No, I did not check myself into a facility for treatment. I had been on the search for a drop-leaf table for our long room that we use as a dining and pool table room. I know its a weird combination, but that is how the house was designed. I have plans for remodeling the house, but until I win the lottery or someone out there donates enough money to the project, I have to work with what we have now.

Our small town, like many, has two weekends a year dedicated to city-wide rummage sales, or as I have heard them called recently, tag sales. I used to boycott sales that started on Fridays as I had to work and didn’t think it fair that by Saturday those sales would already be picked over. I work at home now in our clock shop (plug here: and I get to sneak out on Friday, so I go now! All day Friday and Saturday there are vehicles buzzing about the town, crisscrossing from different directions, slowing down for a moment, checking the maps, and sometimes backing up and rethinking their decision to move on. There are at least two bake sales and usually a pork chop stand in the park to support the 4th of July celebrations. You wave at people you know, get to meet new people and hopefully find something the Keno brothers would drool over.

I was on the hunt for that drop-leaf table. I didn’t see any in the listings for the sales and decided to drop in on a sale down the block. Their Mother had moved to the nursing home and they were downsizing and distributing now as opposed to doing it after her death. I like that idea. It doesn’t seem as hard on the family and Mom is still around to answer questions about where things might have originated. They didn’t have a table for me, so I continued on the hunt.

One good thing about having a business in a small town is that most people have heard of your venture and try to support it. I had given up on finding the table I was searching for that day. About 7 p.m. that Friday night, my Husband answered the phone and it was the son we had talked to at his Mom’s sale. He said his neighbor had a drop-leaf table and four chairs in their yard for sale. I jumped in the car and took off. On the way there, I started to feel a bit funny as the sales stopped at 4 p.m. and I was standing in their yard at 7 p.m. looking like a rummage sale stalker. The husband came over (they were in the back yard) and we talked for a minute about the table. I tested the stability and said I would probably be back in the morning and thanked them (for not calling the police on me).

I talked it over with my Husband, dImageetermined I could cover the bad finish with a tablecloth, and went back in the morning and plunked down my $20 for the table, two leaves and four chairs!!! I was so happy, for a while. I covered it with the table cloth, but I could still see the chairs and how bad the finish was on them. I started to google “painted tables” and found a plethora of ideas! I have visions of my kitchen area with white cabinets and wainscoting, so I at first thought a white cottage look would be nice. Then I came upon pictures of tables painted black. “OH MY” as George Takei would say. I fell in love and now had a goal. A piano black finish on the table and chairs.

With a goal in mind, all I had to do was 1) convince my Husband, 2) make my lists, and 3) purchase my supplies and complete the work! Convincing my Husband is sometimes a challenge. He likes the wood look and still kind of drops his shoulders when I get excited about a new project. I think he envisions that he will need to be involved somehow or I will get halfway through and quit. I don’t know what he’s talking about. We got busy and my chair caning project was put to the wayside. My stained glass area was taken over by the clock shop, and it’s not my fault that my goal to learn to crochet and cross-stitch was derailed by my inability to count threads. No faith.

I went to other blogs and read their experiences in painting furniture. I went to furniture sites and read about different products to use. I like to be informed. I started to sand the chairs and found out that I don’t like sanding turned spindles.  If I was going to complete this project (don’t be like my Husband!), I needed to find an alternative to sanding. I liked the idea of the liquid sandpaper, but then found out that if I roughed up the surface with a TSP substitute, I could use the Zinsser 123 primer and cut out a lot of sanding. It worked very well. I did put on at least two coats of primer for good coverage. I used a disposable mini-bucket for the primer and 2″ foam brushes for the application. For the flat surfaces I used 6″ foam, super fine rollers.

Luckily, we have an outdoor table that accommodated the four chairs when they were upside down. That made things go faster. The turned spindles were still a pain. Just when you think you’ve covered every bit, you turn the chair over and find spots peaking through. I had contemplated at one time having the primer tinted a dark grey, but let me tell you that the white primer is a benefit later when you want to make sure your painting is completely covered. The white shines through like stars on a moonless night!

