Friday, June 30, 2017

Refinishing Heirloom Furniture - Part 3 Staining and Varnishing


Check out my blog for the past two days for part one and two of how to glue down veneer and how to mix filler and stain to fill holes and scratches.

When your project is to this point, you need to do a final sand. This project is a little bit different than others in that we didn't need to refinish most of the table. I will explain the way to do each type so if you only need to refinish part of the project, you can read about that.

Sand the entire project and when it is smooth, make sure you use a very fine sandpaper which will make the surface smooth.

There are finishing sanders in shapes that help get to corners so if you have lots of carving or corners, then you may want to purchase one of those.

You need to choose what color of stain you want to use. If you are just picking one for something completely stripped, it really doesn't matter what you use. However, if you are restoring it to period or original, you may want to use the same color stain it was when it was made.

If you aren't refinishing the entire project, you will want to match the stain to the rest of the piece so there isn't any color differences. To do this, you need to get a stain matching pamphlet or you can take a piece of the project to the store if there is a small knob or something you can take to match stain.

In this radio table, the sun or time had lightened the stain at the top side and it was still dark on the bottom so we ended up using two different stain colors on the project. You may run into that situation depending on if the item was ever in a sunny place.

We ended up using "Early American" on the area just under the top all the way down 2/3 of the legs. We used the "Red Mahogany" on the top and the bottom of the legs. It ended up matching the existing stain very well. You can't really tell that we re-stained over the existing so it worked out well.

For items that are being fully stained, you start with a brush or some cotton cloth. Open the stain and stir it lifting the color from the bottom and mixing it with the oils at the top. Then, you can apply it to a CLEAN project. After sanding, make sure you wipe it down with a damp cloth to get all the sanding dust off. Allow it to dry and then you can apply the stain. Some people just pour it on and swirl it around. I like going section by section and going with the grain to get even coverage.

Since this radio table is Princess Five's inheritance from my mother and before that, my grandmother, I thought it would be good for her to have a chance to help refinish it and learn that skill as well as make it more "hers" now. You may want to wear gloves and "paint clothes" in order to keep from getting stained fingers or hands.

If your project had stain on it before, you want to make sure you get all of it off before staining it if it is light as the darker stain may show through if you only sand part of it. You can always go darker but a dark walnut stain will show through unless you go black so if your stain is in the wood veneer and you can't sand it out, you will have to stick with the same stain for the project to look good.

Once the project has a coat of stain, I let it dry and it really doesn't take long. I then reapply a second coat and then wait about ten minutes and any wetness still left on the project, I wipe off with a clean cloth. Usually, I just use an old t-shirt for these type of projects.

Stain and varnish can cause fires if the rags are left out. ALWAYS clean up after using stains and varnish. Do the project, throw away any rags used outside in a garbage can away from the house in case the rags ignite in the can.

We actually had a business in town burn down because they left their staining rags on the counter to reuse the next day. It is better to be safe than sorry with these type of things. Rags are cheap and it isn't worth risking your families life over a simple solution.

If you aren't doing the entire project and just have some scratches in an area of the project, match the stain as well as you can and then wipe the stain over the scratches and let it sit for about 10 minutes. Then, take a clean cloth and wipe the stain off the area as it will make the entire project sticky if you leave it on without wiping it off as the stain will react with the varnish still on the item.

Once the item is dry, you can varnish it. There are gloss, semi-gloss, and satin. I like the semi-gloss finish as the high gloss is super shiny. I did that on my table tops as I wanted them shiny but for the most part, I go semi-gloss. This is usually brushed on and then left to dry for 2-24 hours. Once dry, sand with 220 grit sand paper or 000 steel wool and wipe with a damp cloth and recoat with the varnish to give a good finish to the item. Let it dry and you are good do go!

I am so happy with how the table turned out. Princess also was happy with her new heirloom. I framed a picture I found in our family history where my mother was sitting next to this table where her father was holding the other kids on his lap reading to them for a publicity picture. The picture was in the newspaper on Thanksgiving 1948!

