Lesson Three In Furniture Refinishing: There’s Always a Fix!

Now, the last post may have left you wondering whether our chemical stripping had ACTUALLY led to success. Were the very sweaty hands in heavy rubber gloves really worth it? Was it really worth the extra expense of buying a stripper?

The undeniable answer is ABSOLUTELY YES!!

As we slowly scraped away the chemical stripper with a plastic putty knife (yes, that is important because we didn’t want to risk scraping the wood) we saw that the paint on the top wasn’t hiding problems but amazing potential.

The legs and some of the decorative work needed a few extra coats of chemical stripper to get all the old paint off–mostly because it refused to give up its seat in all the little nooks and crannies–but eventually we saw our little desk for all that it was. And we were thrilled!

Well, except for those back legs that were missing chunks because of rot…. And the drawers that were so broken that the slightest tug left you holding the front of the drawer while the rest of it fell to the ground in a clatter of old wood!

So, we’d discovered beauty beneath all the old paint. But we were also left with a number of problems that made us pause and consider our options. As we mentioned in the last post: furniture refinishing is ALL about rolling with the punches. It’s about being flexible. We had wanted to stain the entire desk, bringing out the beautiful wood we just “knew” was there. Turns out with the broken and rotted legs, staining was out of the question. We’d stain the top of the desk, but paint the rest. But that still left us with some problems: broken, crumbling drawers and the rotted legs.

Lesson Three: There’s Usually a Fix!

And that’s the next lesson: There’s usually a fix. Never forget that! And don’t zip by it tooquickly. Understand that even if you don’t know the answer to a problem, that doesn’t mean there isn’t an answer. At RepcoLite, we work with these types of projects all the time. We’ve helped with so many different situations, there’s a good chance we’ve seen what you’re working on. Also, there are many tools and products on the market of which homeowners are completely unaware.

So to go back to the desk example: those rotting legs needed repair. To help with that, we pulled a container of Min-Wax Epoxy Wood Filler from our shelves and mixed up a batch. It’s an incredibly tough wood filler that hardens chemically and, therefore, very quickly.

We mixed it up according to the directions and then built a sleeve out of cardboard to go around the legs that needed help. The sleeve helped us form the putty into the shape necessary and it held it long enough for it to harden and hold that particular form. Then we removed the cardboard and started sanding. It didn’t take long before the legs were once again solid and smooth. And best of all, the epoxy wood filler we used was durable and tough! These legs were basically better than new!

Then it was on to the drawers! And this was an easy fix. The dovetail joints holding the drawers together were already weakening. So all we did was carefully pull them apart the rest of the way, clean off any glue residue that remained, and then cut a new drawer bottom out of 1/4″ MDF. After that, it was just a quick matter of putting everything back together and regluing those joints! The end result, again, was better than new!

And that’s the big point here: you may tackle a project and run into a complication that leaves you frustrated or ready to give up. The rotted legs and the broken drawers didn’t do much for our attitudes regarding our desk, after all! But, before you call it quits on a particular project remember that there is usually a fix! You may need to ask some questions. You may need to learn about some new products. You may need to pick up a new repair skill. But the answers and the fixes are out there! Stop out at any RepcoLite or Port City Paints and ask. We’ll get you moving in the right direction.

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Lesson One In Furniture Refinishing: Pay Attention!

Who among us hasn’t seen those shows where they take some junky piece of furniture that seems destined for the trash heap and miraculously turn it into something incredible? Many of us WISH we could do that. They make it look so easy on TV!

Let the Treasure Hunt Begin!

Well, we decided to investigate how hard it really is to do something like that. So we began our search for the perfect piece to transform. And when we couldn’t find that perfect piece even remotely in our price range, we decided that any piece would do!

In the end, we found an old desk in a quiet (and dark) little secondhand shop. It looked perfect sitting in there, covered with assorted knick-knacks. The price was right and, quite honestly, someone else was eyeing it, so we snatched it up.

Riding back to our shop with the little desk in the back of the car, we were pleased with our find. And we talked about how we were going to trannsform this tired and dusty desk into a gloriously stained piece of fine furniture. We had big plans.

