The Nooky

Breakfast style, that is.  Get your minds out of the gutter, people.

tsk. tsk. tsk.

Today is all about the breakfast nook.  More specifically, the little table that sits in it.  Because what good is a breakfast nook if you can’t actually enjoy your breakfast there, right?  Right!

From the day we moved into this house, I new I needed a round table for the breakfast nook.  You see, the room itself is shaped like an octagon, and even though it’s large, I thought it was seem silly to put a square or rectangular table in it.  In a dream world, I’d love to have some kind of booth-able situation… you know, a room where having a table with a booth could make sense.  But with low windows, a walkway cutting through, and a broad shape… there was no way to make that happen here.  Enter the round table plan.

I’m not sure if you’re aware, but finding a simple round pedestal table with four chairs for less than $200 is NOT easy.  Especially not when you only have a few weeks to find one.  And what I really wanted was a nice table that I could refinish myself.  I had just bought my new Ryobi orbital sander for a ridiculous amount of money (I practically stole the thing, you guys.  Seriously – $11?  How is that possible?!) and was itching to try the thing out.  Plus, we had so much deep, dark wood in the adjoining kitchen that I was hoping to something a bit lighter for the breakfast nook so that things didn’t feel so weighed down.

I looked ALL over.  After all the searching, I found a couple options in our area on craigslist, but they weren’t the best prices, and even then… I never got a response.

Do the people want to sell the thing, or what?!  Get it togetha!

FINALLY I stumbled upon an amazing situation.

Not only did I find this 48″ round pedestal table for $150, but it was also raw wood.

Did you read that?!  RAW WOOD!  That meant even LESS time prepping the thing so that I could refinish it as planned… which was perfect, because this was also about the time we found out that we were hosting family Christmas and we only had 6 weeks to get our house ready.

Umm… hold please.

I need to be sure you understand – the 6 weeks was not the amount of tie we had to wash the sheets for the guest bed, run a vacuum, and fluff a few pillows… we had a MASSIVE undertaking with purchasing and refinishing a kitchen table, dining room table, and sorting out the entertainment center situation, purchasing a queen-sized bed, painting the guest room (the walls were covered in planets and personal notes… be sure to look for that post in the new future.  smh), buying and installing shower curtain rods in the guest bathrooms, unpacking the rest of the boxes that were still living in said guest rooms, and decorating for Christmas somewhere in there.  Umm… no big deal, right?  Did I mention that we both have full-time jobs that tend to have us working longer than 40-hour weeks?  Yeah.  I was gonna lose my mind.  No doubt about it.

Anywho – hopefully you can know understand the amazingness that is us having found this raw wood table.  Exactly the size we needed, in raw wood, and available for pick-up immediately.  SOLD!!

Although I once again have crappy pictures (I promise that I finally charged my camera battery, so these awful, yellowy pictures should stop, soon… just gotta catch up on the posts and then I promise that you’ll have some better pictures to look at), here’s a quick iPhone photo of what I brought home that day:

I know it may not look like much, but it was EXACTLY what we needed!  And it didn’t take long for me to whip out all of the stuff I needed and get to work.

Now I’m sure that some of you may be wondering why I needed to sand the table since it was raw wood to begin with.  Well, I’m glad you asked.  😛

You see, even when working with Raw Wood, you want to sand the wood as a way to prepare the surface.  If you were going to apply something like paint (esp. chalk paint), this wouldn’t be necessary.  You’d get to skip this part and go straight to wiping it down to rid the piece of any dust or dirt, or anything that would get into your paint and irritate the mess out of you… because we ALL know that’s what’ll happen.  Lesbionest. (sorry… just channeling my inner Fat Amy. movingrightalong)

Also, when working with Raw Wood, there’s bound to be a knick or mark somewhere on the piece.  So a simple sanding will help to level out these marks and rid your piece of any of those marks so that you can end with a beautifully stained piece and you won’t see those marks peaking through.  Here’s a simple before show so you can see how little the marks and knicks were on mine.

The fact that they were little didn’t really matter, though.  When you put your time into fixing up a piece, you don’t want some junky black mark jumping out through the finish, so that’s why we nip it in the behind right from the start.

