When you're looking for a great aged wood look, it's hard to beat actual salvaged wood. But when you have a piece you just want to *look* old, how do you do that? Well, Karen is here today to show you! You'll love her 3-step method (4 steps if you need to strip an existing finish) for creating a great weathered oak stain, just like those furniture catalogs we all love to ogle (I'm looking at you, Restoration Hardware!). Here's Karen with the details (remember her from here and here and here? we kinda like her 🙂 ).
Getting a Restoration Hardware Style Weathered Oak Finish
by Karen from The Weekend Country Girl
Hello from Texas. My name is Karen from The Weekend Country Girl. Do you like the look of Restoration Hardware furnishings as much as I do? I like how they take inspiration from old furniture, buildings, and global styles. What I especially like is the way their weathered finish allows the wood grain to show through but has the faint look that at some point the wood was whitewashed.
Anyone who knows me knows I am a
thrifty cheap. I hate to spend more money than I have to on things I know we can do ourselves. No way we would pay thousands for something we could do for hundreds or even better, less.
After a little experimenting I think I have found the right combination of stains to get that RH weathered oak finish look. The best part is that it is cheap, easy, and fast almost foolproof. The only trick to the finish is waiting between coats for the stain to dry, On a cold, rainy Friday evening I got busy making a sample board for you guys.
I started with this dresser drawer front. The dresser was a total mess that I picked up on the side of the road. The drawers and chest couldn't be saved but I liked the drawer fronts even though they were not solid wood.
The first step was to strip the finish off the drawer front. I love Citri Strip. It can be used inside with no harmful fumes and it works well.
Paint the stripping gel on with a cheap but not foam brush, wear gloves and the wipe off after a few minutes with a plastic scraper and then wipe down with cotton rags. I always get one rag damp and wipe it down to make sure the residue is gone. The finished result is wood that still has a faint color but no sealer or varnish. Give it a quick sand with 220 grit sandpaper to make it feel smooth but not necessarily perfect.
At this point I let the wood sit overnight. I want to make sure it is totally dry before going any further.
Early the next morning I got busy staining.
The first layer is Minwax Weathered Oak.
I use a foam brush to put the stain down then wipe off with cotton rags.
The stain goes on dark but it wipes off and the color is faint.
Once that coat of stain dries ( a couple of hours), the scariest step takes place. Paint on the white pickling stain and immediately wipe it off. If you are doing a really big job, two people make the job not as crazy. It is a paint on, wipe off process. Go with the grain in the wiping or in the case of the drawer front go in the direction that the wood would go, if it were real wood. I am really messy with this step because I like the really rustic look but if you want a consistent look take your time and make long strokes.
Here it is wiped off. the pickling stain sort of looks like bleached wood from the 80's.
I wait a couple of hours again to make sure it is all dry, then I add the final coat. Jacobean stain over the top.
Wipe it off and make sure it is dry before adding another layer. To get the color as dark as you need, you have to keep layering the stain on making sure it is drying between coats or it will be sticky.
Here it is after two coats.
Perfect for me.
I had another drawer front so that you could see the comparison of the two colors.
Here is the finished drawer front. It will be a rack in our bathroom.
I also used the same process on our bathroom vanity and on a funky dresser. I have been thrilled with the look each time.. I have been able to use the same product on all three pieces.
The final coat is a coat of polyurethane. I used marine varnish on the bathroom vanity.
It is a really simple process that looks old and worn.
I hope you are able to reproduce this process yourself.
I would love to hear from you,
Thanks so much for sharing another project with us, Karen! We love what you do!
More ways to finish and refinish wood
Use a layered stain technique to make new wood look like reclaimed wood.
Color-wash wood to any color you want while still showing the wood grain
and it works with bright non-traditional stain colors, too!
Try this easy DIY faux driftwood finish.