Wednesday, November 10, 2010

While I'm stripping...

stripping my FURNITURE, that is, let me show you what I've been up to today.

I started the day trying to build this gorgeous chair, plans courtesy of Ana White. The back legs proved to be more difficult to cut than we could manage (our circular saw doesn't turn and the jigsaw blade wasn't long enough to get through the wood -- I think I need the bandsaw I used in 7th grade wood shop). After wasting a good hour sanding the legs to try to get them into the right shape, I gave up and threw the chair in the trash. Instead of building, I cleaned the inches of sawdust from the garage floor and then ran to the Goodwill store where I found these little gems:

When it's clear you can't build a chair, buy one. For $11.99, it doesn't matter if it isn't what you were imagining or if it's a bit too big. Just strip it, paint it, re-upholster the seat, and forget about the first chair. The paint/stain stripper is working its magic as I type.

At Goodwill I also found lavender linens for about $3 each. These will come in handy as I sew cushions, pillows, and window treatments. Pre-shrunk and soft.

A big corkboard. That's a good thing to have in an adolescent's room, yes? Thinking about ways to dress it up.

And you'll see in a minute, I kind of have a problem with jars. I couldn't resist these old mason jars. Even though I have no idea what I'll do with them. Ideas are welcome. :) They're so old, they even have a few bubbles in the glass.

And, a cool frame. I don't know what I'm going to put in it, or what I'm going to do with it (paint it? leave it? something else?), but at $3, I couldn't resist.

And here's some building I've been doing.

First, a small book rack to hang on the wall above Brynn's reading nook.

And this fun shelf to hang near the desk. These re-purposed jars will store pencils, markers, crayons, erasers...but they're not even close to as cool as those old mason jars.

While I was at Goodwill I also scored two Crate & Barrel serving bowls and a matching serving tray. For $4 each. Love that.

As I've been typing, the paint stripper has been working. Here is that chair now:


Stefanie said...

I found your blog through Knock-off Wood's website and I have to ask, how did you get that chair so nice looking after stripping the finish off of it? I stripped a few pieces of furniture over the summer and it was painful! Whats your secret? :)

Hillary said...

Hi, Stefanie! I'm going to talk a little about stripping in my next post. Here's the gist of it: don't use soy-based "green" stripper. Bleh. It doesn't work.

I think the secret to stripping is letting the stripper sit long enough to do the work for you. On the chair, I used a citrus-based stripper. I sprayed it on thick, let it sit overnight, and then scraped it off in the morning with a plastic putty knife and cleaned it up with green mineral spirits and orange oil and some steel wool. The old finish wasn't totally gone, but I could've (should've) stained it with a darker stain and it would have been fine.

My mistake was using a bad primer. After stripping, I was planning to paint it white, but the primer I used (Sherwin-Williams multi-purpose oil based primer) allowed remnants of the old stain to come through the paint, so I ended up re-priming it and spraying it black. :) That took care of the problem.

Annalea said...

Hmmm . . . here's an option that might get you that chair. Cut the legs of the chair with the circular saw from the ends of the wood in towards the bend, stopping just before the non-corner-turning saw needed to turn an inside corner. Then, rotate the piece you're cutting 90 degrees so the side that was resting on the workbench is now facing towards you, and the portion of the leg yet to be cut faced up, set the depth of the circular saw appropriately so you would be cutting downward to the marked line (but not past it into the chair leg), and make cuts about 1/8" apart until you reach the other inside corner. Your first and last cuts should have met up with the two long cuts you already made towards the center, freeing the waste pieces completely. Then, take a chisel & hammer and knock out the thin wooden fins left standing.

(Come to think of it, it might work better to make & knock out the fins first, then make the long cuts, so there's less chance of knocking out a chunk of the leg.)

Voila! A leg of the stunningly gorgeous Squared2 chair.

Hopefully that makes sense. lol I can see it clearly, but explanations from one brain to another don't always arrive ungarbled.

I just came over from Knock Off Wood, and I'm looking forward to reading more of your blog. I think we have a fair bit in common, and it's always good to see how other moms work towards similar goals. :o)

(And fwiw, I think the black-painted Goodwill chair looks perfect in Brynn's room.)

Hillary said...

Thanks, Annalea! I hadn't even thought about that, although it's a technique we used for a completely different project once -- making a base for some new outdoor lights, to get the base to fit over our lap siding. I will keep that in mind! I'd still like that chair...the original is on sale at West Elm right now. :)