Monday, May 12, 2008


I have always enjoyed working with wood and the farmhouse move has sealed the deal! Woodworking is now an official added activity to my growing list of hobbies and interests. I have taken almost every piece of old wood furniture Mitch and I own and have brought it to the basement before it even gets to enjoy being in the farmhouse. I have painted a few things, fixed a few things, sanded everything, stained and re-stained some things, and mostly have varnished everything with my new favorite thing in the world - polyurethane.

Here are my Vermont Vibes Woodworking Tips:

1.) Reuse!!!! Buy the old furniture and fix it up! Get some little nails, a staple gun, and a screwdriver and tighten knobs, and sturdy up legs, backings, and other hardware depending on how it is made. I am a big fan of little nails. You may need a saw and some old wood scraps to add support pieces especially to dressers and bookshelves.

2.) Recycle!!! DO NOT go to hardware stores and buy wood unless absolutely necessary (this is more for if you need specific 2 X 4's to secure to wall studs to hang the cabinet stuff). Find jobsite recycling locations and check out places like Recycle North's Building Materials Center. I get everything there - from kitchen cabinets to light fixtures to floorboards.

3.) Rework!!! Determine of the piece of furniture you want to refinish needs paint, stain, or varnish. This is how I do it:
~ If the item is already painted, then I find a cool way to repaint it. I like working with brown paint and sponges to make an antique look of my own. I also like painting in color and then accenting by adding stenciling.
~ If the item is already stained a dark color and is pretty nasty or if the item is unfinished with no stain, varnish, or smoothness to it, I like to stain it with a stain/polyurethane in one. I usually opt for dark colors to hide old flaws and to give it a rich look.
~ If the item is a lighter colored wood and has some dings in it and just looks tired, varnish is the way to go. This is just using a polyurethane (I use oil based, satin) to shine it up and give it new life and a happy wood furniture gleam. This is my favorite!
~ Never paint on wood that isn't already painted - shame on you!

4.) The Process!!! It is a process, so plan ahead! Once you fix up the furniture, clean it with wood cleaner - I often use regular furniture polish. Then you must sand. Get a variety of sandpaper. I use lighter grades that aren't too coarse, although your first sanding should be the coarsest. Sand away as you see fit. I find sanding to be an art with the goal being to make the surface smooth for the staining. Make sure you have brushes that can be used for staining. I keep staining brushes and paint brushes separate. And have oil based paint thinner for when the project is done. If you don't clean brushes right away they are ruined.

5.) Finishing or Continuing??? Unless I am doing a quick fix-it job on adding varnish to an already almost done piece of furniture, I always so a second coat and sometimes a third. The key is to sand lightly between coats so you don't get the bubble look.

I am working on getting some pictures of my actual work, but the moving process is taking over in all life departments right now! But, my furniture is sure looking HOT!!!


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