Why Did I Think This Was Such A Good Idea?

I keep having vivid and worrying dreams. I am lost in a familiar city - I can almost get to the place I want to go to, but not quite. I am escaping down a fire escape from a tedious meeting and suddenly the stairs disappear in front of me. I am trying to find my way out of a large, decrepit old hotel, and all the exits are blocked by large mahogany sideboards or gift shops with no doors.

My waking life is like my dreams - no one big drama, but dozens of daily small ones. I am beginning to believe that I will never be able to leave, trapped here by all those recalcitrant belongings that just won't go away.. today I discovered another wardrobe that I had forgotten to find a new home for. How do you forget a wardrobe? Well, you know that interior decorating trick where you paint furniture the colour of the walls to make it 'disappear' into the background? It really works.

When I am not plotting to get rid of excess furniture I am refinishing the furniture I already have. Here is the small table I swapped for my large one. This is after the coat of paint stripper was cleaned off. It was semi-effective. Then came lots of sanding. Sanding is tricky because when to stop? It is always possible to shave another layer off until the s.urface becomes matchstick thin.. at some point before then I called it a day

Then, oh, this is almost too embarrassing to write.. I read the instructions on the tin of Danish Oil I was using to finish the table. "Clean up with mineral turpentine," I read. "Well," I thought, "I can be as organised as the next person," so I went and retrieved an empty jar from the recycling, filled it with turps and dipped the paintbrush in.. and instead of taking it out again and drying it on the rag prior to dipping it into the oil, I proceeded to paint the table with turpentine.

I had finished all the legs before I realised what a numpty I had been. Despite several coats of oil I can still see the bits where the oil has refused to absorb due to the liberal coating of turps underneath. Sigh. Still, the top of the table looks magnificent, and feels smooth as silk. For now.

Rosy and I managed to bash two dents in its pristine shining surface just by bringing it inside, so I don't hold out much hope for its continued unblemished glory. But I have a sweet little country table, and I refinished it myself, and I'm very proud:)

I only have one more piece to upcycle. If I can summon up the energy.. what I am loving is moving house and not buying new furniture. Priceless..


fran7narf said…
Your table has turned out beautifully (turps overload or no) and you might feel like you are surrounded by precarious steps but at least you are moving forward, one project at a time. Soon you will be in your new little house and all of this will fade into memories. Bring on the fading! :)
Jo said…
Fran, oh yes, moving forward. I keep telling myself that..
Eva said…
Hello, I stumbled across your blog and love it. I especially love that you are adding such sweet character to your new place. You are brave doing all furniture this way but I love it. That table is the same table except smaller than the one my great grandmother had in her room and boarding house many years ago. The only difference is that my great grandmothers had four leaf's to extend it out. Great job and am looking forward to seeing more. Have a great weekend
Fernglade Farm said…
Hi Jo,

Yoda says: Let not the perfect, be the enemy of the good, young Padawan! Patience you must have!

Sorry, for that. Did you know that there is a website specifically dedicated to Yoda quotes? Who would have thought of that? Soon you shall be a Jedi furniture master! Well, probably not if you spend all of your free time reading the Internet. Hehe!

The table looks very good and honestly you've done a great job. I looked really closely at the photo and could not see where you had mistakenly applied the turps. Anyway, the old timers called that "character" which is a good thing.

Out of interest, did you sand by hand or use a random orbital sander? I use both with furniture and use the orbital powered sander to take off the chunks, and the hand sander (which is a flat plaster finishing tool with a handle) to give a fine flat finish. And for the rounded edges, the small sanding blocks are useful and they look and feel like washing up thingees which I stupidly call squidgees and have done so for so long I actually forget what they are really called.

You've just reminded me of a quote I heard a few years back from (this one is serious, unlike the Yoda silliness) Jackie French who apparently said that: "Life is too short for matching crockery". That's good isn't it?


Jo said…
Eva, welcome:) I am so glad my table reminds you of your grandmother's - that is exactly the look I am going for! I believe that originally it came from some generic furniture chain, but 20 years of being well-loved by two children, plus being stripped and oiled gives it a very rustic look indeed:)

Chris, good to know, should I ever need a Yoda quote..
I used a rectangular orbital sander all over, even on the legs, with a bit of hand sanding for the bits I couldn't get to - the turned legs were driving me a bit insane, but luckily the paint stripper had done its work well there. I figure the 'turps incident' just made the whole project even more rustic, which was the look I was going for anyway, luckily..
Anonymous said…
Look at you! So practical and "getting things done". What a clever thing you are! And the table looks awesome.
That is a really beautiful table. I have a passion for woodwork myself which I have inherited from my father. Working with wood makes me feel good about my craft and I am sure you experienced the same. I will be making furniture for our new home from some good cuts and my wife can't wait for it to happen.

Bradford Mckenzie @ Heber Appliance

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