I paid a visit to The Trading Post consignment shop in Amherst, MA recently to pick up a rock maple double bed frame for $40.00. While I was there I couldn't resist looking around. My advice if you visit? Don't rush. You're likely to miss something hidden beneath stacked furniture or under a pile of books and dishes.
I found this contemporary looking coffee table that I thought might work well in my daughter's apartment. She needed something long and narrow. It was painted green, but was light weight (one of my prerequisites for apartment moves).
This was definitely a stripping job as there appeared to be two or more paint layers. I used an old brush and a non-toxic stripping gel that works really well with little odor.
In about half and hour as the gel bubbled up, I began to notice a red layer of paint appear. I'm not sure which color I liked least!
The first two layers of paint came off very easily, exposing yet another layer of paint, this time a dull brown shade.
As I exposed more of the table top I began to think that the quality of the wood wasn't so great and began to rethink my strategy. It appeared to be a pine veneer over a plywood top and had the appearance of a wood shop project. Oh well, it's sometimes hard to know what's really in under three coats of paint and that's part of the thrill of the hunt.
The question then was whether it was worth it to continue my original plan of staining the top and more stripping and sanding, or whether I should just give up and paint it again - minus the Christmas tree look.
After removing the brown paint I found a thin coat of polyurethane over the surface. Not to be daunted, I used a #60 sandpaper and gently began sanding it until I reached the original pine veneer.
The end result wasn't bad and I decided to forge ahead with my original plan of staining the top.
It's hard to see in the picture above, but the first coat of maple MinWax stain was very light and required two more coats to get it dark enough and really bring out a richer patina.
As a last minute change, I decided to strip the table legs too. Under all that ugly green and red paint I got a little surprise - brass end pieces! I love it when unexpected treasures appear.