Saturday, December 11, 2010

Shiny happy table

I've already covered the sanding and staining of the new-to-me dining table, but I never really told you the final chapter.  When I had the table all stained and ready, I had to make a decision about what to finish it with. 
I didn't want to use poly, because it's not the best top coat for furniture.  It's better to choose a lacquer or varnish.  Poly is thick and is easily scratched, while lacquers are super thin and enhance the wood grain instead of covering it up.  Plus, Restor-A-Finish is meant for lacquered finishes!  I was initially going to go with this product:
But I read that the brushing lacquer dries so fast it is nearly impossible to get it on without brush marks.  With that knowledge, I decided to go with these instead:
Did you know it's best to use gloss for the first coat of poly or lacquer when you are covering stained wood?  The reason is that semi-gloss and satin finishes contain dulling agents to make them less shiny, and if all the coats contain these dulling agents, your wood grain can look muddy.  I bought two cans of gloss and one of semi, my preferred final finish.   This is after a couple coats of the gloss spray:
I did about 5 coats of gloss, using up the two cans entirely.  Then topped it with 2 coats of semi-gloss.  I was loving how the stripey wood grain is not at all obscured by the fine mist of the lacquer.  The mist is so fine that the table is dry after about 30 seconds! 
While I love this spray, there is one thing they don't mention on the can....from one side to the other, the overspray on the most recently-done side will settle on the completed side, creating a 'haze.'  I kept thinking it was a problem with my spraying, so I'd go over and over it before I finally took a swipe at the haze with my sleeve, and it was perfectly shiny underneath the overspray!  Turns out this stuff is almost foolproof.  
After I was done with the lacquer, we brought the table inside and I primed and painted the base.  I always do my staining and sealing before painting, because wet paint is a lot easier to wipe off cured lacquer or poly than bare wood, right?
Did you happen to notice the swirls on the bottom of the legs before?  I hated them.  I used some stainable wood filler to spackle right over them.  Oh, yes I did!  My retired neighbor thought I was nuts, but I showed him. 
A little sanding and I was ready to prime and paint right over that little detail. 
In other news, do you think the West Elm zig zag rug would be 'pattern overload' in here?  I dragged our runner downstairs to test it out. 
I think it may just be crazy enough to work!  But the jury is still out.....

And here is the cost for the table -
Table - free from future mother-in-law
3 cans spray lacquer (purchased at Farm & Fleet): $16
Stain - already had
Wood filler - already had
Paint - covered in 'chair' post
$16 total!


  1. hahah, Nice! I don't think I ever would have thought to spackle out that swirl, but I like the finished result. Newly retained information, check!

  2. I love that rug. It looks awesome in there. Yes yes yes to the rug!

  3. Oh Sara, the table is beautiful and i LOVE the rug! Go for it!

  4. You are genius to fill in the feet! I would have never thought of that, but I do like it better. And I love their of patterns, really takes the room to a new level.

  5. Yes on the rug, absolutely. It's a shame that the Espresso/Ivory combo doesn't come with the red edges, cause that would just be perfect!

    Good call on filling in the feet swirls...

  6. I LOVE that West Elm rug. I think it looks great with the chairs, I say go for it!

  7. Good call on the swirl. It looks great. I don't think the rug is pattern overload. I actually kinda like it.

  8. Table is perfect. Rug is too much.

  9. I may have done the same thing with those swirlies, too.

    Hmm the rug the rug the rug... I think it might actually work too! I like it more the more I look at it.

  10. Nice idea about swirly removal! Lookin' good.

  11. The table is gorgeous, and the rug will totally mess people up, which I love!

  12. Very informative post. I probably would have just used poly; I didn't know about the spray stuff! It turned out great.

    I personally think you should leave the zig zag rug out and let all the focus be on your fabulous dining set!

  13. Okay just add this to the list of things I'm jealous of that you've accomplished!
    and I love the rug!
    We still haven't even been able to think about working on that beautiful antique buffet server that needs some love from your beloved Restor-a-finish. I guess baby stuff takes priority. Sooo whenever you want to come do that.... :)

  14. The chairs and table are beautiful! GREAT job!


  15. They look beautiful! I love that you filled in the swirls on the table leg...great idea!

  16. I love the sig zag rug! Your room is beautiful. Get the rug :)


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