Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Ye (plural) of Little Faith

Originally uploaded by reallyct
Though devoted partner just called me on the phone and proceeded to recite the definition of sloth to me (for which there will be just punishment) I did, in a fit of not wanting to do my taxes, start work on the table this past weekend. Ever since I attempted to paint my own bedroom in 2000 resulting in paint on hardwood floors (suck it, illegal sublet) I have been afraid of paint. I just might be a trifle too messy for paint as could be amply attested to by any of the lovely patissiers at DB Bistro who know my propensity for "getting in the confectioner's sugar." But I had been to the dreaded Home Depot, had purchased enough drop cloth to blanket Port Chester, and thought the time had come to man up and get over my fear of destroying everything within my radius.

Guided by the wise and offensively talented Amy (who makes these kinds of home improvement projects seem like no big deal), I had purchased the proper brushes, sandpaper, and paint, and knew how I was to proceed. Step 1: sand off laminate gloss; Step 2: paint. At least those were the steps I remembered. There was a polyurethane step in there as well but Home Depot didn't have that kind of polyurethane so we'll be temporarily avoiding that step. I sanded until the table no longer looked glossy, but, as you can see from this first picture, I may have stopped sanding too soon. No matter, like nail polish, I assumed this could be the base coat.

I should now mention that I sort of forgot to buy that plastic receptacle for the paint and a stirrer. Now someone in another home would have been at wit's end over this sort of oversight, but my house is different. Simply take one's food service grade (and length) plastic wrap and double wrap a mixing bowl and, voila, paint receptacle. Similarly, 3 wood skewers stand in quite well for a paint stirrer in a pinch. As for cleanup, well, what home would be complete without approximately 12 spare rolls of bounty towels. And goodness knows, if this project should require sugar at some point, we've got that well covered with the 50 gallon drum in the basement.

So I felt pretty good about my domestic prowess and MacGyver-like substitutions. True, coat one was not smooth, but coat two was definitely smoother. I remembered Amy's admonishment to attempt to paint in very broad strokes, which I attempted. Yet the space where the first and second swaths intersected was, by necessity thicker, and I felt I had to smooth it out. This in turn made neither swath especially smooth, but I felt certain that subsequent coats would even this out.

Thus far, two coats in, and I'm reevaluating my earlier logic. Even dry, it still isn't as smooth as I would like. Enter devoted partner, himself a professed knower of things. He has suggested a very fine grit sanding might prep the table well for coat three. I shudder at the inevitable return to Home Depot (though perhaps someone there could advise me on my polyurethane problem...) but still have hope that this table might be good in the end. Some things I've noted, though: the color is a little more Go Tigers! than I would have liked - something neither the paint chip nor the daub on the top of the paint can would have suggested and something I am attributing to the fact that the table was woodsy colored to begin with thus, perhaps lending a yellower cast to the whole project; though, come to think of it, once I had the base coats of blue wouldn't this have gone away? Never mind, once completed and accessorized (oh I have accessory plans, fear not), I think this will be a kind of cool table. And, depending on the overall success the first of many such painting projects because, as Amy foresaw, it's kind of addictively fun!


  1. Yay! I think it looks great so far. Just a reminder, you want water-based poly. I'm not sure about the whole sanding at this phase idea--I'm not disagreeing with Jim, I'm just not sure. You might want to try some fine steel wool instead,I guess depending on how uneven things are. I think bright blue will great--I can't wait to see it! xx

  2. p.s. It bothers me not at all that your first coat looks that way. Lots of thin coats are good for smooth finish with high gloss paint.