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Stripping Ain’t Easy

Our attic has served many purposes since we moved in two years ago. It was nearly cleared out for weekly band practice, but now has transformed into my home office, craft space and storage for my Etsy treasures awaiting their forever homes. The project: To fill the awkward space at the top of our attic stairs with something a tad more sightly than electric guitar cases. The space features a return vent, a central vac hookup (which doesn’t work), an outlet and three telephone jacks (three, really?). So whatever  I fill this space with obviously needs to allow the return to work, but other than that, the ideas were endless. Shelves would be lovely but I neither have the time nor energy to execute that idea and I wanted a simple table to feature my amazing vintage teal Underwood typewriter that I purchased for $5 at an estate sale in the spring.

Awkward attic space

Enter this $5 beauty I found at a small estate sale. I showed up just as they were closing down on a hot summer’s day more than a month ago. It had been painted at least twice that I could see and it was thick. I loved the detail on the legs, so I had to save her.

I knew I wanted to strip and stain this table. The thick paint was not doing it justice: The legs needed to shine. So the process began. I purchased some sprayable stripper, some gloves, plastic for the porch floor and away I went. After the first round of spraying, the paint started bubbling almost immediately. And ignore the fact that the drawer has no bottom. It will be replaced. It was warped from some water damage and had to be removed.

Stripping paint

Stripping paint

The top tan coat mostly came off easily. However the legs are a mess because of the grooves. It was difficult to get in the grooves and scrape the paint out, so the legs still look very rough. After the first scraping and second spraying, the table looked like this:

Whatever the lovely blue/periwinkle layer is would turn out to be my demise. It’s thin and does scrape, but doesn’t bubble like the other paint did. So it doesn’t come off completely or easily. After the second scraping, I was here. The beautiful wood grain that I wanted to feature with stain was peeking out, desperate to be rescued.

Alas I do not know if I will be able to rescue this table the way I had originally envisioned. The rock star thinks I’ll be able to sand it and stain it, but we’ll see how the sanding goes. I’ll have to sand her anyway to repaint. And all is not lost if I do end up painting her because the old paint was not stable to paint over. This is an example of how every project doesn’t go as planned and adaptations need to happen along the way. As they say in the cheesy news realm: More on this as it develops…


About Erin Shipps

Life in your thirties can sometimes feel like you're stuck between what has happened and what's yet to come -- like being amidship. But I'm forging through with thrifty household decorating, DIY projects, health advice, and just life. When I'm not crafting my local Kansas City magazine VintageKC, I'm busy being a rock star's wife and mommy to the most beautiful 3-year-old. Welcome to our world amid the Shipps.

3 responses »

  1. Definitely sand! I tried being a stripper once with disastrous results 😉 and am now a firm believer in sanding. Just be careful once you reach the wood – it may be a thin veneer and you can sand through it if you’re not careful!

    • Thanks Kari! Methinks a finishing sander as an early birthday present is in order. Do you have a preference between a belt sander and a finishing sander? I used my dad’s orbital before but I don’t like that kind…

  2. Pingback: Nursery Makeover « Grandma Great's Treasures

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