No one in my family had any knowledge that this table was my grandmothers. I was looking through pictures for a blog or something and since the table was in my front room from my mothers estate at the time, I recognized the bottom decorative carving on the table and flipped back to this picture and then later on recognized it in the news article so we printed up the article and the news photo in a cute matching frame for her to put on the table! We also think we will put a Bluetooth speaker in the bottom of the table for Princess Five to use. Won't it be such a fun accent to a room!

Have a Blessed Day!

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Refinishing an Heirloom Part 2 - Filling Holes, Dings, Gouges, and Scratches




This radio table my daughter got from my mothers estate had two really deep holes in the top. I don't know what made the holes but they needed to be filled before she could stain the table.

I have rarely found any older piece of furniture without some wear and tear. Most have some issue with veneer or a few deep scratches.

This table is no exception. There were a few chips on the edges, the veneer glue down I shared on yesterdays post, and those two deep holes.

Years ago I had a friend who worked on furniture and he showed me to mix my stain in wood putty to fill holes on wood pieces that you are planning on staining.

If you are painting the item, it doesn't matter what color the wood filler is as it won't be seen but when you are staining a piece, you don't want the filler to be a different color than the finished project.

Now, they have stainable wood filler but I kinda liked the old stuff better as this filler almost feels like a sandy grout. I have a large container of it now so I am stuck with it and you wouldn't know that until you try it but it is the MINWAX stainable. The Elmers one was a bit more like the others I am used to using.

I usually take a small medicine cup size container and scoop some of the wood filler into it. I then put a few drops of the wood stain color I have chosen to use. I mix it until the wood putty is the stain color. Don't add too much of the stain or it will water down the wood filler but just add a few drops at a time until it gets to the stain color.

Since we didn't strip the entire table, I was able to hold the filler to the stain that was still on the table to make sure it was dark enough to fill the holes.

I then get a spatula and use it to put the putty in the holes and scratches. You can kinda push the putty down in with your fingers if needed. On very thin gaps, I used my finger to push the putty in and slide my finger down the gap until it is full and smooth.

On deeper holes like the ones on this table, I should have put it on, let it dry and then applied another coat as if you put too much in, it doesn't dry quickly and shrinks or sometimes bubbles up some.

If you are going to try a second coat, sand it a little and then put in a bit more filler and let it dry. Allow a few hours for the filler / putty to dry. Don't use oil based fillers. They just don's mix well and don't take the stain as well.

Once you have allowed the putty to dry, you need to sand it. If the putty isn't dry, it will all fall out of the hole or you will pull out the wet part. If you sand it and it is wet, chucks come out. Make sure it is dry before sanding.

I use fine grit sand paper of 150 or higher as the more coarse paper can cause lines in the filler. Don't use power sanders on areas that have shallow fill or it may go right through the putty. Go gentle on edges as well as the filler can pop out due to not being supported well. Once you stain and varnish it, the putty gets sealed in and is stronger.

Sand the entire surface always going WITH the grain as going against can leave scratches that may not be able to be sanded out leaving marks on the finished project. It can also make the finish rough.

Once it is sanded smooth, use a lightly damp cloth or paper towel and wipe away any dust from sanding. You need a super clean surface to stain. 

Stain the project (I will cover that tomorrow) and don't allow pooling of the stain over the putty as you don't want the putty to absorb more stain than the wood or you will have a dark spot forever.

As you can see the holes look better. I should have drawn or painted on some "grain" lines with a paint over the larger holes which you can do if you need to fill larger areas. Follow the grain around the hole and just connect the grain lines. You can use the stain to paint the grain lines in and just let it sit and dry longer and then stain the rest over the darker lines wiping away the stain quickly so it doesn't stain the rest as dark as the grain lines. The early pioneers used to use feathers to draw "grain" lines on pine furniture to make it look like oak, it is a talent for sure.

You can see that the table top came out great and the holes and scratches aren't extremely noticeable. I will show how to stain and varnish it tomorrow hopefully. I have a super busy day so we will see if we get to it! Have a Blessed Day!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Refinishing an Heirloom Part 1 - Gluing Vaneer Down


Exactly a year ago this week, my portion of my mothers estate was delivered to my house.

