Sunday, September 13, 2020

Home Improvement Project - Part 4 - The Old Picnic Set - Haint Blue

After all the sanding, it was a relief to finally know the staining and waterproofing process was at hand!

Don't get me wrong. There was a tremendous amount of satisfaction in finally getting all the old paint off and having a beautiful, almost soft wood to run my fingers over. But if I am ever to get this table put back together and get on with making more ceramics, it's got to get stained and sealed.

But first, all the loose sawdust has to come off.

It's funny, in a sad way, what makes you suddenly aware of what you don't have, anymore. When I was still in my old house, I had saved for an air compressor for its multitude of purposes; I used it for spraying glazes, filling tires, blowing dust off of newly bisqued ceramics, right out of the kiln. Of course, I had to sell it, along with everything else in the studio, and I haven't replaced it as of yet. I really could have used it to get rid of the loose sawdust between the boards of the table and benches! Instead, I went old school with a damp towel, rinsed frequently and thoroughly wrung out.

After, I used the stain/waterproofing on the underside of the table, to see how it looked. I really liked it, except - dang it. I did a dumb thing and didn't stop to think about the "semi-transparent" part of the product description, and the wood patch was showing through. I have used the product before and it looked great, but I hadn't used it over wood patch and so I didn't think of how it would react in those circumstances. So back to the hardware store I went!

I had thought to go with a cherry wood-color opaque stain, but, ah! The siren call of all those beautiful colors had me hypnotized! I stood in front of the sample panels of color, my eyes flicking back and forth over all the beautiful choices. And as I stood there, I thought, "If I have to have an opaque stain, why not something with color instead of just a plain wood tone?"

So of course, I stared for twenty minutes at two different colors which caught my eye, debating which one my dad could live with. I chose a bright pale blue-gray because it just made me happy to look at it. I had a pretty good intuition that Dad would like it, too.

I tested it out on the bottom of the table and benches to see if I could live with it. I wasn't sure, at first, honestly. I thought I might have blown it. But I walked away for a little while and let everything dry. It's been really hot for a while, so it was easy to step away into the air conditioning and come back later with dad in tow for his opinion.

"OK. Be honest. What do you think of the color?" 

He inspected it closely, running his fingers over it.

"It's alright. I like it."

For my dad, this is the rim of hysteria. 

So it remained to do the rest of it. Legs, braces, undersides, all of it. 


It's funny. I was on a cocktail call with the nice lady from Shadow Manor and mentioned my change of mind where color was concerned. As I described the color, she smiled and said, "Haint blue?" I laughed. It could have been a variant of haint blue.

Even when I'm not trying to be spooky, I'm still spooky!

And once that was finished, I went back to the store and talked with the guys about a waterproofing option. Unfortunately, I listened to them instead of doing my own research, and got a spar varnish.

Ordinarily, a spar varnish is a good choice for waterproofing. The stuff lasts forever and is pretty tough. But it has a slightly brownish tint due to the resins in it. What that means is my blue, was no longer the blue I liked. And since I am a dummy who just wanted to get the project finished, I had a bunch of pieces to strip. I wasn't going to have spent this much time and effort on this project and hate how it turned out.

So back to sanding. Dammit.

And then back to staining once that was done. Man, what a project this has turned out to be!

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