For Elijah’s Christmas gift, I decided to build him a table and a couple chairs. The actual construction was pretty straightforward. I headed to one of my favorite woodworking sites: Ana White’s site. From there I pulled up the “Clara Table” and the “Four Dollar Stackable Chairs“. The total cost of the pine for two chairs and the table was less than $30. Hard to beat! I had them built pretty quickly.
The problem came when I tried to finish them. We decided to paint them with leftover white and blue paint that we had tine the garage. The painting was fine but I wanted to put a hard finish on them since he’ll be abusing them and eating off the table. I have always turned to polyurethane tin the past, but it failed me miserably on the table top. There were huge blemishes in the finish.Thankfully the table top is built out of solid pine boards so I was able to sand it down without worrying about damaging something like plywood. And sand it I did. I sanded it down FIVE TIMES. It took a couple weeks as I experimented with different finishes. (Special thanks to John F for giving me some tips.) I tried a bunch of different things but everything dried tacky or had terrible brush marks. I ended up with a coat of shellac to cover the latex paint and then four coats of spray lacquer. That has been holding up pretty well but for some reason, some of his wooden toys do feel like they stick a bit to the surface if they are left there for a couple days. I don’t understand what causes it.
This project took way more time than I thought it would, but I learned a lot (spray lacquer rocks!) and I smile every time I see Elijah use his table. Totally worth it.