It's DONE, despite the blood, sweat and tears (literally!)...ummmm...and MUCH colourful language. Now that it's completed, I have to say that I am utterly DELIGHTED with the end result. It's the most ambitious thing I've done so far, and despite much frustration, I learned so MUCH. I'm a happy old gal today, enjoying frequent "appreciation moments" in my livingroom. (does anyone else do that?)
This is a three piece "wall unit/bookshelf" set. It was the very FIRST "nice" furniture I'd ever bought...about thirty-six years ago! Hmmm, well, I THOUGHT it was nice at the time. I also THOUGHT it was solid wood. Nope to both. ACK! Back then, it was that dark knotty pine we all loved. (lol) Since then, it's been through several different families, and when it came back to me, it was just SO VERY SAD.
I wasn't sure I could rehabilitate it, but my boy-kid issued a challenge...the gauntlet was thrown...and I accepted it (ha ha Michael!). I have spent...easily...fifty hours and REAL BLOOD on this thing.
Let's see, what have I learned? I used a brad nailer for the first time...my little brother David lent me his brad nailer...LOVE...I bought myself a new electric drill (lime green! ha ha!) and a new electric screw driver. I used a spade bit and a carbon steel hole saw bit...for the first time. Hey...sounds like I'm getting SERIOUS about this new hobby (addiction) of mine.
I also have to say that I've learned MUCH from my blogging friends, who so readily and generously share their skills and inspiration. The most important lessons come from Ms Katy over at "A Single Mom and her Drill," whose determination SO inspires me, Ms. Gail over at My Repurposed life, whose MANY projects are on my bucket list and have a special place in a hard-copy binder built just for her (lol...but seriously!), and the newly minted young Dental-Doctor JaimeLyn over at Crafty Happy Scrappy, who (despite the fact that she's younger than my daughter!) teaches me about the importance of the personal connection to our projects. If you haven't visited these blogs...DO IT!! The inspiration you'll find is utterly AMAZING.
Okay then, so these poor things were a MESS. The re-do was NOT worth it...at least not in the "monetarily valued" sense...but the family history sense of it is simply incomparable. I have photos of my son (when he was four years old) in front of this thing, belting out "You've Lost that Loving Feeling" from his all time favourite movie "Top Gun," using an old coke bottle as a microphone (he's now 25) and my daughter's first day of school (SHE'S now 35 and Mum to four wonderful boy-children!) My son was BORN with an affliction to airplanes (lol), and now is an Aircraft Maintenance Engineer...big surprise.
But...oh my...it was so VERY ugly when it came back to me, having spent a few years in a single fella's apartment...ummm...whatever you can THINK about this there...would be accurate. It was scratched. It was gouged. It was water damaged. It had "critter-bugs" making a home in it. It was a MESS, pure and simple. So, here are some pics...
There are two of these, with two cupboards at the bottom of each one.
Okay, so in my long ago "believe-anything" youth, I bought these shelves. This was the very FIRST "nice furniture" I'd ever owned, and I was SO proud of my purchase! They were in my various homes for the best part of thirty years, then in various other people's homes...including my son's. When I bought them, I was TOLD these were solid dark pine. Ummm...NOPE!
Not sure how this happened, but there was water damage on the base of every unit (ummm..Michael???). The veneer peeled and cracked. That horrible fake wood stuff underneath the veneer was ROTTED. ACK!! Here's the evidence, from the base of all three of the pieces:
Okay, at THIS point I was ready to quit. Didn't have a CLUE how to even START. What a mess 'eh?
Here's how I started. I had to dry these out, then try to stop the water based rot from seeping up any further. I used this wonderful product called "PC Petrifier Wood Hardener." I turned the book cases upside down, poured this stuff into this clamped area...and waited.
See those bits of wood? They're paint stirring sticks! (lol) They were heavily used in this project...stuck in many places with Gorilla Glue and clamps and nails...they're FREE!
Another view of my amateur attempts to fix the damage. Upside down again. In the "paint stick channels," I built up plastic wood in several layers, letting each layer dry before adding the next.
Here's an interim shot, where I'd filled the channels with plastic wood. Once this dried, I sanded it off with a "rasp" (yet another tool I'd never used before), then with coarse sandpaper. This would be the base of the units, so it had to be level. This goop dries WONDERFULLY HARD.
Now on to the cupboard doors. So dated. So ugly (lol) First step, take the dark wooden knobs off.
Second step, fill those "decorative" ovals with plastic wood...start priming...
Finish priming...overfill with "Spackle..."
My hands looked like this...a LOT...and one of these fingers received three stitches as a memento of my hard work (lol)...as if I could EVER forget!
I tried getting those strips of wood off the doors too, but they wouldn't budge, so it looked like I was stuck with them. Start to prime the backs of the cupboard doors...VOILA!! GREAT idea! Turn the FRONTS of the doors to the INSIDE, use the nice clean finish insides for the FRONTS!
Started priming...used Zinsser Cover-a-Stain throughout...LOVE the stuff, filled the holes left from the knobs.
Here, you can see a hint of the blue I used on the interiors. It's Martha Stewart French Court blue. On one of the units, there was damage on the wooden strip that has to hold the hinges.
...then replaced the wooden strip with (yep, you guessed it!) paint stir sticks!
So...priming done, three coats of paint on (I used Martha Stewart Heavy Cream with the blue)...starting to look like I just MIGHT be able to live with it.
Decided to cover up the wavy top and update the piece a little with crown molding. My SIL Susan suggested this...otherwise, never wouldathunkit (so THANKS Sus!).To make that work, I had to even out the top edge so the molding would sit flat. See all my paint sticks again? Also, I cut and nailed bead board onto each end.
I will never NEVER again do crown molding! It was sheer torture! Those who know me are aware of my spatial perceptual disability, and trying to figure all this out was an absolute horror! However, with a you tube video for help, and my trusty little Stanley mitre box, I managed...sort of...
Siigh...once the crown was on, across all three units, I realized the units were actually NOT the same height...just by half an inch or so. This resulted in my "girlie fix..." remove the molding, then use some narrow molding underneath the crown to hide the problem. See the plastic wood at my mitred corner? Oh my...the good, the bad, and the ugly. I liked the narrow strips, and added another one beneath the first.
Here's a close-up of the cupboard doors, replete with new bead board and updated handles.
All that discolouration was from my grubby hands...everything is now all clean and pretty! I sanded very lightly, didn't want dark stain or wax...was looking for a more "cottage-y" look.
So, here's my finished product, with three coats of Minwax Polycrylic applied to all the shelves, and one coat everywhere else. You KNOW...this thing might well last ANOTHER forty years...by which time I'll be a memory too...so my dear children can cope with moving it/trashing it (lol).
See that small painting on the right bottom unit? That was gifted to me twenty years ago by a wonderful friend, long since departed this life. She was once-upon-a-time-long-long-ago my "boss," and we later became dear friends. It depicts "Lawrencetown Beach" here in Nova Scotia, where she and I would go for picnics. What a beautiful memory...thank you "Missus Mac."
One last look at the "befores..."
...and one last look at the "afters..."
Thank you SO much for visiting today, and for taking the time to read my jumbled ramblings. I'll come to your space too, as long as there's a link for me. I wish you a week filled with the passion of your own hobbies, and time well spent with people you love. Partying with these fine bloggers this week!
Edited to add...generously featured
(THANK YOU Ms Gail!)
(THANK YOU Amy and Emily!)
(And THANKS Kammy, for letting me know that this project had the most hits at your linky party!
PLEASE do click and visit these blogs above for LOADS of inspiration!