We are back with our second installment in the AVE Raw series, giving a gorgeous set of pieces from Ave Home a fab new finish and sharing all the details along the way! As a group of like minded people, we certainly have use of a good furniture finish more than the average Joe. I am particularly excited about this project because it may very well be the easiest solution for a durable paint finish that sprays, yet doesn't require expensive equipment to apply and isn't difficult to work with or clean up. In fact, I can't believe this didn't occur to me earlier.
I chose the Mollie Nesting Tables and they did not disappoint. Nesting tables are the ultimate multi-purpose tables, in my opinion. Use them as a chic end table, an accent table with extra display space or separate and scatter them about, you have 3 tables to work with, so go crazy.
The unfinished state the pieces from the AVE Raw collection arrive with is flawless. This is not an exaggeration. My thought is that if you are planning a finish that typically requires an immaculate sanding prior to application - you would be well suited to leave it well enough alone because it will be exactly that when it lands on your doorstep. If you plan to stain, then a good cleaning with a special thinner would be a great idea. It will remove any oils or dirt that occur during transit and packing, but otherwise - don't touch with a sander as you run the risk of having any irregularities show once the stain has been applied.
That being said, a paint finish is an entirely different animal. The one thing you will experience regardless, is that when you apply a finish to a raw wood surface, it will open the pores of your wood and may cause that slightly rough textured appearance until you give it another coat of paint or a sealant. Many product lines suggest a light sanding in between coats and this is to solve for that and to help your second coat adhere to the first. But what about those products that do not want you to sand in between? Well no worries, another coat or two usually does the trick. This was certainly the case for the finish I used on these gorgeous nesting tables.
I think we are all in agreement that an oil based finish is going to be far more durable than one that isn't. But applying an oil based finish with a natural brush is no walk in the park. If you must go the way of applying your finish with a brush - switch to a roller with an ultra smooth nap and pretend you didn't that portion of the instructions. Trust me on this. No amount of self-leveling properties the paint may have will actually solve for the brush marks and that doesn't even take into account the cleanup. Enamel paints aren't typically the most user friendly if you aren't a pro in the finishing industry. I knew I needed the durability of a true enamel oil based finish for these tables, so I set out to find an easy solution for this and stumbled upon spray cans of oil based automotive paint. Duh. How did this never occur to me? It was the ultimate face-palm moment and once I set my sights on the color and sheen I was looking for, I was chomping at the bit for my paint to arrive.
I used a matte black enamel automotive spray paint, and it is the most glorious finish you have ever laid eyes on, that wasn't done in a professional setting. I always start a spray finish on the bottom, with my piece turned upsidedown.
This particular type of paint suggests a mere 15 minutes in between coats, which is fantastic since that is approximately the same amount of time I normally wait regardless of the suggestions on the can. I will chalk that up to my lack of patience. I continued to spray very light coats on the bottom sides until they appeared to be fully covered and the finish looked solid. If you have ever worked with an oil based paint, you will know what I mean by solid... hardened might also be a good word to describe what I mean. I let the finish cure for about 45 minutes before I turned the tables right side up and began the coat the top and any nooks and crannies that aren't accessible from the bottom. I used 5 cans of paint to finish the three tables and they are glorious. I always use a spray can trigger when I am working with spray paint and it helps with fatigue - which allows for a smoother finish in the end.
It is always recommended that you use a primer on raw wood, but I did not and it is flawless. I would definitely suggest you do though, since it will likely solve for the open pores and help with adhesion - making your finish more durable and lasting. A primer is always the way to go if you have the option and in the case of automotive enamel... you do have the option! Since these are oil based products, you will definitely need to work in a well ventalated space, and preferably outside. No amount of venting for a standard space will actually help so get outside and get yourself a good respirator mask and you will be set!
The thing about a matte finish is that it's a bit hard to capture on film. It doesn't play nicely with the light and tends to refract it, so you will have to take my word for it when I say that it is indeed glorious and smooth like glass. Of course this is entirely, due in part (you like what I did there?) to how pristine the pieces are from the AVE Raw collection from Ave Home. Major heart eyes for everything in their online shop. Lucky for all of you fine folks - if you use the code DESIGNCONF at checkout you will get an amazing 20% discount for the next 2 weeks, on what I consider already fantastic prices... so if you are on the fence - run, don't walk and plop yourself in front of your computer or grab your phone and get to clicking! You will be so happy you did!