The Once and Future Hobby.

You know what I miss about my pre-parenting days? Harsh, corrosive chemicals and power tools. One of my favorite things to do is refinish furniture and for some reason I just haven’t been able to fit that in for a while now.

I have dabbled quite a bit in reupholstering furniture and I sew things when I can, but there’s nothing quite like taking a piece of furniture, the older and grungier the better, down to the bare wood and then bringing it back again.

As with everything, I’ve had some hits and some misses. My first try was a small table that apparently came to the family with my dad when he married my mom. Much later it went to college with me and stuck around through several apartments. I finally refinished it right after Matt and I were married. I got a very bad sunburn during the sanding phase. It took forever because I didn’t know to strip it first. Then I tried using some kind of combination stain and polyurethane stuff which was very gloppy and difficult. Not my best work.

My favorite project is a table (above) that’s in our front hall. It had been hiding in our friend Pam’s barn for a while and I think she sold it to me for a few dollars just to get it out of there. I spent a long, long time on this one. It has six or seven coats of a low gloss finish and the top is perfectly smooth. I love that table, in large part because of all the effort that went into it. It’s all I can do not to introduce people to it when they come in the house.

I guess I’ve stopped refinishing in recent years because paint stripper and toddlers don’t really mix.  John loves to “help” with baking or whatever else I’m working on, but the kind of help I’d get from him here might result in a trip to the hospital. And I do have free time (occasionally), but I rarely have four or five hours at a stretch on the weekend, which is the best way to really dig into something like this.

Still, that hasn’t stopped me from accumulating projects. Just the other day I got a chair from a neighbor that looks like a great opportunity to reupholster and refinish (meaning, it’s barely holding together at the moment). I’m not sure when I’ll start working on it, but I like knowing that it’s in the garage waiting for me. I’ll get there sooner or later.

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