Thursday, May 21, 2020

Refinishing an Oak Pedestal Game Table... {Part 2}

See Refinishing an Oak Pedestal Game Table... {Part 1}

This post is for the novice furniture refinisher and it's about putting perfectionism aside when working with wood. When I sew I am careful to precisely line up seams and sew with precision in order to make a project look more “professional," however, I have to remind myself when I’m working with wood that it is a “living” product and to appreciate its not-so-perfect nature. Because wood is a porous, fibrous, organic material, it is filled with imperfections and unique characteristics. It's those unique characteristics that make wood beautiful. Sometimes I have to remember this when refinishing a piece of furniture. In all of the furniture I've refinished no two pieces have reacted the same way to the refinishing process. You can look at it as frustrating or a challenge depending on your outlook. Here's an example of the table I'm currently working on...

 Do you see in the photo above those little arrows pointing to the lighter wood grain lines going across the tabletop? Also... the photo above the tabletop took the stain darker in the area where the arrows are pointing.  These differences could be because you applied the stain unevenly, but I'm very careful about the process of applying stain these days because I had a disastrous fail once when I wasn't so careful. (Go here for that post.) When the urethane is applied the differences are made even more obvious. Sometimes when I see things like this -- especially the difference in stain -- it irks the perfectionist in me, but I've learned to let it go. You'll never notice it once the furniture is situated in your home. 

This tabletop is so different than any other wood I've worked with. It might be the quarter sawn wood. In any case this is the craziness that was revealed in the wood when I put the first coat of urethane on it...

I might add that the wood looks a little rough, but I had sanded it down to smooth perfection before applying the gel stain! It's just a crazy wood with tons of character. I'm using a satin spar urethane to finish the tabletop. In the picture it's still wet, which is why it is so glossy. 

Anyway, the moral of this post is to embrace the imperfections in the furniture you acquire to refinish. And while you're at it, you might want to embrace your own imperfections and the imperfections in others. Your life will be happier for it!

Have a wonderful weekend!