Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Maiden Voyage

This was pretty much my first [completed] DIY project.

I'm going to keep this short and sweet. Pretend it's a poem or something...

I bought a credenza/dresser off Craigslist in anticipation for moving into my new home. 
It had been painted white. I didn't want it white.
I had no idea what I wanted to do with it. 
All the drawers were quite 'sticky.'

I wanted a DIY project. Eric wanted power tools (a circular sander). 
We decided to sand and stain it. 
But the top was laminate. So we realized we had to paint it.
So we sanded everything, primed, and painted it.

And then I realized I didn't like the paint color.
And the drawers were now even 'stickier.'
So I bought some antiquing glaze.
And Eric bought more power tools (a mouse sander).
And I fixed both those problems. Then I added hardware. 

Primer: Zinniser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 Water-Base Primer
Paint: Behr "Ancient Pewter"in semi-gloss
Glaze: Valspar Antiquing Glaze
Hardware: Home Depot (online)

The paint and primer were applied with foam rollers. This was because I was originally going for a 'lacquered' look.

The glaze was brushed on with an old dry paint brush. I let it sit for a few seconds, then wiped it away with an old t-shirt (dry) in long strokes. Since the surface was very smooth, I got most of the 'grain' effect from the brush and with varying techniques with the t-shirt (in my opinion, with the antiquing glaze, the more imperfections in the surface, the better). The glaze comes off with water if you remove it before it starts to dry. So if you aren't happy with the way it went on, just clean it up and try again.

The glaze seeks imperfections

The drawers were a little too dark at first (too much glaze), so I took a sanding pad and scuffed some off.

Finally, I brushed on Varathane Polyurethane in Satin.
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From TIY to DIY

I think I just got a high from sanding.

And I can't say wearing a mask or respirator would have prevented it. It's the kind of high that comes after beginning a project that's been shelved for months, or even a year. It's the kind of high that comes after even the slightest bit of success, where you can see that things are going in the right direction. I'll be the first to admit that I'm a "talker" and not a "doer" when it comes to DIY (so I guess that makes me a TIY-er?). Which is why I'm patting myself on the back right now for [partially] dismantling my naked Ikea Tarva chest, fumbling it out to the patio, and giving it some love with the sander.

I was on the fence about sanding everything. One of the best pieces of advice I've ever received was from a fellow crafter (Sara), who told me to "just paint that sh*t!" This was in response to the story of how I spent nearly 3x the money on supplies and tools to rehab an old credenza. Instead of just painting over the existing white paint, my boyfriend (Eric) and I insisted on sanding the whole thing down, priming it, and then painting it. In retrospect, I would have been just as well off following Sara's advice.

Eric on the other hand, is a huge advocate of sanding for surface prep. And not just sanding, but sanding three-fold. So I figured, what the hell, it's a nice day out, I've got the supplies, might as well! 

The surface of the wood on Tarva furniture is already quite smooth and soft IMO. But with Eric's advice I did the following (with a circular sander):

  1. Sanded the entire surface with 80 grit sandpaper (to "open the pores of the wood")
    1. noticed how rough it had become
    2. considered the fact that I was potentially ruining the dresser and almost ditched the sanding idea 
  2. Sanded the entire surface with 150 grit sandpaper (to "make the pores smaller" or something counterproductive like that)
    1. noticed how wonderfully smooth it felt
    2. almost considered calling it day, because how much smoother could it get?!
  3. Sanded the entire surface with 220 grit sandpaper (to be thorough and appease Eric)
    1. ran my fingers across the surface
    2. holy smoothness!
Post-sanding (can't you tell?!) and re-assembly

In addition to being super smooth, it is noticeably lighter in comparison to the other unsanded Tarva dresser. I'm not sure if this is because Ikea put some sort of protectant on it, or if the sun altered the wood color over the past year. Regardless, sanding it evened out the tones in the wood, and also got rid of a lot of careless stains that were acquired over time. To protect the top in the meantime, I've put down a table-runner.
My next victim. I swear it's darker (and more yellow) in person. 
Notice how there is more contrast in the wood grain though.