My mother passed away after living with me for over three months and we cleaned out her house and then the items I got were brought to my home by my sister. Here is a link to the post about that and there is a picture of this radio table and the horrible shape it was in when it arrived.

I started work on the table when it arrived along with all the other items I 
inherited but Princess Five had a horrible roll over a few weeks later which put all my efforts on finishing the items aside for a full year now.

Looking at that post, I actually feel better about my life the past year. I had nine pieces of furniture delivered and I have finished 7 1/2 of them! I was feeling so behind in so many areas due to such crazy times but after looking at that post, I was so excited to see that I get more done than I realize!

Really, this table didn't need a ton of work but we just didn't have the time to get back to it and Princess Fives damaged arm wouldn't allow her to be able to do much until now. She wasn't really excited to help me with all she has going on but after we got started and she was able to see some results, she started to get more excited.

The first thing that needs to be fixed on a wood item is any lifted veneer. Veneer is a thin layer of wood grain placed on top of other woods or bases to give beauty to the piece, to make it weigh less than a solid hard wood, or to make it less expensive than a solid piece as a thin piece of wood is cheaper than a full thickness.

Sometimes the veneer gets caught and lifts up, gets wet and the water damages that thin piece and it will warp up. When this happens, if the damage isn't super bad, you can glue it back down by using a syringe and wood glue. It has to be a thin or gorilla glue type rather than an Elmer's type.

You can also use a very thin knife or spatula to spread a thin coat under the veneer. Push down the veneer and wipe any excess glue off. You can then put waxed freezer paper over the area and clamp down the veneer until it is dried. If the area of damage in not in a place a clamp will work, you can use heavy books to flatten the area until the glue has dried.

Once it is dried, you can sand off the excess dried glue. If there are gaps around the area, I will share in tomorrows post about how to fill those. Make sure you use a very fine grit sand paper. The higher the number, the more fine the sand paper.

Steel wool is the opposite. The lower the number, the more fine it is. When finishing a wood item, I usually use 150 grit or higher. Always sand with the grain. I like to hand sand for finish work as the finish sander will sometimes make circular marks on the wood. 

Once I have sanded the item, I wipe it with a damp cloth or paper towels to get the fine dust off, and when doing this, you can see how beautiful the item will look with stain. The water brings out the grain giving it some depth. You can see that in these two pictures.

You can see the way the glue holds the veneer down and if you don't do it, the veneer will catch on things and snap off making it really hard to fix. You then have to use filler or putty mixed with stain to fill the gap but it doesn't look as nice. I suggest you make sure there are no splinters, bubbles or loose veneer on the item before you start refinishing.

Check in tomorrow for part two. Have a Blessed Day. 

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Making a Bath, Beach, or Swim Towel, Sheet, or Blanket

Many years ago, I had a sister-in-law that had a bunch of terry cloth towel material. She asked if anyone wanted it. There was a large square piece and a couple of shorter length in contrasting colors.

I figured I could make the kids robes out of it or something but I had already made them a few out of large towels and figured we really didn't need new ones yet. I did however, need beach towels. I basically just put a rolled edge on the pieces of fabric and we have used those towels for about 20 years.

When I left home and went across country to college, I took a pink flowered beach towel and now it is shredded and I use it to fill a gap in the window a/c unit.

I found this cute pink floral towel fabric the other day for cheap. I thought it would be fun to make Princess Five an extra long towel to take to college with her. My mother had pink bath mats so we got those and I bought a cute pink shower curtain and I thought this would be fun.

It is as tall as her and she has some new towels as well but she said she would like it for a beach towel so she was happy about it.

Basically, you just need to make sure the raw edges of the fabric are even and straight before you make a hem or rolled edge on it.

The salvage edge can be left alone as you see in the picture or you can roll the edge on them as well. I think the towel will be more durable and sturdy with the rolled hem all the way around but it isn't a necessity but I figure while you are doing the raw edges, you can just go all the way around.

If the fabric is expensive, it may not be worth it to make a towel or beach blanket. If you can find towels on sale, you can make a beach blanket by sewing a few of them together.

To make a salvage edge into a rolled hem edge, just fold in the salvage area and then flip it over one more time and stitch. When the edge is fairly straight, you don't have to pin it and can just use your fingers to hold it.

