Saturday, August 6, 2016

Another DIY refinishing project in the books!

I have finally completed another furniture refinishing project.  Back in the spring my mom found a little old desk at an antique shop (although it is hardly an antique).  She bought it with the thought that I could do something with it since I had been wanting a desk for my daughter for awhile.  The desk was a little beat up and painted with what appeared to be an attempt at making it look aged and naturally worn but it just wasn't working. The main paint color was an awful brown/gray as you can see in the picture below.  There were also very dated pull handles on it which I didn't take a picture of--sorry. 

I began by stripping off the old paint.  I used Zinsser Magic Strip Citrus-Action Gel because over the course of my projects I have found this to be the best solution to use.  Since this is a gel it stays where you apply it and requires the least amount of effort with little smell.  The longer you leave it on the better removal of old paint will be.  I apply a generous coat and waited at least an hour or more before beginning to scrape it off. I used a metal putty knife to scrape off what paint I could. Some small areas were harder and I did what I could and used sand paper to get the rest.   

I started stripping paint on the drawers first and you can see the difference.

More scraping of paint.

 After stripping off what paint I could, I began sanding the entire surface.  I hand sanded the smaller areas (mainly the edges and around the drawer areas).  I used an electric palm sander for the bigger, flat areas such as the top and sides.  I started off with a 220 grit and finished with a 320 grit. I wiped down the entire surface with water before I started painting. 

After sanding I had some deeper gashes and places where some wood was missing so I used wood putty to fill in some of those gaps.  I only used this if the scratches or gashes were somewhat shallow and/or small.  After the putty dried, I sanded down the touch up areas with a 220 grit followed by a 320 grit.  

Once the stripping, sanding and patching were complete it was time to paint. 

Chalk paint used on the desk (not the drawers) and the wax applied to all chalk paint areas. Purchased at Lowe's.
Chalk paint used on the front of the drawers- small bottle due to smaller area (bought this at Walmart for around $4.00).
I used Valspar chalk paint. I like chalk paint because it has a tendency to hide flaws in the wood. Considering this piece of furniture is older and beat up a little, I feel chalk paint works best. I got it tinted to a white called "Kid Gloves".  I also picked up sealing wax.  After I applied two coats of the chalk paint with a 4 hour wait between coats, I applied a coat of the wax with a brush and let it sit for a minute or two and then buffed it out with a lint free cloth.

The wood on the top surface of the desk was beautiful and I didn't want to cover it up with paint so I decided to do a stain.  I opted for a dark stain to contrast the white and to help cover up some stains that sanding could not remove.   

After staining the top, painting the drawers and rest of the desk, and applying the wax to the chalk paint areas, I used polyurethane on the top stained area. This provides great protection for the top.  We applied about 7 generous coats to the top...yes, seven!! We let it 'flash over' for about 5 minutes between coats.  On the last coat we let it dry for a week and then sanded down the top a lot to get it smooth.  We then applied a thinner final coat for a smoother finish.  It took some tweaking to get it right and you may have to sand some more and apply more.

Lastly, I attached new hardware to the drawers and let the whole desk sit almost a week until the top was dry enough that a fingernail pushed into the top did not leave a mark. I am sure my almost 10 year old will beat this thing up in no time, but at least I have pictures to prove what it did look like at one point in time. LOL!

 Annndddd....onto the next project.  Thinking of building a nightstand for our spare bedroom from scratch. My first new build! Power tools!  However, now that school is back in session (I have a 4th grader now...what?!) a new project may take awhile.  Softball, dance, Girl Scouts....busy time of the year.  I will throw in a picture of my daughter on her first day of school for the heck of it:

Until next time.....

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