Maybe you can relate: you buy a cute sweater. The one you’ve been eyeing that finally went on sale. You love your sweater – it’s so soft! So versatile! You can make it acceptable to wear every day by layering clothes and accessories! But then, just as your serious crush begins to burst into full fledged romance – IT PILLS. Your sweater betrays you by exploding into a diseased, pill-ridden mess, and you wonder what you were thinking when you took it home. “Laura,” you’re asking, “what on earth does this have to do with furniture?” I’ll tell you – that’s exactly what my table did to me.
You can read about how I bargained my way to my dining set here. Things went well.. at first. Then, my table started to… change. Things just weren’t the same.
Those hot coffee cups that never used to be a problem? They started to leave a hazy ring that wouldn’t go away.
Then there was the green bean incident:
I couldn’t handle it anymore. I’d had it with my table top. So I decided it had to go: I was stripping the table top.
I was a little worried, since I wasn’t sure what the wood looked like underneath. Still, I figured it had to be better than the hazy coffee-cup-green-bean disaster.
I moved the table out into my extremely small back yard (we were renting at the time), and got to work using my favorite: Citristrip.
Since I wanted to strip the top only, and leave the rest of the table black, I taped off the bottom of the table using plastic drop cloth and painters tape.
I quickly learned that using Citristrip outside was a little more challenging. The sun and breeze (even though it wasn’t really a hot day) dried out the product pretty quickly, making it really gummy. I thought water might help – that was a mistake. It just became a gummy, runny mess. I ended up having to get another bottle of stripper to rehydrate the product, and that helped. I used a metal putty knife to scrape all the paint and extra stripper off.
I put on another layer of stripper to get all the paint off. My dog, Ronan, is helpfully making sure there aren’t any small animals hiding in the lawn.
When the paint started to come off, I was SO happy to see the wood underneath had nice grain, and actually looked like butcher block! After more stripper, more scraping, mineral spirits, and sanding, I was left with this:
Now for the fun part: stain! I wanted a nice, rich walnut color. I applied the rich dark stain, waited…. and… wiped it off to reveal a weird, ashy, greenish tinged brown. Ugh.
Terrified, I went back to the store (3rd time in one day), and decided I needed to add stain with more golden tones to warm everything up. I anxiously applied the new stain and crossed my fingers.
It worked – the new stain meshed perfectly with the old stain. After a few coats of poly, it was ready for all the coffee cups and green beans I could throw at it!
I couldn’t be happier with my refinished table top – and it’s held up really well. So, despite a rocky start, my table and I ended up happy together.
Because hot exploding green beans happen to us all,