Monday, October 13, 2008


Where I lived before my current home, there was a man who liked to gather furniture and other odds and ends from people's garbage and store them behind the back door of his neighbor's apartment. (I often wondered if they had some kind of agreement about his, because his doorway was always unblocked, and I wondered what she'd do in case of emergency.) It was common knowledge in the complex that anyone could take what they wanted from that spot, as he had offered many of his treasures to others on many occasions. At one point in his collections, he found this little blue table, which I initially thought was not very attractive but could be with some changes. Pictured here, I had already begun to sand the piece, because I had forgotten to take my before-shots before starting. The top of the piece was what I most disliked about it, since it appeared that someone attempted to paint something else on top of it. In order to cover it, I decided that a piece of cloth I had acquired in Bali would do the trick, and so it sat, hidden in my tiny apartment till I had enough room to change it into something else.

Sanding and staining furniture was never something I had decided I'd want to do. I could never see why it would be of interest to me, but I learned something during this project--I like the smell of wood! This realization makes me a little nervous, as I saw several pieces of furniture at Michael's when I was there that would be cute after a little paint- or stain- job. I may just have found a new hobby to add to my incredibly long list!

I guess I want to say now that I didn't read any instructions on how to do this. I'm sure that I did a lot of things in a way that could have been quicker--like using sandpaper rather than one of those electric things--but I really didn't want to have spend a lot of money, especially if it was a one-time gig. There are probably other things I could have done to make this "better," but I figure, if I don't like it, eventually, I can try again (or, I can simply paint over what I did!) I did, however, try to do things that seemed logical, like stain in the direction of the grain. The instructions on sanding said to do as much, and I did that, so I figured that the staining part would work the same way. I think about how it may have looked if I'd tried doing it differently, and I can't imagine that the lines I imagine would have looked so great.

I can't say for sure how long the actual sanding took, because I didn't do it daily, as I was in the midst of other projects simultaneously, but the staining part happened on this past Saturday in the wee hours of morning. I did the first coat, which was extremely light--I figured I'd need to do at least two or three more coats after that one in order to make it even remotely dark--at about one a.m. and attempted to fall asleep till the 4-6 hours passed for the next coat. At about five I got up from not sleeping to do the second coat which was surprisingly much darker than the first. Weird. I decided to stick with two for the time being, mostly because I wanted to move on to other things, and partly because I think it looks pretty okay (if you don't stare at it for too long!) I like it. And, I'm proud of myself for doing it all by myself!

I'm sure that, in time, I will become much better at it. Something I learned when I ended the project was that I kinda like the toxic stain smell too. Maybe because it was a reminder that I was able to turn a piece of furniture from something that I really didn't like at all into something I can tolerate. And, I had fun while doing it! I guess that's really the most important part! I enjoyed every part of it. Even the parts where the cats decided to "help" me!

Imagine what will happen when I create something I'm really proud of! Then, my family and friends will have to be careful on holidays!

And, if anyone has tips on refurnishing or can direct me to some good books on the subject, I'd be much obliged!

Thanks for reading.


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