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We bought this small table from a local auction and it was originally a dressing table, however, the mirror had long since gone and the table it’s self was in a pretty poor state. The table top was badly scratched in several places and covering in rings from cups. The central draw was locked and the key was missing and to add insult to injury it was a unappealing shade of green.

All of which meant we got it for a bargain knock down price which is always good news. The first order of business was opening the draw. I hadn’t actually noticed it was locked when we bought it but luckily most furniture locks are very simple and many of the keys are interchangeable.  I don’t know why Grandfathers always seem to have a box full of old keys but my wife’s was no exception so after a brief go at testing a few likely candidates I found one that fit. I also found I was the proud owner of two 1960’s alarm clocks.

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As the surface was so bad I decided my first step would be to remove the existing layer of paint using paint stripper. Before removing the paint I carefully remove the handles and carefully put them to one side along with the screws. The stripper I used was a gel which is very easy to apply with a brush as a thick layer. Then after waiting 2 hours you can scrap it off along with the paint from underneath.

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It took two applications of stripper to remove the paint fully as it doesn’t dissolve all of the paint at the same rate and you tend to get left with patches that haven’t really been removed. Once this had been done I washed the table down with soapy water to remove the last of the paint/stripper gunk.  I then sanded the surface down lightly to ensure the finish was smooth.

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As I mentioned earlier the table top had a couple deep scores which were too deep to sand out. I used a multi-purpose wood filler on these by simply spreading the filler into the scratches with a paint scraper and then sanding smooth when dry. The modern fillers don’t really shrink or crack and are both easy to work and to sand when dry.

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As you can see from this photo I didn’t worry about getting the surface 100% clear of paint just enough so it was smooth and ready to take the paint.  With previous projects I’d painted the who piece of furniture in the base coat and then over painted. I thought I’d try a dairy cow approach to this one and only paint the spots I wanted to show through.

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To tell the truth I wasn’t 100% sure it would work without the spots showing through the final coat but as I like the easy route I thought I’d give it a try and actually it worked very well.

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Next I used my trust candle stub to apply wax to the parts of the table I wanted to show through black when finished. I always try and imagine where a table might have been bumped or knocked through it’s life when adding the wax. The bottom of the legs always get a good application then the inside edges and corners.

I applied two coats of grey paint to the table and draws, it may seem obvious but remember to paint the draws separately to the table so they don’t get stuck when the paint dries. I used a pan scourer to work the wax off and back to the black paint underneath and then some fine sand paper to also go back to the raw wood in a few places.

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At this point we changed our mind and decided the top would look better in black so I repainted it and then rubbed back to both grey and the original wood as per above.

So far so good but next comes the only remotely trick part of the project which is ragging or rag painting a glaze to get an aged look. I used a glaze on a couple of dozen projects or so now and most of the time it’s been absolutely fine but I have messed it up a few times also. I will make a separate post about it at some point but for now I’ll just cover the basics and say that while it’s not essential I do think it’s worth the extra effort.

The aim of the game here is to add a very thin translucent coating to the table which gathers in the details of the carvings etc. I just use an old rag which I dip directly into the pot and then rub onto the surface I am treating. The trick really is to keep the glaze moving until you’ve spread it to the desired thinness.

Once the glaze had dried the only things left to do were to reattach the handles and then give the whole table a coat of liquid furniture wax which really seems to bring it to life.

Thanks for visiting the Shabby Side of Chic

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