Furniture refinishing anyone?

Avatar for shirley_v
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Registered: 04-29-2000
Furniture refinishing anyone?
4
Wed, 05-22-2013 - 9:59pm

So, today I indulged in buying a book about refinishing old furniture...not antique furniture, but what you might call garage sale finds.  The book intrigued me because it has instructions how to do many kinds of refinishing...from stains to different kinds of paint - distressed finishes and even stencils or wallpaper (decoupage) applied to pieces of furniture.  I like most of the effects shown in the book and like the idea of bringing an old piece of furniture to life in a new and interesting way.  It's questionable though, whether I'll actually use the book's instruction to refinish a piece of furniture.

So we do  have a few pieces of old furniture that could be refinished....  One is an Ikea pine dresser we 'rescued' (?) - well, actually it was a give-away-for-free piece that was sitting on someone's lawn.  I like the look of the dresser but it was in need of repair...more work needed on it than we first thought.  But Ray persisted to fix the drawer sliders and filled the gouges in the wood with wood filler!  He sanded the light clear finish off it and well, we could now proceed to apply a stain, which we were thinking of doing.  Unless I decide to do a different finish - one from the book?  Hmmm...

Then there is an old desk from my teen years.  It's moved with us from house to house and it sure could use a face lift!  It's nothing special, but it might look rather interesting if I were to do something creative with refinishing it. 

I refinished an old dresser when I was in my early twenties.  That was one job I really really liked the results of my labour.  I had a paint sort of refinishing kit for this, and I painted it a rich red-orange and then applied a brown glaze - wiped most of it off but left just enough to make it interesting.  I put it in my bedroom at the time.  It's come with us since then from move to move and then about a year or so ago my daughter eyed it and asked if she could have it for her room in the apartment she was in?  Well, okay...these things will eventually go to my children - bit by bit, and if she liked this so much (as much as I do!) then I allowed her to have it.  It was in the guest room in our basement.  I was thinking that I might put the Ikea dresser there now...when it gets finished! 

Did anyone do any furniture refinishing?  Does anyone like buying old furniture at garage sales - maybe fixing them up, or just liking that they got a bargain?  I don't often go to garage sales to look for furniture but it sure is neat to see how some people (as in this book I bought) refinish something that looks out of date or worn and makes it looks really fun, colourful in some cases and gives it a new life.  Any stories that you might have about furniture in this vein?

Shirley

Avatar for deenow17
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Registered: 10-12-2004
Thu, 05-23-2013 - 6:23pm

I did a fair amount of furniture refinishing in my late 20s/early 30s as a way to put furniture in our 4 bedroom which took all of our money to buy leaving none for furniture. I remember refinishing my Grandmother's oak round dining table when one of my neigbours dropped by to ask which store I shopped in for my antiques. It was too funny as to me they were all hand me downs from my family members when they brought new stuff.

For a while about 15 yrs ago we got into going to auctions & buying furniture to fill our cottage. Good some great deals where I would strip & refinish or use different paint techniques to turn into useful pieces. Then when my DS1 moved into his first place, I hit the thrift shops/garage sales for things I could remake for him. Best find was a set of 4 ice cream chairs that I painted black & recovered the seats with this snakeskin material in black & white. Everyone wanted to know where he got these cool chairs. I also found a floor lamp, spray painted it white including the lamp shade. Once it was dry then I used painter's tape to create a design throughout the lamp/lamp shade & spray painted the lamp black then removed the tape once the paint was dry & it was really interesting.

While it isn't furniture, my favourite creative project involved the cement floor of our 10 by 20 ft bunkie. We couldn't afford to cover this in anything & it was so boring. So I once again used my paint & tape approach to make 2 fake carpets making it look like this was 2 rooms. A bedroom & a living room. I have always wanted to take canvas & make it into a painted carpet maybe something in the future.

Dee

Avatar for suzyk2118
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Registered: 07-30-1997
Thu, 05-23-2013 - 7:10pm

(what's a bunkie?)

Avatar for deenow17
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Registered: 10-12-2004
Thu, 05-23-2013 - 7:50pm

We use the term "bunkie" for an extra storage place at our cottages. It can be a beautiful cabin complete with bathroom/kitchen or as in our case, something less lovely like the back of our garage which was converted to a place where the kids slept when they had friends up to give us all privacy.

Dee

Avatar for shirley_v
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-29-2000
Fri, 05-24-2013 - 1:03pm

Dee, I have to hand it to you, I may buy books on refinishing, but you just DO it!  Now that I think of another item I could say I've (well, Ray and myself) have refinished was an old wood table from his grandparents.  It was an interesting rectangular table with leaves on either end that pulled out to make a slightly longer table.  It was stained a very dark brown and not looking nice at that point...just old...just seemed too dark for us.  So we stripped it down and stained it a honey coloured stain and verathaned it with very high gloss verathane (I'm thinking now a bit too high gloss!).  It had a crack in one of the leaves which we filled with some sort of wood filler but it always stayed looking very obvious. It was not the best of refinishing jobs but I doubt highly this was an antique of any value so we didn't exactly reduce whatever value it had in that way! This refinishing job we did sometime after we had moved into an apartment or maybe before we moved into the first home we bought. It was for us our first real actual table as before that we made do with a home-made table my father had made for me in my twenties which was to serve as a kind of art table or something...painted green.  Actually I am trying to remember why I had this table and where it originally was placed in my bedroom many many years ago?  Strange how some things you just forget.  Anyway this table from Ray's grandparents was valuable to us in a historic family sense.  Imagine, having a table your immigrant grandparents had in their home - one apparently that they had purchased second-hand, so the story went!  The strange thing about this table is that it was on casters.  We removed the casters and then when you sat at it, your thighs hit the wood plank that was just under the table top.  Yet with the casters, the table just seemed too high?  Maybe the chairs people had in those days were higher but then that would mean their thighs would hit that plank of wood anyway! Hmmm..   Eventually we replaced that table with an ordinary table that fit better in another house's a small kitchen we had when the children were small.  Then years ago we gave this grandparents' table to our eldest son who used it in his apartment.  Then he moved to Berlin, so the table moved into our garage!  Now our third eldest son would like to have the table for his place.  I thought he had a table - but then I've never (can you believe it?) been to his apartment so I didn't know he didn't have a table!  So the table will now go to him.  It's an odd table in that it is too high with the casters but low without them...and yet...well, it's something we won't sell... although I kind of wished we had done a better job of refinishing it.  Well, someone else can do that in the future, if they so desire.

Oh, and one other thing I refinished...it was a secretary desk that was left behind it in the basement my parents moved into when I was a teenager.  My father helped me strip and it stain it.  Again, it was originally a dark brown but aged and not a nice finish, I thought.  This was no fancy antique bit of furniture really...but it was quaint and I liked it.  So we stained it a mahogany sort of red colour and I have to say it was a sloppy sort of job!  It's something I'd like to refinish over again, but so far I've not even considered what colour to stain or paint it.  I certainly am not ambitious about doing it...nope. The odd thing is that I don't recall bringing that secretary with me on my subsequent moves when my parents moved to Nova Scotia and I moved out of the house (had to at that point anyway - in with a friend to an apartment in Montreal).  I suppose they took this bit of furniture and I got it back later on?  Amazing what we forget.  I just cannot recall this bit of furniture being where (?) in homes Ray and I have lived in over the years....and yet, here it is sitting in the foyer of our house now.  Surely we had it before that?  Wierd!

Shirley