Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Refinished table follow-up

I noticed some enthusiasm and can-do attitude coming out of the comments on yesterdays post about this table's transformation:

And I just want to say I'm so touched by your comments!  Thanks everyone!

I also remembered as I read through them, that I had learned quite a few lessons from this particular project - and if you're taking my tutorial as the book, there are some things I would like to attach at the end.

So how about this alternate title?
A Tutorial: Before and After :)

First things first:
Priming and painting the spindles on the backs of the chairs was pure torture!  I discovered spray paint had a primer counterpart after I finished this project, and I would definitely try this route, were I to do another project with any amount of detail or intricacy.  I bought some, and tried it, on this project.  And it worked like a charm. :)

I don't know why I thought I HAD to use oil-based primer, because you absolutely do NOT.  I read it on one lady's blog who refinishes furniture as a business, and this was part of her technique.  I took it as golden information and stopped searching.  Oil-based primer is THICK.  And STINKY.  And doesn't wash out of brushes easily.  It seriously became my mortal enemy. 

{But if you've got some already in your garage, or you just want to give it a try, you can certainly go the oil-based route.  It did get the job done, after all.}

You can definitely do this same technique with water-based primer (including my new BFFE spray primer!).  Just don't skip the "rough-it-up-a-bit" step before priming, and you're good.

I bought water-based polycrylic instead of polyurethane, because that's what the very helpful man who sold me the wonder paint brush (my other new BFFE) told me to do.  He said it's important to keep oil-based with oil-based mediums, and water-based with water-based mediums.  (i.e., where I was putting it over water-based paint, I should use a water-based protector).

{though somehow this tidbit of information failed to register with me when I bought the water-based paint to go over the oil-based primer...}

I followed his advice, and all was well in the world.  Until I put the seventy-fifth 6th coat of the stuff on the table top, allowed it to dry overnight, then checked it again, just to see
it. still. needed. more. of. that. freaking. stuff.

And to this day, it is STILL weak.  I finally just gave up and decided to allow my set to obtain the distressed look over time, because nothing I was doing was going to protect it further.

Seriously.  I finished it on a Saturday, and eight days later on the Sunday of the following week, we had a laptop on the table to work out our budget.  The little rubber "feet" on the bottom of the laptop pulled up some of the finsh coat and left indents in the surface.  A week later.

Are ya' kidding me?!?

I was a just a little torqued.

Were I to do this again, I would just use the dang polyurethane.  What was my big worry in the first place?
Oh, discoloring.  That's right.  Good thing I didn't get any  Right.  I was using black paint.  What the what?  Why was I so worried, people?!?

Following the directions on the can, as well as everything I had read, I sanded after the first coat of poly...
and had to repaint that part of the test chair and start over.  All it did was scuff up what had previously been a clear coat and made it cloudy.  Which did not go away with a second coat of poly.

Then I realized my sandpaper was not fine-grained enough.  So take that step seriously. :)

Five for fighting:
If your first project of a refinishing nature happens to be large-scale, detailed, and something of importance to you (let's just say your kitchen table and 6 chairs, for our hypothetical example)...
Give. Yourself. Plenty. Of. Time.

Seriously, can't stress this one enough, folks.  I got so frustrated with the passing days that I STILL wasn't using my table for its intended purpose, and just stopped caring by the very end.  That's why I gave up after 6 coats of polycrylic, when what it really needed were about 6,000 more coats.

So plan ahead to know what you're getting yourself into, and what kind of time is going to be involved.

Last but not least:
Don't let this deter your intentions or your confidence in refinishing your own table or other furniture.  No matter how much those scuffs on my supposed-to-be beautiful new tabletop bothered me and made me itch and scratch, I got over it.  Didn't think I ever would, but I've been living with it for a month or so now, and I don't even notice it anymore. 

And no matter what, the table still looks a gazeeeelion times better than it did before I painted it.
Plus, as long as the distressed look is in, my table looks fabulously in style

I didn't post them to terrify you, just to make you aware of things that I didn't realize prior to getting started, and learned the hard way.  Just take my mistakes as more information in your research, and you'll be lightyears ahead of where I was when I began the transformation from Okie Dokie Oakie to Black Beauty. :)

Good luck!


Lady Rink said...

Thanks for doing a follow-up to add some more details and insider info! I was one of the inspired commenters from your first post :) Our table and chairs came with a bench so I will be using the bench as my test project before I hit up the table and chairs.
Thanks again for taking the time to add more from your experience!

Dorese @ Dorese's Pieces said...

No problem, Lady Rink! I checked out your blog this morning and your kids are stinkin' adorable! Thanks for hanging out! :) You can email me at dorese {at} gmail {dot} com with any questions or if you want any personal advice. And I DEFINITELY want to see some pictures of yours when you get to it! :D

Katie @ On the Banks of Squaw Creek said...

Does your paint and polycrylic need to cure? I put 7 coats of polycrylic on top of my table, but it wasn't painted, just stained. But I haven't had problems with it in 3+ years.