DIY, Furniture, Oops, Projects, Success!

Finally…Results!!

Don’t forget to read the other installments in this saga — (1), (2), and (3)!

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!

How did I miss that?
Hard to reach area.

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?

See that small orange area in the crevice?
A box of gloves. They are size XL (belonged to The Hubs) but still better than the yellow ones.

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.

Why, honey oak, why? It also looks like there are “rag strokes” on the top. SIGH.

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!

Looks lots prettier than it did, but not as good as I’d hoped.

Very big improvement, turned out great.

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.

SO much easier without the gloves, though.
And then remember not to rub your face. I’m not exactly sure how this happened…

~ 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.

And finally:

~ Even if your project doesn’t turn out quite the way you’d hoped it would, be glad that you learned something!

Decor, DIY, Furniture, Home and Garden, VIntage

Table and Tray Progress

And now for some results of the magazine table and TV tray makeovers. Don’t forget to read the first and second pieces of this saga.

I got out the Polyshades stain I bought and dipped an old t-shirt rag in it to wipe it on the magazine table. As I was applying it the first thing I noticed is that it didn’t go on as dark as I had hoped it would, and just made the dark spot on the top even darker. Also, it didn’t seem to go on very well. I got my glasses and looked at the can and on the back it said…”Apply with high-quality brush.” Oh, for heaven’s sake. I didn’t have my glasses at the store and thought I was buying a wipe-on stain. Arrrgh. That’ll teach me, I guess.

Stain not dark enough to cover spot.

So I went back to the shed and got out my old can of Special Walnut wipe-on Minwax stain and poly in one that they don’t make anymore. It is SO much easier to apply stain and poly by wiping them on than by using a brush, where you get all the brush strokes and have to keep a “wet edge” the whole time. I wiped the Special Walnut all over the table, including on the parts I had already put the Espresso color on. Here are photos of that result.

Blargh! It was not dark enough to cover any imperfections and didn’t stick very well to some places. At this point I considered this project a FAIL.

But wait! I decided to go see if I had anything else in the shed, and what do you think I found? A brand new can of this Varathane wipe-on wood stain in Ebony! That should be dark enough! There is also a can of Varathane wipe-on stain in Kona, which is a nice dark stain as well. Dries in one hour! Aha!

Dries in one hour! (It really didn’t, but…)

I left the magazine table to dry overnight and got back to it bright and early this morning. After scuffing the table up with some fine steel wool and wiping it off with a tack cloth, I got out the Varathane and started applying it with an old t-shirt scrap. (Keep in mind that at this point I’m sort of making things up as I go along to try to salvage the table.)

Scuffing up the top.

Hey, the ebony stain mostly covered the spot on top!

Will it cover the scratches?

It mostly did cover the scratches!

After I gave the table one coat of ebony stain, I decided to let it dry and come back for another coat. The front sides of the table that were sort of an orange color didn’t take the stain very well even though I scuffed them, and the inside walls and outside ends didn’t take the stain very well either. Here’s how it looked with one coat:

With one coat of stain. Better than before.

You can see how it didn’t take the stain very well on these pieces.

I let the table dry while I went on some errands. When I got back I put another coat of stain on. Here’s how it looked after the second coat of stain:

Eh, still about the same. Not great.

Meanwhile, during the second coat’s dry time, I started on the TV tray. I chose the Varathane wipe-on stain in Kona for the tray. It is a nice dark brown. I started on the underside of the tray:

Underneath first.

Once I stained the underside and legs of the tray, I let that dry and then flipped it over and stained the top side, and touched up in areas on the legs that needed it. It looks good and the next step for both projects is the wipe-on polyurethane to protect the wood.

Not bad.

I decided to try the wipe-on poly on the magazine table to see if it improves the look of it. There are a lot of weird spots where the stain is darker or lighter than other parts, and I’m hoping maybe the poly will at least even it out so it will be all one sheen. I had about half a can of the poly and needed more to apply multiple coats on both projects, so I ordered it and some more tack cloths since the items have to be sanded between coats. Since I am using oil-based stains, I will use this oil-based poly.

