Wednesday, March 30, 2011

making progress

I thought the new dining chair project would be a snap, but apparently staining chairs is totally f---ing hard.  Things became complicated last night when I saw that whoever stripped/sanded the chairs last left huge swirly ridges in the grain of the wood, which means they really needed to be sanded down.   I did a light sanding on one of the chairs and stained it, only to be left with this:

 Hideous.  Look at that streaky, blotchy mess.

I tried a few more attempts at sanding/staining one of the other chairs, and then, exhausted and with a sore arm, decided to throw in the towel at 1 a.m.  I left my dining room looking like this:

I like to call it, "Still Life of Desperate Frustration."

 Realizing that these chairs need to be sanded down significantly because of all the surface damage, I bit the bullet and bought myself one of these little guys, 

which helped a lot.  Look at my pants after sanding the back of the first chair!

(that shot makes me look like I have fat lady legs, but I don't.)

Anyway, I re-sanded that first atrocious chair down to this:

And then, per the Home Depot guy's instructions, put a coat of wood conditioner on before staining:

Here's the front, after the wood conditioner had been wiped off and I had put one coat of stain on:

I think it's a big improvement from the first attempt, with all those big blotches everywhere.  I'll probably put on a second coat of stain in a few hours to make it darker; apparently using wood conditioner can make the first coat of stain a bit lighter than normal.
But that's just one chair!  And I still have five to go.  The electric sander makes things a lot easier, but it's still tiring work.  Here's where I left things after my right arm was starting to go numb:

 That's right, halfway sanded.  This project is going to take a while.

Can't forget that I have a real job!  Gotta get some work for that done now before I return to this behemoth of a project.

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