Staining a Fence: Vietnam Edition

My toes are still orange. Technically they are "Heart Redwood" because I stepped in the tray of Duckback stain while wearing open toed shoes. Just one of many transgressions and OSHA violations this weekend during a father-daughter staining marathon. My dad and I straight up stained a thousand million T-Rex square feet of wood fencing that just would. not. quit.

We recently moved and actually have to care about the premises on which we now live. From day one my dad has been warning us about the terrors of unstained wood. It grays. It rots. It's U-G-L-Y and it don't have no alibi it's ugly. Can you tell someone used to be a cheerleader? He kept telling us how he stained the fence of our last home and it looked so great, even after many years etc. 

So we finally get some nice weather, not too sunny, not too rainy, just the right Goldilocks stretch of cool days for this massive project. Only I have no idea how massive it's about to get. We "tested" the stain on what happened to be the most difficult part of the fence--the gate with all this lattice work at the top. And because we are the most impatient people on earth, the "test" turned into a full blown staining of the gate. It took 2 hours. To do about 15 square feet of gate. On one side. Two people.

I was like, "Dad, you did the entire fence of the other house? By yourself? HOW?!?! Just this gate took FOREVER. And it's about 1/100th of the amount of fence that we still have to do."

And he's all, "I didn't do the whole fence of the other house. Don't you remember? The fence was concrete blocks. I only did the gate."

Me: "????*&%@#%^#??? How did you ever think we could do this ENTIRE FENCE by ourselves then???!!!"

Not off to a good start. I immediately asked my neighbors if they knew of anyone we could hire to undertake this ridiculous job.

No one had any recommendations. I'm like, there's no way we can do this. Then I found a video on Youtube of some guy using a sprayer to stain a fence. So I immediately call my dad, "We have to get a sprayer. We can do this if we have a sprayer." He's like, "I got one for 12 bucks from Home Depot."

Buoyed but skeptical, I plunge into the job with my dad. It's a hodgepodge in our garage and backyard. We started with 5 cans of stain, three brushes ranging from 1.5 inches to 5 inches wide, the plastic pump sprayer, a 6 inch roller, one paint tray, a Simpson's mug, two random tarps, and a wooden spoon for stirring the stain.  

But this is no ordinary fence where the boards are just side by side. It's like some special fence where the boards overlap. Very pretty and tight knit so you don't have cracks in the fence that any perv can peek through. The problem is you now have 40% more surface area to cover because now you have to stain both sides of every other plank. This shiitake just got really real.

Turns out the best way to stain a fence is not with a sprayer. Too messy and difficult to control and coat the planks evenly. Use a roller. And small brushes to the the sides of the planks. And don't make the mistake of not realizing that rollers actually come in a 3 inch width. Which means that instead of laboriously brushing the stain onto all the narrow planks like we did for half the job, you can just roller the crap out of everything and just use the brush sparingly. 

Hello Houston. HALFWAY through the job, when we were already singing the praises of the big roller for how fast it was covering the big planks, the lightbulb went off like, "Gee, maybe we should get a small roller for the in-between planks." Ding ding ding. Suddenly we cut our worktime in half.

But it is done. I have the photos to prove it. Although some of my more discerning neighbors say they want time lapsed video proof from start to finish of me actually doing more than posing with a roller.

My dad and I know the truth. 2.5 days of father daughter huffing bonding. Yes those are shorts he's wearing and yes that is stain all over his shin. No socks with those sandals. It's a two for one safety nightmare.

But I will say, if someone grafted the elephantine skin from my father's toes and heels and cloned it, we would have a new source of body armor for the United States military. Nothing can get through that petrified epidermis. 

My father would also only wear one glove, a la Michael Jackson, until the last day. I guess the Oompa Loompa hand was starting to bother him. He also refused to put his mask back on after the first couple hours. I joined him on the last day and went mask free. I think the hallucinations from the fumes made me a better stainer. More artistic.

It is quite a sense of accomplishment though, and one that I will gladly show off with a psuedo Southern accent to everyone who visits. That thar is man's work, gall dang it. 

As The Good Doctor put it, "Aside from childbirth, this is your most impressive physical feat."