Friday, October 3, 2014

The Kitchen Project: The Table

This table has a history.

When I bought this table three and a half years ago, I expected it to solve all my "eating in the kitchen woes." Little did I know, a whole new set of woes were about to begin.

It started innocently enough.

One day, while cleaning up after dinner, I threw my dishcloth on a spot to "soak" it and make it easy to wipe up. Little did I know that I was inviting disaster.

The Liatorp, by IKEA, is one of the few pieces they carry which is simply a melamine finish on a pressboard (or mdf) surface. (The new Ingatorp is, unfortunately, no different.)

Once the finish cracks or becomes pitted, the fibres in the pressboard underneath swell up, creating huge blots.

This becomes this in short order.

Most of their furniture is at least some sort of wood. The pressboard, however, made the table impossible to re-finish--or so I thought.

So, for too long, I lived with this.

Eventually, it got so nasty (and clean up so impossible) we just stopped eating at it. That killed me. I believe very strongly in having family meals together. I have teenagers. It is really important for us to connect. I imposed a rule: dinner together once a week. That's how bad it was.

Once in a while, I'd research how to "fix" it, but I never found anything quite satisfactory.

Then, one day last week, I was thinking about it and realised it was simple. I would sand down the raised bits, prime them, and then re-paint with a melamine paint.

So, that's what I did.

I used a shellac based primer. An oil based primer might have done the job just as well, but I thought of the pressboard as if they were knots. They had to be super sealed to protect them from moisture.

Then, I rolled on a couple of coats of the melamine paint (colour matched to a side rail I took into Home Depot.) I used a sponge roller which was a bit of a mistake. It knocked back the sheen of the paint and it gave me really thin coverage. The thin coverage wasn't a bad thing, necessarily, I just wanted the process to go a bit more quickly, so I switched to a brush. I did two coats with it.

It is not perfect.

If you look closely, you can see the brush strokes.You can also see where the pressboard spots were. (Trust me. The camera can't pick it up but the naked eye can. Especially when you get down close when the sun is shining.) I probably should have sanded a bit more. I'm not sure wood filler would have helped but it might have.

The sheen doesn't match the original table top. As you can see, you can tell when you put the leaf in.

The thing is, I really don't care about these imperfections that much. They certainly are not going to keep our family from the table anymore.

(Next up: repainting those chairs. But don't hold your breath.)


Deirdre said...

Hi Alana, yay for the family dinner tradition! Are you not a fan of tablecloths? That would have been my solution---though we did just purchase a table off craigslist and will need to do some major sanding/re-staining. I agree, few spots in a home are more important than the family table.

Anonymous said...

I love your chippy chairs and am super impressed with what you did with your table!!!

Alana in Canada said...

Thank you Dierdre and Kate. No, I am not a fan of the tablecloth. Cotton ones get dirty too quickly and vinyl moves too much to wipe down properly--plus I found it uncomfortable on bare legs in the summer. Thank you for you welcome comments!

onshore said...

Well it looks way better now. Hope you got it sealed so well, the spots will never happen again.

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