The Librarian

By Kristen, Owner/Creative Designer at thatFLIPPINFURNITUREgirl in Portage, IN.

Winning Category

General Finishes Gel Stains are without a doubt, one of my favorite secret weapons!

They are probably the most versatile product I use... you can completely refinish bare wood, go over properly prepped existing finishes to completely change the color or even just freshen up an existing finish!

I purchased this 1960s card catalog at an auction.  It had been used in a local University's Law Library for most of its life.  The condition I found it in was overall very good to excellent... except for a few scratches on the body and a pretty messed up finish on the top.  Example: water rings from plants and glasses and a bubbled chipping finish.  Oh, and it had a big old cumbersome base on it! Lol

Wanting to keep the original look and feel as much as possible, my only intentions were to come up with an alternate base and to refinish the top.  I knew General Finishes Gel stains would be my go to product, I just needed to pick the right color!

I took a couple of the original finished drawers into my local GF retailer and began sorting through color samples and how they looked on different woods.  Even though the Golden Pine samples didn't actually match the closest to the drawers, I also knew my top coat would slightly alter the look of the new finish and I knew I could use multiple coats if I wanted a darker tone!

Once my new base/casters were installed and all construction complete, I sanded the old finish completely off only the top of the card catalog.  Once I felt I had removed all the finish and blemishes I possibly could I dove right into staining.  My instincts were right... the Golden Pine took exactly the way I hoped and I had the perfect match!

I applied the stain using a foam brush and even strokes in the same direction as the grain.  I did half of the top at a time.  Wiping the excess stain away and blending the lines with clean shop cloths as I went along.  The results were amazing, but I didn't stop there.  I used a very thin coat of the same stain to "refresh" the outer body of the card catalog... just enough to blend away some scratches and dings that happened with age.  The slide out shelves were also given a freshening up. 

Three days... yes, I wait 3 days before I top coat any of my GF Gel stains with HPTC due to the fact the stains are oil based and the top coat water based.  With proper dry time I have never had an issue combining these products.  I actually only Top coated the top of this piece, since it was the only part completely sanded bare and then stained.

This rare find, with local history and now a modern look didn't take long to sell at all.  Definitely one of my favorite transformations to date!

Products Used

  • GF Golden Pine Gel Stain
  • GF HPTC Satin

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