Vintage Mission/Arts & Crafts style finishing technique on White Oak

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Blog entry by CampD posted 01-30-2016 03:11 PM 1106 reads 7 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch

There was quite the interest in the finishing process I used on my Stickley styled TV stand.
I really only just gave the cliff notes version in its description. So with this blog, I’ll give the full detailed process I used to achieve that finish. It’s a time consuming process, more like it takes little time each day, but rather is spread out over numerous days. This process is not for those who feel the need to just get it assembled! Don’t fear, I worked on the cabinet assembly first, got it all finished and assembled than I worked on the doors and drawers. I didn’t picture document the finishing process on that piece, so this’ll just be a word blog.

• To begin, all pieces are finished unassembled so time must be spent test fitting and refitting and if needed adjusting so everything fits as it should as a final assembly before applying any finish.
• Sand all parts with 150.
• Wipe all parts down with a wet rag, with a big assembly that has a lot of pieces, you’ll probably need to rinse the rag frequently, keeping it clean and wet. Let all parts dry overnight.
• Sand to 220. Next I hand card scrape all pieces, I like to use a sharp stiff card. I just sharpen my cards flat, don’t need a burr. Liberally apply oil based dark walnut stain with a brush (I use cheap throw away brushes), allow to sit for 10 minutes before wiping off the excess stain(I use paper towels ), don’t wipe to hard, leaving it dark, don’t worry any remaining heavy spots will be blended in on the next step. Allow stain to dry overnight.
• Apply a heavy coat of BLO with a rag, rubbing it in as you apply, allow to sit for 10 minutes before wiping off excess, I coat around 10 pieces at time. Again do not wipe to hard or you’ll wipe the stain off with it. allow to dry overnight.
• I used min wax amber shellac with a high quality clean soft bristle brush. Coat two sides to all pieces. By the time I’ve finished applying shellac to all the pieces, the first coat is dry enough to coat the other sides. Allow everything to dry for an hour, than sand with 320, tack cloth everything and then apply the 2nd coat. Let sit for a couple days to fully cure. I cleaned up any residue on tendons and shoulders while the shellac was fully curing.
• Assembly glue-up. I like to use titebond 3 as it dries to a darker color that blends in nicely, also longer open time is a bonus. Glue Squeeze-out, I still try to get most wiped up with a wet rag during clamping, you don’t need to ass after the glue is dry it’s really easy to pick the glue off. Let assembly sit in clamps overnight. Any remaining glue squeeze-out is easily scraped off by carefully scraping with a sharp pick or toothbrush. I found that windex and paper towels works well to get any remaining residue cleaned off. If any touch up is needed it’s easily done with small touch-up brushes with either stain (also covers any glue lines) and finally touch up the shellac.

I have another piece that I’ve just started the cut up so maybe I’ll make a short video when I get to the finishing step.

Adding a couple pic’s of the process from the next stickley build,

All pieces with the 1st coat of Shellac applied.

Glue-up assembly.

-- Doug...

4 comments so far

View WoodNSawdust's profile


1417 posts in 599 days

#1 posted 01-30-2016 03:53 PM

Thanks for the technique. I like style arts & crafts style and will keep your method in mind.

Would you clarify what you mean when you say “don’t wipe to hard”?

-- "I love it when a plan comes together" John "Hannibal" Smith

View CampD's profile


1464 posts in 2909 days

#2 posted 01-30-2016 04:09 PM

“don’t wipe to hard”
Yeah, you don’t want to wipe all the stain off, you can if you wipe it to hard, instead I like to leave it on the piece heavy. Any extra “film” left works with the next step and blends in with the BLO darkening it.

-- Doug...

View AandCstyle's profile


2540 posts in 1680 days

#3 posted 01-31-2016 11:56 PM

Hey, Doug, thanks for posting this. I am just about ready to finish a project and will try your process on a piece of scrap to see how it does for me. Again, your TV stand is stunning.

-- Art

View CampD's profile


1464 posts in 2909 days

#4 posted 03-23-2016 03:37 PM

An added note: I Buffed-in a couple hand rubbed coats of paste wax into the top only.
1. To fill-in the pores.
2. To give the top a little more protection with-out adding to much to the depth of the finish, which in early pieces the finish is not built up.

-- Doug...

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