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!

DIY, Projects

Magazine Table 2

I got outside about 8:00 yesterday morning and started sanding on the magazine table. I thought I would just do hand-sanding with pieces of sandpaper and sanding blocks, because it was still early for many people and I didn’t want to wake anyone up with my loud electric Mouse sander. But, when I looked in my sandpaper stash, it turned out I only had one small piece of 100-grit sandpaper and the next one up was 220. I was using the 100-grit on the top shelf of the table, but it wasn’t even doing a very good job, and it especially didn’t seem to help on the edges of the table. I had to go to Lowe’s to get some wood conditioner so I put sandpaper on the list too. While I was there I bought some Minwax Polyshades stain and poly in one can, in the shade Espresso, because I wasn’t sure if the old stain I had in the shed would still be good.

When I got back from my shopping I got out the Mouse and started on the top of the table. I sanded it smooth, but the big dark spot wouldn’t sand out. I hoped the stain would be dark enough to mostly cover the spot.

Dark spot won’t come out.

Although the table has two “good” sides – meaning that it’s finished on both sides instead of having one side you would put against the wall – one of the sides is more dinged up than the other and has the deep scratches seen here. I’m hoping that the stain will cover these as well so they don’t look so glaring.

How do things like this happen?

For now I plan to use it as an end table in the living room with one side against the arm of the couch, and I will put my magazines in it instead of in the two-tiered metal basket I’ve been using for years for magazine display. I love the basket, but I think it’s time for a change.

Since I was sanding the magazine table, I decided to go for sanding this folding/TV tray I got at a garage sale as well. It once had a honey oak finish (can be seen underneath), but it looks like it was left outside and the finish is worn away on the top and the legs. I debated painting it with an off-white chalk-style paint and then stenciling the top, or just staining the top and painting the legs, but at this point I’ve decided to stain the whole thing the same color as the magazine table. The top is such nice wood that I thought it would be a shame to paint over it. It must have cost someone a pretty penny at one time! (I mean, have you priced TV trays lately? Even on Amazon the costs are prohibitive! Plus, the stencil I liked would have cost $22 with shipping.)

I sanded and sanded and sanded some more. There are all sorts of nooks and crannies in the magazine table and it was hard to get at many of them. I also found some stripper that was still hiding here and there and had to use my steel wool dipped in mineral spirits to get that off. I usually don’t sand with gloves on, so I kept forgetting to put my glove on when I was using the mineral spirits. Oops! Of course, if they made chemical-resistant gloves that would fit my short little fingers…

Once I thought the table was sanded enough, I started on the TV tray. That one was easy and zoop zoop it was done. I used the tack cloth to get the sanding dust off of both projects and then I was ready to stain the magazine table.

How do you think the projects will turn out? TUNE IN TOMORROW FOR RESULTS!

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.