Furniture Garden

Now that things have slowed down a lot in the outside garden, it’s time to put more time and energy into the furniture part of the garden.  The new shed is making the work much easier and more efficient.  Right now I’m working on finishing up some old projects that I took on before I decided to start building rather than working with old pieces.  The current project is an old headboard that I sanded, painted, and then added a stenciled design.  Tomorrow is the day for applying the PolyWhey.

I’m using environment and health friendly paints, finishes, and solvents.  The paint is milk paint from this company: Old Fashioned Milk Paint, and the finishes are whey-based polyurethane from this company: Vermont Natural Coatings, natural tung oil, and carnauba wax.  I don’t use all three on the same pieces, though.  The tung oil and carnauba go together on pieces that won’t be exposed to much moisture, and the polywhey goes on everything else.  I’m using citrus oil as my solvent.  I love the citrus oil.  It’s non-toxic (although care should be taken when using it because it can be a strong irritant to skin and mucus membranes), doesn’t produce sickening fumes, and has a lovely scent. The stencil paints are oil based stencil paints. These are pretty benign towards health and the environment as long as solvents are used that are also benign in those respects.

I absolutely love milk paint.  It’s my favorite paint to work with.  It’s non-toxic, non-VOC, looks gorgeous, and can be burnished or distressed.  Pieces that are painted with milk paint and then distressed look very authentic, unlike pieces painted with latex paint, which really just looks plastic.  Milk paint has been in use for many centuries, so pieces painted with it will have a much more authentic look.  My favorite finish for milk paint is the tung oil and carnauba wax, but water can cause stains in milk paint, so if the piece is going to get more moisture than the tung oil and carnauba wax can keep out, something much stronger and more water-tight should be used.  The PolyWhey is stronger than other water-based sealers, and is non-toxic and very low VOC.

The next project after the headboard will be a gorgeous old oak table made by hand in the craftsman style.  The finish on this piece could not be restored, so a major refurbishing will also be done to this piece.  That one will only be sanded and given a few painted designs and then a stain and finish.  And then there will only be one old project left.  I actually have no idea what it is.  It’s very old, and it looks like it was used in some kind of dry goods store sometime around or before the turn of the 20th century.  I’m not sure what I’m going to be doing with that piece yet.   After I get that one all sorted out, I’ll start building new pieces.

I’ll post pictures of the pieces when they are completed. Here’s some of my previous work: Art Furniture

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