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Adam’s Room: Having trouble

I bought this bedroom set for $175 at a garage sale.  Not bad, eh?  It’s “solid wood” and originally from Babies R Us.  Add the mattress and box spring from my storage room, and voila! We have a big boy room!

img_3270 img_3271 img_3272   

Wait a minute.  That would be way too easy!


I couldn’t leave it that terrible piney color.  (No offense, just totally not my style.)  I wanted to paint it!


Wait a(nother) minute.  Painting it would be way too easy, too!  I wanted to do a paint/stain combo!  Adam’s doors and trim are stained, so I thought this would look great!


So I started sanding.  And the wood turned to mush.  I’ve never had that happen before.  I used 50 grit sandpaper with my palm sander, and the top layer of wood just melted off.  I’ve sanded a LOT of furniture in the last few years, and it’s never sanded so easily before.  I knew I should probably go over it with a finer grained paper (never done that before, either) but at that point, the project was going pretty well!

I sanded with my 80 grit, and stained!  And almost cried.


Icky, yucky, sandpaper marks!  Can you see them?


So my plan is to buy some finer grit paper, sand again, and stain again.


But I went ahead and primed anyway, so here’s a rough draft of the headboard.  I plan to stain just that little top ledge on the headboard, stain the top of the dresser and the top of the changing table.



Have you ever had this happen?  Is it because it’s a softer wood?  Any advice??

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Would you like to comment?

  1. Oh! what a shame - I hope you find a solution!

  2. You have the right idea, use a finer grit and have another go at it. There really isn't any way to avoid it. I actually like the swirls!

  3. Oh no! I really hope the finer grit sandpaper works out for you! :(

    On the upside, what a great find! Those are wonderful pieces you found, and I think they'll turn out great (even if you still have little swirly marks)!


  4. I hope the finer grit helps! I have never had that problem, so I have no wisdom. Keep us posted though!

  5. I think you are amazing. The whole thing looks like something I would love to do, but more effort, so way to go! I hope it turns out.

    You are fantastic!

    How is it going in the big boy room?

  6. I've never had this happen either! And honestly, since you've already sanded it, just keep going and get it smooth enough. I would have suggested to try a varnish stripper myself first as it doesn't effect the wood itself.

    Keep going! I love what you have in mind! And yeah... LOVE the two toned effect! Nicely done!

    If you want a pro opinion on this, go visit Miss Mustard Seed. She knows her furniture!



  7. Thanks, Donna. :)

    Yes, I think you're having this problem because it's a soft wood. I sanded a pine desk before and it was a disaster. It showed every time the palm sander wasn't entirely level. I ended up with all kinds of grooves and dips...and it was for a client! Horrifying.

    Your best bet here is to do it the old fashioned way, by hand. Use a fine grit sand paper with long, smooth strokes until the wood is nice and smooth.

    Pine also may not be the best candidate for a dark stain, because it show uneven, but here's how you can make it work. Apply one light coat and let it soak in and dry. Then, apply a second, heavier coat (almost more like paint) and allow it to dry. I did that to my (maple) dining room table and it gave it the rich and dark finish I was after. It takes a long time for a thick coat of stain to dry, so just be patient.

    You could also try a wood conditioner that prepares wood to accept stain more evenly, but I've heard mixed results with that and I've never tried it on pine, but it may be worth a shot. You can pick it up at Wal-Mart with the stains.

    I hope all of this helps! You could always paint them or have your hubby make you new tops out of a higher quality wood, but hopefully you'll get it to work the way you want with what you have. Good luck! :)

  8. Katie ~

    I have tagged you with a blog award for being a "Versatile Blogger", please come by my blog and see...

  9. Wow, Katie!! That was a super fins, but such a bummer on the sanding! But your followers/commenters have come to your rescue, huh? How awesome is that kind of knowledge base and support??

  10. Hmmmm....I'm stumped -- but I'm glad Miss Mustard Seed put in her two cents (I need all the help I can get with refinishing furniture still).

    Good luck, Katie!!