First…my oops. I couldn’t see into the magazine pockets of the table while I was staining it outside. I had brought my flashlight out to shine into the pockets to see if I missed any spots, but its batteries were dead and I didn’t go back in and get another flashlight. When I brought the table in to the house, the light illuminated a couple of glaring spots that weren’t stained. So when I should have been applying poly, I had to spend more time staining. Arrgh!
After I stained the entire inside of the magazine pockets I checked the table and found other places I had missed, so I went after those spots. Many of them were cracks and crevices where I had to use my thumbnail in the rag to push stain into the ridges and crannies. This was made easier, however, by the fact that after rummaging around in my sanding/refinishing bin I found a whole box of gloves that are a more normal size than the yellow ones I bought. Yay! I really need to take a good inventory before I start a project, don’t I?
I went to the TV tray to start with the poly on it but when I looked at the top there were areas where the honey oak color was peeking through the kona stain, so I wiped more stain on it and left both projects to dry AGAIN. Sigh. It’s weird, because the top of the tray was pretty much bare wood, and I don’t know how that honey oak showed through. It’s hard to get rid of, that honey oak.
I went out to check the projects AGAIN, and saw that the top of the table just didn’t look right. I got out the stain AGAIN, and used a slightly different method to do the top — I glopped on a ton of stain and just wiped it from end to end with the grain of the wood without leaving any stops in the middle of the top. The stain is fairly fast drying so doesn’t give much wiggle room when you are trying to get a smooth surface. WHY IS IT SO DIFFICULT?!
Since by the time the stain was completely dry it was the end of the day already, I didn’t get poly put on the projects that day. Finally on Monday after my errands I put the first coat of poly on the projects. In the meantime the projects were sitting in The Hubs’s small office, which I’m sure crowded him a bit!
When I finally had time again to work on the projects, I started to wipe the poly on the TV tray. I did the top first and did the legs when I did the second coat on the top. I planned to put three coats total on the TV tray top for durability since I anticipate it will be used for food and drinks. I did a first coat on the whole magazine table, except I forgot the inside walls so I did those when I did the second coat on the top. For the magazine table, I’m only doing two coats on the top and the shelves, and one coat on the rest of it.
When applying polyurethane, you are supposed to sand with 220 grit sandpaper or fine steel wool between coats. The can of poly says it should dry in two to three hours, so I waited three hours before sanding, wiping off the sanding dust, and then adding another coat of poly on both projects. I used some synthetic extra fine “steel” wool that I had and that seemed to work well. The table and tray both do look better with the polyurethane on them.
Last, I put the third coat of poly on the TV tray. Once it was dry I folded it up and put it away until we need it! It turned out well and I look forward to using it someday. I put the magazine table to use right away in back of the couch where the magazine basket used to sit.
Next project will be the kitchen table. I have to wait to start that until The Hubs has his days off, since it’s a big piece of furniture and I will need help moving it from the kitchen to the patio and back again. I’m trying to figure out whether I want to take the table top off the leg to be able to get at it better, but haven’t decided on that yet.
Here are the before and afters!
Takeaways from these two projects:
~ Have better tools to prepare furniture for refinishing if I ever decide to bring home something with a lot of detail again. These tools here would be very helpful. Each one has a different grit of sandpaper and it looks like you could really sand out those small spaces with these.
~ Bring your glasses when you shop, so you won’t waste money buying the wrong thing.
~ Check the supplies you already have carefully to see if there is something you can use there before buying something new.
~ Get gloves that fit, if they exist. It’s hard to get into small spaces and do detail work with giant floppity gloves on. (And check your stash to see if you already might have some gloves that fit okay.) Remember to actually WEAR the gloves the whole time once you get/find them.
~ Sand a lot more than you think you need to. I think I should have sanded the magazine table before I put the stripper on just for good measure, or maybe I should have just skipped the stripper altogether for this project and all its nooks and crannies. For the kitchen table project I will have to use stripper since the tabletop is painted and I want to get the paint off, but I think it might not have been necessary for the magazine table.
~ Practice furniture redos on items that were free or cheap and that you aren’t too invested in, because things don’t always turn out the way you want even when you follow instructions.
~ Even if your project doesn’t turn out quite the way you’d hoped it would, be glad that you learned something!