The Story of K and How She Turned Me into a Stripper – Part 2 (of 2)
You’ll have to forgive me for the original “Story of K” post. We watch a lot of old movies and the whole “noir” thing was stuck in my head. I kept narrating all of my household chores. “Em slowly carried the bundle up the stairs, marking her travels like Hansel and Gretel…but it wasn’t breadcrumbs strewn behind her…it was socks and underwear that fell from the too-large pile of laundry in the basket…”
Bad fiction…but I digress.
I finally finished old K…or REfinished I suppose. And, yes! It HAS been 16 days since the last post, when hundreds of people gave me suggestions for K’s makeover. Okay, zero people…but I went ahead and decided on my own 🙂
“Kay was not entirely resistant to change. I set her path on the road to redemption, but tripped along the way. There were lessons to be learned….”
So, I have NEVER (ever) stripped a piece of furniture before. Painted plenty, but never stripped anything. And actually, it wasn’t so scary after all! In fact, stripping the old finish away was mostly the easy part.
Then, ideally, there’s sanding. Then conditioning (optional). Then staining….which takes us to lesson learned #1: Stain is applied, then WIPED OFF!!!
If you apply a heavy coat of stain and let it dry because you want it darker in an area, well, stain doesn’t work that way. It soaks into the wood until the wood is sated and then the rest just sits there and gets goopy. Picture a gallon of soda. If you drink it until you’re full, anything else will just pool on your face and should be wiped away (lest you appear slobbery and sticky). Pooled stain will not evaporate…it will be tacky (like a rabbit fur coat).
If you make this mistake (the stain, not the coat), you can actually fix the problem by adding another coat of stain. A new layer of stain will rehydrate the first coat, allowing you to wipe off the excess after a few minutes.
After that, I gave the stained wood surfaces a coat of quick-drying polyurethane. This is a good place to note Lesson #2: If you decide to go with a satin poly, don’t let a fellow shopper talk you into a semi-gloss.
All I had to do next was attach the new hardware I found…which leads me to Lesson #3: Curvy drawers do not mix well with off-the-shelf hardware.
When I went to attach the first handle, I didn’t like how it rested on the drawers. The lovely curves that are the defining feature of a serpentine dresser present a couple of hardware obstacles. They don’t accept flat accents.
In addition, the original placement of the hardware on K’s top two, smaller drawers did not align nicely with the holes of the lower two. I had toyed with filling them and going with a lovely glass knob, but I wasn’t sure how noticeable the fills would look.
This is the part where I stalled a little.. I’m not only frugal, I’m impatient. I couldn’t see spending double digits for drawer hardware…having to order it, wait for it, and hope there wasn’t another lesson I would be stuck having to learn.
I made mine a little differently than theirs, but was grateful for the inspiration that let me have a little blingy fun with my once-flashy K. She needed jewelry, so I headed to the craft store, picked up a couple of pearl and sparkle bracelets, six strands of mixed prestrung beads and 18 gauge wire.
I put the wire through the existing holes and tied/twisted it securely inside the drawer. I may also staple them to the inside wood for extra strength if they start to loosen (it has to be functional, of course).
The last detail was painting the key escutcheon plates with silver Liquid Leaf to match the mostly silver accents in the room where K will eventually reside.
K is now finished and, by the way, her name (and it’s grammatically incorrect origin “Que Horrible”) no longer applies.
I’ve decided to I’ll call her “Norma Desmond” …because she is TOTALLY ready for that close up… And here it is!