My mum and her husband recently decided to renovate their conservatory and give the room a face-lift. As well as decorating the walls with fresh paint and putting up contrasting wallpaper, I felt that the varnished window sills needed attention. The varnish was old and worn and needed to be stripped back.
I started by using Liberon Fine Wood Stripper in metre long sections, applying it with a paint brush. Once applied I left this on for 20 – 30 minutes, giving me time to have a cup of tea (you’ll learn that I live on it!). After 20 minutes had gone by I checked a small area to see if it was ready to be removed.
If the varnish finish you are removing is quite thick, the stripper may need to be on for longer to break the it down. You don’t however want to let the stripper dry, so applying a piece of plastic film on the area will stop it from drying and allow the stripper to work for longer.
Because the varnish I’m removing is old and has been subjected to sunlight for many years, 20 minutes was perfect. The consistency of the wood stripper once it has done it’s thing is slimy and jelly-like which can be easily removed. I have a metal scraper that I bought from B & Q and it’s perfect for this job and it didn’t damage the wood.
Once I had stripped the first section fully, it revealed the gorgeous wood below. I then painted the stripper onto the next section and came back to sand the first section using my Ryobi Sander with 180 grit paper (again following the grain). While the stripper was busy doing its thing on the next part, I then repeated this process along the rest of the window sills, taking them back to bare wood.
I gave the area a good vacuuming and wiped the surfaces over with a Liberon Tack Cloth to lift any remaining dust from the window sill.
We had decided we wanted the wood to look as natural as possible and to have a matt finish, so we went with Liberon Quick Drying Tung Oil.
This is so easy to use! I applied the first coat with a paint brush in the direction of the grain and left the oil on for 20 minutes (of course this was perfect for another cup of tea!) When the time was up I went back over the full surface with a clean, lint free cotton rag to remove any excess oil. This is one of the most important things to do when using an oil. If any excess is left on the surface it can become sticky and not dry fully; in the case of Tung Oil it will give you a shiny finish which it shouldn’t give, so make sure you rub the surface dry!
I left the window sills alone for four hours and then lightly opened the grain with Liberon Ultrafine Steel Wool grade 0000 (again this is important), to allow further coats of oil to penetrate into the wood.
I repeated this process a further two times, putting the third coat on eight hours after the first was initially applied. Once the excess was fully removed from my final coat I left the surface to dry for a further 24 hours.
The finished look of the window sills is gorgeous and complements the renovated conservatory. The wallpaper, Harmony – Zest, is from Homebase, along with the lovely Rustic Oak wooden flooring and Dulux Lemon Punch Matt Emulsion Paint on feature walls.
I loved adding to the renovation of this room and it shows how easy it was to breathe new life into something that has been there for many years. As long as time is spent on the preparation; the finish is a rewarding reminder that hard work pays off!