Dream house, dream life, yeah right. Dream on…

Posts tagged ‘varnish’

26 Million dollar table

This Summer there were a few days that hit ‘roast’ on the thermometer. On one of them I hosted a few friends  for a BBQ on the terrace.  I don’t think any of them realised what a miracle it was that we were seated at a table.


See this was my table.


And this was my table the day before…

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And this was my table leg…

2014JAN12 005aNot only had the bottom broken off, but further inspection found it soft and spongy all the way up.

When the leg first started breaking off I thought I could maybe cut all the legs shorter and put on castors. But when I realised the extent of the damage I was devastated. This was MY table. I bought it from a clearance table when out shopping for a 1/5th of the original price and somehow managed to fit it in the car. I then had a prolonged ‘discussion’ with a man in K&D who insisted I didn’t want to varnish it as I would have to sand and recoat it every year. He insisted I should ‘oil’ it. I didn’t want to oil it, I wanted a table I could wipe clean before eating off it.

I pointed out that the tin of oil he had handed me instructed one to “sand back and recoat every 12 months” and that having grown up with wooden boats I certainly hadn’t had to revarnish them every Summer. I finally walked out with my can of marine varnish. I loved how that table came up.

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That was 8 years ago.  It was re-coated in the third year.  It should have been redone a couple of years ago but somehow it never made it to the top of the job list. (Funny that, since I was stripping and varnishing floors and painting walls etc that year.) There were a couple of cracks in the top that were starting to lift with the rain. Two years on these were serious rifts in the wood. But it was usable. At least it was until half the leg fell off.

‘Gentlemen, we can rebuild him. We have the technology. We have the capability… ‘

Well I thought I did, until I tried to replicate the angles cut at the top and bottom of each leg. I turned it, turned it again, picked it up, looked at it closely, stepped back, held straight edges across the angles,  but I could not find a way to cut the new leg to replicate the old. I ended up coming inside and phoning my reno guru who talked me through how to cut them – which still didn’t make much sense. I walked outside, picked up the new leg, turned it  around and wham, there was the angle, so easy to replicate. Don’t know why I couldn’t see it before, I tried holding it every way possible.

Once it was cut I needed to replace the bolts. This was the tricky bit. I thought I would have to figure some new way to bolt all the way through, but amazingly Bunnings had exactly what I needed – furniture bolts (and an employee who could tell me how to install them – put a nut or two on the top section, then use them with a spanner to screw the bottom section into the leg.)

2014JAN12 007a 2014JAN12 008aI eyeballed the angle for drilling the holes for the bolts and no one was more surprised than I was when I got it right the first time – the bolts slid into the table bracket like they had been made for it.  I’ve also put plastic ‘feet’ on the end of each leg so they are no longer sitting directly on the cement.

TaDah! Dinner is served.2014JAN12 017

Later I pulled the table back into the carport and dug the bad wood out of the cracks, scraped and sanded  the varnish back to raw wood. The biggest of the cracks had almost rotted out the entire piece –  the ends of the slats were barely resting on wood at all. I knew my skills didn’t extend to replacing the edge of a circular table, so I stuffed the hole with wood glue and sawdust, clamped it, let it dry, stuffed in some more, let that dry and then filled the top with wood filler.

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I thought I would probably have to paint the edge of the table black to hide all the filler, but  after the first coat of varnish it was not that noticeable.

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Eight coats of varnish later and the table is back to it’s former glory… although it’s a different colour. Much more like teak and a range of tones  instead of the solid gold that it used to be.

I like it.

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(Yes, every time I tried to take a photo it had been raining.)









A day in the life…

Every time I paint I swear up, down and sideways that I’m NOT going to do any painting after dark, which would explain why I’ve just finished putting the first coat on the new study and the hall at 11:30 pm, but only if I lived in Norway. I hate to think what this will look like in the morning light, but at least one coat is on, it’s only taken me all day.

I started at 8am, recoating the edging to the kitchen benches – and scraping back the laundry edge that I had forgotten about. Talk about false economy – why am I doing a part of the kitchen when I need to get the rest done first? Because I don’t clean brushes requiring turps – and before I tossed the varnish brush after finishing the windowsill and mantle piece I wondered if there was any more varnish that needed to be done. The kitchen had gone sticky. And yucky. I scraped it off, sanded and revarnished late last night (anyone see a pattern here?). So first job today, recoat and position strange piece of furniture around to remind me not to touch the benches.

