Friday, March 29, 2013

Grain Sack Stripes and Being Flexible

Ever had one of those projects you just feel like was doomed from the start? I try to start every project with a positive attitude. I think of only the good things that will come from it, that's how I keep going on and moving to the next project.
So, when I got a message from a family friend asking if I could redo her table and chairs I leapt at the chance. I love farmhouse tables and this one had great potential right from the start.

What I started with:

 The goal: Dark stained top and creamy distressed legs
So I got to stripping. This was a factory finished table and that made me nervous. Factory finishes are notorious for being hard to strip and re-stain. Sometimes they strip off great but won't accept the new stain. Or they will accept the new stain, but it will be uneven and patchy.

Good news! It stripped great!

Bad news, it is patchy and basically looks like I don't know how to do my job. I heard the praises of gel stain everywhere so I watched about 20 tutorials and listened carefully, tested it out on a scrap board, all sorts of things...It didn't work either. It actually looked worse than the patchy standard oil based stain. So, I stripped the table yet again and went back to my creative drawing board, all the while cursing maple wood.

I found this inspiration picture on google search and it lead to this blog. I spoke with my client and she loved the idea so I ran with it.

You know that lovely moment when you finish a coat of paint and look up to see yet ANOTHER dirt storm blowing up? Yeah, this is the 3rd time this has happened to me now. It involves me running around yelling at my children to get their bicycles in the garage so I can get the door down before the storm hits.

Luckily, it just took a light sanding to save the newly painted surface. Whew!!!
Then come the stripes.

Looking good and I am very pleased at this point and then - disaster strikes!
The leaf of the table had given me the most grief when I stripped the original finish off...and all the other finishes I had applied as well. As I pulled the tape off, the part that gave me so much trouble decided to keep on doing just that! I believe I angry hopped in my garage for a minute after I pulled the tape off. Repair time...

All is well. You see, the thing with disastrous projects is, when they are complete you feel this absolutely fantastic relief and amazing sense of accomplishment. It's more rewarding than the projects that go smoothly, because you finally have what you want.

I will show off the full table when I finish the entire project. For now though, don't let those little snafu's get you down.
 I always hear Tom Hanks in my head saying, "It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it. The hard is what makes it great."

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