I’m not proud to admit that there was a bit of a problem that cropped up in the house. I got so angry that I wasn’t screaming; I was keeping my arms crossed in front of me so that I wouldn’t throw anything. A lot of ugly and hateful things were said. And yes, there were tears. Finally, I had to walk away. I couldn’t deal with it any more. I needed a bit of a separation and time to be alone.
Jay tried to fix it. He really did.
He thought the beer would calm me down and he worked on the shelf.
I told him that if this had been for us, the shelf would have gone flying across the room. As it was, I didn’t want to ruin all of the work and effort he’d already put into it. But this was the last straw. In the last post I told you that I wasn’t happy with the white washing. It didn’t look right. Every time I looked at it I hated it even more. Then when I turned the shelf over I saw that the gray stain had pooled on the lip… on the side that will be visible. Now, normally this wouldn’t have set me off, but when I saw that I just lost it. All of the work and effort that I had already put into these pieces were ruined. I needed to come up with a different way to get the faux finish that I was after. I was SOOOOOOO ANGRY!!!! At the gray stain, that is.
I had done a practice piece a few months ago and it turned out great. I only had a little jar of gray stain, though, so I went out to buy a quart of it to make sure I would have enough for this entire project. I couldn’t find the original brand I had used, so I bought another brand that had the same directions and drying time. It looked like the same type of stuff, just a different brand.
When it dried I was confused because I’ve NEVER had a stain shine like this before. At least, not until I had poly’d it. When I did the white washing the water beaded up on it like there was a protective layer below it. I’d never had stain do that before, either. The last straw was when I saw that the gray stain had pooled on the edge of the shelf. Normally a stain that pools will just darken that area even more. This stuff, though, was lumpy like poly when it has pooled and then dried. When I used my razor to try to scrape it off it even acted like I was scraping off poly. I have no idea what the deal is with this stain because I could not find anywhere that said it had a sealant included as part of the finish.
You could see every stroke of the gray coat like it was paint that had mounded up. I had a problem on my hands now, though. No matter what I did to fix these pieces I would have to do the same process to ALL of the pieces so that they looked similar. Even if I managed to find a quart of the original gray stain I used, it wouldn’t have the same look as these doors. Short of stripping them down I had to come up with a different solution.
But like I said, I had to spend some time away from them for a while. Finally I had a plan of attack put together so I headed back downstairs. And sanded. I did a LOT of sanding. I figured that at the least I would have to scuff up the finish so that I could get something to stick to it.
This isn’t my first rodeo. I’ve stained and finished a LOT of wooden projects. Needless to say, when I started sanding these doors I was even more convinced that this stain had some kind of protectant or sealant added to it (that wasn’t stated on the label). It sanded just like you would expect an enamel or oil-based poly to sand.
I have vowed to never buy that brand again. The problem is that I used to buy all of my stains and finishing supplies from Home Ripoff. They used to carry the Minwax brand, but recently they’ve switched to the Varathane brand. No more! I will either buy the Minwax brand from another source or I might branch out and try the General Finishes brand. I’ve heard good things about it, and though it’s pricey, it might be worth it. Never again will I use the Varathane brand.
When everything was sanded I decided that I would instead water down some acrylic paint and layer that on the pieces. Jay uses acrylic paint to paint all of his RC jets then he coats them with a sealant. I figure this entertainment center won’t see a lot of rough wear-and-tear so I should be okay to use the acrylic layers and then put a couple coats of poly on it.
So I started with a gray coat.
This had to have some depth to it, so I layered a darker watered down gray acrylic next.
I was a little worried that it might look too streaky, but at this point I didn’t care too much. So I forged on with the white wash layer.
The backs of the doors look a little goofy because I was trying to get the white wash procedure down. I needed to figure out the right water-to-paint ratio and the best way to smooth it. By the time I got over to the shelves I had the right recipe.
The picture doesn’t really do this justice, but it looks SOOOOO much better than the first white wash debacle. I mean, I’m actually happy with this finish. I haven’t spat a single mean word in its direction. I was also VERY happy with how the front of the doors turned out, but I’m not going to show those yet. I’m keeping those in my back pocket, which makes it very difficult to sit!
Now that I have the process down and I know what steps I need to take I can get started on the rest of it.
Unfortunately it means that I have to use the hateful gray stain and then sand it away, but at least it will look like the doors and shelves.