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The work and the reward....

Before & After

I have to share the story of this dining table refinish that I just did.  Let's start by prefacing the fact that I had never repainted an entire dining table.  I had tackled a few side tables and a coffee table, experimenting with glaze and clear and dark wax along the way.  But my experience in dining table refinish work started just a few months prior to this attempt in which the table top was made of a real compressed wood pattern that I sanded and stained (Olympic Semi-Transparent in Coffee) and painted the table legs and chairs in Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Old White.  The different pieces of wood took on varying shades of the stain.  I was pretty proud of it. DiningTable1 Other than the extensive time it took to hand paint 6 spindle back chairs, it was a relatively simple refinish job and really boosted my confidence of what I could handle next. Shortly after this, I took a class to learn to reupholster at C&S Co-Op in Roy.  This class covered using webbing, foam pad, batting, and fabric to make a small rectangle ottoman.  They are offering this workshop at Spring Fling Vintage Market, April 9th-visit their Facebook page C&S Co-Op for all the workshop details!  It's so worth it! At this stage-I felt like I could take on the furniture refinish world and started buying up ALL of the things.  I was snatching up so many deals and my husband was in "junk" furniture pickup hell-as he so lovingly described it.  It was toward the end of this buying spree that I found this dining set that was so perfect for my style.  So much more than the one I had just done.  But it was a big project.  I knew it was a project when I found it and so I negotiated the price accordingly.  After a couple of weeks the seller decided to accept my offer, I felt like I had won the jackpot.  She may have been in rough shape but I couldn't stop thinking about how great it would look in my house!  My husband-not so much.  And he gave me an ultimatum.  I had to sell the table I had before he would be drug to pickup another P.O.S. one.  So I did.  I listed the recently refinished table for exactly the dollar amount I needed for the other one (cheap).  And it sold by the end of that day.  I won't lie-I cried a little when I saw it leave.  The young lady who bought it was SO excited to take it home and SO excited to put it in her apartment with her soon to be husband (they were getting married 2 weeks later) that it made me feel better to see my hard work go to a good home.  Super weird.  That was an feel I wasn't prepared to feel.  It was a piece of furniture! With an empty hole in my dining room area, I quickly arranged to pick up the project table the next morning!  Fast forward past the disappointing look from my husband as he loaded her up and unloaded her at our home.  How could I have possibly sold our table and replaced it with this one???   DiningTable2You see her potential, right?  My husband & I was eager for me to wave a magic wand and beautify her but I had no idea what I was going to do with her.  Keep the caning or upholster over it?  If I upholster it, do I keep the colors neutral or do something fun?  And then the dreaded chore of picking paint colors.  Do you want to know why I'm only willing to do this as custom jobs?  Because I am forever indecisive about what to do.  And then one session of browsing Pinterest I found this French Chair makeover by Miss Mustard Seed (try and deny that you love her style) and became inspired to reupholster the chairs using the paint drop cloth you can get almost anywhere that sells paint supplies.  After deciding to do this, I came across another tutorial for using chalk paint to stencil designs onto fabric by a super creative local idol of mine Jami Ray Vintage.  All I could think was how cute would a subtle pop of color stencil be on the drop cloth!!  Eeeee!!! ***P.S. she is hosting a very cool event coming up Spring Fling Vintage Market, April 9th.  Tons of awesome local Utah vendors, don't miss it! Jami's site also led me to Fairy Chalk Mother's paint which you can also purchase from her as well as several other local distributor's.  It was here that I found the winning inspiration that I wanted to pair my drop cloth upholstery with!  FCM's Livingston and Linen.  After what felt like too many obnoxious questions to Jami which she patiently answered and several weeks of debating, I finally ordered it! This table was covered in very worn and chipping veneer on the top.  And for some reason in my mind, I thought that rather than sand it off, filling it in with putty and then lightly sanding would save me so much work!  So that's what I did, and then happily moved on to priming everything. PrimingTable I used a foam roller to apply the primer-thinking it would help smoothness-Seeing that it wasn't the smooth finish I was going for and all along telling myself it was going to work out in the end.  So I moved on and enlisted the help of this cute free laborer. SandingPrimer Happily getting my paint spraying on.  I love and hate spraying.  Yes it's fast; yes you get an unbelievably smooth finish you will NEVER accomplish hand painting even with a foam brush.  