In my case, since I was planning to paint the bottom of the table, I skipped the sanding step for the base.  I’ll be honest, though… taking one look at all of those nooks and crannies really just pushed me right on in to painting land.  Sanding all of that mess was not on my list of ideal tasks, so… paint’ll do!

One thing that I didn’t take any pictures of, and I really wish that I had (constantly kicking myself for missing the obvious), is the difference between using and not using wood conditioner.  So I’m going to steal a few example shots from the interwebs (click on pics to link to original posts) because it is a MASSIVE must-do when it comes to staining your wood…

Can you see the difference there?  No, it’s not your screen.  Wood, on it’s own, is going to absorb your stain and finish in a really blotchy and uneven manner (left image).  Applying wood conditioner will reduce this effect greatly (right image).  Here’s another couple of examples, just to drive the point home:

Amazing different, right?  Basically, if you are as invested in the pieces that you are finishing as I am to mine, you do NOT want to cut corners and skip this step.  Now that this poor horse has been killed 3 times over, it’s probably safe to move on.  Aaaaaanywho

I started staining (and once again, forgot to take a progress shot) the top of the table, and planned to paint the base and such between coats.  This, I learned the hard way, is not the ideal way to finish a piece you plan to stain AND paint.  Take it from me… and I’m sure you’ll hear many different preferences and version of this story, but in my experience paint and THEN stain.  You can always touch up paint, but touching up stain is not an option.  Unfortunately.  *le sigh

So I applied the first coat of stain to the tabletop and then moved to the base to apply the first coat of paint.  (Note:  If you have a paint sprayer, your life is better than mine.  Also, this is a good use for it.)

For those of you that are CDO like myself (hint: CDO is like OCD but with the letters in alphabetical order like they should be), you’re probably thinking “did you use Wood Conditioner?  Because that looks pretty dagger splotchy to me.” Yes.  Thank you for that.  But this is WITH wood conditioner and only one coat of stain (laid on pretty thick, might I add).  I’m sure you can imagine how nasty uneven and splotchy this baby would’ve been without the wood conditioner.  MmHmm.  Exactly.

Oops… did I just beat that horse again?  My bad, dude.  My bad.

If you look in the background of the above picture, you can also see that the base has it’s first coat done as well.  Woot!  *selfhighfive

Another coat on each, and it was looking even better:

Hey there, pretty.

Now she just needed me to paint her trim and then we were golden.  Trim?  Ledge?  Neck?  I think we all know what I’m talking about.

Well, this is where I discovered that painting the TrimLedgeNeck before staining would’ve been better.  Not only does stain take a LOT longer to set and dry then paint does, but because it’s also less forgiving, it makes me a heaping mess of “IT’S NOT GOOD ENOUGH!!” while trying to tape everything off underneath.

And I really don’t want you to have to go through that.  Save yourself.  Protect your loved ones.  Paint before you stain!

Now… you guys wanna see something hott?!  You know you do…



Hey there, good lookin’.  Wanna some over to my place and stay a’while?


And there we have it.

Now there’s still a LOT of work to do in this breakfast nook, so don’t judge me for the room… just focus on the table.  Simple.  Pretty.  And finished.

I should probably point out that I used a satin poly finish on this table.  I’m not sure if you can tell, but that’s what helps it look so glossy.  I was tempted to try out a matte poly to give it a more rustic look, but since I didn’t have time to rough up any other bits of the table, I feared it would actually just look dull rather than rustic, and then I’d be super bummed because of all the work I’d put into it.

See?  I get a little too attached to the projects I work on, so it tends to take some time to really finalize what I want to do before starting things.  Hopefully that won’t translate to taking forever to do things, but… I suppose we shall have to wait and see.

For now I’m still recovering from the 6 weeks of jam-packed pre-Christmas house preparation, so Lord only knows when I’ll be picking up another project.

Then again… knowing me, it won’t be long at all.  I’m kind’ve a sucker for this stuff.

Maybe it’s the drama of it all that keeps me going in the end.  HAHA Wait… no… it’s the lack of money and ability to find what I’m looking for most of the time anyway.  Yep… that’s definitely it.  If you can’t find it, just make it yourself.

So what are you all working on these days?  Any big projects around the house?  Are you still recovering from Christmas with the family as well, or is it just Studly and I that take about a month to bounce back?



Posted on January 14, 2015, in home, projects and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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