Finishing plain old 2x8's for son's bed

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Forum topic by baniels posted 04-10-2012 04:55 PM 2933 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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13 posts in 3083 days

04-10-2012 04:55 PM

Topic tags/keywords: bed 2x8 finish

Hello folks,

I am completing a bed for my 3 year old. He’s too big for his crib. The bed is nothing special to look at. A simple platform bed for a double mattress with no box spring. Apart from the legs, the wood exposed will be the 2×8’s that run around the perimeter. I believe they are douglas fir – not 100% on that. Whatever they had in 2×8’s at the local lumber yard.

I am going to do some roundovers on the edges and sand. I’m not sure what to use for a finish yet. I don’t want to paint them – and I don’t want to use anything with nasty chemicals – he will be spending 8 hours a day in close proximity, so I don’t want anything with a toxic offgas.

I used Tried & True Danish oil on the co-sleeper mini bed I built before he was born. That seemed to work nicely on oak. I am testing that oil on a scrap right now – after two coats it feels okay, but looks a little blah. Perhaps more sanding beforehand could help that.

I have toyed with the idea of ebonizing the wood, to make it look a little more interesting. Not sure if I want to do that or not. I have 19 days before his bed needs to be in place on his 3rd birthday.

I guess I’m looking for ideas… It would be nice to darken the wood a bit. It is a bit yellow and I suspect the linseed oil will make it more yellow over time. Would a varnish work? Should I try ebonizing?

Encourage me, discourage me, what would you do?

(slats and center support not shown)

6 replies so far

View a1Jim's profile


117060 posts in 3539 days

#1 posted 04-10-2012 04:59 PM

You can use General finishes dyestain or some Indian ink to ebonize and then a clear coat.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View CharlieM1958's profile


16274 posts in 4181 days

#2 posted 04-10-2012 05:41 PM

It looks like good old construction grade yellow pine to me. If you want it to be the same color it is now, and not any more yellow, use water-based polyurethane.

If you want to make it darker, it should take any stain color you like…. just test a sample piece first. If you want it really dark, you could always just paint it black. I did that on some pieces for my daughter’s bedroom when she was going through her “black” phase. and the results were pretty good.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View ChrisK's profile


1942 posts in 3044 days

#3 posted 04-10-2012 07:27 PM

You are correct, linseed oil will make the yellow a bit darker. I used toy makers dye for a project and got very bright colors out of SYP.

You need to use a clear coat to protect the dye.

-- Chris K

View baniels's profile


13 posts in 3083 days

#4 posted 04-10-2012 07:31 PM

Thanks for the tips, guys. A local “green” building supply has a few options. I bought a sample of a non toxic water based stain in walnut. I’ll give that a try and see how it does.

View Jim Finn's profile (online now)

Jim Finn

2647 posts in 2884 days

#5 posted 04-10-2012 10:45 PM

I suggest you use a stain controller before applying any stain. Rather than using a stain, you might consider scorching this wood with a torch and then applying a clear finish over it.

-- Website is

View baniels's profile


13 posts in 3083 days

#6 posted 04-10-2012 10:50 PM

Would Zinsser dewaxed shellac sealcoat be such a stain controller? Have a can of that looking for a use. I really dig your torch idea. I may test that out.

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