All You Need is Love

I had to pop in to say hi and let you know I finished one of my projects.

Remember this little lady I rescued from my Mom's deck last summer?

Now here she is today after a little love :-)

This poor chest was in rough shape for years.  A beautiful oak piece, she was originally a dark stain when my mom acquired her.  One painting mishap later which involved my older brother, a tall ladder, and an entire gallon of paint spilled in the fall, she never quite recovered and was being used as a serving buffet outdoors.  The exposure to weather, chill and damp had left her top deeply cracked.  In several parts, her finish was worn down to bare wood. 

But I loved her :-)

First, I filled in the deep cracks on the top with wood fill, let dry, and then sanded everything down as best I could.  Knowing the wood on top was good quality, albeit damaged, I decided to try stripping it down and seeing what I ended up with.  I figured if it didn't turn out, I could always paint the top to match the body, but I really wanted to try something different.  Having never stripped before, I used a water-based product recommended on Miss Mustard Seed's site and went to work:

After letting the remover sit for about 10 minutes, the paint came up amazingly well, but can you still see the varnish below?  I had to apply the product two more times and let it sit for 30-45 minutes each time to finally get this varnish up.  It was tough stuff!  But I learned quickly. I simply waited and watched for it to loosen before attempting to use my putty knife to get it up.  I didn't want to put too much labor in if I didn't have to, so I let the product do most of the work.

I used the same product on the hardware, to remove the paint.  In mere minutes it looked like this, brassy as all get out.  I used a toothbrush to get into the scrollwork's nicks and crannies:

After getting as much of the varnish off the top as I could, I finished by sanding it down really well with my power sander.  This was really fun, working with such a beautiful piece of wood.  I loved the look of it bare and oh so smooth (actually, it got me quite excited about staining pieces in the future since now I won't be quite so scared).

I really thought the deep cracks on top would show more, but they don't.  The filler worked great and took whitewash and stain quite well.  To finish the top, I mixed a whitewash solution of 50/50 water and white paint, brushed it on the top, and rubbed in with a clean rag.  After that dried, I used Minwax Dark Walnut Stain to give it a darker look and bring out the wood grain a bit more.

Finally, I sealed with Minwax Finishing Paste Wax.  This is the first time I've used this product and I love it.  You simply wipe on the wax with a rag, wait 10 minutes, then buff.  What a beautiful finish.

On the body, I primed her, then used Sherwin Williams Creamy, 2 coats.  I then distressed her gently and sealed with Wipe-on Poly, another great, easy product.

I ended up spraying the original hardware with Krylon's Oil-Rubbed Bronze because the brass just looked too dated for me.  With this finish, I think the hardware looks much better dark.

My mom would probably think it's too dark, and that "everyone will notice the hardware instead of the piece."  She may be right, but on this piece, I kinda like it.  It's like the bold jewelry that makes the outfit.  You don't need much else.

I think she turned out so pretty. 

This finish is a bit "cooler" than I normally would go, but I love how it bright it looks against my hallway's green-blue walls.  Very fresh and springlike.

I can't wait to show you how the little red nightstands are coming along.  Just need to seal them and add hardware, which I'm off to do now :-) Ahhhh, what bliss I find in these little things~