all the house windows open and fans running everywhere.  The morning wasn’t too bad.  The house was about 77 degrees.  Today, I’ll pick up some matte clearcoat spray and tonight I’ll give a light sanding to the blades, give them a second black coat, then clearcoat them.  That should finish them up.

The next day, I shot the blades again with black paint and let it dry overnight. The next morning, I sanded the blades smooth again and shot them with the matte topcoat.  Immediately, something didn’t look so great about the result.  After drying, the topcoat had given the blades a slightly silver tone, they weren’t a deep, dark black anymore.  Sigh.

I sanded down the clearcoat and it looked better, but still had some shading issues.  Everywhere there were slight divots in the surface, the clearcoat was lighter.  So, my lesson from that is to only topcoat when you have a perfectly smooth surface.  But I accepted it the way it was and planned to use it.  The good thing is that after the final sanding, the blades were very nice to the touch.


I considered the project complete, so I just had to take off the painters tape from the other side and I’d be done.  I started peeling the tape and disaster struck.  The tape was pulling up the laminate layer on the blade.  As soon as that happened, I knew it was over.  There’s no way to repair that.  So, like a sensitive bandaid, I ripped it off.


And I ripped the tape off every other blade.  None were spared.  Every single one was entirely ruined.  So my clever idea of salvaging one original blade finish was pointless.  And in the end, I now have to prep and paint this side of the blades, too.

And this time, I’ll be a little wiser about where I do the spraying.