Refinish Table Part II

It’s funny how even when you’re unemployed, you can still have a sucky day. I’m not sure how it works, but it managed to happen to me today. After a busy stressful day, I decided I needed to do a walk to pull me out of this gloom, and it really helped. That Secret Stair walk will come to you later this week, but in the meantime I wanted to share with you what 25% of the stress was about: my side table project.

Lets start with the “Before” image:

Then there’s the “Now it’s clean, but still not great because it doesn’t match anything” photo:

And here’s the “After” shot:

I love the final product, despite it’s small issues which I’ll get to later. Now the dark color matches my bookcase and makes the table feel brand new and special.


I started by taking inventory of what I already own, and then used a Michael’s gift card to pick up some additional supplies (Thank you Uncle Doug and Aunt Chris for making this possible!).

Next, I lugged the table and it’s parts outside to my driveway, laid down the drop cloth and began sanding. I made the mistake of using too harsh a grade of sandpaper. It would have been bust to use a finer grade, and just do a lot of it. That was fail one on my part. But I did get a good arm work out from the sanding I did do. I don’t own a sander, so it was good ole’ fashion elbow grease.

After sanding I waited a day to start the staining process. I also second guessed my stain color, which set me back another day. A good rule is always test the stain in a less obvious place on the furniture, to confirm it’s the right color before you cover the top in it.

Now that the project is complete, I think I could have achieved a better result with a different type of painting process, but what is done is done. I love the results I just think over time it’s less protected this way and will probably need to be reworked when it gets scuffed. I chose to stain it, which is a heartier assignment since you have to let it sit and then remove the excess stain and do this repeatedly until the color is right. You’re also supposed to let it sit for several hours between each coat. Lets just say this process took a while and was a great excuse to sit outside and get a tan while catching up on my book.

Although the neighbors had a fancy Father’s Day gathering on Sunday and all of their guests had to pass me sitting on the driveway in my painting clothes (it’s not pretty) and stain all over my hands and legs (I’m a sloppy painter). I definitely earned a neighborhood nickname or two. Oh well, it was all worth it.

Oh and I got silly with my sunglasses and gloves. Did I forget to mention that I wear bright blue dishwashing gloves when I paint? Yeah… it’s quite a sight.

So after an extensive 3rd(?) day of staining I put on the top clear coat to help protect it. It was almost perfect when I caught a paint brush bristle in the clear coat. Thinking it hadn’t dried (since I JUST painted it) I tried to grab the single brush hair. It turns out that the clear coat starts solidifying immediately and when pulling up the hair it cause 1.5″ diameter skin-like peel of the top coat. This meant the color looked lighter underneath, and you could see the thickness of the peel. Such a fail on my part. To effectively fix it, I really would need to take off all the clear coat on the table top and start over. I just don’t have the time, so I did a quick patch and will have to learn to live with this one imperfection. My patch job made it nearly invisible, but you can feel it to the touch. At this point, it’s time to move on as it looks lovely in my room. Wanna see it again? 😉

She is such a beauty. Through all the trial and error I would still call this project a success and I am very happy with the out come.

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