Thursday, January 12, 2012

Finishing a Pine Table, the Natural Way... Part II

(... continued from Finishing a Pine Table, the Natural Way... Part I)

So, I had these two new unfinished pine tables that I didn't know what to do with, and I started Googling... I found lots of websites that all told me to do the same thing:
brew a pot of coffee and apply it to unfinished wood with a sponge or rag.

So, that's what I decided to do.

Kind of.

Hating to waste anything, I took the grounds out of the French press from the morning coffee, put it in a jar, and poured fresh boiled water over them.  Then, while wishing I had some hibiscus to add a warm reddish tone to coffee brown, I remembered I still had some dried elderberries left over from my ginger-elderberry syrup (which I still owe you the story for!) and I began to steep those in a separate jar.

The pink stain is just elderberries.
What a great color!
I spent a day or two adding different amounts of
coffee, elderberries and water to the jars,
occasionally testing it out on the underside of the table,
then steeping and testing and adding
and steeping some more.

Eventually, when my urge to start staining took over,
I poured them both into one giant jar, and let them steep
together as long as I could could take it.

I love how the coffee filter and elderberries
remind me of  a sunflower
with its petals blowing in the wind.
I strained half of the stain,
leaving the other half to steep,
and grabbed the only paintbrush I had around -
a crappy brush with loose bristles,
but it would do for the moment.

Applying the stain heavily, as the websites
told me to do,
I dripped coffee everywhere,
but gave the table a nice wet coat,
smoothing out the drip spots as I went.
And it smelled good!

I waited for it to dry,
and then covered it in stain again.

And then again
and again
and again.

I lost count after five or six coats.

Every time I painted on the stain, the table seemed to be almost exactly what I wanted,
but as each coat dried, the color grew lighter.

And then my husband brought home a sponge brush.  After two coats using the sponge brush, the color was exactly right and I realized that when I work on the next table, I will start out with a sponge brush for best results.

Another thing about painting so many coats of stained water onto wood is that it really dries it out!  It makes sense, and I was thinking of it as I applied coat after coat, but I didn't realize just how dry it had become until I was done staining and running my hands along the rough top.

Look at all the cracks!  It's like a hand without Wunder Budder!
So, it was a good thing I was also planning on making a wax.

To be continued...


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