The stain on both projects needs to dry for awhile and tomorrow I have a hike planned, so I won’t get back to these for a couple of days.

Will the magazine table ultimately be a success or a fail? Will the TV tray turn out the way it’s supposed to?

TUNE IN NEXT TIME TO SEE REAL, ACTUAL END RESULTS (I hope)!!

Antiquing, Decor, DIY, Furniture, Projects, VIntage

Magazine Table

I got this cute little table for free on Facebook and it is in rough shape, although not too dinged up except in a couple of places. The woman who gave it to me just left it outside on her porch in the rain for me to pick up, so that didn’t help its condition. The Hubs said I should refinish it instead of painting it, so I’m giving it a go. It will be a “practice run” in anticipation of refinishing the top of our kitchen table.

It’s called a “magazine table” because it has the pockets on the sides where you would put magazines or newspapers (if anyone subscribed to the paper newspaper anymore at home).

Here is the table before cleaning (I did take some change, an earring, a lot of dust fluffs, and an old baseball card out of the magazine pockets. The Boy was glad to have the baseball card!)

Here is the table. Can you believe someone let their kids scrape the finish off and drip nail polish on the top?

Top of table. Ouch.

Bottom shelf.

Inside magazine pocket. There is a bit of wood missing from the curvy part, but I’ve decided to just stain over it rather than try to repair it. The sides of the magazine pockets are very thin and fragile.

First, I gathered my supplies. I chose to use Citristrip as the finish remover for this project, as it doesn’t have toxic fumes to worry about. You need a brush to apply it and a plastic putty knife to scrape the old finish off. Since it is a strong chemical (even though it is citrus-based) I got some gloves and wore safety glasses while applying the stripper. I used the instructions from a blog called DecorHint as a reference for the job.

After cleaning it with a damp rag, I set the table on some cardboard and brushed on a thick layer of Citristrip with a chip brush.

Next, you let it sit until it dissolves the old finish. Since the finish is fairly thin, in some places it was already working by the time I coated the whole table. I scraped off some of the stripper on the bottom shelf and one of the sides and the finish came right off.

It’s working!

I tried the top and the finish wouldn’t all come off, so I re-coated it and thought I would let it all sit for about three hours. To be effective the stripper has to stay wet, so I checked on it occasionally to make sure it hadn’t dried out. You can use plastic wrap to cover the stripper to keep it from drying out, but I decided to just monitor it and see how that went.

Re-coated the top.

I went out after two hours and checked the table, and it was pretty much ready to strip at that time. At least most of it was. The top seems to have a different finish than the rest of the table, so there will be more sanding there. It should be fairly easy because it’s mostly a flat surface. The edges of the top will also need more attention.

The top – still looks pretty dark.

These side pieces and the sides of the pockets turned out this color after the stripper was scraped off. I hope I can sand out and cover up the gouges in this side piece.

After scraping most of the Citristrip off, I wiped the table down with paper towels and cleaned it with a cloth dampened with mineral spirits. Here is how it looked after its mineral spirits bath. There is a bit of gunk still lingering, but it will be removed in the sanding step.

Sanding, and hopefully finishing, will happen tomorrow. I have another little project I’m going to interject as well while the magazine table is drying, I think.

DIY, Furniture, Home, Oops, Projects, Success!

The Chairs, Phase 4

Don’t forget to read Phase 1, Phase 2, and Phase 3 first!

TLDR: Chairs are painted, seats recovered, yay!

I didn’t paint the chairs last Tuesday, but instead waited until today (Saturday) to paint them, partly to let the primer cure a little more, and partly because the weather is only going to be in the 70s today instead of the 90s and paint works a little better when it isn’t so hot. Phase 4 begins as follows:

This side is painted now.

