Branching Out #1 Furniture Renovation

Welcome to the first post in my new blog series, which will focus on my expanding crafty repertoire. (I know I only finished the last series two days ago, but I’m a tad excited about this!) There are so many crafts I’d love to explore, even if they are one-offs and never get repeated. There’s always something to learn along the way, and this week I’ve already tried out a few things.

I’ve had this old stool (we think it looks like a milking stool) since mid May, when I bought it for £1.50 from a car boot sale. It has had a hard life, and looks to have been used as a workbench-there are saw marks and holes in the top, it is cracked and it was covered in black paint, which was peeling badly. I couldn’t resist buying it, much to MrCraft’s disgust. In the time since then I bought some cream chalk paint (it was called Parlour Cream-what better colour for an old milking stool?) MrCraft helped to sand it down with the Dremel multitool I bought for his birthday, and my mouse sander. We also had to deal with the legs, which were slightly rotten and different lengths. We ended up cutting off more than planned as they were in a poor state, and using wood hardener to make sure the remaining wood was solid. It wasn’t ideal but it was better than having something that was unsafe. We finally got it level, and I used a cardboard nail file to remove the excess paint from around the legs (it made perfect sense as it was flexible and the sandpaper was attached to it!) MrCraft removed the legs and reglued them so that they were solid and I was good to go.

I loved the effect of the wood, the slight staining from age and the beautiful natural colour. The surface was slightly rough, but I was aiming for the rustic look and we were never going to sand out every single crack, saw mark and blemish. I decided to keep them as features, they recorded the stool’s history and it seemed a shame to get rid of everything. I chose to only paint the top so that the wooden legs could be shown off to their best. Once I was happy with the sanded finish, I painted 3 coats of the emulsion on the seat part. Because of drying time, this happened over two days. I think at one point when it was in a shed it had some oil spilled on it, and this shows through the emulsion. I’ve come to accept that this is a quirk, and part of renovating older pieces of furniture. I then applied Liberon finishing oil to the legs, as although I liked the wood natural, I wanted to protect it from stains and marks from use. It had two coats of oil, applied with a cloth (cut up babygro!), and I then left it to dry in the garden.

stool renovation
From the top: original stool with longer (but rotten) legs, after sanding, with the painted top and finally after oiling the legs

Before applying the oil, I decided to mark this new period of the stool’s history using my pyrography tool. At least this scar on it was intentional, and I think it adds quite nicely to it’s existing features. The flower was a ‘cheat’, stamped using a cardmaking stamp, I then went over the lines with the pyrography tool and gently sanded to get rid of any ink residue. This is on the inside of one of the legs, inconspicuous in general use but I know it’s there.

My pyrography is still very much at amateur level, it seemed like a good idea at the time!

This little stool is going to have a new life in our home, mainly as a kitchen step so I can reach the top shelves, but also as a sink step for children washing hands, possibly a foot stool, coffee table plus whatever else we fancy. Apart from my slightly botched pyrography I am really proud of how this has turned out, I love the way it looks and it fits in well in the kitchen. The best part is that this has cost less than £5 in total as I only bought a tester pot of paint. It’ll be interesting to see how the paint wears away naturally through use, changing the look of it all over again. (There’s a bit spare in the pot if it looks awful though!)

I’m on the lookout for more projects now, there’s another car boot sale on Sunday and I’ve definitely got the bug for this!

What furniture renovation projects have you done? Do you have any hints or tips?

Linking up with Rustic-Refined and their sharing party.


14 thoughts on “Branching Out #1 Furniture Renovation

  1. I love the finished result – sympathetically restored, I think. As you asked the question, I have some vaguely art deco dining chairs which my parents found in their first home. They have been used, relegated to the attic, to be dug out when I got my first home and needed furniture. Since then they have been variously painted, sanded or stained according to fashion & seats re-covered many times. Now they need another overhaul, but I still love them!

    Liked by 1 person

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