But, as they say, even the best laid plans…

See, it all started to fall apart when we actually looked at the piece in the light. We knew it was covered with peeling paint. But we hadn’t realized that the drawers would fall into a hundred pieces at the slightest tug and that huge chunks of the legs were missing from rot and water damage.

Lesson One: Pay Attention!

We had been in such a rush to find the perfect piece, we never took the time to inspect it as we should!

If you’re going to try your hand at furniture refinishing, the very first lesson to learn is not about the actual refinishing process at all. The first lesson is about the search!

Pay attention. Take your time. Look a piece over–even if it takes getting on the floor and looking at it from underneath. Check out the legs and the feet. Examine the hardware. Pull out the drawers. Do they slide easily? Are the joints tight? If not, will a little wood glue bring everything back together?

Look at the sides and inspect the veneer. Is it in good shape or are pieces missing?

Look for dings and dents in the wood. And don’t forget to look to see if the piece is truly made of wood at all! We’ve seen a number of people make this mistake, purchasing a laminated piece with the thoughts of stripping it and refinishing it. It’s an embarrassing mistake! Don’t make it.

All in all, take your time, pay attention, and examine the piece from top to bottom. You know your skill set. You know what you can fix and what you should leave for someone else. You don’t want to be surprised. Like we were!

Moving Forward

At any rate, surprised or not, there was only one direction for us to move: forward! After all, we’re stubborn. And we had paid good money for this thing. We weren’t quitting now. We were going to turn it into something cool if it killed us. But how? Check out the next post to find out!

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EP19 – August 12, 2017: Adventures in Furniture Refinishing, Masking Tape Woes, Streak-Free Window Cleaning Miracle, and Carpet Care 101

 

Paint projects shouldn’t be daunting. Or complicated. Most of the time, any struggles we’ve ever had come from not knowing a few tricks that the professionals know. Today we talk about a number of ways to get beautiful results whenever you use masking tape!

Listen here:

Show notes for episode 019:

Some people may have heard this segment before, but Kim DeBoer had such good information. She told us where to find furniture to refinish and how to tell if it's worth buying. It's a project that is well worth the time and effort. You end up with a truly unique, one of a kind piece of furniture you can be proud of.

Kim DeBoer is a professional painting contractor who does a lot of furniture refinishing on the side. She's been doing this for herself and her customers for years!

We took Kim's advice and went hunting for the perfect piece. We picked up this very sad looking desk for about $50, but thought it might have potential. We were pleasantly surprised to find a beautiful wood top under many layers of paint. We now have a one-of-a-kind desk that we can be proud of!

Have you ever finished a painting project, all excited to pull the tape off and see the fruits of your labor, only to find that paint has bled under the tape and you now have all kinds of touch up to do?

We've all been there. Our paint project goes so well until the tape comes off. Maybe paint has bled under the tape. Maybe the tape pulled paint off the wall. We've got some of the most common tape complaints, when it comes to painting, and the solutions for them.

Many of us dread washing windows because it takes so long and it's so hard to get them streak and spot free. As soon as the sun is at just the right angle, we can see (very clearly!) every swipe of the rag we made.

  We tried the top three window cleaning solutions we found on the internet, and this is the one we thought worked the best.

Magic Cleaner #1

1/2 gal. warm water

1 Tbsp. Jet Dry

2-3 Tbsp. Dawn

  The other solutions we tried were:

Magic Cleaner #2

1/2 bottle Jet Dry

4 Tbsp. Alcohol

1/4 c. ammonia

1 handful powdered dishwasher soap

2 gal. hot water

Magic Cleaner #3

2 c. water

1/4 c. vinegar

1/2 tsp Dawn

New carpet is a huge investment and no one wants to do it often. But most people are unaware that the way they clean their carpet and what they clean it with, can actually void their warranty or even wear it out faster.

Nick Sargent from Johnson Carpet One joins us in the studio to discuss the finer points of carpet care.

And in the segment, Nick talks about Capture Carpet Cleaner. We said we'd include a link. And here it is!