But it's tough to get your sprayer to the right settings to get that beautifully smooth and even coverage you are going for and you have to keep moving and resist the urge to spray until you see solid coverage or you are going to get drips. Spraying1Spraying2 Look at how excited I am to have that fresh coat of paint on.....and then finally all coats of paint sprayed and drying in progress. I don't have many pictures of this part of the process because I was SO over it.  I knew that table was going to bother me.  But I felt like it was more important to just get it sealed and usable and worry about perfecting it later.  We had been eating on a folding Costco table for a couple of weeks already.  So I moved on.  Sprayed it with several coats of polycrylic and let the table & chairs cure while I worked on the seats. The stencil on the captains chairs I found through a discounted craft website called Blitsy.  The prices are great and the quality of the items I received did not disappoint at all.  The timeline it takes to actually get the items is the only drawback I have.  They do tell you upfront that it will take time to get your full order together and ready to ship to you.  So I really have no complaints. I tested the stencil out using a piece of scrap fabric leftover from window valances I made a while ago and used a light spray adhesive on the back of the stencil pressing down on all those details to make sure I could get a crisp line on the fabric.  The test worked great!  I applied Americana Decor chalk paint in Vintage for the actual chairs but the test was done using the Black.  I purchased it from Home Depot although I have seen it in Hobby Lobby and even Walmart.  I used a stencil brush with bristles (also purchased through Blitsy in a set), rather than the pouncer sponge method because I really wanted to push the paint into the weave of the fabric. [gallery ids="133,134,135" type="rectangular"] I won't go into a lot of detail of how I reupholstered the chairs in this post because I did a terrible job of taking pictures of that process.  And I feel that deserves an entire blog post of it's own.  Here is the short version: The seats were removed by taking 4 screws out from the bottom of the chair.  I carefully removed the fabric of one seat to use as a template to cut out all of the new seat covers.  For the remaining seats I used pliers to grip the fabric and ripped off as many staples as I could using the fabric as leverage.  Then I dug out all of the remaining staples with a tack remover and a strong set of needle nose pliers.  Using the tack remover is hard work and will leave blisters behind so if you can wear gloves, do. Back to the table....Unfortunately I don't have a picture to show you how it looked because I couldn't capture it with my phone camera.  The best way to describe it would be it looked like "cottage cheese dimpling" that most all of us ladies have somewhere.  From a few feet away it appeared smooth and beautiful.  But as you got closer and at certain angles and shades of light-I'll just leave it at that.  I was so disappointed.  I knew it was going to make me crazy.  I knew that it would make me ashamed to have people see it.  I considered buying a table cloth.  I'll just cover it up!  But then my husband offered to do the dirty work of sanding it down-now covered with putty, primer, 3 coats of paint, 5 coats of polycrylic-to the bare wood.  The way I should have done to begin with.  All of that time I spent and work in the toilet. He went to work and was determined to get it ready for new primer in an hour for me.  At least 3 hours, 6 orbital sanding pads and a gross amount of goof off (we didn't have any paint stripper around so he used what he could find) and scraping later, less than half of the bare wood was showing and it was patchy at best.  It was at this point that a I found a little crumb of pro-tip sharing that I will forever be grateful for.  Another local idol of mine and the creator of Fairy Chalk Mother's, Marcy, posted in a group page to use a hand planer on dining table tops instead of sanding.  I knew this was my saving grace but my husband thought it was a waste of money to buy something I would only use once.  I tried working on the sanding/scraping route to give him a break.  That lasted all of about 10 minutes before I was done and was headed to Home Depot to pick up a hand planer. I had never shopped for hand planers before nor had I used one.  After reading all the specs (like I totally knew what I was doing) of the few brands Home Depot had to offer, I made my mind up to go with the Dewalt brand.  It seemed to offer the most bang for my buck and I knew the quality of Dewalt tools was reputable.  When I got home, I quickly skimmed over the instructions while my husband came out and just went for it.  After a pass or 2 of the planer he finally handed it over to me.  If you ever decide to get into the business of refinishing dining tables, please do yourself the favor of buying one of these!  I still had to sand with fine grit paper to get a totally smooth surface but I was all done in what felt like no time at all!  The next day the process of primer,paint and poly was repeated and she was finally DONE!  After a 2 week curing time we finally moved her into the house and were able to enjoy it!  THANK HEAVENS!  I hope that you find some useful information in this blog post if you are looking to start this process yourself.  I'll do my best to respond to questions in the comments!  Good luck and happy refinishing! NewDiningTableNewDiningTable3NewDiningTable2


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