Stripping Is Hard Work {Table Adventures, Part 1}

And I'm not kidding either - it really is hard work. But get your mind out of the gutter! I'm talking about paint stripping. Last weekend, I found the most amazing round table for sale on Craigslist - the table and chairs were only $50 all together. The pieces do have some wear and tear, but nothing major and really just need a finishing update - enter me! As soon as I saw it, I sent an e-mail to the seller and moments later she e-mailed me back to let me know that yes, I could come get it right away!        

It took 2 trips to get it all back to the apartment - the table top is deceivingly HUGE - and I may have even had the pleasure of driving it home with my trunk bungee corded shut, since it wouldn't fit any other way, and driving under 30 mph the entire time. The girls I bought it from were so sweet and they helped me take it apart, put it in my car, and let me borrow the bungee cord to get the table home - it was the best Craigslist experience I've ever had.

But now that it's home, I have big plans for this table - I will be painting it a beautiful color and I will be updating the chairs as well! And, as soon as I got home with the chairs on Sunday (that was the 2nd trip), I got to work preparing the pedestal of the table.

To get ready, I put a drop cloth down under the pedestal on our balcony (it really is incredible having this space), grabbed a metal pan for the stripper, a brush, scraper, protective goggles, latex gloves, and of course, the JASCO Premium Paint & Epoxy Remover. I put on the gloves, put on my goggles, and opened the can of paint stripper. I poured it into the pan, brushed it on the pedestal, and it wiped right off after being left on for 15 minutes - super easy!

HA! I wish. This is what actually happened...

I put on the gloves, put on my goggles, and tried to open the can of paint stripper. I tried and tried, but the child proof top wouldn't budge. So I got smart, I called for my knight in shining armor. Problem was, he couldn't open it either. So I took to the internet to find a solution. In my search I came across a few others who had also had a lot of trouble - one who wrote a letter to JASCO and another who asked the DIY community. And fortunately the DIY community had a very simple answer - remove the childproof cap. So I did that. 

And then I tried to open it again and it still wouldn't budge. Not for me, not for Josh - it wasn't going anywhere. After a little bit more internet searching, I finally just decided to do what I do whenever I can't get something open - hit the top of the cap. And you know what? It finally worked.

Yes, I used the rubber side of the screwdriver as my whacking tool.
With the can open, I poured some into the metal tray, being very careful not to get any on myself. Technically, it's suggested that when handling this type of stuff you wear long pants and long sleeves, but I'm a rebel, so instead I wore this:

In my defense, it was really hot outside, and I was in the sun, so wearing anything long was not an option. And I know I look glamorous, it's okay, you don't have to tell me. 

Anyway, I poured the stripper into the tray, used a brush and painted it on to the base. 

Then I let it sit for the required 15 minutes before trying to scrape it off. I say trying, as opposed to scraping, because that's what it mostly was - a lot of trying and not very much actual scraping. After more than 30 minutes, I was sweaty and hadn't made very much progress.

I quickly discovered that the top was easier to do, so I focused on that after I gave up on the bottom half. But I decided to put it aside for a bit, and since it's now the middle of the week, I probably won't do anymore work til tomorrow night at the earliest. BUT, I did take some time to start work on the chairs - using a small screwdriver to unscrew all of the seats.

Next step for the chairs is sanding and painting them - and re-upholstering the seats. Stay tuned for more kitchen table adventures and have a great Wednesday!



  1. last year i refinished a curvy, leggy table and had to strip off something like 4 nasty coats of paint off it. i used a paint stripper in a spray bottle instead of brushing it on. from my experience, the more stripper you get on there, the better it strips. i also worked in sections so it wouldnt dry completely before i tried to scrape it. just my two cents.
    the table and chairs are fabulous, i cant wait to see how they turn out! good luck!


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