Feeling preppy

It was time to prep our two recently acquired dining room bookcases. I will admit, I’ve never done a project this big, so it’s defintely a greenhorn opportunity. Thankfully research on Google and some of my favorite blogs offered a ton of info.

Although the drawers are real wood and dovetail jointed, the outside was wood veneer so the refinishing was much easier. If would’ve been real wood throughout the piece, (according to the results of said research) I would’ve had to strip then sand it within an inch of its life and then decided between staining and painting. I skipped all of that! 🙂  Here are our steps so far…

1) Take everything apart. Drawers were pulled out, hinges were unscrewed and removed, the fold-down table parts were detached and the backs were removed to access every angle possible. Side note, I also labeled things like each screw, drawer pull and hinge to make sure they went back to the right place since it’s an older piece and may have wear that matters.

I used painter's tape to make sure nothing rolled away

2) Use an electric sander with 220 sand paper to “rough it up.” I wore glasses and a mask since in addition to the veneer dust, I was sanding 30 years at someone else’s house off the shelves. I found paper clips, crayon pieces, one sewing needle and a couple dust bunnies the size of real bunnies!

3) Dampen some washcloths and wipe down the surfaces. I went through six!

4) Find and repair all damage. We had some bubbled veneer around the top, a few banged up corners and several gouges/scratches down the outsides. I’m sure there are other ways (probably better ways) to address these problems but we went with some good ol’ DAP spackle. We chose the kind that’s pink and dries white, which we thought was important enough to be sure of to spend the extra 50 cents (plus it was pretty and fun to watch). For the bubbled warped parts, we used a razor blade to cut the veneer cleanly and filled it in with spackle.

5) Use a sanding block to hand-sand the repaired spots gently (see all the white DAP-repaired spots? Yep there were a lot). I got really good at remodeling and sanding.

I'm a sanding fool!

6) By now, I had a pretty good amount of sanding dust layered throughout every surface in the garage, including myself, lol. So, the answer? Have Jeremy fire up the leaf blower and clear out all that dust!

7) My final prep step was to use a damp sponge and a bucket of water to rinse in and carefully wipe down every piece to make sure paint will stick.

So, that’s my prep story. Next, painting! Has anyone else refinished veneer? What did you try today?

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5 responses to “Feeling preppy

  1. WorldTraveler

    I love that you are taking something old and making new. Just because things are old doesn’t equal ‘worthless’. They are really great pieces and will look great with the work you put in to it! I am staining doors that I just bought. It was a greenhorn experience for me. Had to test many colors on sample pieces of the same wood as my doors. Then had to learn the technique of staining. This included sanding like you. (Sandpaper #220 is a wonderful thing). Hopefully I will have a product that I am very happy with. I will be looking at these doors a long time. Good luck.!

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