Sunday, January 20, 2008

January Jumpstart #1- The Nightstands

Well I've had a very productive weekend and am working on three January Jumpstart inspired projects. Only one is finished right now, so while I'm waiting for the paint stripper to work on project #2, I thought I'd share the details...

I found two of these bureaus on Craigslist for $40 each, and knew they would make the perfect nightstands for my very tall antique bed. As you can see, they are quite battered- they were in the seller's bedroom from early childhood until his wife decided they had to go! They are solid wood and I love the shape and size, but obviously the finish (especially on top) was shot. I've been meaning to work on them for a few months; thanks AT and Blueprint for finally pushing me into it.

As you can see, I have very few tools for this project. I did not want the mess and hassle of sanding and stripping the nightstands, especially on this the coldest day yet of the DC winter. I decided to do what I could with Howard Restor-a-Finish ($8.99) and Howard Feed-n-Wax ($8.99). I bought the mahogany refinisher because the bed is mahogany so I wanted to add a bit more red to the nightstands to help them match. The screwdriver, old t-shirt, and pewter knobs were already in my toolbox so total project cost was about $20 with tax.

OK, I have to admit that I had my doubts about the Restor-a-Finish right up until I started using it- look at the difference on the battered top of this nightstand! The process is so easy- saturate clean rag with Restor-a-Finish, wipe onto wood, let dry. That's it- no buffing, sanding, scrubbing etc; just wipe on and let dry. I did just half of the top to capture the difference- unbelievable isn't it?

Here is the nightstand after I did two coats of the Restor-a-Finish and then two coats of the Feed-N-Wax. The wax is a bit more complicated, but still pretty easy in the grand scheme of furniture refinishing. I wiped on the wax, left it for 20 minutes, then wiped off the unabsorbed excess. There wasn't much to wipe off the first time around- I suspect this nightstand was crying out for hydration- so I wiped on another coat. The second time around I was able to wipe off excess which I figured was a good sign. The last step was to buff the wax coat with a clean rag. Actually, I guess screwing in the new hardware was the last step, but the impact of that change pales in comparison to the waxing...

Look at that shine! I am actually astonished at how much better the nightstands look. Obviously, stripping and restaining would yield even better results, but that was more time and energy than I ever wanted to invest in these pieces at this point. For $20 and a solid day of work, I'm delighted with the final results.


drwende said...

Looks gorgeous! Good work!

Restor-A-Finish is the most amazing stuff ever. Being someone who is (a) perfectly content with a few imperfections as signs of dignified age and (b) not endowed with a lot of space for messy projects, I rely heavily on Restor-A-Finish.

Mella DP said...

Great piece, and great job! I love it.

Alana in Canada said...

I have never heard of this. What an amazing job. That's a piece with great bones: I'm so glad you rescued it. Inspiring!

scb said...

Beautiful! Just beautiful!

Anonymous said...

Do you think you could use the products on a wood floor?

Kiki Kane said...

I have used feed-n-wax on my 1926 floors with excellent results! If you can't afford a total refinish, this will keep your floor looking good until you can.