Monday, May 17, 2010

Projects Update: Staining a Bookshelf

With the warm weather upon us, I have been given a new impetus to finish painting projects that languished over the winter. My biggest (i.e., messiest project) was to stain an unfinished pine bookshelf to a nice espresso finish, which would match the rest of my furniture. I don't have any before pics, but it was from Ikea, similar to the Ivar shelf they have now. I started the staining project during the fall, but then it was moved inside for the winter and put on hold. This week, I resolved to finish that pesky bookshelf.  Once I finished sealing it with gloss, I affixed a little accent light to the display shelf. 

Looks nice, doesn't it? 

Lessons learned:
1) I will never again underestimate the time it takes to stain a bookshelf. With multiple surfaces to each piece, and multiple coats on each surface, I just calculated that there were 180 separate coats on this project! Add an additional step of waiting 20 minutes to wipe off the excess, and 2-3 hours drying time in between coats to that, and I should have realized how long this would take. Doing pieces in groups only cuts down on the work so much. So the first lesson is to realize that more surfaces = much more work. 

2) The second lesson was that it is much better to paint the piece assembled than disassembled, even if that means it's less thorough. Early on in the project, since the shelf is adjustable, I wanted to paint the legs without having uncovered spots, which meant I disassembled the shelf to paint it. This made it harder and messier since it took up more space to paint. Later on, I realized it was going to be much more achievable to finish if I just put the shelf together. While it is no longer adjustable (without uncovered spots, anyway), at least it is finished, and a finished non-adjustable shelf is much more useful than an unfinished adjustable shelf. 

This being said, will it be crazy if I begin another wood staining project in the near future? 

1 comment:

Em! said...

I applaud you for this achievement. The first time I tried to put together a bookshelf, I messed it up. It still functioned as a bookshelf, but there was alway something off about it. And you put yours together and stained it! Props.