I know I said that I didn’t want to do any sanding, but I wanted a smooth finish on the table top. Since we do have to do some rudimentary wood-working on some clock cases, my Husband bought me a “multi-purpose” tool from Craftsman. It’s one of those hand-held tools that has a mini-saw blade, a drywall blade, grinding and sanding attachments. I love it!!! I decided to at least take the shine off the top of the table with it. Well, once I saw wood coming through, I decided to take all the finish off.

It was a lot of work and I wasn’t sure my forearms would ever be the same. I was hanging a grandfather clock movement on the test stand the next day with spring clamps and it took every ounce of strength I had to make it work. I told my Husband that something might be wrong with my arms as I don’t have any strength in them. He hung his head and reminded me that I had used the sander all day the day before. “Oh yeah” I said.

Standing there all day sanding was in a way cathartic. The drone of the sander was kind of hypnotic and blocked out the other ambient noise, allowing me to just drift away with the rhythm of the sanding. Taking off the old, beaten up finish and scars, making way for a new, fresh lifetime with a new outlook.

I used Behr paint in a Martha Stewart color in satin finish. It was the closest I felt to the piano black I wanted. We have tried many paints, but feel Behr has the best coverage and will last in the open for hours without developing a skin and leaving those little paint worms on the project.

I love Home Depot’s paint department. No matter who is behind the counter, they always seem to be knowledgeable and friendly. This time a young man with a ponytail and those big plugs in his earlobes helped us. He was great! It seemed to amuse him listening to us talk about the paint. I was studying the samples and my Husband kept saying I was just going to get black. I always contend he has a stunted color wheel and there are many shades of black. When he asked what black I chose, I said that it was my black. There are many kinds of black, but this one is different because it was mine.  My Husband didn’t get the reference, but the clerk did. Good for him.

I started with the chairs first. I wound up with two coats on the spindles and three coats on the flat areas. The weather was great and I was able (contrary to most instructions) start the second coat after I finished the first and so on. I used the 2″ foam brushes for the chairs. I wound up only using four foam brushes for the whole project.

The drop-leaf table took a bit longer as once the underside was primed, I needed to take the drop-leaves off to be able to access the places that show when you drop the leaves. I also decided to paint the lazy susan that I used on our round table before, not hard, just decided to tell you about it. I needed at least two, if not three coats of primer on the top of the table. I wanted a smooth finish on top. I should also tell you that I sanded the top after priming to ensure it was very smooth. I painted the bottom of the table first and there were a few drips that needed topped off.

This is how everything looked just after the last coat of paint. I wound up putting on three coats on the top and then after drying, worked on it with some 0000 steel wool before adding two more coats. I also made sure on the last coats, I used strokes with the roller that went all the way up and down the top, not stopping in the middle.

The last step is applying a wipe-on poly to the top of the table, chair seats and backs. I purchased a Minwax wipe-on satin poly. Up to this point the process sounds pretty simple doesn’t it? Well, think again. In my false confidence, putting on layers of paint so close together, I created an orange skin-like texture on the top of the table. Not what I wanted. Again, I turn to the internet to find out what the internet does best. I am finding out that everything I thought I was doing okay is crap. Okay, not everything, but enough. I am now in the process of sanding off the texture I have created and then will need to apply a thin coat of pain over it and hopefully, I should get a smoother surface this time.

I was planning on putting on that poly coat and posting a wonderful, happy picture here on my blog. What I am now going to do is post this while I am sitting in my sweaty paint clothes (waiting on the sander battery to recharge), let you mock me and my ignorance and arrogance, and then post an update when I have finished my sanding and painting. Yes, that’s it, mock me, but at least learn from my mistakes. At least these mistakes can be sanded away, unlike other ones I have made!!!


UPDATE! It is 9:30 p.m. and I just finished sanding the paint, adding another thin coat, and putting two coats of poly on the table top with only time for one coat of poly on the leaves and lazy susan. I would have taken a picture, but it’s dark and I’m tired! I need a Silkwood shower, maybe some popcorn and bed!!! I will provide a finished picture later on in the week!!! It’s not perfection, but neither am I. 🙂


2 responses to “Rehab

  1. I love reading about what you are doing!!! Thanks for sharing! Keep plugging away–you will succeed!!!I I would never think of mocking you, silly bear. You are learning and trying and doing. All fantastic traits. Bravo!!

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