Monday, October 28, 2013

Sanding Tips and a Furniture Makeover

Furniture Makeover

 Over the summer, I found this cute little cabinet at a yard sale. The problem was the paint. Nothing wrong with it really, just not my style. Here's the before.

Furniture Makeover
I really like the dark stain with white paint look that I've seen everywhere. So that's what I decided to try.

Sanding Tips
To start with I sanded down the door. I also sanded all of the paint off of the top.

I wanted to share a few sanding tips with you all, so I asked the pro, my dad. My dad has worked with wood his entire life. The smell of sawdust always reminds me of him. So here are his tips:

Sanding Tips:

*The first thing I do is pull out a piece of carpet to protect the opposite face of the wood as I sand on it. It also helps to keep the piece from getting away from you.

*I have found a Random Orbital Sander- (some folks call it a palm sander) is easier than a big 1/2 Sheet Vibrator Sander. I like Porter Cable or Bosch. I use a sticky back paper and have a big eraser I use on the pad to keep it free of dust and debris between changes. I suppose a damp cloth would work as well.

*Start with 80 grit sandpaper to get planer marks or abrasive marks out.  Sand in the direction of the grain.  Go to a 120 grit sandpaper and for a fine finish to 220 grit. You will find that 220 grit is optional.

*Folks have a tendency to oversand the corners- remember that corners usually get more passes- so don't hover over the corners- try to maintain the integrity of the piece. You want it to be as square as when you started- you don't want dips or irregularities. You can take a small square or straight edge and place it on the face to see how you are doing. To sand the edge or end grain, leave the piece flat (hanging a little over the table edge) and hold the orbital sander perpendicular- so it is parallel to the edge or end. Here again, don't over do it near the corners.

*After sanding do a visual inspection with a good light to detect any scratches or marks still there.  Knots are harder and usually require a little more time to sand out.

*After you have completed all surfaces take a worn out piece of 120 grit sandpaper- fold it in half and ease the edges very lightly by hand. Generally, you don't want to round the edges- the purpose of this is to avoid cuts and slivers with future handling. Of course, if the part of the piece is a glue joint- don't sand the edge at all.

*It is not necessary to apply a lot of pressure when sanding.  The secret to sanding is a light touch and new paper- let the orbital action do the work. If it seems like you are not making progress- you need a new piece of sandpaper. I may go through 4, 5, or 6 pieces of sandpaper on a small project. I never feel bad about replacing paper- because I use the worn out piece for hand sanding.

*Sometimes when the lighting is bad I will take a pencil and scribble a wiggly line over the face of the wood. When the pencil line is gone I know I have done a pretty good job.

Next I stained the door and the top. My sister was nice enough to let me use some of her leftover stain. One of the reasons you want to do a good job sanding is because staining brings out all the imperfections. I let the stain dry over night and then sprayed with a few coats of spray lacquer. I let that dry a few days and then taped off the top.

Furniture Makeover
I painted the whole cabinet brown, inside and out.

Furniture Makeover

Then I painted just the outside a creamy white.

Furniture Makeover

Next, I went to town with my little orbital sander that my dad gave me, scuffing up the paint until the brown showed through. That was the fun part!

Furniture Makeover
Reattach the door and add a new handle and she's all done. I really like how it turned out. And I found the perfect spot for it in the entry way. Right now the kid's scripture bags and dance bags are hidden inside.

What do you think? Have you refinished any furniture lately?

This is my latest project:

Gel Stain Glaze Hutch Makeover

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  1. Rachel, I love how the cabinet turned out. Thank you so much for the great sanding tips too!

  2. Featured your lovely cabinet today! Thanks for linking up to Project Inspire{d}!