Return of the Renozilla

>> 3.18.2010

Before reading this post it might be in your best interest to brush up on your renozilla avoidance techniques... things might get a little scary around here!

So, as you might remember, it was a little over a week ago that I shared my progress on the dining room table transformation. Things were going quite slowly, but pretty smoothly. I felt like I was on the home stretch in the process of restaining my table to a deep, rich tone. Well, I'm back with an update, but it's not such a good one...

After a few more hours sanding on Saturday, I felt like it was finally time to whip out the stain. I reread all of my Googled tutorials on staining, gathered my materials, and excitedly started to spread the dark stain on the table. After waiting a good 20ish minutes to let the stain soak in, I came back to wipe the stuff off and see my beautiful finished product... what I saw was less dark and rich and more black and yellow zebra. The stain had soaked into certain parts more than others and the yellow unfinished portion was peeking out in far too many places.

Trust me, it looked even worse in person!

Not only was the color's look all wrong, but there were multiple swirl marks from the sander. It was just B-A-D.

The renozilla wasn't happy. After half an hour of brainstorming possible fixes, moving the table into the dining room, and getting a disapproving look from Nate, I spent the next four hours resanding the entire thing the renozilla used her fiery breath to burn off all of the ugly zebra stripes.

What went wrong?
1. I probably let it sit too long (especially because it was a warm, sunny day).
2. I didn't use any sort of wood conditioner that would have helped some of the blotchy spots.
3. I should have paid reeealy careful attention to smoothing down the swirly marks.
4. I might have been trying to go too dark. *I went out and bought a lighter tone for the next round.

Back at square one again...

Needless to say, I was way too busy fighting off the zilla to finish the chairs and the weekend ended up being mostly a big, fat bust. The happy ending is still to be determined, but I have a feeling that I might be whipping out the paintbrush at some point in the near future. I guess we'll all find out the table's fate by next week (because I'm not letting this thing suck one more weekend out of me!).

Please, be honest, anyone have any visits from a renozilla recently?


Jeannine @ Small and Chic March 18, 2010 at 10:06 AM  

Oh my gosh, my zilla came out when we were getting ready to have the floors redone. It wasn't pretty, but I was also exhausted from a few months of insanity at work.

I think she's tucked away for the foreseeable future.

Danielle and Clint March 18, 2010 at 10:13 AM  

:*-( How frustrating! Well, I guess it's all a learning experience.

Kate March 18, 2010 at 10:28 AM  

Oh no! I didn't realize you were using an orbital sander, swirl marks are no fun :( What grit sandpaper are you using? Have you tried doing a final sanding with a finer grit?

The zebra stripes are probably just bits where there was still some coating on the table, I'm sure renozilla's second sand job finished all that off though :) (I've had to re-sand those areas too, it's no fun!)

I hope your second try is more successful! Good luck!

Kasey at Thrifty Little Blog March 18, 2010 at 10:35 AM  

@Kate~ I can't remember the exact numbers, but I used a rougher (80?) then finished everything with a smoother (200ish?).

Sarah March 18, 2010 at 10:36 AM  

I'm so sorry about your table. I hate when that happens.

Oh my gosh, renozilla-love the term!

As for "zilla" sightings, I've never spied one in our home, but my husband swears he sees a "zilla" in the house from time to time. Who keeps letting this creature in? Weird, huh?

Sara @ Russet Street Reno March 18, 2010 at 10:58 AM  

I've got an entire week of 'Renozilla' coming up. We are tackling the refinishing of our upstairs floors. So, take your table drama and multiply it by alot of square feet. Not to downgrade your problem, because it is bad when a nice piece of furniture doesn't turn out the way you like it to. Because we are using the dark espresso stain that we used on our stairs, I know we will have blotchy spots and places where the stain doesn't take as well. I chalk it up to the floors being old, imperfect, and call it a day. Renozilla takes a chill pill! ha

Mrs. Chic March 18, 2010 at 11:46 AM  

Just remember to let the stain absorb then wipe away excess -- we had to apply three to four coats on our table to get the dark look we were going for, some of our table is a little lighter then other parts, but its wood and I like the imperfections so keep that inmind

Babs March 18, 2010 at 3:32 PM  

Oh no that's terrible that you have to re-do it. But the trial-and-error experience is worth it right for the next piece? I have to say I'm following your experience because this weekend I'm tackling the same sanding/refinishing for our patio table and chairs. Thanks for the update!

chacha March 18, 2010 at 4:35 PM  

Since I watch an inordinate amount of DIY & HGTV, I saw an episode of some show where they were staining wood and that the best way to "condition" the wood was actually to take a damp rag and run it over the dry wood. The wetness opens the pores of the wood to accept the stain.

Also - the grit of sand paper you use for the final sand should be light - like 220. That will result in finer sanding marks. Perhaps you used that, but just in case, figured I'd throw it out there.

chacha March 18, 2010 at 4:36 PM  

Duh, just read that in your comments that you finished with 200-ish. Maybe it just needs more sanding with 200 or finer grit.

Kasey at Thrifty Little Blog March 18, 2010 at 4:46 PM  

***A little update... I spoke with a carpenter friend of mine and he agreed to help me refinish the table this weekend! Hopefully I'll have some good news for next week!!

Jenny @ Anything Pretty March 19, 2010 at 11:59 AM  

Oh that is so frustrating! Your problem is the exact reason why stain scares me but I know you will be able to overcome it. I am just a chicken!

The 'zilla reared it's ugly head for me when I had to add poly to all of the kitchen cabinets. After they were all up and being used. This turned in a huge project with no visual difference which was just slightly frustrating.

Dayka (Life +Style) March 19, 2010 at 7:48 PM  

i love your dragon image!

i think it had to do with the time it was out, and also the fact that the wood doesn't have an even tone as a starting point. not sure if you already went ahead with the lighter color, but if you really want the darker look, you should try doing several coats (wipe on, wipe off) of the darker color, and then you can add more in the areas that need it . . . ???

Tracy's Trinkets and Treasures March 21, 2010 at 10:10 AM  

I had a couple of projects go wrong recently. It is so frustrating to put so much time and effort only to end up with disappointment. I bet your table will turn out good in the end. Can't wait to see.

Meg March 22, 2010 at 6:10 PM  

That is beyond frustrating! I am so sorry you had to spend a weekend that way. There's nothing worse than exuding a lot of effort with no reward. But it sounds like your carpenter friend is going to help you achieve an amazing table!

Keep at it! I know that your end result will be the awe-inspiring results we're used to seeing around here. :)

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