Thursday, 6 August 2009

A Cast Iron Story

Can you guess what it is yet?

OK - I promise this will be the last post on our cottage renovations for a while!!

But I thought I would share our story because when we researched this on the internet we could find no helpful advice about getting a cast iron bath down a steep narrow staircase


A Cast Iron Story

How to get a cast iron bath down the stairs in an old cottage with no room to manouvre at the top of the stairs

One of the hardest jobs we've had to do in the cottage was to take out the cast iron bath. It was a hideous thing, I never liked it!!! It was ok for a while because we had it resurfaced when we first moved to the cottage, but after seven years it needed to be resurfaced again and it's very expensive to do, so it had to go!

Getting it out, though, was another matter. It weighed 150 kg. Hubby and I struggled to lift it (upright) to the top of the stairs but once there we had a job to hold it. Somehow we had to get it into a sliding position without actually letting it go, which would have caused untold damage to the newly plastered stair walls and door frames. It was impossible with just the two of us and no room to manouvre. Friends came round to help, but four of us could not do it because of the angles at the top of the stairs. It had to be lifted back to the bathroom. At the end of day one we were no further along

After researching how to break up a cast iron bath, hubby didn't fancy the idea. It was the reports of nasty accidents, deafness, blindness and shards of razor sharp cast iron flying around the bathroom like bullets that put him off. He also worried that if the bath didn't break up completely, we would be left with trying to remove the bath in one piece, just as heavy, but with lethally sharp razor edges to boot. No way!

We had a sleepless night

Hubby came up with an ingenious plan

Up early, no sleep, he ordered some 13 foot long scaffold boards which came straight away, thank you! He placed the boards at the top of the stairs and out the front door. This made the gradient less steep. He stabilised the bath with a runner. We added my Laura Ashley rug to the top of the scaffold boards to stop the bath slipping too fast. He nailed a batten half way down the scaffold boards so the bath could only slip half way (to control the speed)

It was scary how heavy this bath was. I had visions of it taking out the whole of the stair walls on both sides, so I moved the furniture and pictures five feet away from both walls!!!

Fortunuately, I had the forethought to make sure we had a mobile phone upstairs and begged him to put a ladder to one of the windows

Back upstairs, hubby and I struggled again with the weight of the bath. We managed to lift it to the top of the stairs again. I tried to hold it while he tried to lift it on an angle at the top of the stairs but we weren't strong enough. Mobile phone upstairs? Yes! A phone call and a very good friend came round. Between us, the three of us managed to get it at the right angle to start it sliding and, yay, it slid very slowly half way down and stopped at the batten! Ladder at the window? Yes! Both men climbed out the window

By now, I'm feeling some RELIEF and some SHOCK that I still have a staircase (remember that the cottage is 200 years old with original floorboards). They were able to get the other side of the bath. Hubby removed the batten and the bath very slowly slid the rest of the way down the stairs and straight out the door!

Once it was outside I started to love it. Oh yes!
Look at these gorgeous rust patterns and colours

I noticed lots of interesting stripes for A Year of Colour (July)

... and then I took some rubbings of the letters and numbers - oh joy!

We were so tired at the end of this day, no sleep, two days of heavy lifting, two hours of cleaning up the mess and putting the furniture back. We went out to The Lifeboat to celebrate a very satisfying day!


daisy said...

LOL only you could make something beautiful out of an old unwanted cast iron bath. The mosiac is fabulous!

Congratulations on a mission accomplished without damage to youselves or your cottage.

Certainly a lesson in planning ahead, sleeping on a problem & good old fashioned teamwork.

Well done, one & all!

Lyn said...

Well Done!
I too loved your mosaic of the patterns on the bath and the other close up photos, I am glad I'm not the only nutter who takes photos of strange things!

Corryna Janssen said...

Thank you for your comments on my blog. It is so nice to let people know what you think of their work. I also like your work and blog. This time I enjoyed the pictures of your bath. What a great textures are on it.

Pom Pom said...

Hi Carolyn!
What a great story! More pictures of the cottage, please!

jackie said...

Well done on not being too exhausted to make the most of a photo op. We had to get our bath in by going up a ladder and putting in a false window frame. We are double glazed now, so I suppose its there for the duration.I appreciate your comments.

silverpebble said...

Carolyn, I'm getting very excited about these images and textures. Wonderful! I love examining rusty old metal and cracked paint. Fabulous post x

Kayla coo said...

