Friday, February 13, 2015

Staining a Rocking Chair

So when we refinished the dresser in the living room, we decided that we could probably tackle a more difficult project, so we decided to refinish our rocking chair, no problem.

If you've actually done something like this before, you probably know the truth.

Now,  this thing has never been my favorite. 
Carson spotted it at a thrift store without me and so it came to live with us. I didn't like the color of the finish, or the fact that the finish was flaking off. People in our community group in Ohio LOVED it and tried to be the person who got to sit in it, but I'm just not a fan. 
Changing the color though? Okay, maybe I'd like it then. I didn't really want to paint it because I felt like it would be too much with the painted dresser and a painted chair in the same room (but as we did this, I definitely wished we'd gone that route because it would have been way easier).


 We began by sanding, which did nothing at all, except on the spots where the finish was already flaking off. So we bought a can of Citristrip stripper, which worked in some areas and not at all in others. 

We scraped for a long time, and it wasn't very successful, which is when we realized that maybe we were not attached to the chair and that maybe we could just leave it on the curb. 

Also the stripper was very sticky and hard to get off our hands (and burned mine a little), so I sacrificed an old pair of gloves to the cause and used those when I was working, which was a good choice (rubber gloves would have been better). 

At the end of a weekend, we did not have a pretty stained chair as we anticipated. We had a sticky chair that still had most of its finish. 

You know how in home remodeling shows there's a super dramatic thing that happens? This was ours. Or so it felt.

So we got frustrated and left it for the next weekend (after trying lots of things to get the sticky residue of the stripper behind and discovering that paint thinner was the winner, along with soap and a lot of scrubbing).

We still weren't sure if we were going to give up altogether. As I said before, I wasn't the rocking chair's biggest fan, so I was in the GET RID OF IT camp.

The next weekend, we bought an orbital sander. It was wonderful and it's what we should have used from day one. Getting around those curved edges was still difficult, but it would have been impossible without the power tool. Amazing.

Then we stained. We brushed on a coat of a Minwax Dark Walnut stain that had poly in it too. It said to let it dry for 6 hours, which would have been 10pm. Rather than miss a spot in the dark, we waited until Sunday morning before church to do the second coat. 

And finally it was indeed Dark Walnut. Finished. Finally. 

Next time (assuming this didn't kill our desire too ever DIY something big again), we will go right to the orbital sander, and then stain. We will also do our best to avoid needing to sand down anything with that many little edges again. Yikes. 

Whew. Finished. Now that we have that sander though, I've been side-eyeing other pieces of furniture in this place. Don't be surprised to see another remodel. Or perhaps don't be surprised if you don't see one. We're still getting over this one.

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