Sunday, April 26, 2009

Dresser, with renewed handles

I hope Colleen hasn't had to resort to stripping herself! Here's the promised "more!" I spray painted the handles a metallic gold, which I'm quite pleased with. They turned out better than I expected. What's left are the feet. Opinions, please--do you think I should spray paint them gold or stain black?

Dresser Before:


Dresser After:


Handles before:


Handles after:


On other news, I leave Wednesday for London! I won't be blogging whilst there (going to be more or less low tech...too darn expensive to use my iphone, so unless I find a way to get a phone there for cheap or have internet access somewhere, I'll be off line!), but I'll be taking lots of pictures and notes to blog once I return. It's really funny how times have changed...I was feeling concerned about not having much cell service or web access...meanwhile, as I said to someone the other day, people existed and managed to make plans pre-internet and pre-cell phone. Heck, when I lived in England, I didn't have ANY phone. I used to walk to meet up with friends!

Hope everyone's having a great week and staying cool! It was in the mid-80s here today and is going to be near 90 this week! Hot hot hot!

Friday, April 17, 2009

The (almost) finished dresser

Here it is! Handles have to be painted so I only put some handles on. I'm not sure if it will stay where it is though I have to admit that it does fit perfectly under the window!

I'll get into the flaws--there was the sanding before poly issue (not sure if I mentioned), I also missed stripping & staining in the strip of wood between the drawers so it kinda stands out. I also have yet to do anything to the legs.

More later!!The (almost) finished dresser

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Scariest part of staining

I'm getting ready for the scariest part of furniture finishing--the topcoat! First of all, you have to lightly sand the surface, which is mentally upsetting, and then I constantly worry about lint and brush strokes in the poly finish. I had to go buy a new can of the poly this afternoon because I wanted semi-gloss to match the nightstand (I had some leftover satin). And, I bought a quart because the pint looked too small...I know I'm going to have a ton left.

While at the hardware store, I bought spray paint for the hardware--metallic gold. I'm not sure about it. I was torn between that and black satin. Well, I can't use that today anyway. Not an indoor activity! The store didn't have the little brass feet for the legs. I didn't stain the legs yet anyway.

Update, 9:12 pm: Oh boy. Big Duh moment. This is why I hate this step. I erroneously sanded BEFORE the poly, versus between coats...something I only realized after applying the poly to the first drawer when the sand marks didn't go away. Sigh. So, I had to go back and try to remedy the situation. I applied more stain to the body of the dresser. I kept the drawers as is because they kind of look "rubbed" and I wanted them all uniform. So, I'll probably only get one coat of poly on tonight at about 11, and then apply the next one tomorrow night. Ain't furniture refinishing fun?!?

Waiting for Coat 3


Monday, April 13, 2009

Butt Naked


My dresser is, thankfully. Though, so am I in a way, or will be...I'll explain, but first the dresser.

I'm nearly there. The existing finish is finis. (Well, except in the part where the drawers close that I thought didn't show...yeah, surprise!) I had planned on staining it this past weekend, but I was too pooped out and didn't get up early enough on Saturday. So, that will come.

My other obsession is finding a way to clothe myself. This is an exceedingly difficult task, seeing as everything is made to fit aliens. Or something. i.e. NOT ME. The two main things I need are: shoes that don't cripple me when I walk (or even just sit) and a raincoat. Seems simple, right? No. I've ordered almost every trench coat available in plus sizes, and I was beginning to give up hope. I returned three to Nordstrom on Saturday. Today, I got a few more in the mail, and at least these weren't completely awful. Still, I'm not writing poems to them and don't feel they're cool enough to post here.

Similarly, I've been obsessively looking for shoes. I don't understand why it's so hard. I don't buy cute high heeled strappy things to begin with, and yet, they're all inadequate. I bought two pairs at Ecco on Saturday, and now I'm probably going to have to return them. Thank God they offer a 30-day Comfort return policy.

So, that's why I too may be naked, if something doesn't change.

Single Serve Cereal

517YZZJS07L__SS500_ I don't know how you are, but I LOVE cereal. Especially sugary kids cereal. I can't control myself with it, and if I buy a box, it literally won't last more than a day or two. Usually, I recognize this, and don't buy it, but on occasion, I float through the grocery store in a cloud of denial. It is at this time that I allow myself to buy crackers, cookies, and sugary cereal, thinking I'll "just eat a serving or two. This will last me for weeks!" Uh, yeah. Well, I discovered a good solution: to go cups. They typically sell for about $1 (at Shoppers Food and Target. At Harris Teeter in the city, they were a bit more). And, I don't allow myself to buy more than 2 at a time. They're more than one typical serving, I'm pretty sure, but they're nowhere near what a whole box would be! (The ones I've gotten have ranged from 160 calories--for Corn Pops--to 250 calories--for Cocoa Krispies). Granted, I wouldn't recommend this if you have control over the satan cereal, because you can sometimes get a box for the cost of two of those buggers, but if you don't, having the natural stopping point is key to self control!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Okay, kids...

