Not every piece of refinished furniture needs paint or stain. As a matter of fact, some pieces are better in their natural state. Restoration Hardware has even built a brand based on stained finishes that resemble naturally-aged wood. Let me tell you though, there’s an easier way with General Finishes Flat Out Flat Topcoat.
My best friend from college actually found this brown-stained dresser on the curb. She had intended on bringing it home and painting it to place in her daughter’s bedroom. I guess I’m rubbing off on her!
One week in the garage though and her husband was begging for it to go, so she passed it along to me. Yay me! Her husband just couldn’t get past those arched doors – which is too bad, because as soon as I removed the doors to get past them, I fell in love with the arch.
As I do with just about every piece of furniture, this one was sanded down with my DeWalt electric rotary sander. The sander removed 90% of the the brown stain. It was that 10% that remained that added just the right amount of shading and contrast in the wood to make it appear perfectly aged. It was this exact naturally-aged look that I wanted to preserve.
The small bits of brown stain that remained in the crevices after sanding actually add to the natually-aged effect. I’m telling you, I’ve read that Restoration Hardware adds nine layers of stain to achieve a similar look! It’s a very time consuming process – trust me I even tried it on the 7-layer stained dresser I worked on last summer.
Preserving Natural Wood With General Finishes Flat Out Flat
If you were to place a wet glass of water on this unfinished wood, you’d get a permanent water stain. Wood has to be protected if you’re going to use it in your home as I’m planning to use this one as a sideboard in my kitchen/dining room area. The challenge was to find a clear topcoat that would protect the wood, yet preserve the natural wood color.
If I were to add an oil-based polyurethane, wax, hemp oil, tung oil, or any other type of oil to this wood sideboard, the wood would turn yellow. That definitley was not what I wanted.
If I were to add a water-based polycrylic, the wood shouldn’t yellow; but you can see how even a water-based matte polycrylic added a sheen to the wood and still changed the color more than I wanted. The right side of the board has the satin polycrylic, the bottom left area doesn’t.
So I kept searching… and researching… and searching until I finally tried General Finishes Flat Out Flat Topcoat.
The Flat Out Flat barely changed the color of the wood at all and maintained the true flat apprearance of the natural wood.
In the photo below, the top drawer is not coated and the bottom drawer is coated with the Flat Out Flat. You can see that the Flat Out Flat didn’t add any shine and even the very slight color change is more of a naturally-aged tea stain. It was perfect!
Perfectly natural. Perfectly aged. And wait until you see how well it ties in to the rest of the room I’ve been working on! You’ll have to stay tuned for those updates though, so if you don’t want to miss them, be sure to sign up to receive Entry Ways’ posts via email.
Do you have an old, solid wood, colonial dresser you’ve been wanting to refinish? If you live in eastern Massachusetts, I may be able to create a similiar sideboard for you from that old dresser.
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If you live in the Boston area and have solid wood furniture pieces that need an update, let’s talk about how paint or stain could transform them. See this info on my custom furniture painting & staining services…
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