Monday, July 18, 2011

Stripping escapade

I think I might have a future in stripping. You know, furniture. Come on, people. This is a wholesome blog. Geesh.

This weekend I thought I'd test my mettle refinishing furniture on a little bench. I actually have a couple of rather large pieces that need to be stripped and then stained darker to match the other furniture in the house. I'd never done anything remotely close to something like this, so I decided to start small and make sure I am capable of doing larger pieces. It turns out I am! Yippie!

Like I said, I started small with this little bench.

I don't know where it came from or how old it is, but at some point in the little bench's poor life it was well used. Just look at these poor gams.

I did a little bit of research and then went to the hardware and fabric stores to get the goods for my new project. Fortunately, beau had the exact stain color I was going to buy (Minwax Dark Walnut), as well as the wood conditioner and the polyurethane tucked away in the shed. Bonus!

I did buy stripper, rubber gloves specifically made for working with these types of chemicals (i.e. toxic), a three way scraper/nylon brush/wire brush and steel wool. When it was time to get down and dirty strip, I set up an area outside. I used a broken-down box as my work surface to absorb the spilled stripper. I also wore a long sleeved shirt (because I'm messy). Oh, and since God genetics blessed me with so-so eyesight, I wore my glasses for eye protection. All in all, it was a pretty stripper-esque outfit. Sexy to a fault. That's me.

I did learn one lesson pretty early in my adventures with toxic stripper: that little foam brush in the picture is no match for corrosive chemicals. I had to switch to a natural bristled brush that I had in the shed.

When stripper is applied to furniture it does this cool/frightening bubble-type-thing. That would be the look of toxic chemicals eating away at the stain. Yum.


Between each application of the stripper I would scrape and then brush to get as much of the destroyed finish off as possible. This process actually took quite a while. I honestly think that the huge coffee table I am going to do next might be a little faster because it is flat. Getting (and keeping) stripper on the bench legs was pretty tough. (As evidenced by the huge pool of stripper in the middle of the cardboard above.)

Once I had scraped, brushed and scrubbed (carefully) with steel wool, I ended up with this:

The next step was the wood conditioner. I didn't photograph it because it actually looked just a smidge darker. Nothin' to see here folks.

Now came the fun part! Staining. Whoo hooo. Why the excitement? Because this step looks a lot like what the finished product will look like. I like to see that I'm making  progress. I'm less inclined to quit.

See, total progress! I waited about 15 minutes for the stain to soak in, gave the bench a wipe to assess the color, and decided one coat was enough. Because the wood itself was pretty dark I didn't need two coats. I imagine my two blond pieces will need two or three coats.

I moved the bench to the shade to dry and called it a day.

I'm sure you couldn't help but notice the lovely brocade seat cushion. Stop coveting it. Not everyone can have something this stylish to call her own.

I broke out the staple gun and the fabric I bought the day before and in mere minutes I had this:

Aaah. Much better. In fact, I love the fabric so much it has made its way into my visions for another room. Yay! (And since it was on sale I'm really excited about that!)

The next morning I slapped on a layer of polyurethane and went to lounge by the pool. It was a really difficult day. Awful, in fact. Really.

When I got home the bench was dry and, well, beautiful. 

Ta-dah! Wait, don't scroll up. Let me put them side-by-side for you. I don't mind. Really.

While stripping is not my favorite thing to do, I'm pretty good at it (or I have beginner's luck) and the results are pretty addicting!

Has anyone out there done any furniture stripping/staining? Were you as pleased with the results? Anyone out there like to carry on really bad, kind of annoying plays on words (like stripping- hee hee) for waaaay too long? Sorry about that.  Nope, actually, I'm not. :)

1 comment:

  1. I love furniture restoration!! :)


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