Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Before And After: Provincial Table

You know, my Nan used to say to me a lot when I was growing up - 'No one shoots you for asking!'
Which I guess is along the same lines as, 'there's no such thing as a stupid question' etc. It is something I've always remembered - mind you, she did fairly drum it into this shy granddaughter of hers ;-)

Why I'm telling you this is because before I started this project, I happened to run into an expert in all things timber/product related and asked lots of questions. I picked his brain, basically. And I'm so glad I did as it changed how I would have gone about this (and other) projects, if I'd just gone full steam ahead.
The main things I asked  was about staining and sealing. I had only ever refinished table tops back to natural and sealed with oil or wax, I'd never stained a dining table before or knew what the most durable sealer would be over stain on something that gets as much use as a dining table does. There are so many products out there, it can be a little overwhelming!

But before I get to all the technical stuff, take a look at this gorgeous table! It belongs to a client but is staged at my place on a very grey, gloomy day...hence the darkish shots :-)

And the before-

Looks like a million dollars now doesn't it?!

So for those who want the technical on!

For everyone else...please go and enter my very first giveaway by clicking here (Closes Sunday May 5th!) You could win some awesome wall decals and at this are in with a good chance as there are not many entries yet!! ;-)

The base of this table is painted with DIY chalk paint (no sanding beforehand!) and sealed with beeswax. The top is stained walnut and sealed with satin poly.

Let me break down a little more the staining and sealing process - for those of you still with me - and what I learned :-)
(some of this I learned a while ago, some more recently)

So, here in Australia, there are stains specifically for pine and some for hardwood. It is important to make sure you know your timber and choose the right product. Yep, made that mistake already.
I pretty much always (except if someone with 30+ years experience tells you different!) follow the directions on the tin. I apply with a cloth and rub in the direction of the grain.
One of the big, big things I learned is that timber is a natural product (who knew?!) and therefore is unpredictable in how it takes stain. Sometimes, parts of the timber will soak up more stain and look darker and other parts don't seem to take it in much at all.

After I had finished this step on this table, I stood back for an overall look...and panicked.
I thought it looked a little patchy  and contemplated going over again with another coat of stain.
This is where I spoke to Chris from Mitre 10 here in Horsham who reassured me that this is a normal characteristic for timber and isn't that why we choose timber - for its unique qualities?
Well yes...yes it is.

So I forged ahead and started...


And what I learned is that the most durable finish for a dining table (over stain) is two coats of good old poyurethane in satin or gloss finish.
And the best way to apply it? With a foam roller (which will kinda disintegrate after a bit, so have a few on hand) doing small sections at a time, then going over with a brush and finishing with a wet edge.
A wet edge means that when you stop at the end of each section, it needs to be a thick edge that you stop at, not a blended edge like you would if you were painting.
Then start the next section - foam roller, go over with a brush, until the whole thing is done. If you notice and small areas you've missed, don't go over them, you can pick them up in the next coat. You generally have to wait 12-24 hours before you can do the second coat and it's best applied in a closed off environment, because any dust flying around is for sure going to land on your beautiful finish!
And the patchiness that I thought I saw? Gone. Vanished into thin air after the first application of poly. It does say on the can of stain that its true color is not fully revealed until it has been sealed - I forgot to trust in that.

I hope this has been helpful if you plan on doing any staining or sealing, and if you have any tips for me...let me know in the comments! I love to learn!!

And I want to give a HUGE thank you to Ron from Wattyl, Chris from 'mighty helpful' Mitre 10 and my good friend Felicity for all sharing their knowledge with me and stopping me from freaking out too much! ;-)

Courts xx
Furniture Feature Fridays


Lyndel said...

oh it looks gorgeous, well done you! I love the work you do, I've only attempted one piece of furniture so far and not nearly as well as anything I've seen on your blog. I'd love to try more, must talk to the Mitre 10 guys!!

Rubylicious Bespoke said...

Yep, a million bucks for sure! Most people would walk straight past the before, but not now. Looks gorgeous in your house too, perfect fit. Maybe the client wouldn't notice!
Alison x

Restyled Vintage said...

that table looks fantastic now Courts!

Thanks for sharing your tips on stain...I haven't actually used stain for its intended use before lol, only as an antique glaze. One day I will, and I'll remember your advice if I freak out when it's patchy!

I use a foam roller quite a bit, love them! I find it can leave bubble when applying poly so yes finishing with a brush is important :)
xx Karen

Cassie @ Primitive & Proper said...

the table is gorgeous!!! and i love your mix of chairs, though i am sure that is just for staging. :) and great tips, too- i love satin poly on wood! :)

Helen said...

I think it looks like a BILLION bucks! You did a great job and it looks so professional. Awesome job! :)


Catherine said...

Looks fantastic Courts! The stain you've chosen looks fantastic! I haven't tried poly with a foam roller, will definitely try that out! It's all learning isn't it? Different products, different styles. Thanks for sharing :)

Julie Boarder said...

Wow, you don't fully appreciate the after until you see the before. It looks classic now instead of like one of a million as it did before.

I found it interesting to read about the stain as I don't think we have different stain for different types of wood here in Canada. I swear by the poly in satin and I always do a minimum of two coats and up to 4 if I'm really worried about something (maybe that is overkill, but it helps me sleep at night ;-)

Looking forward to seeing what you do next,


Courtney said...

Hi Julie!

I asked about doing more coats of poly, but was told no, 2 is the best for durability and nice finish. I think maybe that many layers perhaps doesn't finish as nicely? Not sure!
Thanks for stopping by!


Rachelle said...

I love how this table turned out, I can hardly believe the before. Thank you for sharing your new found knowledge with us! I know I've been doing staining wrong all these years lol. And I wanted to enter your giveaway but wasn't sure if it was open to those outside Australia?

Karen said...

Love the table! Been reading your blog for a long while now and came back here for a look at how you stain wood.
I'm just sanding an ugly TV unit - yellowy pine - so I can paint and stain.

Can I ask u a question? How far back do you have to sand the wood that'll be stained? Do I have to get it back to raw wood? If so, I think I'll be here till Xmas.

Oh and one more.... what colour stain/product did you use. I'd like a really dark colour like yours.
Ciao, Karen in Brisbane

Courtney said...

Hi Karen!

Thanks for that and with your project, yes you need to take it back to raw timber. You need to get all that old stain off so it doesn't interfere with the new stain.
A heat gun and scraper can remove it quickly or if you don't have one of those, an orbital sander with 'white paint' sanding discs in 180 grit should get it off for you. Then go over with higher grit paper, finishing with 400 grit by hand. Give it a good clean and let it dry at least half an hour before staining.
The stain I used was wattyl colourwood (colourwood is specifically for pine) in walnut brown.
Good luck and email me if you have any other questions


hmmbutterscotch said...

Hi, I love the table! Could I please ask if you used water based or oil based poly on this table top? A local store said water based poly may be prone to leaving heat marks from hot cups of tea and we drink loads of that here in England.

love the grey table too not sure which way to go??

Courtney said...

I used an oil based poly and from what I've been told, either oil or water based will leave the white heat marks. You'd just have to get used to using coasters/placemats I guess! For a dining table you want maximum durability so oil based would be what I'd use.
For ours (the grey one) I used a low grit sandpaper with a belt sander and left it roughish. I only gave it one coat of water based poly as it's what I had and its worn a lot now - which is what I wanted. We haven't had any heat marks show but might be due to the timber it is, or that it's light timber...not sure!
good luck picking your colour!

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