The Start of It All (part two)

Last week I told you about my husband encouraging me to start this little blog, and about purchasing this table that would be my first “trial run,” meaning I took photos of the refinishing process, but then life got in the way and I never actually blogged about the table.

So here goes…

before table

I got this table at Goodwill for $14.99. The base seems to be solid wood, but the top is laminated particle board.

“Laminated” furniture comes in all types. Solid wood can actually be laminated also, but usually the term refers to particle board that has been laminated.

If you go to Lowe’s (or wherever) and look at all the sample doors they have for kitchen cabinets, you will see what I mean. Many of those are solid wood, but have been laminated to protect the finish. Head over a couple aisles to the unfinished stock cabinets, and you can see the “roughness” of the wood that hasn’t been laminated.

Laminating, in this application, is basically just wrapping in plastic. Think of it as putting your cabinets/furniture in a huge shrink wrap machine. Having your cabinets protected by laminate makes them much easier to wipe and keep clean without damaging the wood over time. But it also prevents you from being able to sand them down and stain a different color.

So anyway, that’s just a little jargon lesson for you. Don’t assume that all laminated products are cheap; many of them are high-quality, solid wood!

And then there are those twenty dollar book shelves from Walmart. Those are particle board and they have pretty much been wrapped in the equivalent of contact paper. I’m not knocking them. They serve a purpose and meet a need. I’ve owned several!

This table was not a high-end laminated wood, but it was not glorified contact paper either. It was particle board covered in a thin layer of real wood (veneer) and then laminated. There was some bubbling in the laminated top, probably due to scratches that had been wiped over and over during cleaning. The moisture keeps seeping in over time and gets under the laminate until it starts bubbling up.

spots on laminate table

I knew I wouldn’t be able to stain this table, but I thought there was a very good chance I could sand the cracks and bubbles away and then seal the exposed particle board (if I had to go down that far) with a good primer.

Once I sanded past the laminate into the veneer, I could see several water spots. Moisture got trapped under the laminate and couldn’t dry quickly, leaving many water stains. They didn’t appear to still be damp, but I left this table in the warm sun for a while just to make sure that it was all dried out so I wouldn’t seal in any moisture with my primer. I didn’t want that crumbling particle board thing happening a month down the road.

water spots

Luckily, I was able to get rid of most of the damage just by sanding away the laminate.  There was still veneer remaining on a majority of the top, but I got down into the particle board in a couple of spots.

particle board

It’s a good idea to have wood filler on hand in case you have any spots that are severely damaged.

wood filler_1

I had quite a bit of sanding dust since I had to sand away so much of the finish. I just used a little table-top broom to sweep it all away and then wiped with a damp cloth (I prefer baby wipes so they can be thrown away).

sweep away dust

See my hubs back there fixing the fence? This was at our previous house, remember? He likes to leave everything in perfect condition. He’s the best landlord on the planet.

There is no better way, in my opinion, to spend a Saturday than side-by-side my hubs DIYing. Sometimes we are each working on our own projects, like this day. Often times we are working together. Either way, I love it! I do not know how I got this life. But seriously…I can’t think of another way I’d prefer to live.

primer oil

Once I was sure the table top was dry, I used an oil-based primer. I prefer Zinsser, but Kilz or any brand would work.

tinted primer_1

I had it tinted for better coverage.

You guys know how cheap I am by now, right? (If not, you’ll definitely want to read about the project I’m working on right now. I’ll blog about it Wednesday. You may laugh at how ridiculously cheap (resourceful?) I am.) Anyway, I’m also lazy. Not lazy as in I don’t ever want to do anything. Clearly that isn’t the case. More like I’m impatient and want to move quickly to a new project.

I hate cleaning paint brushes if I’ve used oil-based paint/primer/stain. In fact, I don’t. I just throw them away. Miss Cheapo who rinses out disposable foam craft brushes when using latex…just throws away even “good” brushes when using oil-based. I just can’t take it. I hate the effort. I guess that means I’m lazier than I am cheap? Wait. That can’t be true, or else DIY wouldn’t even happen. I guess impatient is the right word. Whatever it is called, I DO NOT clean up oil-based products.

So, I definitely didn’t want to use a good brush for this project. Because even if I didn’t mind the clean up effort, and was willing to use a good brush, I’d still manage to ruin it. On this table alone, just while priming, I got called away to make lunch, to wipe a poopy bottom, and to help hold a fence panel. Maybe I’m just smart and experienced? I know better than to ruin a good brush?

Whatever the reason, I used a “chip brush.” A chip brush can be found right next to the cheap, disposable foam brushes. It has natural bristles, but not many of them. The bristles are shorter and more sparse than a regular paint brush. I use them when I want something I can throw away, but I don’t want to use foam. (You could use foam for this, but I find that I always break the handles off foam brushes or tear the foam on a project this size. Is it just me?)

chip brush

I used the chip brush to prime all the edges and cracks and curves, and a two-inch foam roller for the top and edge.

two inch foam brush

roll primer

See the finished fence panel in the background? The hubs finished his project before I finished mine, and he moved on to painting the chimney. Sometimes I feel like I do a whole lot of stuff, but that man works circles around me. (Seriously, how did I get this life?!)

paint chimney

I also sanded the rest of the table, but only slightly. I just wanted to scuff it up enough to help the primer adhere well.

lightly sanded

I gave the whole thing a light sanding once the primer was completely dry, just to knock down any primer bumps.

primed table

Primed and ready

I used a four-inch foam roller to apply my paint, for no other reason than because my four-inch tray was dry but my two-inch was still wet with primer. Either would work. I had both on hand.

The paint is Valspar’s Tropical Oasis. (Not to be confused with my best friend, Tropical Foliage.) It is available in latex and spray paint, of course.

table painted

A sample jar would be enough to paint this table, but I had also used this color for my front door (at the old house), so that’s why I got a quart of it. I had enough left to paint my laundry room door at the new house (I’ll show you when I finish that whole hallway), and maybe even enough to paint the front door again….jury’s still out on front door color. I hate to do the same thing again, but I sure do love the turquoise.

Eat-in kitchen

In the last house

I’m very pleased with how it turned out. We’ve been using it every meal for a few months now and it is holding up very well. The finish is smooth and the paint is hard. It looks as good as when I finished it.

turquoise table

In the current house

…if only the dining area was as pretty. We’ll get there. Someday.