DIY · Family · Renovation

DIY…….Baby steps

I’m not gonna lie, I love a good crafty project.  I love making gifts and Christmas decor, crocheting, and making jams and jellies, but messing with wood is on a whole other level for me.  I think I feel as if I’m gonna mess the wood up and then there’s no going back.  Sooooo, I took on a kitchen project and decided to get back to working on it this past week.

About a year ago we got a new kitchen table(new to us) that came with a bench. The way our kitchen is,  the kitchen table sits up against a big window. So my reasoning is the bench will go better up near the window than some chairs, plus I can fit 3 kids on a bench instead of 2. Anyways, the table and bench are both light oak with antique white legs. The chairs I had just bought were a dark walnut with antique white back and legs.  My project is to stain the table top and top of bench to the dark color matching the chairs.   In my head it was super simple, sand the finish off, wipe on some stain (maybe 2 coats), then paint on a layer of poly-urethane. Easy peasy!  Well…….things aren’t always as easy as they seem.

First things first, I started with the bench. It’s smaller and if I mess it up I figured it wouldn’t be as noticeable as our actual table.  I got out my little hand held sander and sanded the finish off in just about 30 minutes or so.  I thought to myself, “yep I got this….just like I planned”.  Well, 3 months later the sanded, unfinished bench is still in my kitchen.  So I’ve spent the summer with 3 different colored woods in my dining set.  Oh well, life is busy and sometimes you just gotta know?  Ok, back to it though. This past week I got it out to the garage and started the staining process.  I cleaned it off really well and started wiping the stain on with an old soft rag we had. I used MinWax Wiping Stain, basically because it looked like the simplest route.  I wiped the whole bench top down moving in the direction of the wood grain. I let it sit for 3 minutes, then I wiped off the excess in the same direction as the wood grain as well.  After wiping off there a few spots that had a much lighter stain so after 4 hours of drying I reapplied the stain to the areas I wanted it to be darker.  So far, so good.

All was looking good and going to plan.  The next step was to add a coat or two of poly-urethane to help protect the wood and keep it’s finish.  I used the MinWax fast drying clear poly-urethane.  I used a soft brush to apply the varnish. All seemed well at first, until the next day after allowing for 12 hours dry time. I ran my hand along the bench to see if it was dry, and it was. However, there was these spikey pit things all over it.  At first I just looked at it and considered just letting it go, mainly because I wasn’t sure why it was like that, but after much examination I realized that the grass, dirt and dog hair that gets blown around in our garage, had in fact landed on the poly-urethane while it was drying.  Not what I was in the mood for at all.

So after sulking for two days, I sanded down the pitty areas (which didn’t take as much stain off as I had thought it would).  The bench was smooth again and I applied a little more stain to those areas that needed it.  This time I cleaned up and swept up the garage and made sure no one would be pulling the lawnmower or any vehicles in and out of the garage for at least a day while this sucker was drying. The next day I had myself a beautiful bench that matches my chairs!! Woo-hoo!! Now I just gotta get myself moving on the table….that’s  why I called it baby