A few weeks ago I shared my terrible experience with staining. I had to redeem myself, and I think my new coffee table has done just that.
I did a thrift shopping spree when we first moved into Ugly House in June. I picked up a hairpin leg coffee table at a garage sale. It was covered in green contact paper. I wasn't impressed. The contact paper ripped within a few minutes of being home so it had to go. Plus I knew it could be better.
Before I made a decision on what to do with the tabletop, I wanted to see what I was dealing with under the contact paper. It appeared from looking under the tabletop that it was a solid wood top.
Once I removed the contact paper, which took maybe 10 minutes, I was introduced to a "beautiful" stenciled ivy motif. It was almost as beautiful as the contact paper especially with the big chunks of flaking paint. I was almost tempted to put contact paper back on it. (Apparently I was so appalled, I didn't bother to take a picture of the ivy)
I decided that since there was some wood peeking through and the paint seemed ready to fall off on its own, I would try my hand at staining....again. I hate using stripper mostly due to the clean up involved, so I attempted to sand off the paint. After about a week of working on it, and only getting half way done, I decided that I needed to bring in the big guns and start stripping the paint.
I got a bunch of disposable supplies along with my low fume stripper and went to work. It was a stubborn table. It took two coats of the stripper and a good cleaning with steel wool and sandpaper.
This is what my table was looking like pre-stain:
It was the moment of truth. Was I going to screw up the stain again? Would I be destined to a life of painted furniture? Would I finally find my calling as a professional stripper and stainer...errr maybe not the stripper part. ;)
I did one coat of the stain (Minwax Gel Stain in Walnut). I thought the color was pretty amazing so I stopped while the getting was good. After drying for 15 hours, I started with the poly. Two coats of poly with a sanding in between, and I had a really beautiful table. I'm so glad I bought this ugly table sitting in the corner of a garage. It fits perfectly with my farmhouse and mid-century love. My husband even likes it. And I may have proved to him that I can stain our new butcher block counter tops...or I might just let him handle that. One table does not a professional woodworker make...