Hi Carolyn,
I'm so glad it all woked out and there were no accidents.
Years ago a friend who lived in an old house converted into flats had to have a sofa delivered through an upstairs window as the staircase was too narrow!

Jacquelines blog said...

What a lovely pictures Carolyn!

missy k said...

Hi Carolyn

I feel exhausted just reading about all that effort.... guess you are not getting a new cast iron bath then?

I love all the photos, beauty is everywhere isn't it?

When you are relaxing in your new bath you will be smiling!

Hope it has stopped raining where you are...... rained ALL afternoon here!


Julie said...

You are all heroes! And what ingenuity! Well done to you all and thank goodness all backs and walls are intact!

Please can I come and play with the rubbings? I mean, make my own? What a wonderful surface.

MargaretR said...

I'm enjoying all your cottage stories and particularly this one which kept me in suspense to the very end. I'm glad you were clever enough to get it out without any damage.
That bath is so beautiful. What a good idea to make rubbings of it. Any intention of taking it back upstairs now that you love it? :)))

MargaretR said...

I forgot to mention I love your new look blog. Is that a car wheel?

sea-blue-sky & abstracts said...

Love the rust mosaic and metallic stripes Carolyn, some compensation for the difficulties involved in removing the bath - no wonder you headed off to the Lifeboat Inn! BFN. Lesley

Ticking stripes said...

Great post - loving that mosaic!

Gina said...

All's well that ends well... and you got some terrific stripey images!

jeanamarie said...

oh my goodness that sounds like quite the adventure!

we had such a time once, in our first home, trying to get our bed up the staircase, then back down again when we moved, but this sounds absolutely huge!!!

ps thank you so much for all your lovely comments - it really is so lovely to come home and see that someone like you has left such nice words for me to read :)

Clevelandgirlie said...

Oh what a smart man. After all, not only did he figure out how to remove the bath - but he married YOU!

Oh and the mosaic - a work of art, as always.

Ruth said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting on my jellyfish. Your story was wonderful and you both came up with the perfect idea. Hope you're over the sore muscles and fatigue!

Hens Teeth said...

Goodness C, what an incredible undertaking! I wonder how it got there in the first place?
Wonderful pics, very inspiring, especially the text.
Speak soon. x

mimilove forever said...

teeheee! We had the same prob years ago...our "expert" decided to go the hammer route..I think he probably is the root of the deafness/blindness stories out there! ;0)

konnykards .. Musings of a Senior Citizen said...

What a story! I love it and all the photos and artistic outcome.
It reminds me of a cast iron bath, that had never been resurfaced,in a "Sailor's Mission" we rented many years ago in Devon as a holiday house.
It was a very quaint place and the worst thing was that bath - in the attic! It was horrendous and I kept thinking of all the old sailors who had been in it.
Awful mum that I was I made our two children get in, but I didn't have a bath all that holiday!
I do think you should sell a series of "Tales from a Cornish Cottage, with artisitic illustrations" to one or more glossy mags Carolyn.
Surely you would make a fortune!
Connie, xx

arlee said...

200 years old?!?!?!?!?! WOW--some history there--wonder if there were any other artists living there? :} Our home is 97 this year, but though still quaint and sweet, has no potential problems like yours--except maybe for the creepy old basement!

Jackie said...

My heart was in my mouth..all I could think about was a passer by in the street being hurled into the middle of next week by a flying bath.

libbyquilter said...

what a lot of work that was~!!~ but you figured out all of the problems in such brilliant ways~!!~
AND you managed to get some "art therapy" out of it too~!!~


Joei Rhode Island said...

Great Story Carolyn! Glad you, Hubby and the friends all made it out alive....and lovely photos for needle work later... Success!

MargaretR said...

I wonder why no one has said anything about the puzzle? Was it too easy? It was I think. It's the plughole in the bath isn't it?. Mine was a stupid first guess!

Evelyn said...

A fantastic story - I'm glad you managed it in the end!! I love the photo of the plug at the top!

Dottie said...

Carolyn, I don't know what to say that hasn't already been said, so I will ditto all the posts.... genius!!

Anonymous said...

Hello, thanks for your story, have the same dilemma at the moment not too far away in Ludgvan...........eek we are stuck at the top of the stairs, think i'll never see the garden again!!