Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Painted Bookshelf

 After a couple setbacks, namely not being able to upload pictures for Monday's post and being clueless about reassembling furniture, I am back with an update on this guy. When we first met, he was black.

Not bad, but a little too sleek and not our style.

First I primed him with a water-based primer since it was solid wood, not laminate. (I skipped the sanding step because he was in really good condition. Smooth finish with no knicks or scrapes.)

You can see it was an imperfect coat. My goal was just to white out the original black paint. But it was hard to maneuver around all the ladder-like pieces in the back, so I decided to take it apart before applying two coats of semi-gloss white paint; I was concerned about the least amount of brush strokes showing as possible.

Once apart, it was time for two coats of semi-gloss white paint. I used Pratt & Lambert Designer White (right off the shelf), since I already had that on hand from a project at our old place. I applied two coats to the side showing, waited 24 hours until I was sure the paint was dry, and then flipped it and applied two more coats to the side that was originally face down.

In all honesty, it could have used a third coat, but I am not sure it will stay white and I was feeling impatient.

Then I waited another 24 hours before putting it back together. Here's where I ran into trouble. After grunting and sweating, trying to screw tiny screws into awkward corners, I ended up with this.

It might be hard to tell from the photo above, but the shelves were sloping down, which pretty much ensured that anything I put on the bookcase would slide right off. Not exactly what I was hoping to accomplish.

It turns out that I had attached the shelves to the L-brackets incorrectly. I had the L-brackets upside-down, making the back of the shelf much higher than the front. See the pic below to get a sense of what I am talking about.

When the hubs made the discovery (yep, I couldn't even figure out what was wrong), I was so tired that I had to give it another 24 hours before attempting to amend the mistake, which incidentally looks like this.

But amend I did. And today the bookcase stands tall and proud with perfectly flat shelves.

The moral of this story is when something seems harder than it should be, there's probably a logical explanation. In my case, the shelves would topple over like dominos while I was trying to attach each new shelf. Instead of stopping to think about why this was happening, I sat with the shelves between my legs to keep them from falling over and scuffing my paint job. I kept thinking, "Man, this is hard," but I pushed through, and it took about three times as long to do it wrong as it did to do it right. I hope I never make this kind of mistake again, but if it involves assembling furniture, I just might - especially if I don't get a manual!

Anywho, now all I need to do is move the shelf into it's new home, the guest bedroom, and style it up with Ryan's books and whatever objects I can find laying around. Sounds like a good Thursday project.

Until then...

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