Remember when I said I was going to primer the underside of the chairs and then do the top parts? Yeah…I didn’t. I just set the chairs right side up on their boxes and painted everything I could reach. And you know what? I missed some of the underneath parts and I’m not going to paint them at all. To be honest, I’m tired of waiting and just want to get my chairs back in the kitchen where they belong, so I don’t want any more delays (i.e. waiting for paint to dry). The paint I’m using is Sherwin Williams Pro Classic Semi-Gloss in Whitetail, which is the same color as our kitchen walls.

I painted this side of the chair and checked to see that there were no drips. Then I waited 2 hours for it to dry before turning it over and painting the upper side. While I waited for the paint to dry I recovered the chair seats with the new green Scotchgarded outdoor fabric. It should look nice with the white and I’m expecting the fabric to last a long time since it is easy to clean and meant for outdoor use.

To hold the new upholstery on the seats, I used a staple gun I hadn’t used before. Last time I recovered the seats I just used hot glue which worked fine, but this time I wanted to try the staple gun.

The Staple Gun

At first I couldn’t figure out how to close it after I loaded the staples. I took it to The Hubs who informed me that I had put the staples in upside down. It didn’t occur to me that it would be different from a regular stapler, duh! The staple gun worked okay, except it didn’t shoot the staples in all the way and I had to pound them in with a hammer. I tried many ways of holding it and changed the setting that is supposed to change how deep the staples go, but nothing fixed the issue. Also, sometimes it shot out two or three staples at once.

Not sure why this was happening.

After I cut the fabric I noticed that it had many fold marks, so I got out the iron. I ironed it with an old flour-sack towel over the fabric to see if that would work just in case the fabric wasn’t ironable, but I finally just ironed on the fabric and it worked fine. I used the linen/cotton setting with steam. I forget what the fabric is made of.

This is what the underside of the seat looked like after I stapled the fabric down. Then I suddenly realized that I had covered up the holes for the screws that hold the seats to the chairs. Oops! I thought I might have to take the fabric off and start again, but The Hubs assures me he can get the seats attached to the chairs without a redo.

Not the neatest.

But this side looks great!!

Painting the chairs.

After a few more rounds of painting/drying, I finished painting the chairs today. I haven’t attached the seats for real yet, I want to wait until the paint is completely cured. Here is one chair, in all its glory. Ta daaa!! They aren’t perfect, but they’ll do. Now to schedule a time to work on the table!

Ta daaaaa!!

Here’s a reminder of what the chairs looked like before:

DIY, Furniture, Home, Projects, VIntage

The Chairs, Phase 3

Me: <Opens paint. Rust from top of paint can falls into paint.>
“Now I have to get more paint.”
<Goes to Sherwin-Williams. Gasps at price of paint. Is happy that paint is 40% off right now. Talks to paint store people.>
“Hello. I’m glad I only paid $5.00 for each of my chairs, since I’m spending so much money on them now.”
<Expresses concern to paint store manager that my chairs still feel tacky after drying for 24 hours. Talks about putting two coats of primer on because old chair stain was bleeding through.>

Paint store manager: <Gets paint ready to shake.> “You know, you should have used oil-based primer for that. It will seal the stain.”

Me: “Well, too late.”

Paint store manager: “And you only need one thin coat of primer. Most people think that you need to completely cover with the primer, but it is just so the paint will adhere better. Just a thin coat will do.”

Me: <Is sad.> “Good to know, thanks.”

Paint store manager: “It’s just that the primer might peel off since you put on a thick coat.”

Me: <Has downcast face.> Okay. Well, thanks, guys. <Goes home. Tells Hubs that chairs still feel tacky.>

The Hubs: “Oh, well, you should probably wait to paint them. I’d wait at least a week.”

Me: <Schedules time to paint chairs next Tuesday, in case they’re ready by then.>

Ready to paint
Change, DIY, Furniture, Home, Projects

The Chairs, Phase 2

After the wood filler on the chairs had dried, I sanded those areas smooth and scuffed up the chairs with my sandpaper to help the primer adhere better and to smooth out some damaged edges. I concentrated most on the tops of the chairs and parts that are more noticeable, and just smoothed out the dings on the bottom rungs. (Oops, some of the wood filler came out of the largest space I filled where the veneer was missing, so I filled it again, let dry, and sanded more.) Then I wiped the chairs down with a wet rag to remove the sanding dust.

