Refinishing Vintage Furniture with 100% All Natural Products
This vintage Henredon oak server was tucked behind a pile of broken plastic chairs at a local thrift store. It was spray painted high gloss black with some ridiculous plastic knobs. Whoever had decided to “spruce it up” has literally painted the folding leaves shut and the double serving ware drawers. One of the thrift shop employees had labeled it as a child’s dresser and if you didn’t pay attention to the hinges and pullout arms, you would have never known it was actually a server.
I started by first stripping the entire surface with Soy Gel Stripper. Soy Gel Stripper doesn’t have harsh fumes and since it is also a lead based paint encapsulate, it would also safely remove the paint even it contained lead.
Even with my favorite paint remover, some areas had to be coated more than once to remove all the old paint.
Once I had all the old paint removed, I scrubbed the server down first with hot water, vinegar and dawn dish soap. Then a quick wipe down with denatured alcohol. I did sand the top and fold out leaves to remove some scratches and an old burn mark. Since I was then left with a raw oak surface, I mixed up my Old Fashioned Milk Paint without any bonding agent. Milk paint used on a porous surface acts like any other paint and will not chip. If I was wanting a chipping look I could have done a coat of shellac first or randomly used a barrier such as wax or hemp oil in areas I wanted it to chip.
If you’re painting over an existing finish with milk paint and want a smooth finish, make sure you’re adding a bonding agent to your paint. I used Old Fashioned Milk Paint in Soldier Blue, painting some areas thicker than others. I wanted a differentiation of the color to get lighter and darker areas. The first coat of milk paint is usually very thin and can be a bit scary looking.
I then used Unicorn SPiT to mix a few colors together and match a Dark Walnut stain. Because this server is oak, a good water based stain works well due to the dense grain of the hardwood. Unicorn SPiT did a pretty awesome job on this top. Once I let that dry for about an hour I grabbed Daddy Van’s clear lavender scented wax.
I had originally intended to seal the top with another sealer due to using a water based stain, but because of a happy accident Daddy Van’s proved to work great.
I finished the entire server with two good coats of Daddy Van’s and let it cure for a few days. Here it is all finished up.