Relenting on tape
OK, OK, tape is both labor-intensive and costs money, and learning to paint a straight line with a brush is faster, way more elegant, and cheaper -- especially with a good stiff* brush.
Tape is the wrong way. The brush is the right way.
Well, except now we come to baseboard trim. And I rapidly determined that the choice was doing it the right way, and stressing my back, and doing it the wrong way, and being able to sit at the computer the following day.
So I did it the wrong way.
And taped along the floor next to the baseboards. And brushed along with the latex (Tuscan red over white primer. Twice, already).
So, comes the next day, I remove the tape, and:
1. The Tuscan red on the baseboards was still uneven, and in some places uncomfortably close to the floor, and
2. Naturally the paint had bled under the tape, in spots (I'll give the blue tape once more chance, really thumbing it down, and then go for Frog Tape).
1. I used the steel ruler trick somebody mentioned on this thread (actually, an L-shaped metal ruler). I laid the ruler flat on the floor, painted red down to it, lifted it, wiped it, laid it down for the next section, and so on all around the room. No paper, no dropcloth. That solved the coverage problem.
2. Then I lined in up to the baseboard with the floor paint, by hand, with the brush. That worked great, because it's oil/acrylic, and easier to handle. It is oil over latex, which I understand can be a problem, but it's like an eighth of an inch wide, so how bad can the problem be?
Also, one thing I've learned is that it's not about the geometry, it's about the optics. Painting trim, at least, is all about fooling the eye into seeing a straight line where there may not even be one. The goal is not perfection, but preventing the perception of problems. It's all about the optics... Especially in an old house, where nothing is really square or true to begin with.
NOTE * Obama supporters and fans, I don't mean to imply that I wish Obama to achieve a state of cadaveric rigidity. Sorry for any inadvertant hurt to your precious feelings.