There is a reason why I love painting and never quite latched onto quilting. Patience. I am a finisher and I like to finish in a day. If a project drags on too long, I get bored with it. Well, my patience is really being tested on these counters. It took a couple of days to get them routed, sanded and ready to be installed, but then I had to put the finish on. The finish I chose, Waterlox, is an 11 day process. 11 days!?! I can’t just slap on a coat and install them when they are tacky? It’s four coats of finish with 24 hours between each and a 7 day cure time. It’s torture for an impatient DIYer such as myself. BUT…it’s really worth the wait. The counters are on day 3 of the curing process and they are so beautiful and I don’t want to rush the installation. I want to follow the instructions like a good girl. I do go down and pet them and look longingly at them, though. The label didn’t say anything about not petting them during the curing process.
Now, if you’re impatient, like I am, you might think that one coat will do just fine. Well, after one coat, I immediately saw I was in for three more. This finish soaks into the wood and it soaks in unevenly for the first two coats. By the third coat, it was starting to look really good, but the finish was pretty rough to the touch. We sanded the bare wood down to a 220 grit smoothness, so I was a little bummed.
See all the bumps in the grain? You could feel all of those.
So, I decided to sand. Some people do, some people don’t. The problem with sanding is that if you leave any sanding marks, they’ll be visible in the final coat. I knew I wouldn’t be happy with them if they felt rough, so I sanded. I wrapped 320 grit sand paper around a block and gently ran the “sanding block” over the surface. They key to sanding at this stage is to sand in the direction of the grain, not swirls, which is why I didn’t use an orbital sander, and to use gentle, even pressure.
As you can see in the photo, sanding knocked down the rough edges, making the finish buttery soft.
Here’s what it looked like all roughed up.
To clean away the dust and make sure there weren’t any sanding marks that would show through, I wiped the finish with mineral spirits. Since the Waterlox finish has a mineral spirits base, it’s the best product to use for this. The counters were so smooth after that step.
(The bottom part of the counter in the photo above was wiped with mineral spirits.)
I applied the final coat on Thursday and they are stunning.
The glossiness will fade over the first 6 months to a medium gloss finish.
I’m not going to lie. It’s testing my patience, but I know Thursday will be here before I know it.
…and before signing off, I wanted to share my latest cow painting. I really don’t have a thing for cows…or maybe I do? This is my third cow painting. Hmm… Anyway, I bought this from Cari Humphry during my visit to Arkansas. When visiting the shops, a wall of (mostly) cow paintings caught my eye. I loved several of them, but this one in particular stole my fancy.
Just a black and white spotted cow lumbering down the road, in colors that are perfect for my house. I loved the odd shape of the canvas as well. I knew immediately I wanted to buy it, but I had a book signing to do. As I was signing books, I was certain someone would walk in and buy it. You know about my paranoia thing… When I was all done, I practically made a bee-line to the wall of paintings and told Cari I was buying it.
This piece was an original, but she also had many giclee prints available (which are prints of paintings, but they are on canvas and artists usually paint over them to add texture.) It was really hard to tell the difference between the two. Of course, I said “gick-ley” like a total hick, when it’s actually pronounced, “zhe-clay.” Heaven help me when I go on my shopping trip to France…one day. I will thoroughly butcher anything I say or make it sound German, which is my default “foreign language mode”.
That was a fun little rabbit trail.
Anyway, I love her. Him? Cari? And I think this cow needs a name. I already have Eulalie and Adele. Maybe we’ll have another cow-naming contest…