As soon as it got light I went out to the patio and got the primer. I picked the two hottest days of the week to work on these, so I wanted to get the primer done while it was still cool outside! It is predicted to be in the 90s today as it was yesterday, and when I went out in the afternoon yesterday it was just stifling.

I decided to put the chairs on the patio table to paint the lower parts, with a sheet underneath and the chairs set up on boxes so the sheet won’t get in the paint. With the primer I’ll paint the top parts of the chairs first and then flip them and paint the underneath parts because I’ll be sanding the primer when it’s dry anyway. When painting, I’ll do underneath first in case there are any drips or boo-boos.

I finished the first coat of primer at 7:30 a.m. and decided to wait two hours to sand out any brush strokes and put the next coat of primer on. The chairs already look better with just the primer on them. I was concerned that the details of the chairs would sort of fade out once they were such a light color, but I see the details actually standing out now that they are white instead of dark wood.

Chair details

As I started to put the second coat of primer on, I noticed a few areas of the old wood stain bleeding through the primer. I put a second coat on those areas and let them dry to see if the second coat would cover it, and it didn’t. So, I went to Lowe’s and bought some Kilz 3 Premium which is supposed to be good for painting over wood. I put a coat of Kilz 3 primer on both chairs and they are drying now.

A bit blurry, but you can see the bleed-through.
Kilz 3 primer

Tune in tomorrow to see if the Kilz primer does cover the bleed-throughs, and how the first coat of paint turns out!

DIY, Furniture, Home, Kitchen, Projects

Chair Project, Finally!

I used to see these chairs in the upstairs room at church when I would run the projection. When our church bought the building, it was bought with everything included down to the spatulas in the kitchen, and I think the upstairs room had just been used as storage. At the time I was using my grandparents’ 1950s colonial maple dining table and chairs, and those chairs were not very comfortable. I longed for sturdy kitchen chairs with flat seats, and I kept seeing these and thinking they would be perfect.

One day the assistant pastor let me know he needed to go through the stuff in the upstairs room and get rid of some things, and I asked him if I could buy the chairs. He said, “Five bucks each?” and I said, “Sold!” and so they came home with me. I’m pretty sure they still had the original fabric (probably from the 1920s or ’30s) on the seats, it was old and dirty and worn through around the edges. I’m not sure why, but I put the chairs in my kitchen and didn’t recover the seats for a couple of years, but finally I bought some cheap quilted muslin to cover them just to make them look better.

A little later on we bought this table for $20 to go with the chairs. Our kitchen doesn’t have a large space for dining and two chairs and a round table are just right.

Table and Cat

The plan for the table is to paint the bottom/legs the same color as the chairs, and strip and stain the top a dark walnut and then put some heavy-duty spar varnish on it to protect it from glass rings and spills. I think it is an antique oak table underneath the heavy brown paint, but I don’t want to go with the usual “orange” oak color. We have enough of that in the kitchen floors and countertop edging, as you can see. Hopefully that will change someday.

The chairs are too dinged up to refinish, so I plan to paint them a nice, clean off-white. The fabric store was having a good online sale and I was able to get a great deal on some stain-resistant outdoor fabric that goes with my kitchen’s green theme. It’s a little bright, but it should look good for years to come. The lighter-colored chairs and table legs will brighten up that side of the kitchen considerably.

I started this morning by removing the seats from the chairs and putting the screws in Ziploc bags. I numbered the chairs, the seats, and the bags of screws so I would know which seat and screws went to which chair. Sometimes it does matter which one goes to which!

You can see that the chair above has some veneer missing on the back. There are some other chunks missing around the edges here and there, so I got out the wood filler and filled the areas as best I could. I will go out and sand the chairs as soon as the wood filler has dried completely.

You can use a putty knife to apply wood filler.
But sometimes it just works better to use your fingers.

Stay tuned for the next episode in the chair saga!