We're settling into Fall here and actually had to turn on the heater Saturday night. For the most part the days are warm enough to enjoy but when the sun goes down it gets just a bit chilly. Perfect sleeping weather.
Today I want to show you a piece I did for a client back in April.
I really wish I had a before picture of it, but I can't seem to find one. That probably means I didn't take one.
What was I thinking????
This piece is a small sideboard. (that's my best guess but I'm not positive)
The client used it in her entryway and the family used the very thin top drawer for keys and sunglasses.
This is a great piece of furniture. Very high quality. There wasn't much wrong with it but the client had a picture from Pinterest that had inspired her to want to have this piece painted.
The inspiration piece was painted with milk paint and much more primitive than this piece so I knew I wouldn't copy it exactly but give it a definite nod.
Specifically, I would try to match the overall color and strip and stain the top.
The original finish looked like cherry with a thick varnish finish. When the original finish is this fresh and strong I always opt for a heavy duty stripper.
When I am stripping varnish and lacquer I go straight for the strong stuff. I don't have the patience to work with one of the gentle formulas. I have found the gentle formulas satisfactory for normal layers of paint, but anything more than that they are just insufficient. This, of course, is just my opinion
My favorite heavy-duty stripper is Jasco Varnish & Stain Remover. (affiliate link)
- It draws the stain out of the wood grain which means less sanding to get the wood back to its original color.
- It is semi-paste so it spreads easily but is less likely to drip when used on vertical surfaces.
- It doesn't dry out before it's finished doing its stripping duties.
- It is environmentally safe; contains no methylene chloride, caustic or harsh chemicals
- It is semi-paste so it clings well to vertical surfaces.
- It changes color when it is ready to be removed.
- In a direct comparison test it worked better than the other safe stripper that we had on hand.(the comparison stripper was orange, if that helps you) I'm not making "official" claims here - this is just what we experienced when we compared the two.
Once the top has been completely stripped, I wipe down the area with mineral spirits, then let the surface dry completely.
When the surface is dry I sand with 180 grit sand paper and use a tack cloth to remove all dust.
I've told you a million times that my favorite way to treat raw wood is with a dark or colored wax.
In this case I needed a much darker color so I went to my second favorite way to treat raw wood - gel stain.
Probably the darkest wood toned stain you can get before going into the blacks, is Java Gel Stain by General Finishes. (affiliate link) I'll add here that gel stains don't always require you to strip the finish before you use them. However, my experience is that the finished product is always better if the prep includes stripping. I have also used gel stains over flat and satin finish paints for an antique look
One of my favorite uses of gel stain is keeping a walnut gel stain handy to use when I get a scratch on my wood floors. I treat the scratch directly with gel stain applied with a q-tip.
The last step for the top was to seal it. This time I tried General Finishes Gel Topcoat. (affiliate link) This is a wipe on urethane finish that can be applied with a rag or a sponge brush. I liked working with this product. It was easier to get an even, unmarked finish than with a more liquid product applied with a regular brush. I used 2 coats with a light fine sanding in between.
The paint I used was Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Aubusson Blue. Before applying the paint I cleaned with Mineral Spirits and Simple Green. I also did a very light sanding with 180 grit sand paper. Sanding is not necessary with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, but I did it anyway this time because this was for a client and sanding helps you become more aware of any issues with the wood or finish before you begin painting so you can deal with them then rather than after you have begun to paint.
I also sand between coats with 300 grit sandpaper if I'm looking to get a perfectly smooth finish. Sometimes I want the finish smooth, sometimes I want it to be textured. The steps I take to the finished product always vary and are dependent on what I start with and how I want it to end up. I will say that one of my favorite finishes is smooth with an oh so slight distress around drawers, doors, and trim. Generally that requires sanding between coats with 300 grit and sanding the top coat with 500 grit sandpaper. I always wrap the sand paper around a sanding sponge so that the sanding is even and not too heavy in any one spot. This is very easy when you have a flat piece like this dresser and is really worth it when you start to wax. The wax will go on more evenly over a smooth surface.
I used one coat of Annie Sloan Clear Soft Wax and a bit of Annie Sloan Dark Soft Wax to finish everything off.
The hardware was brass. I cleaned it with Brasso and it turned out perfectly.
I wish I had better and a better selection of pictures to show you because I don't think the ones I took with my phone quite do this piece justice.
I thought that I wasn't a fan of Aubusson Blue before I did this piece. But the color was so beautiful I had to change up my mind.
I know that the color varies slightly in each picture, and just so you will know, I think this picture best shows how the color looked in person.
I was really glad to be able to do this piece. It's nice to work on fine furniture occasionally. Not everyone is brave enough to change a piece that looks perfectly fine. I was especially glad to get to strip off all the clear finish off the top. The wood was so beautiful underneath. I feel like the whole piece ended up looking better than it did when she brought it in.
I hope you are enjoying your fall wherever you are!