 

EP14 – July 8, 2017: It’s Toilet Talk Time!

We know, it’s something people don’t normally talk about in social circles. It’s a topic left for the privacy of our own homes. But we’re breaking the mould and asking all the toilet questions you may have pondered. Mark DeVisser from The Plummer Is Here stops by to answer our questions and walk us through the options when buying a new toilet. The subject matter makes us uncomfortable, but the information is worth the discomfort!

Listen here:

Show notes for Episode 014:

Kitchens are the most commonly redone room in a house. They are also some of the most costly. And there are some things you can do to change the look, without spending a ton of money. We've all heard of painting the cabinets and replacing the hardware. But there is one more project that is often overlooked, but dramatically changes the look of your kitchen.

Painting a tile backsplash can really change the look and feel of your kitchen. It can make a dated kitchen feel current. And, with a little creativity, you can make your backsplash a one-of-a-kind. Check out our Backsplash Ideas Pinterest board to see what inspired us!

Figuring out the perfect lighting for your home can be a challenge. But it can be more difficult as we get older. Our eyes go through drastic changes as we age and most people will require more and different types of light.

Renee Huff from The Lighting Corner in Grandville stops by to discuss how eyes change as we age and some things that we can implement to help us, or our loved ones, see better as we gracefully age.

Outdoor living spaces are the fastest growing segment of home improvement. Everyone is trying create that backyard spaces that every neighbor wants. And all may be perfect until it comes to the furniture.

There are three general issues that come up when it comes to patio furniture:

  1. It looks terrible from sitting in the weather.
  2. It's the wrong style. You bought log furniture, but now hate it!
  3. It's an eclectic collection of yard sale finds.

When people find themselves in one of the above situations they generally do one of two things: they either live with it, or they toss it (for the eclectic collector to find!) and buy new. But there is a third option that we like a lot better! It will save you money over replacing and you can make it something the neighbors will envy! You can find amazing ideas on our Outdoor Furniture Pinterest board.

Yes, we have finally come to Dan's favorite segment of this episode! He has been dying to have all of his hard-hitting toilet questions answered by an expert plumber. And lucky for us, The Plumber Is Here!

Mark DeVisser from The Plumber Is Here! stops by to answer all Dan's questions and add a few laughs.

Mark DeVisser is a Master Plumber and Owner of  Great Lakes Plumbing Services, LLC (or, as it is more commonly known, The Plumber Is Here!). The plumber Is Here can take care of all your plumbing needs including water heaters, faucets, tubs and showers, water and sewer hookups, drain cleaning and so much more! They service residential, commercial and new construction in all areas around Saugatuck, Holland, Zeeland, Grand Haven, Grandville, Jenison, Hudsonville, and beyond. 

Color Me Home Episode 18: Eliminate Mistakes When Buying New Furniture!

In today’s episode, we sit down with Sara Vander Molen from UBU Home Furnishings in the Rivertown Crossings Mall. Sara applies the top 3 New Year’s Resolutions to your home. And Dan makes a terrible, terrible mistake in the very beginning and digs a hole so deep there’s not a ladder big enough for him to crawl out!

Episode Outline

  • Dan’s Terrible, Terrible Mistake (0:27)
  • FIRST RESOLUTION: Lose Weight, Get Healthier (2:06)
  • SECOND RESOLUTION: Get Organized (4:09)
  • THIRD RESOLUTION: Save Money by Avoiding Mistakes! (6:21)
    • Get Help from Experts! (7:13)
    • Measure, Measure, Measure! (8:43)
    • Buy Quality Products (11:01)
  • BUY QUALITY PAINT b (Dan’s Brilliant Paint Tie-In) (12:50)

Contact Info

We were so grateful to Sara Vander Molen from UBU Home Furnishings in the Rivertown Crossings Mall for taking time out of her day to be with us in the studio and share her expertise. Remember, as Sara mentioned, UBU Home Furnishings offers color consulting and design help. It’s free in-store and is available for a nominal hourly fee for in-home consultations.