Monday, June 11, 2012

To the Depths of Stripping Hell

Where on earth did I put that "before" picture?  You know, the one I always remember to take...
Back in February The Reader and I put our minds together to redo her office/library/music room in an epic one week miracle makeover.  At the same time we put seven - yes SEVEN pieces of furniture in her basement to be stripped and painted or refinished.  Two of those pieces of furniture were mine.  Five of them were hers.  The deal was she paid for all the supplies and finishes and I supplied companionship and labor for her to get her projects done.  You see she's a thinker and a reader, not a doer.  Without companionship and labor her projects will never happen. Also I was doing some sewing and other labor, like her amazing day bed, that she just doesn't know how to do.  Since that time she has a new room and has put three new pieces of furniture in her house.  I've got one disassembled library table sitting in my garage - sanded and ready for reconstruction and finishing, and one china cabinet that grew into the MONSTER of all stripping projects and sat in the corner of the basement in stripping purgatory, only to be visited occasionally for a few hours of work. Much more often it hung heavy over our heads only to be spoken of with phrases like "you know we've GOT to get that cabinet done and out of your basement," and "what are we going to do about that china cabinet?"  (these are the nice things we said - other things we said are not printable)

Let me take you back to last summer.  I found this fab china cabinet during the last 30 minutes of a garage/home/yard sale in my neighborhood.  They were pretty desperate to get the house cleaned out and when I offered $50 for the china cabinet they took it!  SCORE!  It is solid cherry or mahogany (I am not a wood expert) has a mirrored back, glass sides, and is beautifully carved.  I had visions of a beautifully restored wood finish.  All for $50.  I call that a thrifty find.  It sat in the garage until February when we took it down to be part of the great winter furniture escapades of 2012.

To try to wrap of this tedious tale fast forward to June.  This dang cabinet STILL has LAYERS of lacquer on it. This piece of furniture had perhaps the thickest lacquer coating that I have ever seen.  I don't know if you have ever tried to strip lacquer or not, but it softens to a nice glue-like coating that is very sticky and difficult to remove.  To make matters worse, sometime in this process I decided I wanted to PAINT the cabinet with chalk paint and could have skipped the whole stripping process entirely.  But, since the entire piece was a mass of stickiness we had to complete the stripping process. 

Last week I got a bug in my brain to go ahead and paint my dining room.  Painting the dining room was on my list of things to do, but not really high up on it.  But you know how those DY bugs go, if the mood hits you might as well take advantage of it.  I LOVE how it turned out and so now my dining room makeover has moved to the top of my priority list.  Move over back yard.  Move over kitchen.  I'm working on the dining room!  

That means that getting the china cabinet finished has flown to the top of the DIY priority list.  Thus - for the last two days The Reader and I have been covered head to toe in Citri-strip and mineral spirits and the stripping is complete.  Today I transition to "sanding hell" which I consider to be a few floors below "stripping hell." 

So wish me luck or say a little prayer if you like.  I can only hope that by the time this day is over I will be chemical and sawdust free with the china cabinet transferred to my garage and ready for paint coat number one.   If you never hear from me again, you will know what has happened......

Distract yourself from your worries about me by making something wonderful today!


Sharing over at
Southern Hospitality


Milia said...

I think it should be noted that the bad things we said were about the project, not about each other. And I disagree, sanding hell is worse than stripping hell. Give me stripping hell any day. Sure, the chemicals are going to kill me sooner but I still hate sanding more.

Kerin said...

Good luck Karen!!

At least you've got a partner in crime :)

Looking forward to seeing the completed cabinet.

May it take a place of honor in your home... it will deserve it after all the hours, sweat and tears you've spent together~~LOL!

Smiles :)

Stacey Stuwe said...

Wow, that looks like a good time there~sarcasm~
Good luck i can't wait to see the finished product!! I know you'll do great!

Cottage and Broome said...

OMG!!! When I saw the word "stripping", I thought what ever it is they should just paint is it! I have spent many unhappy hours stripping a piece of furniture but not anymore bring on the paint!!! Looks like a great piece can't wait to see it done. Also thanks so much for the info on my clematises, it was really helpful. Thanks, Laura

Little Miss Maggie said...

Good grief, Karen. Don't you have a stripping place nearby? Of course it will be worth it in the end, but WHAT A JOB you have taken on. I can't wait to see the end result. You are so energetic.

Bliss said...

Every time I take my clothes off those around me are in stripping hell.


Anonymous said...

Here's wishing you relief from stripping purgatory, may you find peace in refinish land, and absolute exhilaration in paint heaven.

Cindy Sue

Sandy said...

Oh my goodness! Stripping purgatory sounds agonizing! I remember years ago when everyone was stripping paint off furniture to restore pieces to their natural wood. Now everyone is painting furniture. I've got to try the Annie Sloan chaulk paint. Everyone raves about how easy it is to use. Thanks for visiting my blog. I'd love to photograph your garden but you probably live far, far, away!

thistlewoodfarm said...

Oh Karen....I know exactly what you mean. So many times I get into a project. And it never ends :)

Good luck with sanding today!


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