December 12, 2018

Refinished Farmhouse Coffee Table & St John's Church in Syracuse, Italy

While staying in Catania for two weeks, we were able to take some day trips. One of these day trips was to Syracuse, Italy to check out the famed St. John's church. This site is where St Paul came in 59 AD. History goes like this, St Paul was working in Jerusalem as a missionary when he was arrested by local Jews. He exercised his rights as a Roman citizen and as such was being extradited to face trial in Rome. On the way, he was shipwrecked in Malta and then stopped in Syracuse where he preached at what is today's St. John's church- *I don't get the name either. 

Above is the front today, but below you'll see what was the ancient entrance of the old church. Can't you just see Paul walking through those doors to teach the early saints? Being there is completely surreal, I feel like if I squint I can see the past happening all around me. Wow!

Beneath the church are catacombs. We arrived on A Saturday at 1:30 and barely caught the last tour, we had to run to catch up with the group. I guess we are not supposed to take photos but I had already snapped a few before I was told not to. My embarrassment is your gain! These walls would've been stacked with the bones of the poor and of children. 

While the wealthy and important people, like the bishops had artwork over their crypts. This was a Tree of Life scene. 

You're gonna absolutely love the project this week! You can use any old piece of furniture to achieve this look so 



Here's the "before" for this typical, out dated oak coffee table. There's a million of these babies floating around from the 80's and 90's. It shouldn't be too hard to get your hands on one, and at a good price. 

1.] STRIP: First you'll want to apply a thick layer of Citristrip to the table. Citristrip has a tendency to dry out before it can eat away at all the layers of stain and lacquer. So covering the wet stripper with a garbage bag helps keep the moisture in while it works.
2.] SCRAPE: When the stripper turns white, it's ready to be scraper off. Remove the bags and scrape as much of the mixture off, as you can. You'll want to try and get down ti the raw wood if you can. But being careful not to scrape or damage the wood itself. 
3.] CLEAN: You will want to wipe the table down with mineral spirits and a rag to remove any existing residue. This should remove any sticky residue from the tabletop. 

4.] SAND: Here's the labor portion. You want to use a palm sander and 80 grit sandpaper to make sure the wood is completely down to raw. 

5.] STAIN: Weatherwood released a new stain that can turn any wood into a beautiful driftwood gray, called Light Oaking. This product can work on any wood, so it's less complicated than some of their other products. 

You can also layer it to get the perfect shade. 
See two coats below.

6.] SEAL: Apply 2-3 coats of Flat Varnish from Weatherwood to seal the wood. 

7.] PAINT: Paint the base with a good chalky finish or one step furniture paint. You can see how this was super low matte sheen. Perfect the that farmhouse look. Just brush on and allow to dry naturally. 

If you're looking for other projects using Light Oaking, check out how we replicated DIY Restoration Hardware Reclaimed Gray Oak Table. The Light Oaking is simply gorgeous and so easy to use. I'd love to see your Weatherwood projects.
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