Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Upcycled Sideboard

This last piece of furniture has got to be the most tedious and annoying piece I have ever done to date though it did also teach me alot about my methods and what works, what doesn't and what I should or shouldn't do on future pieces.

I started out with a lovely Stag sideboard that I won at auction for £5.
From the start I knew I wanted to use it as a TV stand in the lounge, but that is as far as my imagination went, in fact on the first day of painting I still wasn't sure what colour I was actually wanting to do it.
Lesson no1: Don't start anything until I know exactly what I'm wanting the outcome to be.

Here she is the day I bought her home

I knew I wanted to take the middle drawer and door out so that I could fit a shelf at the top for the DVD player and a shelf below to allow me to add a couple of baskets at a later date.
The problem with that idea was that there was no middle side piece inside so once I removed the centre door I was left with no side panel where the right hand door closed.
Easy enough to rectify, just build one right? You'd think it would be that easy but I'm tight fisted so would only use the wood I had laying around and while this was decent plyboard it wasn't as thick as the other side and so it looks out of place.
Lesson no2: If a job is worth doing, it's worth doing properly.

For this project I decided to treat myself to a new set of brushes. Normally I use Harris brushes (specifically the no hair loss ones) as I find them brilliant at minimising brush strokes, especially the ones with tapered bristles, but I wanted a change so I bought a set of Prodec X5 brushes at a brilliant price of £6.95 and I have to say that for the price the brushes were fabulous and there was no hair loss with them.

I also purchased a Latex extender to thin the viscosity of the emulsion paint, this helped to reduce drag lines from the brush when the paint had dried.
Floetrol is the most popular Latex extender but I just couldn't warrant the cost of it knowing that I may only ever use it once so I chose Zamix Latex Extender. A quick google search suggested that many decorators much preferred Zamix to Floetrol so I was happy to test it at the much lower price of £13.11.
The product did exactly what it said on the tin, the flow of the paint was much improved and the levelling was much improved also. The Zamix I purchased was for Latex/Emulsion paint so could not be used with the Rustoleum oil based red paint I finally used.

Back to the sideboard:
Here it is stripped down, everything removed and the side piece put in on the centre right. It may not look too obvious in the photo but there's quite a difference in thickness between that piece and the one centre left.
I also added the top shelf support and the middle shelf support and then sanded it to within an inch of its life.
IMO prep is key no matter what product you're using - this unit had alot of grease on it and I fail to see how any product would manage to adhere to it.

The first colour I tried was brown, brown to match the wall it was going against in the lounge. The problem was that after I sanded it down it seemed to lose the brown colour and become grey, not what i wanted. I also painted all the inside cream, several coats in fact and it was still looking blotchy at this point.

I hated the brown so decided it needed to be red. I sanded the whole thing back down and got out a tin of red paint. The problem with this red one was that it just wasn't covering the cream inside, in fact 4 coats later and it still wasn't covering. The outside was looking terrible too and as it dried I could see the red wasn't drying to the shade I had hoped, this was a muted dull colour whereas I wanted vibrance.

By this point I was seriously ready to junk this piece, November 5th was fast approaching and I honestly would have been relieved to see this at least provide some satisfaction through heat on the fire.
As it happens I was interested to see what the top would sand down like - I think I'd decided that one final idea would be to sand it all down to natural wood and see what it looked like then.
The top sanded like a dream and I was surprised to find that the wood underneath all my coats of paint and whatever the manufacturer had put on it was really quite awesome.
Once it was sanded I accidentally dropped some wood oil on it and rather than attempt to sand it back out I decided to oil the entire top - I loved the look after. So now I had renewed interest in the piece, if I could just get the doors and drawer front to look as nice as the top did I was in with a fighting chance of salvaging this.

But what coulour to paint it?
Well I decided no more emulsion paint and no more home made chalk paint.
Lesson no3: Don't attempt to make chalk paint if you've never used retail chalk paint and therefore know what the product is supposed to look like, paint like and feel like.

So I did what is probably the laziest and maybe stupidest thing I could do - I purchased oil based gloss paint in Cardinal Red.
Gloss paint goes on thicker so requires less coats BUT it takes an age to harden and until it has fully hardened it is not going to withstand any knock to it, it will chip! Also the thicker paint means that the doors and drawers will almost certainly struggle to open and close without huge effort.
I spent way too much time afterwards having to sand the sides of the doors just to get them to open and close and I even ended up greasing the drawer tracks to get them to slide. All of these adjustments meant that the uncured paint chipped in several areas.

Lesson no4: Keep all door and drawer areas either free from paint or only covered with one coat and make sure all sanding of door sides is done and checked before applying varnish.

The finished look is not what I would originally have been looking for, it's bright and it's highly glossed but all in all I am not offended by the piece either.
It's certainly useable and the red doesn't look too out of place in our lounge as the colour palette is cream and brown with red accent,. in fact it does look rather nice and even Mr CH is impressed with it.