Dougal Campbell's geek ramblings

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Handyman

Black & Decker MS700K Mega Mouse 4-In-1 Sander/Polisher

Black & Decker Mega Mouse 4-In-1 Sander Polisher

Susan and I have spent the last several weeks refinishing some furniture for our kids’ rooms. It’s been taking a lot longer than we had expected, but we’re finally reaching a point where it’s going to pay off. Tonight, I should be able to put the final coat of polyurethane on Jamie’s chest of drawers. Later this week, I should be able to get the final coats on his dresser.

Next, I’ll need to finish stripping the old finish off of the furniture for Mary’s room. Once I get it stripped and sanded, hers will go much quicker than Jamie’s did, because we’re just painting it, rather than staining. Staining took forever, because we had to apply two coats of stain, and three coats of polyurethane finish on each side of the two pieces. The stain dried pretty quickly, so that wasn’t too bad, but the finish has to dry for three hours between coats. Three coats per side, four sides to be finished (per piece), plus the drawers, which I could do in batches, but still added a couple of extra time slots.

The main reason it took so long, besides just the drying time, was that I had limited time windows to work on it. Since Susan is pregnant, she couldn’t work with the furniture stripper or the polyurethane. She was, however, able to work with the water-based stain, so she stained everything during the day while I was at work. But I could only work on it in the evenings and on weekends. And sometimes there were just other things that had to get done, so we lost opportunities to progress with the furniture. But now, the end is in sight.

Some of my family was visiting this weekend for a baby shower. When Susan’s mom told my mother that I had been working on refinishing furniture, my mom said, “My son?!?” Heh. I was never much of a handyman as a teenager. I preferred to spend my time reading books, working on the computer, and playing games. Of course, that’s still what I’d prefer to be doing. But I have different responsibilities and priorities now. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Power tools can be pretty fun, too. 😉

About Dougal Campbell

Dougal is a web developer, and a "Developer Emeritus" for the WordPress platform. When he's not coding PHP, Perl, CSS, JavaScript, or whatnot, he spends time with his wife, three children, a dog, and a cat in their Atlanta area home.
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10 Responses to Handyman

  1. Pingback: Blogs Of The Day » popular articles on WordPress blogs

  2. Mark says:

    I’ve got a couple of quick recommendations for ya. Citristrip works great for removing old varnish and has a strong orange scent rather than harsh chemicals. Also, Minwas has a line of products called “Polyshades”; it’s a combination of stain & polyurethane so you can apply both at the same time. I was really pleased with the results when I tried it out.

  3. Dougal says:

    Yeah, Citristrip is what I’ve been using. The citrus smell is nicer than most other strippers (AFAIK), but it’s still not something I’d want to be breathing in any more than necessary. I see that you used some kind of spray-on variant, whereas we used a liquid/gel. I used a good quality facemask, safety glasses, and heavy rubber gloves while working with it.

    We considered a combo stain/finish, but some of the things we read suggested that doing the stain and finish separately generally resulted in a more pleasing finished product, and a better protective finish. So, we opted for the slower process. If I get the opportunity one day, I might try one of the combo products for comparision, though.

    I really wish we had taken some ‘before’ and ‘during’ photos, but it’s too late now. Well, it’s too late for Jamie’s furniture. I still have some stripping to do on Mary’s stuff, so I might try to document it some when I work on those this weekend.

  4. walt says:

    i’m a handyman/gc in sf, ca.
    you can stain and adjust stain with a second color wiped on before the first one dries (adjust tint mostly)
    the polyshades are more of a ‘glaze’ – color added over the substrait to even gran and adjust color – but only darker.
    hard to control with a brush as opposed to spray.
    verithane makes water-based finishes you just brush on thin and sand very lightly w/320 or finer to take off the nibs.
    then build up as you wish with repeated coats – especially where wear is anticipated most.
    hey, how to i respond to dude: http://www.faketv.com/hard-to-find-wallets/ ?
    tia,
    walt

  5. Glen says:

    Question:
    I have hardwood red oak floors 5 years old, finished by me with oil based Verithane.

    I removed a devider wall & repaired the gaps with new unfinished boards.

    The original floors were ready for a refinish effort.

    What are recommendations to address finish to new boards, & sanding/refinish to origuinal boards, to get a uniform finish product.

  6. seek advice to this handyman folks!

  7. Dan Anderton says:

    Working at evenings and weekends is sometimes the hardest, putting in a full days work then coming home and having to start all over.

    I always find any work for my wife is the last to get done, it’s too easy to relax at home.

    Good effort

    Handyman Manchester

  8. I love all the handy work your always up too! Just wanted to stop by and say for the first time! I check your posts sometimes cause i find it very enjoyable! Keep up the great work!

  9. Hi Dougal,
    What type of polyurethane did you use?

  10. Sanding down is the worst job, I hate it with a passion.

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