Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Pickle Me Tink

Ok, I know the title is a bit cheeky, but I couldn't help myself. I refinished an awesome corner table by pickling it. Now I love the word "pickling" and can't stop saying it....
  I was helping my friend Eric paint his new room one day and he was going to be getting rid of this unique corner table his dad had had since he was young.  I had to snag it before it was too late - I'd never seen a table like it before.  It has a cute, little front drawer for some small storage.  Stamped on the bottom was 1956.  I asked my dad's wife, Debbie, who does tons of amazing things with furniture and is my go-to-expert on refinishing furniture (among many other things), and got some great advice and direction from her on both how to prep the wood for finishing, and refinishing the table.  She has a great knowledge of what to be on the look out for and how to prepare for your project - although she's no stranger to making a mistake and moving on from it!
Check out Debbie's complete "Wood Refinishing Tips" on my Guest Blog Posts page!

 Here are Before and Afters of how it turned out. I'm very happy with it and I think it looks so clean and much better than before! It's very "cabin chic", or something like that, and I like it! **iPhone photos for now, agh!**

Here is a top view of the table.  The rings and state of the table are really shown in the "Before" photo.  

This is how the space turned out. I have to add the knobs and the accessories but I like how it's turning out and it's making me like my place a bit more, because I was starting to give up.

 These are Debbie's Steps for Refinishing Wood Furniture:

   Step One: Assessment  - 
We need to talk about what is going on with the piece right now.   What is it covered with... polyurethane, tung oil, wax, shellac, lacquer, etc?  It seems to have some stains on it... are they old water stains or burns?  Are there lots of nicks and scraps on the top or the legs?  Does the drawer slide well?  Is it dovetailed or just nailed together?  Is the top attached to the base firmly?  Are the legs loose?  How is it built underneath?  
  This is a great list of questions to keep in mind when choosing a piece and/or figuring out how to refinish one.  This is how to assess a piece and figure out how to maneuver around its issues.  The largest problem with my table was the large stains on the top - there were a couple round, presumably water stains that were pretty sizable. 
   Step Two: Preparation -
After you assess it, you need to wash it down with some Murphy's Wood Soap or very mild (Ivory) liquid soap and a soft t-shirt cloth.  Then you can see what was dirt and what is a stain or abrasion.  If you can describe the coating on the piece then you can figure out how to get it off so that you can either stain or paint it. Old paint or coating either needs to come off or significantly roughed up before you can do anything.  
  Once cleaned I realized I had a pretty clean piece of wood to work with, just some stains to try to minimize. She had an amazing reference for removing stains and water rings from wood.  Everything from toothpaste to baking soda with water to mayonnaise is on the list.  (List is in Guest Blogs).  
  Step Three: Removing Stains - 
Wood furniture takes special care. That’s why so many of us use covers and coasters and take other means to protect our wood pieces. When accidents do happen, a white water stain or ring is left behind. This doesn’t have to be the end of your furniture, however. There are steps you can take to rectify the damage, and hopefully, save your wooden piece from the dumpster. (Not Debbie's words! (For those of you MLA/citation nerds)).
  So, I lightened the stains on my table and moved on to lightly sanding it.
  Step Four: Sanding - 
Go for the light sanding with 150 grit sandpaper and a palm sander for the top and sides.  Just use your hand and strips of sandpaper that make it all the way around the legs. 
  I had to be pretty careful when sanding because the wood was relatively delicate on top. I didn't use a power-sander at all and just stuck with hand sanding.  I had decided to do a white wash/pickling look with my table.  I thought it was already such a cute, shabby chic little table and white would go so well on it. Debbie made a good point of pickling the wood, instead of a darker stain or paint, because pickling really allows the stain to show. 
  Step Five: Staining/Painting - 
I think that if you like a white color, it would be great to put a white water-based stain on so that the grain shows through since it really has a pretty grain.  Though you have to decide whether that would be "shabby chic" enough for you.  I like the White washed Pickling Stain http://www.minwax.com/products/color-guide/ but there are other color options that may be interesting.  

I still have to add knobs and I am thinking of getting silver knobs kind of like these:

I compiled this list from Google images because I thought these were a great reference point for what I can look for.  I'll take anything from a sleek, simple knob, to a more vintage one. I like an ornate design or a classy, chic knob.  

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