The transformation of this piece is a great demonstration of taking an outdated piece meant for a single purpose, and updating it into something multi-functional. This piece used to be your common storage chest, but it now has the additional function of a coffee table.
Read the following steps to see how I did this.
A friend had been looking for a chest to use as a coffee table for a long time. She finally found this one and brought it to me for refurbishment. I believe the outside wood is Walnut, while the inside is Cedar.
Next, I had someone attach barn board to the top of the existing lid with the use of glue and screws. Over time, I have collected barn, and old fence board, which I use to give a piece more character.
I stained the top and then applied a poly-acrylic to give it a hard seal to protect the wood; This gives it a sheen, though not everybody likes this look on their piece. Some people like a more rustic look. If that's the case, then omit the previous step of applying the poly-acrylic. My favourite stain colour, Jacobean, by Minwax, was used for this. In this picture, you can see that I've already stained the top. I'll go over this in the next picture. Unfortunately I didn't take any pictures of this process, though it is fairly simple.
When I stain my rough wood, I typically don't use a brush. I apply with a rag, and rub it in. This is done because I don't want the wood saturated with the stain. I still want the raw wood to show. Then, I primed the base of the piece with white. Though, I don't always do that, I usually paint it Warm White, by FAT Paint. The second colour used, the colour featured on the base, is two coats of Raven, by FAT Paint. FAT Paint typically takes 30-40 minutes to dry between coats. The dry time will change depending on the level of humidity outside. When painting the darker colour over the lighter, I recommend using less paint when going over the groove. So as not to cover the white, a dry brush technique will work for this section. For those who aren't aware, a dry brush paint technique means that very little paint is used on the brush.
Lastly, using 120 grit sandpaper, I distressed the edges and prominent areas to bring the white through for a contrasting look. It is important to clean the piece, with a wet cloth or a shop vacuum, after distressing it. Otherwise the dust will end up in the poly, contaminating the container. At least two coats of the poly-acrylic should be used. Two coats also makes the piece look finished. Following the can's instructions for application will give the best results. This piece is meant to be a coffee a table, so I used poly-acrylic on the base instead of using a wax, because the customer purchasing this wanted something durable.
Here is the final product:
Don't be afraid to try your own project. It will challenge your knowledge and skills, and will teach you much.
Leave any stories about your projects, and what you learned in the comments below!