Let’s be honest. I have never refinished a piece of furniture and then I acquired an antique desk that needed some love. And I thought, hey! I can refinish this desk and bring it back to life. Yay me Craftey Katey!
That was a year ago.
Since we moved into our new row home this spring, my craft room has been housing this desk and the task of refinishing it loomed over me all summer. I decided to start the project in August and as you can tell, it was a lengthy process. I started by stripping the top of the desk’s paint, sanding, staining and then painting the rest of the body. That sounds easy peasy. Ha.
Nice Craftey girl me wants to share some tips in the category of refinishing furniture, so please read and learn from my mistakes!
1. NEVER buy the $3.00 paint brush, always opt for the $10.00 one. Really. Your cheap paint brush won’t clean well and then cause you headaches down the road (goobers in poly finish) after you feel you can’t handle one more set back.
2. Also, NEVER listen to the Home Depot paint guys. See #3.
3. Minwax Polyshades 2-in-1 Stain and Poly is the DEVIL. Worst suggestion ever from the Home Depot guys. Don’t skip steps! Buy your stain, be patient while it dries and then follow up with the polyurethane finish. Minwax Polyshade doesn’t actually stain the wood and is a streaky mess. Check out the photos below.
4. Don’t use your $3.00 paintbrush to apply your poly finish. See #1 headache. Just buy a $.75 foam brush for the poly. Seriously.
5. When applying stain, don’t wipe off the excess. It causes streaks. Just rub the stain in real good and go with the grain of the wood. Circles aren’t a good idea even though This Old House suggests you can apply stain haphazardly. And I trusted the old guys. Puh.
6. When painting the rest the desk, sand it down and then paint a layer of primer even though BEHR has a 2-in-1 Paint and Primer. I didn’t let the Home Depot guys get me on this one. See, I was learning here.
7. Lastly, when the desk is finished and you pull off your blue painter’s tape from the beautifully stained desktop, don’t freak out when some of your poly pulls off the top. That really did happen. Just give the top a light sand with 220 grit sand paper and apply one more layer of poly to hide the flaws. And remember #4.
Regardless of all the setbacks and the fact that I had to redo the top of the desk about six times, I am extremely happy with outcome! Miss UnPatient me finally learned to take a chill pill and even though it took over a month to complete this project, better that the desk be perfect then be annoyed with the flaws for years to come.