Introduction: Oak Bed Room Set Restoration

About: I am a DYII Tinkerer type. I live for Halloween, zombies, Day of the dead, and costume play. I love restoring furniture, building or anything my immagination can dream up. My angel wing project was to add so…

Here you see a fully restored 21 year old Oak Bedroom set from a Pickeled Oak finish to this stage.

5 weeks of here and there, 2 hours or so at a time.
Cost 500$ for the Set of 5 pieces
Paint & Supplies 150$

There was nothing really hard about this but lessons learned for sure. This was one of the biggest resoration projects I have taken on.

Ease:  Simple Sanding, painting, staining

Step 1: I Find a 21 Year Old Oak Bedroom Set, With Purple Mind You

A friend says 'Hey I heard my friend wants to get rid of her old bedroom set. So I take a U-Haul over and grab this deal.
500$ was a steal, this is very solid 1" Carolina Oak from American Heritage. 17 Drawers, compartments for storage under the Center Piece etc.  But I hated the bland look of the furniture, but I saw Promise...

Note the Purple Wall behind the set. I noted much slopped over Purple paint on top of the furniture. Ugg

Funny note, as I moved this out I noticed who ever painted the walls did not think to move the furniture before doing so. Huge while blocks tracking the furniture was apparent. To funny.

The Adventure begins...Now onto 'Casa de Kel Workshop '  aka my Garage.

Step 2: The Wood...Time to Analyze What I Wanted.

My focus here was to take the whitewash look out. I really loved the Monestary Look of the Armories, the grooves (which later caused much issues, but 20/20 hindsight I will share with you to make these smoother.

I went to Google and looked up images of Armorie's for hours until I found the look I wanted to base mine off of.
As I learned, different wood stains differently, some are tighter grains than others.  Depending on the wood, research the best staining technique. 

Off I go to Home Depot to get my supplies.

Step 3: The Supplies

I kid with the Picture, actually you can do this very simply. I highly recommend a Orbital Sander and Mouse Sander, they make it all go fast. Ryobi has them for 60$ 

* The Blue Bed was a project for my friend, who later decided she didn't want it. Great I have a spare bedroom set now.

The Short List

Cherry Stain  1 Quart
Chardonary Stain  1 pint
Black Oil Based Paint,  the stock kind. Just ask your help at Home Depot or Lowes. This was a heavy oil based paint.
Glossy Polyurethane  2 Quarts.
Cranberry Red Paint  1 Quart.
2 Quarts of Paint Thinner
2  Quart Containters
2 high quality Paint Brushes
2 Foam brushes (one small, one large)
3 Rolls of Blue Painters Tape
20 Sanding disks 80 grit
5 sheets of 120 sandpaper
5 sheets of 220 sandpaper
5 sheets of 300 sandpaper

* Why Oil based paint over Latex paint.

I wanted a very glossy look.  I didn't want the flat look of latex paint.

Side Note: After several layers of paint I saw runs. A contracter friend of mine suggest I get a Wagner Spary Paint gun.
I know it was my lack of experiance with this tool, I put it on to coase of a setting. It certainly put paint on the wood in a hurry, but it was large droplets.  I ened up not using the spray painter and just used brushes.

Step 4: Sanding Begins

Oh if I had 20/20 hindshight there were have saved 4 hours of heavy sanding.

Of note, i just happend to have a belt sander. Ok, I went out and bought one. That darn Picked whitewash is a bear to sand off.
Even with 60 grit it proved to destructive. So the good old Orbital Sander is the thing.

I also bought a Black and Decker Mouse Sander that did work great to help me get into the corners and along the grove. I highly recommend it.

Notice the ugly purple sloppy paint, that was my first target.

Step 5: Test Color of Stain on a Spare Piece of Wood

Originally I thought the base Armoire I liked and was modeling was Cherry. So I made a test board to look and see how it looked.
I was shocked it was so drab, to light, way lighter than I wanted.

I just happend to have some 'Chardonarry' colored stain from a previous project and this proved to be cool.

I just ended using a foam brush to mix over the already dried Cherry stain. It gave it a much darker look.
I just make lazy 'S' shaped and then used the foam brush to swirl it around lightly. You will see how much better it looks later.

Here I also painted a black boarder to try and get a look. This worked out great.

But in the end, remember, the Polyurethane is going to give it a nice glassy look, and that is what I was looking for!

Step 6: A Million Miles of Blue Tape

The big Tape.

