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How to Finish Reclaimed Weathered Oak

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Forum topic by Claymation posted 01-21-2012 04:09 PM 7531 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Claymation

165 posts in 2278 days


01-21-2012 04:09 PM

Topic tags/keywords: finishing question rustic arts and crafts oak

I’m going to try my hand at a few pieces of furniture made from some old, reclaimed, oak fence boards I’ve scored. They are very weathered and grey on the surface. Can anyone recommend a technique to finish the wood once the furniture is complete?

My plan is to do only the least amount of milling possible and leave as many of the checks, splits, cracks, nail holes and inconsistencies as possible, so the finish will need to work with both the stable (milled) surfaces and also with the surfaces that have only been lightly sanded or just brushed. Some surfaces (insides of checks and cracks) may not be altered at all and may need to be treated with some type of product to keep them stable.

Any advice you guys have would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

-- Clay (Master Kindler) ~ Central VA


16 replies so far

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Don W

17960 posts in 2030 days


#1 posted 01-21-2012 04:29 PM

Clay
It really depends. First, you didn’t say what kind of oak. If its fence boards it probably something like white oak. White oak will last forever even untreaded. Red oak on the other hand (unlikely for fencing thought) would need protection.

Also, furniture for inside or out? Again, inside its more for looks, outside its more about protection.

And finally what look are you going for. My wife would say leave it, or just give it a coat or 2 of BLO. Others would want a nice satin sheen from a wiping poly or similar product. You could also get a high gloss which looks great with the rustic under it. Its like a modern version of rustic. This comes with several types of finish depending on your taste.

I find oak pretty easy to finish, but with re-purposed oak, the first coat will get soaked up fast.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.net

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Claymation

165 posts in 2278 days


#2 posted 01-21-2012 04:57 PM

they are going to be interior pieces.
I guess the biggest question revolves around stabilizing the weathered and unmilled surfaces. I can decided on if it should be satin, gloss, etc. after the piece is complete.

-- Clay (Master Kindler) ~ Central VA

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Don W

17960 posts in 2030 days


#3 posted 01-21-2012 05:04 PM

I would use blo or tung oil. I used blo on this. The skirt is white oak rough sawn board that were destined for the same fate as yours. They were never installed, but sat outside thrown in a pile for years.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.net

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Claymation

165 posts in 2278 days


#4 posted 01-21-2012 05:16 PM

Don, Thanks. That is very close to the look I’m shooting for. How did the BLO interact with the gray wood? Did it help to stabilize or harden it at all?

I’ll at least coat a few test pieces with it and see how it comes out. I also want test the satin vs gloss idea, too.

-- Clay (Master Kindler) ~ Central VA

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Don W

17960 posts in 2030 days


#5 posted 01-21-2012 05:38 PM

any oil will help stabilize, its not going to harden it.(not sure why you’d need to with oak) The other nice thing is once it dries you can always add another finish over it if desired.

BLO will “yellow” the wood a little. Not so much on oak, but still. Tung oil has less of an effect, but its still there. The darker the wood, the less it will be noticeable.

As you say, testing is the best idea.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.net

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CharlesNeil

1610 posts in 3333 days


#6 posted 01-21-2012 08:21 PM

use what I wrote here, its correct it will absorb alot of oil, something like arm r seal that dries fast and hard, ( its a urethane), will stabilize and preserve it, Arm R seal, would be my choice, again BLO is soft and doesnt dry very hard and is a weak finish, http://lumberjocks.com/topics/33961

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Claymation

165 posts in 2278 days


#7 posted 01-21-2012 08:28 PM

CN,
Thank you. I’ll give Arm R Seal and Waterlox a close look as well. They sound promising. One of the things I’m sure you know is that the weathered wood is softer and, I think, needs some toughing up before being put into use… I’m looking forward to discovering some other finishes I haven’t worked with before. Thanks for the tip.

-- Clay (Master Kindler) ~ Central VA

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CharlesNeil

1610 posts in 3333 days


#8 posted 01-21-2012 09:14 PM

Clay the arm r seal will fortify the material, keep it simple, done this a time or 30 , works well, again it will not be cheap, because the wood is going to really soak it up, but it will cure and solidify the wood, the first coat will be critical, soak it, let it drink it up, then let it dry for several days, and you will see what I mean, just be sure to do both sides, you will be fine,

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Claymation

165 posts in 2278 days


#9 posted 01-21-2012 09:47 PM

check chief! thanks.

-- Clay (Master Kindler) ~ Central VA

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bandit571

14561 posts in 2145 days


#10 posted 01-21-2012 10:00 PM


A client wanted a dark stain on this little box. Frame work is old rafters, resawn. They were 2” by 4.75” white oak. The panels are new 1/4” Oak plywood. One coat of Minwax Dark Walnut stain (wiped down on the solid parts) followed by two coats Poly Gloss.

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

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Claymation

165 posts in 2278 days


#11 posted 01-22-2012 01:06 AM

Here’s one plank from the stack of wood I’m starting with; before and after one light pass through the planer and some sanding. I think it’s going to look really nice!




-- Clay (Master Kindler) ~ Central VA

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Claymation

165 posts in 2278 days


#12 posted 01-22-2012 01:06 AM

Bandit571 – thanks for posting.

-- Clay (Master Kindler) ~ Central VA

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bandit571

14561 posts in 2145 days


#13 posted 01-22-2012 01:54 AM

After a bit of clean up

of a few old boards. i’d get about 1/2 a pound of nails out of each board. And still miss a couple

but, they will show up, at least in this old Oak

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

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gfadvm

14940 posts in 2152 days


#14 posted 01-22-2012 03:59 AM

I really like the look and protection of sprayed Spar Urethane. Several coats will fill a lot of those tiny cracks and it does seem to stabilize the wood. That’s what I use on all of my chairs made from 50 plus year old doug fir from an old horse barn.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

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Claymation

165 posts in 2278 days


#15 posted 01-23-2012 01:43 AM

Here’s a shot of the wood while still wet from glue wipe off. It’s going to be really nice:

-- Clay (Master Kindler) ~ Central VA

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