Monday, April 8, 2013

Milk Painted Dresser with Hand Planed Wood Top

Hi there!  Hope you had a good weekend.  Things were pretty low key around here.  My hubby has been sick and I am really hoping I don't get it.  It was mostly rainy (shocking in WA state) with a few sun breaks.  My tulips are just about to bloom.  I love spring.  You can see in the photos I have some weed killing to do in the driveway.

Here's a dresser I've been working on.  I went with Milk Paint because this piece had the perfect finish for it.  It had an old worn varnish that wasn't super shiny.  After applying two coats of milk paint(no bonding agent) it chipped just a little here and there and adhered well everywhere else.  Perfect.  My plan was to paint it Miss Mustard Seed's Shutter Gray then maybe do a stencil or hand painted design in Ironstone on the front drawers.  But then, 

Do you see the line around the drawers?  There was a dark detail line painted on the original dresser and the Milk Paint chipped all along the line.  It's hard to see in the photos but it looks really cool in person.  It was just enough.  No need for a stencil, I loved what the Paint did itself. 

I was excited because Milk Paint can be a bit unpredictable and then I noticed an issue with the top.  All the experts say don't buy furniture with veneer problems to refurbish because it will take too much time.  (and frustrate the heck out of you which will also effect your productivity)  I don't normally buy things with veneer issues but I really liked this piece.  Also it was one of those times when I needed something to paint.  It was solid, clean inside, dove tailed drawers, nice existing hardware, annnnd had great feet.  

All very good things.  Only a tiny little veneer issue on the top.  Or so I thought.  Sometimes you can just fill little veneer problems with wood filler and after painting and distressing they look fine.  Not this time.  This piece had veneer, then another thin layer of wood, then the top it has now.  The moisture from the paint made the thin layer under the veneer were I put wood filler bubble up.  I didn't bubble until I painted it.  I thought I was done.    

So what to do?  I was a little irritated so I started scraping off the veneer and the thin layer underneath the veneer with a putty knife.  I should have stopped and used either a heat gun or wet towels or something but I didn't and there were some gouges when I was done.  No problem I will just bring on the wood filler again.   

The new plan for top was after the wood filler drys, stain the whole top then apply a coat of hemp oil, then milk paint.  Did you know that hemp oil can be used as a resist technique for milk paint?  It works great.  You can layer milk paint colors that way too.   Just apply hemp oil to surface (bare wood, stained wood, existing paint) let it dry then apply milk paint.  I've used it several times and it has always chipped for me.  

But then surprise after I stained it I loved how the stained gouged top looked.  Except it needed more gouges so I used my little hand wood planer to make more scrapie gouges.  Yes I did.  

Here's what my little planer looks like.  Just a cheap one nothing fancy.  I ran the planer along the top here and there until I got the look I wanted.  I started with the blade barely out then pushed it out farther to get a little more gouging. 

Then a little more filler.

Then re-stained. 

Then used hemp oil to seal it.  Done. ;) 

It's a process, painting furniture. Just gotta roll with it.  It really sounds like it took forever but I did each step in between other projects (and yes it did kind of take forever.)  I think it looks cool.   

Hopefully someone else will love the look as much as I do if not I can just paint over the hemp oil finish with some more milk paint and it will chip and look fabulous.  Or I have a new dresser.  Either way.  

So would you buy furniture with veneer issues?  To be honest I probably will again but not for awhile.  I am happy to say I found three pieces this weekend all of which have no veneer issues. 

One time I bought a beautiful empire style dresser for cheap because it had a really bad veneer top. I noticed that the top unscrewed so I just flipped it over.  Perfect new top ;)  So look for screws before you pass it up. 

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