Staining {For Dummies}

In my last post I gave you a SNEAK PEEK at what I have been working on the last few days. And you will notice in the title of this post that I put {For Dummies}. Well, I’m the big old dummy that certainly learned my lesson. Let’s take a step back and give some background on my inability to wait for things.

I can sometimes be a very impatient person. This might be why I love spray painting pieces so much. It typically doesn’t need many steps to prep, maybe just primer, and then you’re on the road to a new, spruced up piece. But there are some projects that REQUIRE you take your time and do it correctly. This could also be the reason I guess at all my gifts (and unfortunately ruin the surprise in many cases) or I look up endings before I see them or read them because I just MUST know. So I can’t wait for things. I just don’t like it.

Now, let’s go back to the for dummies comment above. I’ve planned and planned to re-stain and fix up the coffee and side tables from my great grandparents. These things are ancient. Well, not really, but I like exaggerating too. They have an impenetrable sheen of some sort of 1950’s/1960’s shellac that hand sanding will not do the job. Not only that, but on all of the pieces the inlay of wood on the top surface and shelf surface is different than the rest of the piece. Color, texture, you name it, it’s different on the top of the tables. See below…

The finish is wearing on the edges, but strong on the inner piece. Great.

So back to my impatience. After being terrified by several online guides which told me not to use an electric sander of any kind on antique furniture, I began hand sanding this beast of a coffee table. And it actually went…okay? Sort of? I got a lot of the finish off on the piece as a whole, just not on the top surface. It may have been all the dust from the sanding, or the several hours that it took to make some headway, but I decided to skip steps. I figured that I could use my Polyshades by Minwax that I had purchased for a simpler, not so important job. This way I could skip the whole stain, wipe, polyurethane steps that would just slow me down. Just do it all at once! So much faster! Well, needless to say, I was REALLY unhappy with the outcome.

Is it just me, or is the table now orangish-reddish? Gross.

It’s definitely an upgrade from what it looked like before, but that’s not what I was shooting for with this re-do. Since I was doing the work outside (hot, hot, hotttttt), the Polyshade dried faster than it should have, got globby, and was uneven. I couldn’t wipe it, correct my errors, or really do anything with it because it was drying so fast. Plus, it stunk! Gross!

The only thing that was a positive in this whole experience was that I somehow was able to get the top to match the rest of the piece.

But see all the streaks? And the globbies? Bleh. Needless to say, this guy is going to be RESANDED (I cringe just thinking about it) and stained the right way. Remember the sneak peek picture?


This is what I was intending. The darker, richer brown color which will match the twin chairs, sofa table, bookcases, and gate-leg table in the living room. Much more mocha, much less red. Basically, I failed with the Polyshade. I should have known better and just taken the time to do it right the first time. Consider my resanding and staining the slap in the face I needed to remind myself that sometimes faster does not always equal better. So remember, when DIYing (among other things), just do it right the first time!



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