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With construction and assembly of the bollard complete, it’s all over now but the crying. By which I mean, of course, that this thing is totally covered in sharp, jagged edges, and any child that gets within one International Standard Social Distancing Unit of it will instantly be torn to shreds, which will make them cry. Not to get all political or anything, but I’m generally against making small children cry, when it can be avoided.

Also, it looks like what it is – the unholy union of materials from the darkest, dustiest corner of the hardware store, cobbled together in the world’s most cluttered garage workshop. If I donate these bollards in this condition, the school administrators will cry at the thought that anyone might accidentally see these things inside the school.

Besides, there are visible mistakes, and that makes me cry. I don’t generally enjoy finish work, and I’m usually happy to cap off a project with a coat of wipe-on poly if I haven’t messed up anything visible, but that’s not the case here. So, I’m falling back to the advice of sages long passed – primer and paint makes me the craftsman I ain’t.

First things first, I disassemble the whole bollard down to its basic components. No one will see the interior piston, so that goes off to the side. Wooden parts get a good round-over with a flat file, then sanded to 220 grit.

sanded pedal
Mmmmm so adequate.

Then the same treatment for the PVC body. A flat and half-round file take the edges off all the holes, then the whole thing gets a rub-down with 220 grit. The edges needed the sanding after the file to smooth them out, and sandpaper cleans up the outer body and gives it a nice texture for the paint to stick to.

body filed and sanded

I don’t want paint on all the functional surfaces of the wooden parts, so I tape them off. Notably, I don’t want to clog up the pivot hole in the pedal or the mounting holes in the base, nor do I want paint on the press-fit edges of the top block.

parts sanded and taped

Wooden parts get a coat of spray primer. In most projects, I like to leave the wood grain exposed, but this cheap paint-grade panel hasn’t got anything worth showing off. Besides, I’m about 70% sure the school colors are silver and blue, and not “inexpensive edge-glued pine”.

parts primed

The PVC body will get a two-tone paint job, with my very finest and most intricate line work.

body taped for blue
Oooooo curves!

The lower half of the body gets Krylon’s Fusion All-In-One Gloss Patriotic Blue. They aren’t messing around when they say “All-In-One”, either. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a spray paint stick to PVC the way this does. Hopefully it’ll hold up pretty well with the little ones.

blue coat

I hit most of the wood parts with the same blue. The school building as light-colored floors, and I’m hoping the contrasting base will make these bollards less of a trip hazard. See my statement above about making children cry. The pedals get “Metallic Silver” so they’ll stand out a little more against the body.

parts blue

I did have to touch up the blue in a couple of spots where I sprayed it too lightly, but overall I’m reasonably pleased with the coverage.

After the blue coats dried, I makes them off to shoot silver on the rest of the body.

body masked for silver
Also, I found my masking paper.

I shot the silver coat outside, and was very glad that I did. Apparently, “Metallic Silver” means “gray with a ton of glitter in it”. The bright Florida sunshine revealed just how big a cloud of glitter this stuff puts off. I’m not a doctor, but I’m fairly certain breathing this stuff is bad. When our friends at Krylon say “use in a well-ventilated area”, they aren’t kidding.

body silver
For as thick as it goes on, it drips surprisingly little.

After a nerve-wracking un-taping session (this is invariably where I peel a big chunk of paint off, but I got lucky this time), the body is looking pretty spiffy.

body painted

All that’s left is to reassemble the bollard, and ogle the results.

bollard complete

All in all, I think this is a pretty great look for these bollards, and what’s more, they work really well and seem like they’ll hold up. I bought a couple of 32oz pump bottles for them, and a gallon of quality sanitizer to go along with the donation.

And, of course, it was fun to put together. That’s really the important part in all this.



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