Sunday, September 18, 2011

More Stripping at our House, Part 2

Of course, I didn't need to strip the island, since with Waterlox, you can refresh parts or all of the finish without even sanding, as I did when the dogs scratched our stairway trim just after we moved in.  I did lightly sand the island, because as an old-school-taught woodworker, it just seemed right, and sure wouldn't hurt.  

I did need to get the table down to bare wood in order to change its finish from whatever came on it to the Waterlox, especially since part of it was already gone.  
First I thought I might just sand it off, but that was proving to be a slow process.  Then it hit me... If nail polish remover had so quickly accidentally removed the finish, why not let it work for me on purpose?

It wasn't quite as easy as I thought it would be.  I thought I could swish it around and the finish would practically disappear.  That did happen wherever the polish remover came in direct contact, but it just gummed up the finish where I sloshed it from one spot to the next.  

Eventually, it was pretty clean 
and only needed a little more sanding to get the last.

Now, with bare wood, I needed to start with the Waterlox Original Sealer/Finish.  
I store the Satin upside down
to ensure better mixing before use
This can do the whole job, but it leaves a glossy result, so I only used the required 2 coats of that product, and switched to the Waterlox Original Satin Finish for the rest.  

There is supposed to be 24 hours of drying time between each coat, but I admit to cheating on those first 2, doing one early in the day and the 2nd late in the afternoon.  
It was a very warm and dry day, and the coats were very thin, as recommended.  

I did leave it alone for at least 24 hours before starting in with coat #3 in satin.  Since the nights were still around 70 degrees, it was OK to leave the table outside on the covered porch overnight.  

Cautions: Wear disposable gloves and handle the wet rags carefully... Submerge in water in a sealed container, or spread out in a single layer, outside, to dry...preferable a good distance away from the house.  Piled or wadded up, Waterlox soaked rags can ignite.  Yikes.

The youngest prince found
a different use for the gloves
while I worked
After that, I did a hand-rubbed (rag-applied) coat of well-stirred Satin Finish on both surfaces every day or two for the next 8 days.  I sanded between every other coat or so, and especially before the last.  

I'd wanted to continue into the next week, but the weather that was supposed to remain in the high 70s for another week had fooled the weather forecasters once again, and turned to dreariness with fog, clouds, and highs just above 60 degrees.  

"Warning (bias) tape" to allow for better curing after moving inside

One afternoon was warm enough that I could get another coat on both with the table still outside for a couple hours of drying time, then I moved it inside to stay.   --I knew from finishing our interior doors through summer and into fall while we were building that cooler temperatures and moister air do bad things to the texture of a drying finish and start to create more work.

After a good 2 days of drying time, and looking toward another pizza night running routes around and around the island in order to put dinner together, I decided I was finished finishing.  

A side note:  I'm not sure why the island is so glossy.  I used the same finish for the cabinet doors and they have the softly glowing, hand-rubbed, non-glossy finish I love.  
I thought maybe I hadn't stirred the Satin Finish well enough the first time 'round, so used a can that was almost gone this time to be sure and get whatever is at the bottom that un-glosses the finish...but same result.  Hubby says it's probably because I did more coats on the island, so the buildup just looks shinier.  I guess I'll just appreciate the contrast and live with it!  :-)

The family was happy to see the barriers removed and not have me gasp every time someone stepped too near the edge of the island.

Now...To get the drawer fronts finished on the island due to the new
configuration, and now that the kitchen table top is lighter, those
chairs REALLY need some paint!  A color decision challenge...
I am happy to have my spot back, hard at work for pizza making, bread baking, and granola prep.

NOTE:  A reader, Caroline, has had some moisture go through her Waterlox and into her teak countertop, resulting in stains.   Her counter had 9, rag-applied coats.   In checking with Waterlox, she was told it was best to start with brushed-on coats for better absorption into the wood, and therefore, much better protection. (So she's now in the process of sanding out the stains, and plans to brush on new Waterlox.)  I did that with the island top when it was new, but obviously didn't do it for the table.  I'm not as concerned, since there's not a sink in the table, and not nearly the exposure to water, but next summer, I'll be adding to its finish.  Thanks for sharing your experience, Caroline!

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