Thursday, September 15, 2011

At Long Last...

Madison's nursery finally has a side table.  Here's what we were working with before:
 Just before Madison was born, I ran across this solid wood side table FREE on Craigslist, and it just happened to be on Pat's way home from work!
 It wasn't exactly what I had in mind for the space, but it fit our budget beautifully, so we decided to work with it.  As you can see, it had the whole "X" thing going on on top,
 which wouldn't have been a problem, except that my plan was to paint it.  And you're supposed to paint (and sand, and stain, and anything else you might do to wood) with the grain.  But I was not about to spend 547 tedious hours doing this the "right way", so I improvised; I just picked a direction (one of the diagonals) and stuck with it, for sanding, priming, and painting.  First, I broke out Pat's random orbital sander:
Since the plan was to paint it, I didn't need to get all the way down to raw wood; I just needed a smooth, roughed up finish.  Confused?  What I mean is I needed to sand out any irregularities (think bumps or scratches) while scuffing up the finish enough to give the primer something to stick to.  Now that that's clear as mud...I used 100 grit sandpaper, and it worked pretty well.  Here it is all sanded, wiped down, and ready to prime.
 See how the finish doesn't look even?  That's okay; I just had to make sure I sanded through the varnish everywhere, which I did.  You won't be able to tell it's not sanded evenly once it's done, I promise.  I coated it with one thin coat of primer I've always used Zinsser water-based primer, but I've recently heard good things about their oil-based version, and might try that next time.  Or after I run out of primer.  Which, at this rate, will be somewhere around spring 2049.  Anyway, here's my table after that thin coat of primer.  It still looks uneven, and that's okay.  We really just wanted something to give the paint to stick to.
 After priming the table, I could see that there were some cracks around the tabletop that would not look pretty once it was painted.  I caulked them (don't judge my amateur caulk line, I can usually do a lot better than that):
 and smoothed it out.  No more crack!  Which is great, 'cause crack is whack.  Sorry, I couldn't stop myself.  At least I didn't go the plumber direction.  Oops, I guess I kinda just did.  Moving on:
 After letting the caulk dry and taking a well deserved break to read a few chapters of Green by Ted Dekker (great read, by the way), I applied the first coat of paint.  I used leftover creamy white paint from Madison's dresser (which is also what I used for this table.)
 Three coats later, it looked pretty good.  I let it sit outside for five days, hoping for most of the toxic nastiness to dissipate, and finally brought it inside to its new home:
It's not perfect for the space; I think a round table would fit in a little better, but the price was right!  Who knows?  Maybe Craigslist will offer up another free table that works even better.  For now, I'm going to try to work with it - we're taking this one day at a time.  We may even grow to love it!

 Cost Breakdown:
Table: $0
Sander/Sandpaper: $0 (already on hand, but I did use up a sheet of sandpaper, so I guess about $1)
Primer, Paint, and Paintbrush: $0
Grand Total: $0 (or $1 if you want to get all legalistic on me)

What do you think?  Have you scored any great free items on Craigslist (or anywhere else, for that matter)?  Have you tried using oil-based primer before?  Is it as great as "they" say?   Have you cracked (har-har) any good plumber jokes lately?


PS-We did go to meet Audrey yesterday, and she's beautiful!  Unfortunately, I was too infatuated to remember to snap a picture.  Dope!

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