After working on several of these provincial pieces, I find I really love the lines of these legs. I lament the size and shape of our dining area as it just won’t accommodate this set. Here is a photo of how battered and beaten these legs were and how nicely they cleaned up after a bit of scrubbing, filling, sanding and painting (& sanding & painting: repeat…). This table has 6 gorgeous legs .
In addition to her battle scars, the overall color of this set was also frightening. The yellowed, worn, faux finish with chipped gold trim was not exactly appetizing.I was initially planning on lightly sanding and re-painting the whole thing. I’m not sure what made me curious to experiment on the table leaf…perhaps it was the factory marking on the bottom of it indicating “Cherry” in barely legible scrawl.
Could this tabletop possibly be cherry wood hidden under a thick, impenetrable layer of paint and wax and what can only be described as funk? Only one way to find out…Citristrip on the leaf.
And This is what I discovered!
Not exactly blemish-free, but too beautiful to be covered in a faux-wood paint finish.
So, this is what I did.
Yes, that’s my living room with multiple furniture refinishing projects in various stages of incompleteness in the middle of it. Before judging me, please understand…It’s Winter in Western NY. The unheated 1-car garage is filled with pending project furniture and averages about 15 degrees. The yard alternates between deep snow and semi-frozen mud this time of year, so there was no place to sand the table top. Thank goodness Citristrip can be used indoors because the goopy, gloppy mess ended up getting stripped in my living room. Who can wait for Spring when you know there’s painted cherry wood yearning to be free?
So if you look carefully in this photo of my progress preconditioning the wood in preparation for staining, you will see that I am totally busted. Citristrip and mineral spirits only got me so far and I needed to sand the table top to address a few particularly difficult areas. Yes, I power-sanded in my living room. In my defense, it was midnight and it didn’t seem to make that much of a mess. Until the morning sun shone brightly through those big windows, illuminating the thick layer of dust everywhere. I quickly regretted my nocturnal activity. And I cleaned. A lot. Please folks, Don’t do this at home in the house.
But it does look pretty good, doesn’t it?
The next morning, in addition to realizing how silly it is to sand in the living room, I also noted that after conditioning, the wood was less than perfect. Nothing that a few layers of stain couldn’t manage, but it was clear I would have to go with a darker shade than I originally planned. This became especially relevant when the edges took the stain much differently than the top. It took some creativity, but I was able to make it work.
With the time needed to dry between layers of stain and polycrylic on the top, I was able to patch, sand and paint the base and 6 chairs. A few of the chairs needed gluing and general tightening up, but this is a great set of quality furniture and it is SOLID. The seat covering is pretty new, in great shape and professionally done, so I decided to leave it in place. Better for the next owner to select something specifically suited to their taste than to mine. (Although I do have a bolt of gorgeous blue-patterned upholstery I purchased just for these seats – before I realized they wouldn’t fit in my space…). Oh well…
Since I was obviously working indoors, I chose a paint with no fumes or VOCs. Fusion Mineral Paint is the most eco-friendly paint I have found. It is pure acrylic, sticks to just about anything, and doesn’t require a topcoat for tough-as-nails durability. By the way – I despise waxing furniture, so not requiring a topcoat is a Huge plus for me. The color I chose for this set is Champlain, an off-white neutral in a creamy tone. I sanded between coats for extra smoothness and ended up using a quick swipe of wipe-on poly just to make sure it would be easy to clean in the future – it is a dining table after all – and I know what my tables endure so I expect no less from anyone else.
I wish I had a better space to properly stage this in, but it really is a gorgeous set that I think speaks for itself despite the lack of staging. What colors would you have chosen? How would you stage this set?