Crafts and DIY Tutorials

Restoration Hardware Style Finish

This is the finish I did on “The Old Oak” Console Table. It’s a refined, rustic finish with a hint of liming, white wash and a warm undertone…all the good things.

Here’s a nice up close image of the finish:

It’s actually very simple to get this finish – the hard part is what you’re finishing – however many edges, sides and details there are will dictate how long this finish takes you. If it’s a simple picture frame I’d say 5 minutes (not counting dry time) but something more intense like the console table took me a couple hours. That’s the same with anything though right?

Here’s the supplies you’ll need:

Wood Pre-conditioner – I don’t use this on oak, but I do on pine
Special Walnut Stain – I prefer not to use waterbased stains because I hate sanding and water based stains raise the grain; I had Minwax brand on hand here
Sunbleached Wood Stain – I used Varathane brand tiny pot
White Paint satin finish – I used simply white – choose a true white with hint of yellow not blue
Scotch brite pads cut down to palm size ~3x2ish these:


Polyurethane – I use Varathane Ultimate waterbased
Nice finish brush – Synthetic is best when using a waterbased finish so I use Purdy Nylox Dale brushes with a soft, medium fill bristle
Lint free rags

Step 1:
Get your piece of furniture sanded to 150 grit (if using oak 150 is actually preferred to keep the grain open; 180 for pine). The best information on this I’ve read was actually from General Finishes website in case you want to learn more: General Finishes instructions to prepare wood for finishing. If you used the pre-conditioner lightly sand the wood again and wipe the dust off with a lint free rag.

Stir or shake your stains and grab one of your lint free rags. I use rags for this step (instead of chip brushes) because it puts a lot less stain onto the wood and so I end up using less stain which equals more stain for other projects 😉 The first stain I applied was the Sunbleached wood, working with the grain I dipped and covered about a half dollar amount onto the rag and rubbed it onto the wood. Contrary to the image on the can, the finish actually comes out very silvery and slightly lavender. I used red oak so probably more pronounced on that wood rather than pine that has a yellow base…I’m a tetrachromat so maybe it’s just me.

Here’s an image from a Home Depot review on the product:

This should make your furniture look aged – but kinda fake aged not the end finish we want. It’s ok to feel a little nervous. I worked pretty fast here because I didn’t want the Sunbleached wood stain to dry I immediately (using the same rag) dipped into the Special Walnut. Using the same method as the Sunbleached I worked the Special Walnut into the wood. I worked in 1.5′ square sections alternating between the two stains and blending the sections together as I went. If you find you’ve put too much of Special Walnut on you can “lift” it off by applying the Sunbleached wood and vice versa. It’s going to look a little dark when you’re done. The Special Walnut adds depth and counteracts some of the lavender undertones from the Sunbleached wood finish.

Here’s an image of just the Special Walnut and Sunbleached wood when I was done:

Let the finish dry (usually 2 hours) before moving on to the next step.

Step 2:

Stir your white paint and grab a disposable bowl or cup (red solo cup anyone?). I made a glaze from the white paint with 1 part paint 3 parts water. Basically thinned to a milk like consistency. Since all paints are different use your judgement here, not too thin that you lose the color but thin enough to open your drying time so it isn’t tacky when your rubbing it off.

Grab a scotch brite pad and dip it into your glaze and start applying liberally *against* the grain. I know crazy right?

Against the grain?

Yes.

This works the white into the open grain instead of sliding over it. Once you’ve covered an entire plane of the project, start rubbing it off with a clean scotch brite pad – this one just a touch damp (do not over dampen) with the grain.

With the grain.

The beauty of using the scotch brite pads is they help sand the finish – like wet sanding since the water is going to raise the grain of the wood. It also helps remove the excess glaze and gives the table such a nice buttery soft finish. This is where you get to decide how much or how little to take off. The finish won’t change very much from this when it dries, so use your eye and add more or less. The beauty of glaze is you have plenty of time to decide. To remove excess use a clean, slightly damp scotch brite pad. If it isn’t enough add another layer of white and repeat as before. Do this until you get to the desired look.

Here’s a close up of the white glaze on the wood while rubbing the excess off:

Let the paint dry before moving on to the next step – I waited over night. The glaze already adds a coat of “finish” on the wood, so it’s your choice if you want to add another layer of protection on top.

Step 3:

Stir the polyurethane, never shake (you’ll avoid bubbles if you follow this rule). Using long, even strokes, with the grain, apply a thin coat of poly with your finish brush. Let dry recommended time and apply another coat. You won’t need to sand between coats.

Let dry.

The end.

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