Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Confessions of a furniture painter

 Here's my "new" sewing desk!  I really like how it turned out with its new coat of paint.  I know I promised a photo from the back of a galloping horse, but I just couldn't fit the horse inside the studio.  So instead, you'll see all the flaws.

If I was about to start this project all over again with my newly found wisdom, I'd remove all the hinges.  The rubber cement did work as a paint resist, but I still had to deal with paint drips in the cracks of those hinged surfaces.  It would have looked a little better if they were painted as separate pieces.  Plus, there would have been less resanding and repainting to fix flaws.

The other thing I'd like to think I'd do differently would be to do all the painting in a nice clean, well organized and spacious garage.  However, this might prevent the project from even getting started.  There would be many fewer dead bugs in my zipcode if I'd painted under the garage roof and I wouldn't have had to drag all the pieces inside each night to avoid the dew.

Notice the cutout for the sewing machine?  The back side has a funny profile now.  That's because I used a jigsaw for the first time and cut an L shaped piece to allow my machine to fit.  My Bernina has a larger footprint than the sewing machines made a few decades ago when this desk was crafted.  Before, I had to keep the back piece tilted up from its hinges.  This made machine quilting or sewing on a binding a little harder because of the vertical wall when that piece was tilted upright.  Mr. SeeingStars was very supportive and stayed right there as I made the jigsaw cut.  Then, I asked him to show me how the router is used to smooth those edges.  He chose a bit that complimented the previous edge and worked his magic to make the finished edge look great.  I'm so glad to have his help.  I just wasn't ready to try my luck with a router.  I've heard before that it takes practice and I should use it on lots of scrap pieces before trying it on real furniture.  Thank you, Mr. SeeingStars!  You're my hero!

This is how I used to sew with the back section raised.  I covered a rectangle of foam insulation to raise the sewing machine height to be level with the top of the desk.  The foam is covered with a piece of canvas.  I considered adding this second piece to it, but it's not necessary.  The only part that shows is the part closest to the front.

There's a bobbin storage compartment that came with this desk.  I'm not comfortable using it because it sticks before adding paint and I fear the bobbins would fall to the bottom.  Since it's not convenient, I decided not to paint the whole thing, just the top inch or so.  A perfectionist I am not.  So sense I'm bearing all my mistakes, I'll share the bobbin storage part too.

Overall, I'm thrilled with the result.  The process of painting isn't really that much fun, but it's worth it to keep the goal in mind.  Some furniture that's functional and looks good in its setting.  I hope I'll soon get to the point of forgetting this project and just using the desk to sew and quilt.

Would I do it again?  You betcha!

The next project is a custom cutting surface made from an old dresser, a sheet of MDF and some more paint.  More to come in later posts.  Am I nuts to start another project so soon?  You betcha!  But the sooner I start, the sooner I'll be finished.  I can't wait to keep all my longarm threads in the top drawer!

Is she really doing this again?

Enjoy your day!
- SeeingStars


  1. Your desk looks fantastic! I didn't spot a single dead bug or paint drip. You should be so proud of yourself for the job you did and for trying out the power tools. I'm much more likely to ask my husband to do it for me, although I suppose if I HAD to, I could probably figure out. Great job!