My Friend Primer

>> Sunday, September 6, 2009

Every time I manage not to move, I think that I'll be saving money on outfitting a new abode. And, in general, this is true. Yet while I'm staying in one place, there are still things I need. I spent much of the past year thinking it would be really handy to move those manila folders stuffed with articles and papers out of a bankers box and into a filing cabinet. Every so often I'd stop by the local recycling center and check out the filing cabinet options. I'd see decent ones but always find a way to talk myself out of it (the box isn't soooo bad and, besides, that filing cabinet is bulky/ugly/too big/rusted and won't fit in my little car).

Then, a couple weeks ago, a friend was over for dinner. We were eating, talking, and all the sudden, BAM! The chair collapsed, sending my friend to the floor (unhurt, thankfully). I'd known the chair (and its chair friends) were not doing so hot, but I didn't anticipate a crash landing and a totally unusable chair. I needed to replace it and didn't want to spend much. Although I'd been thinking of buying 4 chairs and painting them different colors, I now needed one new chair for sure and the others, well, I'm a little too cheap frugal to buy 4 chairs at once.

My local Buddhist temple was hosting its annual yard sale this weekend, and I went by to peruse the offerings. I found a chair for $5 that needed a little love and a filing cabinet for $20 that I bargained down to $15 (hey, they had a sign saying they welcome bargaining). I decided I would paint both yellow because a yellow chair would work with the warm colors in the dining room and a yellow filing cabinet would match the decor (including my sort-of-new corkboard) of my study. I scanned some websites and figured out that spraypainting both the chair and the cabinet should be pretty simple, and wandered over to my local hardware store to buy some paint.

I jumped right into the chair, following the online directions to turn it upside down to start. That moved along smoothly, with the paint adhering nicely to the somewhat scuffed (no need to sand!) chair. Then I turned to the filing cabinet. I got out the masking tape and covered up the handle, I wiped off the dust, and I roughed up the smooth areas. Then I started to paint. According to one online tutorial, 1.5 cans of spray paint would take care of a 4 drawer filing cabinet. I figured 2 cans should easily take care of my little 2-drawer cabinet and the chair.

Midway through the 2nd layer of painting the cabinet, I realize 2 cans would not be nearly enough. I couldn't figure out where I went wrong, and went back inside to consult my sources (here and here).


Occasionally, my close reading skills disappear. Scanning tutorials is a really bad idea because it is easy for one (me) to miss crucial steps. Like buying and spraying primer to start. I had a moment in the hardware store wondering if I should buy primer, but decided I didn't need it. One late night trip to the hardware store later, I was equipped with primer (1 can) and more paint (1 can). It turns out that if you use primer, 1 can of paint is more than sufficient for a small filing cabinet. It also turns out that I should read and reread directions, especially before inhaling lots of noxious chemicals that, I'm sure, will do terrible things to me later in life. In the meantime, I've got a nice yellow chair (no primer necessary) and a nice yellow filing cabinet (primer very necessary).


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