Last weekend, I found a divided wooden box with a handle at a thrift store. It was an unflattering gym-floor-yellow, and gave me the impression that it had been a woodshop project. I suspected that it could be made into something nicer. Something with an authentic old-fashioned finish and brass trim, perhaps.
I did some research and learned
all about enough to be dangerous about staining, stripping, and refinishing furniture. So I stripped the gym-floor-yellow finish from the box, and that, at least, worked as it was supposed to. I’d selected a water-based stain in “black cherry,” as I’d been informed that water-based stains worked just as well as oil-based, but without the fumes. Fine. I then applied the stain, and that did not quite work as expected. I had been led to expect that a stain would soak at least somewhat into the wood rather than just coating it like paint. The recommended “light sanding” between coats was taking most of the “stain” off.
I’d rather began to regret not just using spray paint, but I felt I should see the process through before giving up. After another few stainings and days of drying, I applied a varnish. I thought I’d gotten an old-fashioned oil finish, but that was apparently just marketing at work. At least it didn’t look like plastic after it had dried.
Finally, I applied some vintage-looking paper to the back of the box, and then some brass trim pieces to the corners.
Yes, it may still be a piece of junk, but now it’s my piece of junk.