The day always comes when you finally complete a project. Sometimes you wonder if it will ever be finished and if you will ever be satisfied...but it happens. This lovely restoration project (Bassett Furniture Coffee Table) took me a couple of months as I worked on it between other projects. I also had a few things to learn about removing finishes and stain from round objects with deep crevices and applying poly-acrylic layers and making it look smooth and even. Next time will be much easier.
I live in a hot and fairly dry climate so the challenge with the finish was drying time.
If you are trying to apply a smooth thin layer of poly acrylic in the heat of summer you had better get it right the first time because it starts setting behind the brush. So I put on the finish in the cool of the morning. I also learned a few tricks with poly acrylic that may help others. Make sure the can has been sitting for at least 24 hours and has not been shaken or bounced as when you bring it home from the store. Next use a very fine bristled brush. DO NOT dip the brush in as you would into paint but only the very tip of the bristles. Move smoothly, gently (barely touch the surface) and slowly. Add more poly acrylic frequently rather than dragging out the product too thin. For the top of a project, pour the polyacrylic on the top and brush out, slowly, evenly (don't lift your brush often), and keep the handle of the brush close to the surface. It takes practice but you will soon learn how to work with this product and even come to like it. Next time I think I will try a rub on polyurethane and see how I like that. The products I use most often (Tung oil, lacquer and paste wax) are great for conditioning and preserving wood but not very good for protecting wood finishes from the damage that occurs from daily use.
When you are trying to remove a finish and stain from turned legs and feet for tables, apply the stripper liberally ( I use an orange stripper that is very effective but does not have all the harsh chemicals), wait thirty minutes and then WIPE with an old rag or cloth. I use my husbands old socks for these projects as they are all cotton, coarse and absorbent. You will find that the finish and the stain will wipe off with a little rubbing and cleaning. The film that remains can easily be sanded and you just saved yourself a lot of time trying to scrape, chisel or sand the tight spots!
Remember that the key to any beautiful project is really good prep work. Get all the old finish and stain off and sand the piece well so that you are back to original wood. Find the right stain color for the wood and your taste and follow the directions. If you let stain stand in one spot it will darken that area compared to the rest of the piece.
The best part? This piece of well made Bassett Furniture has a new life, a couple of uses (coffee table or entertainment table) and it isn't thrown in the back of the garage to decay. Now to sell it and on to the next project!