If you are new to sewing, you may want to pin it all the way down so that the hem is even. Also, use thread that won't show much. If I had used white, it would have shown more than the pink I used.

You can see the thread if you look closely but for the most part, it looks good. Like I said, if you can't find the fabric on sale, it may not be worth making it but if you can find a good deal, it can be a fun gift.

I figured these would be good gifts for a swim team, a gift for a beach trip etc. Have a Blessed Day!

Monday, June 26, 2017

Dancing Japanese Princess Four

Bijin Hito. Beautiful People. That might be bad Japanese, but you wouldn't know so we'll pretend it is right. Haha Just know that I think you are all beautiful souls. Or spirits as the Plan of Salvation teaches us. Anywho. Kiseki(miracles) of the week!

The talent show. I was able to perform a musical number. AKA my companion shimai and I just played music on our phones because the buttons play individual notes. You bet I played the alto part to praise to the man. So funny. We also danced! Maybe ill include a video... maybe... It was so fun to send the President and his wife, and the assistant fufu (couple) off with a bang. Secretly don't know their title, but maybe they are secretaries? We showered them with gifts, and it was just a really fun time. Photo includes half the mission btw.


I chose to follow the example of the missionary that our president spoke about, and decided to write thank you notes for the people who spoke in sacrament meeting. It was an American Family, so I was able to write 7 notes in English. It was a big lesson. #shukufuku The youngest daughter loved my card. It was a bunny card from the
super popular dollar store. I am grateful for my president, and his advice and counsel. I think I was able to spread a little bit of
Christ's love yesterday. Moving to Japan with almost 0 Japanese would be scary, but they trusted in God, just like we all should.

I have also randomly learned about grace this week, and grace is amazing. Please go look up the talk by Brad Wilcox about grace. It will change you. I cried a few times this week. I just want to be a good missionary, but it is hard. I keep continually making mistakes. I
think companion Shimai needs a better companion because I don't know how to help her alway
s, and I am not the best example. I am slow to learn Japanese, and don't speak very much in lessons even though I  want to
open my mouth. I feel like I couldn't even be a good missionary even if I was speaking English. I let the battle with fear consume me, and I often let fear win. The mission is just hard. BUT!!!! I am grateful that I have the atonement and that I can be forgiven of my shortcomings and inadequacies.  I don't only get to teach about Christ's atonement. I get to use it daily. I know that through trials
we are made stronger. I am only mentioning the few bad times so that we can all full appreciate that there is also a lot more good!

We were able to turn a PI into an investigator this week. His wife is less active. Last time we visited we left a Book of Mormon. He said he didn't read very much, then proceeded to flip to Page 40. We were ecstatic. And companion shimai asked if they would pray as a family. The wife protested a little bit, but her husband agreed right away. Can you say KinJin?(aka golden investigator) The wife was also wearing her mission t-shirt, and was so excited to show us. Lets get them to the temple people!


We were able to visit a few people we haven't seen in a while! And we got another new investigator because this woman called our office wanting to learn English. She wrote down our commitments, and our beliefs. She asked if she had to get baptized. We said no, but I am pretty sure she will want to very soon. God is good!

Our investigator Ayaka chan came to church again, and she has made friends! The American family is doing a great job at welcoming/befriending her. She learned about the Plan of Salvation yesterday at church from Yamazaki Choro. He is an AMAZING missionary.



I am really impressed with him. We have been together for 4 of my 5 transfers.... did I mention that I have been in Japan since January.... let that sink in... haha

The mission Secretaries pictured here 
were able to bring us some things before heading off. We were probably the last missionaries she gets to hug. I will miss
them. I get too see my president again before he and his wife go home too.

I got a birthday letter from my ward. Life is just good people! Too good! I love you all SOO
OOOOOOOOOOOO much! Remember to trust in God. That can be hard, but it is worth it. He only wants you to be happy, so why run from that? Keep repenting. Share the gospel, because it is actually more fun than scary. Don't let Satan tell you otherwise. Please stay safe and stay happy!

Love, Shimai

福音は真実です! The gospel is true! 愛しています! I love you!