Hi folks! I have a special guest post today from my friend Tommy! He explains how we “met” below. Tommy is such a funny guy, and very talented. He actually did the revamp of my logo a few months ago and I LOVE it still!
Hello, everyone! My name is Tommy, and I am handy challenged. I am the guy who puts up a shelf on the wall, uses a level to make sure it's correct, puts a picture on it – and watches as it slides to the other side and falls off, crashing to the ground, taking my pride with it. I am the guy who attempts to caulk a bathtub, only to end up having a psychotic breakdown because there is 100 pounds of caulk on my hands, making me look like a bad 50's Sci Fi movie changeling, and yet none in the cracks of my tub. I am a graphic artist, not a carpenter. I am doomed to failure. That's what I told myself.
I peruse Pinterest, looking at all your wonderful projects depicting beautiful wooden items you have made, wanting to drive to your houses one by one in a jealous rage, and litter your lawns with the sad sawdust remains of all my failures. I have thrown more ruined furniture away than you have ever made beautiful.
I'm not kidding.
About 6 years ago, I started following this little blog called “My Re-purposed Life”, and I marveled at all the wonderful things some lady from Kentucky named “Gail” was able to create. Like a wizard, she posted things that she had created that made me wonder “how did she do that?”, while I snapped my laptop closed with envy. One day about a year ago, I decided to contact Gail and ask her a few questions. Her response was immediate, her nature humble, warm and with a Pre-School Teacher's patience. It sparked a friendship online, then by phone and one that has led me to even do graphic work for her. I jokingly call her my “Obi Wan Ryobi”, but the truth is, she gave me the confidence to try again. Gail Wilson is my DIY hero.
The reason I am telling you all this, is to show that with the right tools, some patience, and an awesome teacher to cry “why do I fail?” to when things go bad, even I can successfully paint a table and chairs satin black.
Let's do this!
This is the thrift store table and chairs, (below) before. I believe they were purchased at Goodwill. As you can see, they had seen better days.
The first thing I did, was to sand them down a bit with an electric palm sander. I used 250 grit sandpaper to start, and ended with 400, just to get a nice smooth finish. As you will see in a bit, I ended up doing this 6 more times. I told you I was challenged. Believe people, believe.
I then used some Elmer's Wood Glue and a clamp to seal up a couple of cracks that were on the table and one of the chairs.
Time to paint!
So, after the first sanding and crack filling, I went to Wal-Mart and bought some white primer. I then shot the table with the primer. Everything went beautiful. I sanded the primer a bit, just to keep everything nice and smooth. I then whipped out my Homeright Finish Max sprayer that Gail turned me on to and sprayed the table in a satin black latex. That was a bad move. You see, I bought a can of primer that said “for all types of paint”, and that, ladies and gentlemen - was a lie. I had no idea that when you use latex paint as your main color, your primer needs to be latex based also. I learned the hard way. Don't let friends use enamel primer and then latex paint, or this is what you will get.
Pretty, isn't it? I always wanted a lovely “Black Moldy Cheese” motif in my house. This was the point that my beautiful wife took one look at the table and just cried laughing, mocking me. As you can see, the paints separated from each other, because they were not the same type. Let the sanding commence. I won't bore you with pictures of the amount of sanding that had to be done, let's just say it was a lot of 250 grit followed up with 400 grit.
Now that the table was smooth and ready to go, I whipped out my Homeright Finish Max sprayer and laid down a beautiful white LATEX primer. I then lightly sanded again and sprayed a coat of black LATEX satin paint. It was glorious for about 5 minutes, and then I noticed this.
The paint had all these little weird, chunky particles in it. This was the point that my lovely wife began to cry, and not the laughing kind, cursing at me this time. I almost gave up, right there, but I decided to hit up My Repurposed Life and read a few of Gail's posts about painting. I was too embarrassed to actually show her my nice, gravelly black relief map. It was actually there I found the answer to my problem.
That, dear reader, is a strainer. You see, if you don't use some sort of strainer with your sprayer, all kinds of pretty, teenie chunks of latex can get into your paint, flow through the sprayer and destroy your paint job by making the sprayer head “spit”. All this can be avoided by spending $1 at your local dollar tree, and purchasing a common hand strainer, like you see above. If you use a Homeright Finish Max , it is actually a perfect fit. I wonder if they made their cup size fit a strainer on purpose, because I surely could not have been that clever.
Look at that beautiful, chunk free paint - compliments of a one dollar strainer.
I almost gave up, I truly did. I had the sledgehammer waiting and ready to turn that ebony painted soul-crusher into a million black toothpicks, but I decided “OK, one more time”. Almost weeping, I sanded down the table again, preparing it for paint. You know the drill, 250 grit, cry a little, 400 grit. Around and around we go.
I remember waiting for it to dry, after I had shot that last coat. It took a Dante inspired, hellish eternity (About 2 hours) to dry to the touch.
Finally, I had gotten it right.
The weird part, was that the chairs were no problem, and painted beautifully.
That is the table, as it now resides in my kitchen. So you see, even if you're like me, and are on a first name basis with the guy who patrols the sandpaper isle at Home Depot, you too can paint a table and chairs. Let my tale be a cautionary one, as I have already made the mistakes for you.
A special thanks to Gail, for talking me down off the ledge, instead of kicking me off it. I would also like to thank my wife for laughing at me in my time of distress, while exclaiming “I'm laughing WITH you, honey”. I don't remember laughing at all, dear. I sure don't.
You can find Tommy doing his art thing on a daily basis at www.plan9graphics.com and on facebook.