We set off to find a china cabinet/hutch/anything decent to hold our things. It needed to be no taller than 7 foot, no wider than 41 inches, and no deeper than 20 inches. These stringent specifications almost lead us to design a piece for $2600 at a very fancy, yet wonderful quality wood, furniture store. We found no justification in spending that much money on something we might not use when/if we move, no matter how solid and great the wood.
(yes, many jokes can be inserted here)
So why not take things into our own hands? (Sidenote: I consider myself mildly crafty. I can't use a sewing machine but I can scrapbook and paint. Mike is good at reading directions and following them. This will come in handy later.)
Enter "Rough and Ready" a jam packed, flea-market style, everything goes second-hand furniture store. Our neighbors referred us, as they purchased and refinished a piece themselves. I striped/sanded/refinished a coffee table before. I was all about tackling another restoration project. Because a giant china cabinet is just like a small coffee table, right?
(warning: photo heavy post ahead)
We assumed underneath layers of caked on paint, Betsy had fine walnut wood. But Betsy had some other problems too:
Below that lovely felt covering:
But no worries, right? I mean, how long can it take to refinish a giant cabinet?!
- applied decent-at-best orange goop/paint remover (never opt for the environmentally safe stuff when you want to do heavy duty work)
- scraped off as much paint as possible
- 3 hours
- realize that orange goop did not take off all paint
- try spot application of more orange goop to remaining paint areas
- let sit and scrub off with fine steel wool
- send Mike to the hardware store for more steel wool
- take doors off Betsy because A) 1 fell off while moving & B) it's just easier this way
- realize that the orange goop leaves residue and read online that you need a special remover for stripper residue
- send Mike to the hardware store for "stripper stripper" (& plastic gloves)
- we believe all paint is gone
- 6 hours
- realize there is still paint on certain areas
- send Mike to hardware store for hardcore paint stripper, the kind that stinks & can eat through your plastic gloves
- Mike also gets more plastic gloves
- Go to town on the remaining paint spots with super paint stripper and steel wool
- Mike goes back to hardware store for MORE stripper stripper to remove the stripper residue. one. last. time.
- curse at the tiny nooks on the doors where you find paint residue & attack with more stripper and then follow up with "stripper stripper"
- buff the entire piece with extra fine steel wool
- sand the extreme problem areas
- apply polyurethane to entire piece
- curse doors' nooks when applying polyurethane
- 6 hours
- apply Tung Oil to entire piece, let sit, buff
- move piece into your home (itsaboutdamntime)
- put doors back on
- heave a huge sigh of relief
But next time? I'm spending $2600 on that brand new piece that I don't need to touch.