I've refinished furniture. I've stripped stuff, I've sanded my heart out, I've successfully stained things. But. This. Damn. Coffee. Table. It was almost the death of me and my DIY'ing days. No joke. It took us weeks, and I mean weeks, to finish this little guy because of the nightmare I am about to describe. Hold on to your precious little DIY hearts folks; shit is about to get real.
So here we are, blissfully unaware that this glorious craigslist find (this coffee table and the two side tables we chalk painted green were $50 total) was about to rule our lives. The wood finish wasn't terrible, but definitely was not working with our mid-century modern vibe.
So naturally I grabbed the most eco friendly stripper out there-- Citristrip. Some people love this crap... and I mean LOVE IT. I will never use it again on likely anything, but possibly only on a solid surface top. Never again will I be suckered into using it on intricate table legs.
Because if I am so foolishly suckered... well, take a look at what happens. See those white blotches/runny looking spots. Yeah, that is stripper that did not strip anything but my soul from love for this table. I had to hand sand every damn nook and cranny of this thing with 80 grit sandpaper JUST TO REMOVE THE STRIPPER. In some spots, I was able to take the finish with it, but in others... no luck. I mean, just look at the legs on the right side of this picture. Ugh. Gives me nightmares. So, once I sanded, sanded some more and then LB made me stop because I was becoming a crazy person, we grabbed some of this to get that weathered gray, sort of cape cod look we were going for. While I was inside the house grabbing some towels to wipe the stain off after applying it, LB took the lid off of the stain. I came back out, grabbed the can and shook it all over myself. I was literally covered in blue and it had poured all over the table. I ran to the shower and literally scrubbed 9873948579038745 layers of skin off to be left with blue dots after 30 minutes. When I came back out and LB was almost done with the table I said, "Stop, immediately. It's blue." Like a purple, gray blue. It was basically straight blue people. I think that there were 2 problems: I spilled half the can on there and the wood soaked it up too fast before we could wipe it off and so the color was SUPER dark and LB was trying to get a uniform texture to match the top, but the top was already WAY over saturated.
We had no choice... we had to ... start... over. Ugh. LB took the belt sander to the top and I sanded as best as I could... again. Over and over again. 80, 120, 220. I hate that table. I went to HD last week finally and got a straight up gray stain by Minwax (the brand I am most familiar with for stains). Even with this stain we basically didn't let it sit on the wood at all and applied it with a towel and wiped it off immediately. After 1 coat it looked like this: See our old friend, Mr. I parade around as gray, but am actually blue shining through the legs? Then we sealed it with a brush with this stuff: And now, finally, it looks like this:
Is it my favorite thing ever? No. Will it do for now? Yes. Did just writing this post make me angry at that table all over again? ABSOLUTELY.