I talked a bit about how this table was built in my post from last Wednesday, but if you want to build the same table you don't have to follow my "here's my cut list -- do your best" approach because sweet Ana White created updated Farmhouse Table plans using pocket hole construction!
Now you should have no problem building the table. This post is about how I got that beautiful weathered finish. I don't usually finish with oil-based stains -- I don't like how they make me feel (dry throat, headache, sometimes even nauseous). I don't like their clean up and disposal issues. I don't like their high VOC content. But when I saw a Minwax stain called "Weathered Oak," I had to take it home to try it. And it was exactly what I've been looking for. FYI: I also tried the Minwax "Classic Grey" which is in the color chart linked above. It looked more blue than grey and almost nothing like the color pictured on the can. I'm glad I tested it first!
|Minwax "Weathered Oak" on the left, "Classic Grey" on the right.|
Until a water-based stain manufacturer finds something that can compete with this finish, I'll be compromising my values (and cringing inside) and using this stain.
I could have used my old standby, the oxidizing solution made from steel wool and vinegar, but I wanted more yellow to show through. The steel wool and vinegar trick would have been too dark for the look I was going for.
For this finish, I applied one coat of stain to the legs and two to the top and stretcher boards. The legs are reclaimed cedar (from old fence posts) and only needed a light coat to get the color I was looking for. The rest was new pine and needed more color.
Before staining, I gave the table top a coat of wood conditioner and then a light sanding. I didn't condition the stretcher boards because I was running out of conditioner -- can you see the difference? I was surprised how much blotchier the stretchers came out. I still love them (they're rustic and beautiful) but next time I'll use conditioner on the stretchers, too.
For the sealer, I used Polywhey in satin on the whole table. So far I've put two coats on the top and one on the legs and stretchers. I'll probably put another coat on the whole thing, just for added protection. I love the look of Polywhey on this finish -- when the undercoat is darker, satin Polywhey can get a little too glossy for my taste. But on a stain this light, the Polywhey has almost no shine. It's gorgeous -- much like a waxed finish but nearly bullet-proof.
Okay, maybe not bullet-proof, but kid proof, for sure.
Is this a finish that would work in your house? What do you think about the table? Is a design like this, that seats 4-6 people, something that would work for you?