A Quick Pre-Thanksgiving Project…Well…Sorta

I’m not known for my excellent timing. I let laundry sit too long in the washer, take cookies from the oven too soon, drag my feet about house cleaning  and am “fashionably” late…always…even when it’s not fashionable.

So deciding to refinish our kitchen table…nine days before Thanksgiving…wasn’t probably the smartest move.

But I’m tired of feeling like a hamster on a wheel, tired of feeling like everything I do will just have to be done again the very next day. I needed a project that would last longer than the time it took to do it.

And my kitchen table…well…it was more than sad.

The finish was worn.IMG_2639 And thanks to Lulu’s recent “independent” art project (i.e. she got busy the moment I jumped in the shower) there were Sharpie marks that resisted scrubbing and nail polish that wouldn’t budge. (What can I say? She’s creative in her selection of supplies.)IMG_2638This table was in pretty good shape when my aunt passed it on to us before she moved to another state, but meals and crafts and kids and life had beaten it down.

It was desperate for some TLC, but I’d been hesitant to give it some because I don’t know a darn thing about refinishing furniture. So after a bit of research and a lot inspiration from a few of my favorite bloggers, I began what a hoped would be a total transformation.

After weighing pros and cons of stripping vs. sanding, and needing an excuse to break out my the tool that changed my mind about sanding for-ev-ah, I broke out The Bosch. IMG_2642Knowing that the top was a veneer rather than a solid, I worked carefully. Despite my caution I managed to sand the veneer off one of the edges.IMG_2645 It’s a much smaller spot than it appears in the photo (where it looks huge), but it nearly made me lose my nerve. I took a deep breath, reassured myself with the mantra “I have table cloths, I have tablecloths”, and kept at it.

Two hours, five sanding pads, and much man-like sweat later, I had naked wood ready for stain.IMG_2648I opted against applying wood conditioner or boiled linseed oil (BLO) before staining, mainly because I didn’t have any on hand. (Christmas is coming, and I’m guarding my pennies like Scrooge right now.) I did spring for one very small container of Dark Walnut stain.

I applied the first coat evenly, using a foam brush, and being careful to work with the grain of the wood.

IMG_2649 After allowing the stain to penetrate for about 10 minutes, I wiped off the excess with an old t-shirt of The Hubster’s (shhh…don’t tell. He’ll never miss it, and it was beyond ratty. What it is with guys and their old ratty t-shirts?)

Four hours later I decided I wanted to try to deepen the color a bit more, and I applied a second coat. Here’s what it looked like still wet, awaiting a second wiping.


I’m hoping that photo is an indication of what the table might look like once I’ve applied poly.

After another ten minutes, I wiped the table again using the same t-shirt.

I used an oil-based stain, which can spontaneously combust (how freaky is that?), so I rounded up an old metal coffee can, filled it half full of water, and put the t-shirt and the brush inside. On Thursday I’ll take it to my local convenience center and put in the appropriate disposal bin.

I’m going to allow the stain to dry overnight, and tomorrow I’ll begin putting several protective coats on it.

Until then…

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Categories: Furniture Makeovers

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