Distressing Furniture is Easy….

until it isn’t. I have re-done furniture before. So when I started this project a few months ago, I went in thinking it would take a couple of days. But I digress….let’s go back to the beginning…..Not long after we moved from NC to NY my dear hubby came home with a pair of these:
Furniture re-do 002 He had found them on the side of the road with a “FREE” sign on them. So home they came. I immediately started refinishing them in my head. Unfortunately, our rental home had NO place to work on them. After a year we moved to this house, which has a very small workshop. The first year here was VERY busy….no time to work on the tables. Then this summer I couldn’t take it any longer. Off to the tiny hardware store in town to buy some stripper. The original plan was to just to give them a deeper, richer finish. So I was just going to strip off all the poly or shellac or whatever the finish was! Therefore, I bought a heavy-duty, all-purpose stripper. Well…the body of the table turned into a blotchy mess. Spots of pure white DRY wood appeared. Yet other spots refused to let go of their finish. Out came the sander. Up went my frustration level. It became very obvious that I was going to have to paint the furniture. Not a problem for me. I like painted furniture. Man, on the other hand, does NOT!!! I thought I would take a cue from Miss Mustard Seed and paint and distress the body then refinish the top with a dark stain. Out came the stripper to work on the top. NONE of that shiny finish would budge! Out came the sander. The dust was flying. I sanded and sanded and sanded. Then came the realization that I wasn’t dealing with a wood top….not even a veneer top. NO, I was dealing with a laminate top….like a laminate countertop. Boy, did I feel like a fool? The look was so real that I had no idea until I got through all that shiny finish and it was STILL shiny. Well there went the idea of staining the top. Then came my first break. I HAD to walk away from this project.
Okay…I break the bad news to my dear hubby that the table is going to have to be painted. He is NOT amused, but there was no going back. Okay….off to the hardware store. Our hardware store is super tiny (to go along with our super tiny town!). But I found some heirloom white paint. They had it in a quart or a spray can. I bought the spray can (several actually) thinking I could skip that all important step of priming. Remember….I’ve done this before. I have refinished several pieces and NEVER primed them. Plus this paint was made by Rustoleum….that stuff usually sticks to ANYTHING! Apparently, I had just gotten lucky before. All seemed to be going well….It sprayed up lovely. I left it to dry overnight before adding a second coat. Well the next day I found “orange peeled” paint. Okay…at this point I was really wishing for a dumpster. Instead I just walked away.
Some time passed….(I should have kept a written journal….as I have obviously blocked out much of this experience and cannot remember how much time). I’m back with a can of primer, a can of paint, a small can of walnut stain……and MUCH determination! As I was getting ready to brush on the primer, I realized that nooks and crannies of this piece were not going to make it easy. So out came the tools and I took the table apart. This is when my husband asked me why I wasn’t just using his spraying equipment. This is the same man that got mad at me for getting his shop dusty when I was sanding this piece. I sure wasn’t about to touch his spray painting stuff….especially when I had NO idea how to use it. Anyway…he grudgingly volunteered to spray it for me over the weekend. So I walked away….AGAIN.
Now it was my hubby’s turn to wish for a dumpster. That weekend he confidently prepped his work space and equipment. He aimed and sprayed…..and nothing came out. He thinned the primer. Nothing came out. He changed the nozzle. Nothing came out. Reality hit him. The last time he had used his equipment, he had owned a different air compressor….a larger air compressor. He cleaned his equipment, went to town, bought a can of spray primer, came home, primed the table…..and promptly told me he was DONE. It was once again MY problem.
I was DETERMINED that this table was NOT going to beat me! This was a matter of pride! And yes….pride was proving itself particularly ugly in this case. Unfortunately, my hubby needed the shop. So after the pieces dried, I brought them into my studio…my very overcrowded studio. Where they sat until a week or so ago. Then I decided it was time….okay past time! Working on one piece at a time….a few minutes here and there…..trying desperately to NOT get even more frustrated, I finally have it ALMOST finished. I have it painted, distressed, and put back together. Now I only have to put a protective finish on it. But first, I’ve decided to let it dry REALLY well. Plus…I really need another break. Not out of frustration so much….I just have several projects that need my attention more at the moment.
So here is the nearly finished product….at least of ONE table. The other one hasn’t been touched. It will have to wait for better weather AND the purchase of a larger air compressor!!! Man was looking for an excuse to buy one anyway.
Furniture re-do 006 Furniture re-do 005

I'm linking this post over on Miss Mustard Seed's Furniture Feature Friday.


  1. I like it! It turned out very nice! It is good to hear that someone else finds themselves in these types of situations. You are not alone! haha

  2. Man what a great find you were so lucky. I understand the "no room at apartment for projects". But when we lived in a duplex I purchased a table saw, put it on the patio, and made yard furniture. That furniture moved with us to the Appletree House and lasted 10 years. There was still one chair that was in good shape and we left it for the new home owners when we left.


Post a Comment