Friday, February 5, 2016

The Process for Creating a Silky Smooth Finish

I show each completed project on my Facebook page, but I don't always write a blog post about each piece.  I finished a vintage Kent Coffey Dresser yesterday, and a lovely lady asked what my process was to get such smooth silky finishes.  I thought an article on my process might be helpful to her and maybe others, here it is:

I start with a quality piece that is in need of some RPK Love...

After assessing any necessary repairs, the prep work begins.  In this case, all of drawers worked well, and there was no veneer damage.  This yellow finish was popular in the early 60s, and experience has taught me that I can strip the top and find some lovely wood, but there is something the manufacturers used in the paint that prevents the stain from blending evenly.  In other words, this top was getting painted and not stripped and stained!

The hardware comes off and the sanding begins.  I know most folks feel like you don't need to sand when you use Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.  However, I prefer to sand to scuff up the finish and it also familiarizes me with the piece, noticing extra grime, or anything else that might be noteworthy.  After the sanding, every piece gets a good scrubbing with warm soapy water.  That removes any residual dust or oils, grease, etc.  

For this piece, I used a custom mix of ASCP Paris Gray and Duck Egg Blue.  My base coat was Coco.  

The first coat of Coco goes on, dries and then gets a good sanding of 220 grit sand paper.  The second coat of the custom mix goes on, and another sanding of 220 grit.  If I've achieved the level of coverage for the project, then a third coat goes on that is slightly watered down.  I prefer to dip my brush into water and then into the paint.  At this stage it should glide on easily.  After it's dried, it's another sanding of 220.

I wanted to add a subtle variation to the finish, so I mixed some Coco with Old White and created a wash to lay over the Duck Egg/Paris Gray.  Again, after the wash has dried, it gets another sanding of 220.  Are you sensing a pattern here?  Paint, sand, paint, sand, etc.

Then the top coat....General Finishes High Performance Top Coat in Flat....One coat, then guess what?  Sand with 220, then a second coat, sand and for the top I add a third coat.

I had a local DIYer ask me once how I get my finishes so hard and smooth....I told her I do a lot of sanding and her reply was "Oh I don't like to sand so I'll just skip those steps!"  Ok....whatever...I find this is a very tactile job...I am constantly running my hands over the pieces making sure the finishes are even and silky smooth.

That's the process I use.  If you have any other hints, tips or tricks, please share! 

Would you like to see a few more pictures?  I am so pleased with how this lovely gal turned out!

And by the way, each drawer gets a lot of my attention.  I am amazed when I see pieces offered on line or at vintage markets, how there is paint dripped on the sides of the drawers, and the interior of the drawers still have dust, spills, paper clips or hair pins remaining.  Really?  Whatever...I'm just saying.....

That's all she wrote....Sand, sand, sand, and then sand!  Ha! It sounds like I just might have the beach on my mind!  Warmer weather is just around the corner ( I hope!)!

As always, thanks for stopping by!