Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Building Baby's Room: Part 4

For the next major part of Baby T's room, he needed somewhere to put all his cute teeny clothes!  We wanted to find a medium-sized, counter-height dresser to turn into a changing table as well as a small dresser that can act as a sort of nightstand in the corner.  

After scouring Craigslist, Goodwill, and every antique/thrift store I could find for multiple weeks, we ended up with just what we were looking for.

Of course, I was terrible at taking before pictures.  The above picture shows our small dresser.  We found it at a really cool antique mall, Colorado Antique Gallery.  After walking up and down every aisle in the place (we walked long enough that my hands were swollen & I had to take off my wedding ring...), we found this beauty in the last aisle.  Less than $20.  Woot.

Our larger dresser wasn't quite as much of a steal coming in at $90.  We found it at an antique shop downtown called Garage Antiques.  (It's also the reason we were 2-3 hours late to the Rockies game...)  It was originally stained darker than this.  This picture was taken after some serious sanding.

A special thanks to Tanners who let us take over most of their garage for this project.  I was in charge of the small pieces: drawers, knobs and such.  

Sanding knobs by hand is a tedious task.  Luckily, tedious tasks are some of my favorite things to do.  No, really.  I'm all for mindless monotony every once in a while. (That still sounds sarcastic, doesn't it? Man, well I tried.)

Grantie took on the heavy duty task of sanding.  He sanded until he was all sanded out.  (No really, we worked for almost 7 hours straight on Saturday...)

Here are the drawers to the large dresser, pre-sanding.  Those grooves on the edges were the devil.  Are the devil.

Grant sanded his little heart out.  Having never really refinished furniture ourselves, we followed directions from various online sources as well as Grant's trusty Home Depot know-it-all book.  

We thought it all looked pretty well sanded.  Not perfectly uniform by any means, but sanded enough to soak in the stain we were going to use. (Minwax Red Mahogany, in case you were wondering).

Later that evening, when I was clearly tired of taking pictures as there aren't any, we vacuumed, dusted, and stained all those darn pieces.    Now comes the long explanation sans pictures.  I won't be offended if you stop reading here :)

Apparently, we made a few "classic mistakes" as I like to call them.  Mistake #1: Not sanding quite enough.  Certain parts of the dressers soaked up the stain really well.  Other parts... not so much.  Combined with Mistake #2: letting the stain sit on for too long, we ended up with tacky dressers.

When we came back the next day to check on our work, some pieces were still wet with the stain, an issue we hoped would clear up with some time in the sun.  No luck.  After more internet forum searching we learned that the stain would not be soaking in and that we'd have to back track a bit.  

(Can I also mention that the tacky parts acted as bug-catchers...  We had a lovely collection of tiny bugs stuck to the stain.  Yes.)

We ended up using paint thinner to wipe down the tacky areas.  While it was effective at getting rid of the sticky parts, it also left us with a really uneven look.  The pieces that were well sanded looked much darker than the others because the paint thinner took off the excess stain sitting on top of the less sanded parts.  Boo.  

After thorough wipe-downs, we decided to restain everything to achieve a more uniform look.  The idea of sanding everything again was not appealing, so we took the easier route.  We made sure to wipe everything down after only a few minutes so that we don't have sticky issues again.  

Next on the menu: Polyurethane!  As this particular portion of the project is extra-fumey, it will probably be up to Grant to finish up.  

Also, as a sneak peak into what our dressers will look like (fingers-crossed), check out this Young House Love post.  This couple has the exact same crib that we do and stained a dresser to match it.  We've been following their instructions closely which was great since they had already matched the stain.  Not so great: leaving the stain on for 20 minutes like they did...  Live and learn, I suppose.


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