I spent all last week working on things I didn’t want to work on, but felt obligated to work on (i.e., the condo), so I thought I’d give myself a break this weekend and take a day to just work on a fun project that I’ve been really anxious to start. So I got out my paint stripper, scrapers, paper towels, gloves, and sander, and got to work on my dining table.
Remember last week when I told you that I had stripped a small section and uncovered some wood that was way too pretty to paint? This is what I was looking at…
That looks like it has tons of potential, right?
Well, I certainly thought it did. So after stripping the leaf completely, and knowing that I wanted a light finish on it, I tried out several things, including a white color wash, liming wax, a couple of light stains finished with liming wax. Nothing I tried worked out. It all looked terrible. (I took no pictures, so you’ll just have to take my word for it.)
So I decided to just strip the whole thing, and just use plain polyurethane to keep the table top light and natural. And then I debated over water-based vs. oil-based. I absolutely hate using water-based polyurethane on a table top because it doesn’t wear as well as oil-based, so I decided to take a chance on the oil-based poly. That was such a bad choice.
Ugh. Not only did it turn the table a glowing orange color, but it actually made the wood grain look three-dimensional. But for some strange reason, I didn’t stop. I had one of those moments of pure insanity where I thought that maybe doing the whole table top would make things better. So I did the other half of this table section.
It still wasn’t better, but for some inexplicable reason, that didn’t stop me from doing the entire table. I really have no idea what I was thinking. In what universe is a little bit of something hideous, but a whole lot more of that hideous thing absolutely beautiful? *Sigh*
So then I decided to try to salvage it. I sanded down one side of the table lightly by hand with 150-grit sandpaper. Initially I was excited to see that sanding it down by hand removed a great deal of the orange color, and even made it kind of pretty. But then I realized that as soon as I put on a second (and third, and fourth) coat of poly, it would be right back to the bright orange color.
So I tried to dull it down by rubbing some dark walnut stain over the top, and rubbing off as much of the excess as I could. That just turned it splotchy.
I’ve already stripped, finished, and re-stripped the leaf three times with no successful results, so I think at this point, I’m fighting a losing battle. The whole thing’s getting painted one solid color.
Quite honestly, I’m glad I tried, because now I feel absolutely no guilt at all about painting this table. The only real, solid wood on this table is the veneer on the table top, but that veneer has been applied over some sort of composite that looks like MDF, but is much stronger and durable than MDF. And that MDF-type material is what shows on the routed decorative edge on the table top, so it soaks up stain and poly much more than the veneer and turns a completely different color. The apron isn’t wood either. It ‘s some sort of really hard molded material (plastic? more MDF type stuff?) that has been adhered to what looks like bent plywood. And as I’ve already shared, the bases are metal.
So paint, it is!
And now I’m rethinking the black. That seemed like a perfectly good color choice when it was just going to go on the apron and bases of the table, but now that the whole thing will be painted, it just seems like a bit too much black. I think I want something a little more unexpected, but I’ll have to order a swatch of my fabric before making a decision. I just might have a dark raspberry colored dining table in my future. 🙂