Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Laziness never pays (well, almost never)

You know by now that I’m apt to take the lazy way out of most jobs.  It’s in my nature, I just can’t help it.

If there’s a shortcut, I’m all over it.

So when Jason asked me to build him a bench from a bed, and said that he wanted it stained rather than painted, I started thinking of ways to avoid a ton of sanding.

One product I’ve used in the past pretty successfully is the Minwax PolyShades line of stain and poly all in one step.

According to the directions you can apply this directly over existing finishes.

So I got a can of the Bombay Mahogany Satin and went to town on the bench.


Only this time, I screwed up.

It could be because I had sanded a lot of the finish off already, or maybe it was the foam brush I decided to use.  (bad idea)

Maybe it was the high humidity that day.


The stain went on sloppy, and all the brushing in the world did not improve it.

For some reason I got stubborn about it and decided to finish the entire thing, even though I didn’t like how it was going.

Perhaps I thought the second coat would make it better, or that it would dry ok….

I can’t really explain it. 

Guess I was in denial.


I even tried to put the second coat on it, to see if it would even out.  It didn’t.

It was even more horrible if that’s even possible.


OMG, this was the nastiest looking stain job I ever did see. There was no way I could give it to Jason this way.

Poor Mike got his head bit off when he came home just then and very innocently said

“Wow, that bench is looking fantastic!. Love the finish.”

I may or may not have grabbed a hammer and chased him around the driveway with it.

(I know I wanted to!)

I got up Saturday morning and decided it was time to take my medicine for being so lazy.  It took me the greater part of the day to sand off all that nasty polyurethane.

Goodbye, good riddance.

I have learned my lesson the hard way.


Now that I was back to square one, it was time to pick out another stain.


(Remember how lazy I am?)

I chose this gel stain that promised it was easy to use, needed no brushes, and most importantly, “no sanding between coats”!

Even after a hard lesson like I had just had, leave it to me to still look for an easy way out….


The only “tools” I needed were 3 old socks.  One to apply, one to wipe off the excess, and one to buff with.

(and a pair of dish gloves to protect my hands from being stained for weeks)


I was thrilled to death after just one coat. 

Things are looking up again.

Thank goodness! 

I may finish this job yet.

blog signature


  1. I know you did a lot of extra work--but, hey, that turned out just awesome. Then I looked at all the rest of your talent--geez--do you ever not have a great idea! Love your bed-benches. I'm going to have to try this.

  2. That is gorgeous. I love the Bombay Mahogany stain. As we replace baseboards and trim in our 100+ house I am doing them all in this stain/poly.
    One thing I learned, that I wish I had known years ago, is that regular old vegetable oil will get stain and even spray paint off of your skin without having to use harsh paint thinner or mineral spirits. It actually worked better on my hands and fingernails when I was covered with stain this weekend then anything else ever has. I just wish I would have been prepared and had it all outside with me before I started my project. I just pour it all over my hands and rub it around good then a shot of dish soap, a good rub and rinse. No dry flaking hands when you are done.
    Love your projects.

  3. Stain and I are enemies from way back... I hate the stuff.

    You poor thing, I can just feel your pain having to sand that all off. Grrr.

    Now let's talk your gel stain, where did you find that????... That's a brand I have yet to come across. I might just have to get me some of that goodness.

    The bench is looking gorgeous now... can't wait until you finish this one.

    In answer to your question this morning on the box... why not rub some of that stain on it to tone it down.

    Hope you have a great day Rose.

    Hugs, Deb

  4. It looks GREAT! I know it was a TON of work, but you really can be proud of it.

  5. I have had intermittent luck with polyshades...most of the time bad, but a couple of times it has worked out for me. I am *very* familiar with forging ahead with a project even when I know I'm not completely happy with it! But I don't think I've really learned NOT to do that yet. Your bench is looking great now, so be proud!

  6. I do like the end product! I know we can all learn that lesson sometimes. I have a mirror that I am now having to repaint because of pure lazniess as well.

  7. The bench is turning out beautiful.
    Now where might I find an old head and footboard......?

  8. whoa! That first coat WAS disastrous. However, the second coat did improve it. BUT after all that hard work, the bench is looking fabulous! I love the color of it.
    As you know I too am working on my own monster. It seems I do about 1 refinish a year, this year I'm in for two (the new/OLD table I bought for the kitchen)
    I'm so glad you blogged this. We were beginning to think you're perfect! (big grin)
    love ya kiddo!

  9. Well I must say in the last photo it is looking lovely! What a wonderful color of stain.

  10. I'd have taken the same shortcuts you did. The finished bench is beautiful.

  11. I, too, did that "maybe-it-will-look-better-when-it's-finished" routine with a NEW 5 foot piece of butcherblock for our kitchen table. MANY hours of stripping and sanding finally removed an unwanted orangish stain.

    The bench is looking good; the extra hours of work have paid off!

  12. Oh I hate when that happens and I keep on going too knowing it's not going to work out. Why? I have not idea. That second finish at the end is beautiful though!

  13. Oh I would have probably did the same thing. Keep trying to think there was a way out of that mess! But alas it turned out beautiful! A little more sanding then you thought but it looks great.

  14. I had the exact same resuts when I used that stain on my bathroom cabinets. I cringe every time I go in there. I'm glad you fixed it. The second stain was a better shade too!

  15. WOW!! Lots of hard work, but your end result is SPECTACULAR!! Have never heard of this stain...wonder if we can find it in Canada...must look!


Thanks for stopping by. I love to hear from you!