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Old 07-08-2008, 03:48 PM   #1
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Painting some bedroom furniture.


I recently inherited my parent's old bedroom furniture. It was built around 1960 and was done in the mid-century modern style. The finish is a light blond veneer (maple maybe?) over solid wood (also maple maybe.) After nearly 50 years of use everything is pretty scratched up. I want to sand it all down and paint it a semi-gloss black. I'm going to change out the hideous drawer pulls with some simple brushed-nickel bar pulls.

I've started testing on one of the drawer fronts. I've sanded it down, built up the dinged edges with wood putty, and filled the old screw holes. But what should I use to prep the wood before painting? I was originally thinking of sanding sealer but when I went to the hw store the can said it was intended to be used before staining. Can I paint over this stuff? I haven't bought the paint yet, but I was looking at using latex.

Or should I nix the sealer and use primer? I want a nice smooth finish.


I should point out that this furniture is built like a tank. It has dove-tail joints and the drawer fronts are 1.25 inches thick (not particle board or plywood.)

Steve S.

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Old 07-08-2008, 05:48 PM   #2
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Painting some bedroom furniture.


Furniture refinishers will use a sanding sealer after staining, but before the first coat of finish (like lacquer, varnish, polyurethane or whatever).

I would use an interior alkyd primer as your first coat.

If this is good quality furniture, you may very well wreck it by painting it with a brush or roller. I'd recommend that instead of painting it yourself, you tape it off with masking tape and take it to a furniture repair shop to spray paint for you.

Never, ever, never use a latex paint on furniture. Furniture needs a hard paint on it to stand up to people pushing the drawers closed with dirty hands and then trying to scrub off the fingerprints they leave behind. Latex paints just aren't hard and strong enough to stand up well on a working surface like the tops of dressers and cabinets. If you're going to be painting this furniture, I'd recommend you use an interior alkyd primer and top coat with two coats of an interior alkyd paint in your choice of colour. And, I'd recommend you take the primer and paint somewhere for them to spray it on.

Alternatively, you could buy an air compressor and try spray painting this furniture yourself.

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Old 07-08-2008, 07:04 PM   #3
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Painting some bedroom furniture.


If you are sanding it down to wood, and it's clear of knots, you could use a latex enamel underbody for the primer, and then a waterborne enamel for the paint

If you are not removing all the previous finish, or you would like to use an oil-based enamel on top, it would be best to use an alkyd (oil) underbody,
Then you could use a waterborne or oil-based enamel over it

The enamel underbody has a slight "build" to it, which tends to fill in the surface a little, and helps smooth out any paint applied over it, and provides the best possible surface for enamels

I'd recommend brush painting it
Done with care and quality tools and materials the slight amount of brush marks you'll get will only emphasize that this piece is a handfinished craftsman-type piece, rather than an oven-baked plasticote item

For no brushmarks whatsoever, you'll need to spray it
I wouldn't recommend it off-hand if you haven't done it before
I'd rent a good sprayer if that's your druthers

Make sure your enamels, WB, or OB, are real quality ones
Many of today's latex wall paints are technically "enamels"
You don't want a wall paint...
That's why you should look for "waterborne" if you are going the latex route
A "waterborne enamel" is better for furniture than a "latex enamel" wall paint
You want to get these materials at a real Paint Store
Most Big Box/Chain Home Improvement type deals won't know or have what you really should use
Ask at the Paint Store and they will direct you to the proper products they carry
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Old 07-08-2008, 07:19 PM   #4
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Painting some bedroom furniture.


Thanks for the info. I'm glad I checked here first before putting anything on it.

As for brush painting, aren't there conditioners you can add to reduce brush marks?

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Old 07-08-2008, 07:33 PM   #5
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Painting some bedroom furniture.


Well.........yeeesssss...but-

1) Conditioners are NOT a crutch...and do NOT make a so/so painter paint like a pro
Truthfully, really, you must believe me when I say to you the quality coatings manufacturers really have made their particular products behave the best that they can
Conditioners are for those times when the environment (or something else out of your control) is not allowing the product to perform as it should
Conditioners may help a coating level better, but will not eliminate brush marks if the product is over-brushed (a common DIY mistake is over-brushing)...or eliminate brush marks altogether

I would not recommend adding any conditioner to the Waterborne and Alkyd Enamels I am familiar with (Ben Moore's and Sherwin Williams')

2) I know of several professional companies that spray enamels for production times (with a system and the proper equipment it can be pretty quick), and then have one guy follow and add brush marks for that 'hand crafted' look
Don't fear the brush mark
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Old 07-13-2008, 03:15 PM   #6
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Painting some bedroom furniture.


Thanks again for the info. I used a waterborne acrylic enamel and it worked out well. The wood grain shows through nicely and I didn't have any problem with brush strokes.

Right now I just did a couple of drawer fronts, but once I do the entire dresser I'd like to give it a clear coat to help protect it, especially the top. Would something like Minwax Polycrylic be good for that?

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Old 10-16-2008, 05:19 AM   #7
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Painting some bedroom furniture.


Thanks for information of painting of bedroom furniture.

But i like the Halloween, sports and space graphical clip arts. So i have done the painting some Halloween images and set up some lights that when i off my bedroom light other will got feared by seeing the painting........

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Old 10-16-2008, 12:32 PM   #8
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Painting some bedroom furniture.


I would highly recommend you not brush paint it. You are going to make it look like kids furniture if you do.
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Old 09-24-2009, 06:45 AM   #9
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Painting some bedroom furniture.


Ethan Allen has solid wood furniture and dining sets. I purchased a bedroom set from them and it's solid cherry wood and hand carved. They use dovetailing for the drawers. Impeccable workmanship and the warranty is good. They have lots to choose from. It's expensive but worth every penny.

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