* Side note and 20/20 hindsight.  After weeks on the furniture and heavy paint over the tape I found an ugly fact, the paint will pull up right with the tape. As I was taking the tape off there goes the black paint in big chuncks with it.

* Try not to paint to heavy over the paint tape.  If you do, take a razer back and slice along the edges of the tape/wood you are protecting so the paint doesn't lift off with the tape.

* Also If it is a one time paint, while it is almost dry pull the table up.   This is especially true on touch ups.

Taping took longer than painting.  50 minutes to tape up, 15 minutes to paint. But as they say, the devil is in the details and fine edges count!  Don't think your big brushy brush will make smooth lines,  they don't !!

So by now you see the Stain, which I decided to put on first.   2 coats of cherry, and swirl in the Chardonay stain worked well. You just have to 'eyeball' it as we say in Texas.

* Note, do the staining all in one run. I had to go back and darken one later, I had to re-tape, not fun.

Step 7: Retape and Black Painting Time

I will admit, I am a color guy, I like bright colors (See my Vintage Fence Project)  and the prospect of glopping on black paint over Oak wasn't easy to rationlize, but hey...Artistic is just that..

So I forged ahead, first with paint brushes then later with a Spray Gun.

Runs, Runs everywhere.

Perhaps it was the 100 degree Garage in the Florida Night time, the thick oil paint., the oak and high vertical surfaces I was doing.
I learned the hard way to paint a light coat as you can and then over and over keep checking and brushing over the full verticle area. These sides were almot 5 feet tall.
I found runs to late over all the furniture.   Luckily I put the top of the dresser last, that was my show piece.

Runs ran over the drawers and left drops that hardened. I ended up sanding most off and repainting. This caused havoc in a garage with still wet paint dust is your enemy.

I know it sounds simple, but a perfect looking painted surface looks great one minute and then runs a few minutes later. Keep checking and smoothing out.

If you notice the all black dresser, I tapped over the stained wood and let my spay painter rip.  A action that I wouldn't do again.

Brush painting is just smoother.  Now if you are good at misting a Paint sprayer go for it. But from all my Sailboat Restorating research the brush wins and it goes rather quick. Just keep smoothing it out and watch for runs.

Notice the mirror, how much better the finish looks. That is because I didn't heavy sand. I just used 220 grit and light sand.

Funny:  I get a warning from my Neighborhood watch for leaving this mirror out. I didn't have any room in my garage and needed this to dry.  'No trash is allowed outside the residence' was the warning.  How rude :)

Step 8: The Last Steps, Polyurethane

My thought was 'Shine' comes out in the Polyurethane and on the stain it worked great, it has that slight glossy look.  The guys I hired to move all the furniture upstairs asked if it was still wet. 

Polyurethane worked great except on my Dresser top.   Again maybe the hot garage but bubbles that got hard drove me crazy.
I sanded, used wood filler along the top to get a ultra smooth level top. This was to be my centerpiece.

Along the Armories as long as I put thin coat on, the Polyurethan worked smoothly, but not on the dresser.
Then a brush hair 3" long got imbedded into the top and I didn't notice until later. Then my glove caused another scratch. I was pulling my hair out. From tiny hard bubbles that formed no matter how much I brushed to those glitches I was one inch away from sanding it all off.

Finally I put as heavy as a coat of Polyurethane on the top as it would take. That smoothed out most of the tiny bubbes that had hardned but still a few here and there.  Overall the look was ok and I was happy.  Yes I can run my hand over this and feel a few tiny bumps, but overall you don't notice them once in the room. My thought is to try 500 wet grit and see if I can smooth them out, but to be honest, I am not sure how smooth you can sand polyuerethane.

I did 3 coats on everything and 5 coats on top of the dresser.

The Polyurethane dries in under an hour and you can re-coat quicily.

Ensure you go over any 'sticking points' where one part rubs against another. I put extra coats along there.

Here you can see how great a gloss it puts over the furniture.

As you can see I had a little fun and painted and polyurethaned some red into the mix. It worked out nicely.

Step 9: Ta Da.. the Finshed Project and I Am Impressed

5 weeks of hard but satisfying and relaxing work pays off.
I call the movers, the fail to show up. I call the movers again, they promise to come the next day and again fail to show up. I get aggravated as I had totally emptied my bedroom so I can get my masterpiece in.  I end up sleeping on my new mattress on the floor, my beautiful creation still in the Garage.

