Monday, February 4, 2013

Finding the Right Piece to Refurbish

This is the most important step in upcycling because you don't want to just put lipstick on a pig. You want that piece that has curves and carved details, but still structurally sound. And while I've fixed many structural problems on several dressers, I suggest you start with a piece where the drawers work, the legs aren't falling off, the top isn't warped, etc.
This is the perfect piece because even though there are water marks and surface scratches, it's bare wood, structurally sound, with beautiful bones. See how it turned out.
This 1960's piece, and French Provincial dresser are second best because of their veneer tops. Stay away from veneer unless it's in good shape because you cannot sand any imperfections out of it. However, the veneer on these two pieces are all in tact, so after priming, you're good to go.
And take notice, both are structurally sound and have good bones.
 This desk is an example of what NOT to start out with if you don't know much about how to fix drawers. But if you do, it's a great piece to paint because the sanding surface is all flat.
And lastly, here's a dresser that would not be so easy. It has a lot of old, loose paint chipping off (what you call "real distressing") so would definitely need to be sanded completely down to the wood. If you were to put primer directly on it in this state, you would see "phantom" daisies under your paint. Meaning those painted daisies are raised just enough to see even if painted over. Plus, it also has some curves which are more tiring to sand.
But, it's structurally sound and beautiful, so take it if you're ambitious enough to sand. A lot.
Sanding Tip: the lower the grit number on the sand paper, the more course it is.
I prefer an orbital sander for large areas and generally start with an 80-grit sandpaper (I started with 60-grit for the blue dresser above because those daisies were on thick!), working my way up to 150-grit for projects that you will be painting.
For bare wood, it's best to make it really smooth if you're going to stain or oil it, so 220 or even higher would probably be the way to go.
Good luck finding just the right junk piece! And feel free to share what you find.

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