I am not a stripper
Normally when I finish a project, big or small, I have some sense of self-satisfaction. Sometimes even a little pride, because I’ve never really thought of myself as artistic or crafty (and still don’t really…in the conventional sense). But when this project was finished, all I could think was “No way in hell am I ever doing that again.”
For a couple years now Taylor and I have gravitated toward the look of unfinished wood, particularly on more traditional pieces. We saw this chair in Savannah (almost) two years ago and I filed the picture away in the Pinterest of my mind.
Fast forward to Memorial Day Weekend. I wanted to get a proper bedframe for Sadie’s room/the guest room. I had originally considered doing an upholstered headboard on my own, but for some reason—maybe impatience? ( ironic)—I bought a Jenny Lind frame for $75 on Craigslist.
And then it promptly sat in the basement well into the fall.
At the end of September the Moody Glam room was painted and starting to take shape. At some point along the way we’d decided we were going to give the whole stripping thing a whirl. I’d seen tons of traditional, stained Jenny Lind frames and many painted ones, but really hadn’t seen any in the raw wood. (I’ve since come across a couple and blogged about them in this post. ) And so one optimistic October day, I dragged the bed outside and Taylor sprayed on Citrustrip.
I don’t have a full on “Before”, but in these photos you can see that the bed was pretty ding-ed up to begin with.
Spraying the first round of stripper:
So, it dried/cured overnight and the next day I spent about 3 hours with a metal brush, a rag and mineral spirits scrubbing off this gunk. And after it dried, it looked something like this.
Yuck. Ugh. Boo. Not what I was expecting.
The next weekend. Round 2. I’d read about SmartStrip on Janell’s blog and it did a bang-up job on her (awesome) chandelier. I picked up some at Sherwin Williams—the only place I could find it locally—and slathered it on.
So, for the record, SmartStrip was A LOT more pleasant to work with than the Citrustrip. It was a fluffy paste, no odor and didn’t seem very chemical-y. It came off somewhat easier than the Citrustrip and I could use water instead of mineral spirits. A good bit more of the stain came out, though it was hard to tell because I finished when it was DARK.
And then we did this all over again. Yep, a third coat of stripper (the SmartStrip).
I don’t even remember what weekend we’re on at this point, but I was just about over it when Taylor luckily stepped in and said he’d take it from there and start sanding.
So he pulls out the belt sander and takes it to the flat parts of the bed. You can see how much more the SmartStrip (and about 7 hours of brushing and scraping) took off.
Taylor had hypothesized that a dremel tool would be helpful in removing what was left of the stain in all those damn spindles. So, he did a test patch and we JOINTLY (this will be key information later on) decided that it removed too much of the patina and he’d just suck it up and do it by hand with coarse and medium-grit sandpaper. That way, he’d have more control over how it would look.
So Taylor spent a Saturday afternoon with the headboard. When Taylor was done we brought it up and leaned it against the navy wall aaand….loved it! Whew! Only one more tedious day of sanding left. (Okay, and then waxing it.)
Then Sunday afternoon rolls around. And after Taylor’s been out on the patio working for about an hour or more, I peek out the window and see…the dremel tool. And about half the footboard has been dremeled. Aaaannd….I quickly glance at the finished headboard leaning against the bedroom wall and see that the color looks…well, different.
So I saunter down the stairs and in that helpful, wifely way ask if everything’s going okay. And then I maybe sort of enquire why he’s using the dremel when he preferred the sandpaper route the day before. And Taylor, justifiably annoyed with my line of questioning, explains he’s out of sandpaper. So I oh-so-helpfully offer to get more because, well, didn’t we both prefer the way it looks using the sandpaper? And then it just devolves from there.
Why don’t you just do it yourself, then?
Why are you using the dremel when you didn’t like it yesterday?
I’m not doing this for my health, there’s football on.
Well it’s already taken 5 weeks, why didn’t you tell me you needed sandpaper you know I would have gone to get it for you.
Realization that footboard may be irreparably messed up. Expletive.
Calm down. It’s only a piece of furniture.
It’s been 5 expletive weekends!
Bed is aimed at brick wall, then changes directions and is flung with hatred and near-defeat into the yard.
At this point Taylor heads for the shower and I wipe down the footboard and haul it into the room. And when it’s in there, you know, it really doesn’t look all that different. This can be salvaged.
But first a little more yelling—not at me, more just at the frustration of the whole project—and almost just as quickly we’re laughing about it. And then I’m at Ace Hardware to pick up some cloth-backed sandpaper. And then it got dark.
And then it was Christmas.
AND THEN WE FINISHED THE BED.
I am so glad we did it. And I am so glad it’s over. I love how it looks—all the shades left in the wood: gray and gold, the hint of the stain in the deepest grooves, the lighter shade of the wood, especially against the deep, navy wall and the saturated oriental rug.
Speaking of, I snagged the sister rug from my Mom’s house when I was in Florida in September, had it cleaned, and reunited the two like Peaches and Herb.
Yeah, they’re a little rough and old, but that makes me like them even more. I also like how they butt up next to each other—and with no dust ruffle, you can see them extend underneath the bed.
What else is new? Ask these guys.
Found them at an estate sale and couldn’t resist. They hang out on top of the etagere and watch people sleep. Composers on the Shelf.
And I brought some pretty branches in to shade Leeroy Jenkins.
Mother nature sure knows what she’s doing, eh?
I may have also brought in a ladybug infestation. Whoopsie.
At least they go with the color scheme.