Three drawers are stripped, and the other three are almost ready to be stripped. The dresser has been sanded down with both 50 grit (too rough probably) and 150 grit. I'll use the 220 grit before staining. I flipped the dresser on its side to apply stripper to the legs and removed the 2 brass feet (notice I didn't say 4...2 were missing). I had a hard time with the second one, but with brute strength, I managed to pull it off. I'm going to see if I can get replacements for all four, but if not, I'm just going to leave as is.




The question is what to do with the hardware. I rubbed and rubbed and rubbed one of the handles, and it looks nothing short of mediocre. So, what do you think? I think I'm going to spraypaint them. Either a bright color or a metallic. I know they make metal-looking paint, but I don't know if I want to do that. Ideas?


Hotel Ressies Made!

Here's where I'll be staying at the end of this month!



Day off Watch 2009: Drawer Day!

To prevent Colleen from going through withdrawl, I give you this:


I took today as my day off, and figured it was good anyway since it's Good Friday. I'm stripping the drawers today and sanding (by hand!) the dresser. The nice things about the drawers is that they're small enough to put on my dining room table (with my vinyl tablecloth that I use as for crafts as dropcloth!). If all goes well, I'll be staining tomorrow!!!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Strip for Me, Yeah

Made lots of progress yesterday--got the whole main part of the dresser done. I had to scrub a little with a stripping pad (essentially steel wool shaped as a square), but this stuff works really well.  All that's left are the drawers and legs.


There were certain areas that needed a second coat (seen on the top right and top center). I found that it was hard to realize at times how thick I was spreading the stripper, and that that tended to especially happen at the edges. Putting a thick coat on is critical--like frosting on a cake. There are still some whitish areas, that I'll probably be able to remove by a light sanding. Here's a view of the stripper once it's had it's chance to work. When it gets all bubbly like that, it's time to scrape.


Stay tuned...

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Okay, yes, I'm obsessed

I never claimed to have self-restraint or patience. I ended up scraping that bit of the dresser before leaving for the party! No pictures as of now, but here's my strategy: tomorrow, I'm going to slop on a layer of the Soy Gel on the edges of the face of the dresser and top. Then, if I'm not exhausted and still have gumption, I'll probably work on the other side. I'll probably save the drawers and feet for another day (I say probably because of aforementioned patience problem). I will most likely need to do another coat in certain areas where there is still some of the old surface. That will be the last step before sanding the whole thing (gently, by hand...I've learned my lesson).

My mid-way review of Soy Gel is this: it works better than Ready Strip. As usual, nothing lives 100% up to its claims, but this is pretty darn near perfect for an eco-friendlier stripper. A few points:

  • They claim it's odor free. Not completely, but the smell is way fainter than latex paint even, so it's not bad.
  • <span It's rather fast acting...within an hour or two, the surface is all bubbly and can be scraped off into what looks like a special effects substance for brains/intestines. Gross.
  • You have to lay the stuff on pretty thick. I'm really really hoping I don't need to buy more. They claim it has more coverage than traditional strippers...I'm hoping this is the case.

You can bet there will be more to come on this topic!

Impatience rules

Remember me saying I'm impatient yesterday? Still am. I applied a coat of stripper this afternoon, but didn't apply quite thick enough or leave it on quite long enough. Still, most of the surface is removed from the one side. I'll reapply some to the bottom section and then sand out the rest. The top left side has some stripper acting on it as we speak (you may notice the glossiness on the top surface of the photo below). I need to get ready to leave for a cocktail party at my boss's house!


Friday, April 3, 2009

Friday Night Strip Show

I am nothing if not consistent. I tend to be impatient and impulsive. And, today was no different. At work, I received my shipment of Soy Gel, a soy-based stripper. When I got home, I couldn't wait to apply a coat. I didn't eat, I didn't take a load off, I applied some stripper to the dresser. I learned my lesson, though--I started with a small patch. I'm planning on doing this project slow and steady!


Update: The stripper's only been on 1 hour or so, and it's already removing the surface! I'm excited!