Then I started painting – Double strength Mantra on the bedroom feature wall. I love it. Just hope I like the other colours. I had a colour consultant here yesterday for ninety minutes. $$$ and at the end of it she has basically helped me select what looks like 4 very expensive whites. Such a huge change from the buttery cream I’ve lived with since the eighties. Of course change is what I wanted, but I just hope these colours aren’t going to feel cold. So far the first coat of White Duck half looks very greenish grey. After all this effort I can tell you I’m going to have to learn to love it.

Washed out the roller etc, and then started taping up the rest of the rooms. One and a half rolls of tape later and they are done. I got half way through painting edges when a client arrived to have a broken nail fixed. Since she brought me a lovely panelled bi-fold door that I think will actually fit my non standard doorframes she is forgiven *grin*

Back to the White Duck Half – I’ve used about 3 litres today – edges, edges, edges, then fill in the rest. For a house without walls they sure turned up today – each of them fiddlier than the last. Finally gave up about 4ish when I emptied the roller tray and set out to find some food, and to try and buy the trim paint for the bedroom. Bunnings will receive a complaint call on Monday – I’ve tried 2 stores and they don’t have any ultra bright tint in 1 litre cans. They have it in 2 litre, but I refuse on principal to pay $25 more for paint I don’t need (I need about half a litre).

Back to the painting after 6 when I climbed up on the Mantra wall and masked off the ceiling line (nothing is straight here) and touched up the ceiling paint then back to the white Duck half, and didn’t stop until it was done.

Meanwhile elsewhere in town 50 or so of my high school classmates gathered for a 30 year reunion. I decided watching paint dry was more entertaining. Why then do I feel like I’ve got nothing done? I only have tomorrow to finish painting the new study and I really wanted to have the bedroom pretty much done too. I have no hope of getting the windows taped, sanded, filled and primed before tomorrow is over, which will be a pain, I wanted to put the computer desk in front of the window. First step is to actually get some sleep tonight instead of lying there mentally painting stuff!



Don’t wake me

OMG! Look at this! I don’t believe it.

Yes, that’s the first coat of varnish going onto my soooo smooth floors. The floor guy did a great job, helped no doubt by the fact the timber in this house is just perfect. There is one knot hole in the whole 3 rooms (of course it’s in the middle of the bedroom, no doubt will be on the visible end of the bed). There’s not a crack between boards, and even the water stains that were there after we lifted the carpet have totally gone. (My parents were very good at overwatering potted plants, especially ones sitting on the floor. I on the other hand just put them in places where they blow over at regular intervals and make the carpet muddy!) I can’t wait for the morning to see if they really look as good as I thought they did as I backed out the front door. One more reason to love this house. I have the three varnished areas shut off, still have a large house to move around in (well I would have if it didn’t contain all the stuff from the rest of it), and most importantly can get to the bathroom, kitchen and bedroom easily. Even varnishing, the bedroom was the only room that only had one exit. I’ll always remember Aunty Holly would always get lost when going to the bathroom here, she could never remember which direction to go, and never seemed to get that no matter which way you went, you’d go around. Very different to her own hall down the middle house. I keep thinking there must be something terribly wrong with the varnish I put on, because I thought it was easy. Everyone has made such a fuss about how hard it is to varnish your floors. It was… fun. I used a Teflon roller for the first coat. As instructed by the pro I rolled across the grain first then before reloading the roller rolled down the grain. Rollers only leave bubbles he said if it is so warm the varnish sets before the bubbles flatten. I guess we’ll see tomorrow. I’ll use the recommended lambs wool pad thingy for the next coat/s. Second coat will be harder to see where it’s been I guess, but it’s satin not gloss so hopefully it won’t show up too badly. I ended up going with Feast Watson Floor Clear, because it says it is abrasion resistant and lower odour. So far I can barely smell it this end of the house, so I haven’t decamped as planned.

OMG I have polished wood floors. It’s like a dream. Nobody wake me.


Surprise! Big surprise today – the guy sanding the floors trimmed back the bit of carpet in the doorway between the lounge/new study and the living room and the board under it was polished. Strange, I remember when we pulled all the old carpet out and laid this one 14 years ago, but I have no memory of the living room being polished. I knew the sunroom and small bedrooms were polished, because Mum and Dad had them carpeted soon after we moved in. I knew the lounge and hall and bedroom that I’ve just stripped had carpet on them from the beginning (it was still there when we moved in – mushroom in the bedroom and lounge, gold in the living room and hall,) but I simply don’t remember the living room having been polished under the carpet. This is the best news. Now if I can just find an economic way to line the ceiling of the downstairs flat to cut the noise I can strip up the rest of the carpets and simply buff the floors, no need for deep sanding like the unfinished boards received today.

For once this house has a surprise for me that doesn’t mean spending more money and more time and making even  simple jobs complicated.




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