slowly does it

It seems so long since I got my Ikea bookcase and thought about white washing it (or liming it or whatever you want to call it). I actually started on it about 3 weeks ago thinking “great, one evening to lime the entire bookcase, two to varnish, done in 3 days!”

Three weeks ago and this is all I’d done:

I’m ashamed of myself. Where is the Zefi I used to know? The one who works like a machine and gets things done? It seems she has some bad days at work and comes home to sit in front of Netflix all night eating chocolate… Not good. Especially after all the hard work I put in last year in Australia to lose weight and get fit…

Well, I finally got off my butt and did some painting the other day. Of course it went a whole lot faster once I pulled the whole thing apart to paint it… turns out shortcuts are longcuts… painting the bookcase without taking it apart was a stupid move.

I still have to do it in sections, but now I have the whole first section (ie half the bookcase) painted. I still need to varnish the bits I painted before I can put it back together and start on the next half. I can’t do it all at once cause I dont have the space. Its way too windy to varnish outside cause things will get stuck in the varnish. Liming was quick and I did that outside since I can sand any dead insects off anyway. Not that I need to… it dries so fast.

I wanted the wood grain to show through so I just used some white acrylic paint I found in the cabinet when I bought my place, watered it down and used a kitchen sponge to apply the paint, rubbing it in and spreading it over the timber. I found I needed two coats to achieve the look I wanted… but I’m halfway there on the first half now.

And then I hit a road bump. A big one.

Once I was ready to move onto part 2 of the first half of the bookcase (varnishing) I went and bought some varnish. I went to my favourite hardware store (favourite cause its owned and run by a woman) and selected the varnish I thought I needed – it was water based, in gloss (a new thing for me! I’ve always done satin before) and said protection and varnish on it in Greek and English… Then along came the MAN who works there and said, no, this is what you need. I didn’t even read the label well – mainly cause 1. it was all in greek and 2. I couldn’t see the fine print without my glasses.

I did what I knew better than to do… I just got what someone recommended like some newbie.

In fact, I feel like an ignorant newbie a lot here cause I don’t know the words for things in greek and the greek writing on packaging sometimes stumps me. You’ll see me at hardware stores going ‘buzz buzz’ to indicate a drill, doing little spirals in the air to indicate drill bits, etc…

So I got home during my break (split shift day yesterday) and got to work sanding everything. Then I dusted it all off and started painting on the varnish…

It had a bit of a smell. It was sticky on my fingers. It was quite thick. I had a quick read of the instructions, not really letting them sink in. I just worked away thinking that one liter of the stuff wouldn’t be enough – but they don’t sell it in bigger sizes…

I was just about to start on the shelves when I decided to re-read the instructions just to be on the safe side. Something just didn’t feel right…

Yep. It was oil based, not water based. A low odour oil based product. It was the five hour drying time that really woke me up. But the worldwide icon for dummies on how to clean up wasn’t on the tin, and the greek word for turps was nowhere to be seen. They recommended ‘brush cleaner’ for cleanup… I was thinking it was some kind of SOAP.

Sigh.

I was pretty annoyed at myself for being such an idiot and not realising soon as I opened the tin…

By the time I stopped I’d done three uprights and the only shelves I didnt remove – the ones that hold the drawers cause they are a pain to do cause they have those little lugs that hold them in place. I’m not that lazy, but when I removed them last time I ended up breaking one shelf end bracket thingy… I didnt want to risk making it worse.

Meanwhile I hated the look… the varnish went on dark, a yellowish tinge to it even though its clear varnish. It didnt seem as clear as the polyurethane I used on stuff in Australia. I was thinking that I’d get water based varnish to finish the bookcase and hope that the difference isn’t really visible.

Last night I had to sleep with the bedroom door closed cause low odour or not, it bothered me. But the good news is that this morning I liked the way it looked and felt. It dried lighter than it went on and I’m loving the gloss finish.

So now I’ve started I just gotta keep the momentum going.

Mind you, you’d think that would be easy… I can’t really be moved in till the bookcase is finished cause I can’t bring my stuff out of storage till I can put things where I want them. So I gotta get it done. I will get it done.

Just keep me away from Netflix and chocolate…

z

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