Tip:  Use and choose 'Moving Help'  I have used them twice now, they are on time and always great work.115$ to move all this heavy furniture up was a deal. If you have great friends even better.

It is in the room and I love it, my girlfriend hasn't seen it yet, she has only seen the 'Garage' Version so she is in for a treat.
I can't explain it other than the warm tones of the Cherry/Chardonay with the Black worked. The room isn't to dark from the black, the stained woods balances it off nicely.Rather Regal if I do say so!

===  Happy .. Yes I am, I love it. And oddly I don't see any mistakes. You would have to be under very bright white light to see the runs on the side of the Armoire or the textured paint along the drawers.  In short it looks amazingly well done!

For me this was a full bedroom rebuild. I had to buy a new bed, sheets to take this Furniture. I had a Queen bed, this was for a King Set.  I found

King Size Bed:  700 $ at Furniture Liquidators (A very warehouse looking place)
* Beds: That was a journey of disonety and tricks. Hours on Youtube just said 'Google 'Beds' look at the reviews and get out there and lay down on them. I looked at Water Beds, Foam beds and Pillow tops.  700$ for a King Set was as low as I could go and still get a nice pillow top King Size bed & box springs. One week later sleeping on it I am happy with my purchase.

* Sheets/Pillows :   330$ at Bed Bath and Beyond.

The Final Price Tag.

1,857$   for the whole Shebang.  This was much cheaper than the 5,000 to 10,000$ range for qaulity Oak 5 piece bedroom set.

Would I do it again, "Hell Yes"   I am very happy with this great look !

Post Thoughts:

1. Take the drawers out. I coudn't figure them out. The mover just pulled hard on them and out they came. That would have been so much nicer to work on the individually

2. Watch those paint runs. I can't pull them out now, but luckily as the way the furniture is you can't see them. 

3. Use a butane touch to get the bubles out of polyurethane as soon as you apply it. Look this up on youtube.

4. I sanded way to much with the orbital sander. This pickeled wood took the paint well after 220 sand paper sanding.  The mirror was my proof. It came out way smoother.  Some of the wood along the Armories (the curve part has a light texture)

5. Keep all furniture level. This is very important and stops paint from running even more

Time: I was doing two other projects as I was doing this, hence 5 or 6 weeks to finish it. I generally went out to the garage one or two hours 3 times a week and painted, polyurethaned etc.   It wasn't hard, I probably could have done it in 2 weeks if I was in a hurry.

6. Chemical Strippers. I am not a big fan. Sometimes it gets the job done, but for me the milky resudue got into all the grooves and hardened, I couldn't sand them out.   Use them as little as you can. Sandpaper is cheap !

7. The Mirrors.  This one had many mirrors.  Any paint / polyurethan that drips onto them wipe away immediately. The mirrors were so big I choose to be very, very careful. I put 4" of tape around the edges to stop any paint drips. And there are always going to be a few paint drips from your brush.  Wipe and clean with paint thinner ASAP if you drop any on the mirrors.

INSPIRATION:   I had a lot of fun with this, looked forward to coming home and working on it. I loved seeing it come to life rather quickly.   Get out there on Craigslist and Estate Sales, there are people just wanting to get rid of furniture and get something new.  If nothing else, this quick project shows you can transform the blab into the Amazing !

Step 10: Sanding... You Have to Love It, the Feel of Wood, the Smell of Sawdust

Yeah right.

Here I sanded to much. The sides of each Armoire I ended up sanding down to 80 grit and up to 300.  I was thinking of staining these Cherry, but once I had it all done I realized it wouldn't look right.

The Question: Can you stain/paint over Pickeled wood.  Yes if you sand it down with 220 grain.

I got a bit frustated at the pace of the work, so I went to Chemical Strippers. This was a bad idea on these many long grooves along the doors/drawers.  Why, it clumped up  and when I tried to sand it down with a mouse sander it just ended up hardening.

Later you will see the Mirror, same grooves. I just used 220 sand paper and walked it along the grooves. It came up much nicer.
I should have done this with all the grooves.

Short Anser only where you are truly staining do you need to sand down to the natural wood. The rest just sand good with 220 sandpaper where you are going to paint. .

* Oil based paint didn't need a primer. This wood was smooth and later you will see the paint didn't need a primer coat.
* You can of course take that step if you are going to paint over darker wood with a lighter color.