A botched job

I bought an unfinished wood coffee table kit for my living room in 2007, fully intending to paint it white that same year to match other furniture I had at the time. I purposely left the top unattached to the base (just resting on it) so that I could easily pull the table apart to move it out to the garage and apply that paint. But life got busy, you know how life does, and I never actually got around to painting it.

A couple of years ago, I broke my own rule about eating in the living room (for shame) and spilled something greasy on it that left a stain on the untreated wood. I put my feet up on it when I watch TV. The dogs use it as a vault to get to the couch when there’s something to be barked at, leaving deep scratches behind. It has gotten to looking very shabby.

Finally, yesterday, I couldn’t stand that sight of those scratches and smudges and stains anymore. I hauled the top off to the garage and located the can of spray paint I bought back in, I dunno, maybe 2008 or 2009 with the best intention of using it when it was new on that table. But then I realized the wood first needed to be heavily sanded to get those scratches out—an unpleasantly dirty job on a hot day, but I did it. Then I realized it also needed to be primed, so off I went to Home Depot to buy a can of primer.

Two hours later, I had the primer coat done, and it looked pathetic. But I figured that glossy white final coat would serve to hide a multitude of sins, so I laid it on the minute I deemed the primer to be dry.

The results were even more pathetic than bare wood with shoe scuffs and greasy stains.


The top of the table looks all blurry with its uneven streaks of gloss and matte, its drips and drabs, its pooled blotches. I did a completely crap job of painting it.

So tonight the table top is back in the garage. I’ve started sanding down the drippy edges and blobs, as well as scuffing all the gloss. I will (very carefully) repaint it tomorrow with good-quality paint from a can and a real brush, which of course is what I should have used in the first place. That’s what I get for being in a hurry. A frequent joke in many workplaces is “there’s never time to do it right, but always time to do it over.” Sadly true, even though I would like to think I know better.

I still haven’t decided whether to paint, stain, oil or just varnish the rest of the table. I need to fix my botched job on the top first, the proceed with caution on the next phase.


4 thoughts on “A botched job

  1. Looks like a nice table. If you want to hide blemishes, try faux painting. It’s relatively easy to do for the simpler finishes and will hide a multitude of sins! If it were my table, I would use a stain to bring out the grain in the wood and to complement other wood surfaces in the room – but that’s just me. 🙂

    • The trouble is, I no longer have only all-white furniture in my living room because I’ve moved house since 2007 and acquired a variety of new pieces. There’s some white painted wood, some blond varnished wood, some dark brown stained wood, plus the unfinished rough plank paneling on one of the main walls. It’s a hash right now, in other words, and I’m not sure yet which style/color will ultimately prevail. 😉

  2. Shabby chic? I would stick to a small roller for that job…after a really good sanding and maybe even repriming. You can’t go wrong with all white…but it might look interesting with a stain on the body and the white on top. I’ve certainly seen the reverse.

  3. Pingback: Still a botched job | Going Forward

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