Saturday, April 26, 2014

Before and After: Rustic Farmhouse Table

For us today marks opening day of Garage Sale Season 2014.  While Lance has hit up a couple of sales in the mornings before work, this was the first day we have both been able to get out together and spend an entire day hunting down riches. We started out bright and early in Lodi, WI and the day did not disappoint.  We picked up a new furniture project, the usual mix of pottery, glassware and art prints, and a few odds and ends (drawer pulls, casters, hinges, an enamel top) that we can use for future projects.  Luckily, we had some room in the garage, because another one of Lance's finds from his craigslist mission to Watertown is DONE!

One of his purchases that day was this old farmhouse-style table:

It is a solid piece, and in relatively good shape, aside from the chipped paint and worn top.

The table pulls apart in the middle so that leaves can be put in, but unfortunately the leaves are long gone.  It is supposed to have six legs, with two in the middle to support extra leaves, however ours just had one lone middle leg; luckily not a problem since there are no leaves to add, anyway!

It had old rusty casters on the bottom that Lance pulled off, and then he gave the whole thing a thorough cleaning and removed that pesky middle leg.  We wanted to preserve the rustic/vintage look, so we scraped off the loose chips of paint and gave it just a light sanding.  Then we chose a minty green color from our paint stash...

...and 15 minutes later, the first coat was painted! Have I mentioned how much I love the ease of spray paint?

Our next task was to deal with the table top.  I sanded it down, but only very lightly because I wanted to preserve the wear marks since they are part of the table's history.  I put some wood filler in some of the larger pits and a couple of small surface cracks with the intent of staining them a little darker.

I had seen several articles online saying you can use coffee grounds to minimize and fill in scratches in stained wood, so I thought I'd give it a try.  The appeal here was that using stain means having to wait several hours for it to dry, and coffee grounds would be much quicker AND more eco-friendly.  So I raided the coffee maker and used a q-tip to apply them.

However, after letting it sit and soak in for an hour, I discovered that the wood filler had not darkened at all!  Someone please explain to me how it is that when I spill coffee on myself (which is more often than I like to admit), it has no problem staining whatever I'm wearing, but when I let it sit on a table for an hour, it does nothing!? So, I ended up going back to Plan A and just using regular wood stain to minimize the wood filler.  That worked much better, and I was soon ready to put a coat of Polyurethane on the top.  Lance finished it off with a second coat yesterday, and the table is now done!

And it isn't finished a moment too soon, because we were starting to run out of space in the garage! 

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Before and After: Painted Bench

Finally! After months...and months...and months of what seemed like an endless winter, we are finally having a warm weekend.  While I'm not getting my hopes up just yet (I just don't trust that we are REALLY done with snow), I wasn't complaining about having a couple of nice days to get outside and work on a few projects.  As usual, Lance has been perusing craigslist (in fact, he's doing that right now) and on Friday he arrived home with a carload of furniture he had just picked up from someone in Watertown: 2 larger primitive tables, a smaller side table, 2 small benches, a hall tree, and a plant stand.  So bright and early on Saturday morning, we headed to the store to pick up supplies (deal alert! there's a rebate on spray paint at Menard's this week) and then we spent the afternoon tearing apart old furniture.

Here is the first project:

We started with this one because we had a clear vision of what we wanted to do with it and it was a fairly simple re-do.  We started with taking off the seat and pulling off the vinyl (? I don't even know what it was except that it was hideous) covering and the old foam padding underneath.

 Now here I'd like to take a moment to talk about our latest obsession: spray paint.  It all started a couple of weeks ago when we spray painted a wrought iron bistro set we bought for $7 at a garage sale last summer.  In just a few minutes of spraying, it went from dirty white to a bright cheerful teal blue.  In hindsight, I wish I'd taken pictures of it before we took it to the antique mall, but we were so eager to get it done and out of our garage, I didn't think about it at the time.  But the ease of that project got us thinking about spray paint. I hate painting. HATE it.  It takes FOREVER- especially if it is a piece of furniture with a lot of decorative grooves, scrolls spindles, etc.  Now, for larger, nicer pieces, I still think it is better to use regular paint.  But for smaller things, especially if they are a more primitive style, it turns out spraying is a MUCH easier alternative!

 We started by giving this bench a light sanding to make it a more paintable surface, and then we used a 2 in 1 Rustoleum paint and primer. Again, for nicer furniture, I still think it's better to use a separate paint and primer, but in this case the 2 in 1 worked just fine.

For the bench, we dug into a box of old flour sacks that Lance got last weekend on (you guessed it!) Craigslist.  We chose one that was the same size as the bench seat and then stuffed the board right into it. That made the upholstering REALLY easy, since then we only had to staple one end closed instead of trying to pull it tight, make sure it was even, and staple all the way around.  We took out the old padding (it had seen better days!) and cut a new piece from the foam inside an old Ikea chair pad (you know, the trusty Poang chair that pretty much everyone has in their first post-college apartment).  Then we just stuffed the new padding into the seat, stapled the end closed...


Brand New Bench! 

It's so exciting (and to be honest, surprising) when something actually turns out how we planned it, with no major setbacks.  We were both kind of in disbelief about how easy it was.  But we got over our shock pretty quickly and made a second trip to Menard's this morning to buy even MORE spray paint.  At first I thought maybe the people who work there were going to get suspicious and think we are going around painting graffiti all over the place, but..... then I looked in the mirror. There is NO WAY anyone is EVER going to mistake us for graffiti artists, no matter HOW much spray paint we buy. *sigh* We are just not that cool.