I’m always on the lookout for statement pieces for our retail booth. Warm wood antique tables with great legs, some character and wear are always welcome. Think “old world” European rustic natural wood finishes. That’s not easy to find here in Ohio. When I spotted this orange tone 90’s-era dining room table online, I did some research and learned that danish oil would give me that old-world finish that I wanted for our display.
BEFORE: orangey oak table as seen on Facebook Marketplace
Fixing the orange tone on this table would mean removing the stain. I picked it up Wednesday…by Friday night it was done! Now we’re heading out celebrating with wine! 🙂
Thrifted Farmhouse Dining Table Makeover
The gorgeous fluted, turned legs is what grabbed my attention. To purchase new legs this size would cost at least $200, maybe more. And this table is HEAVY, hard solid oak which is a bonus for refinishing and resale. But I just might try to find a way to keep this one (as usual, I tend to fall in love with the pieces we refinish!)
I was mostly happy with the amount of scratches on the surface, but then I noticed a few unfortunate and too-obvious scratches that weren’t very cool and could just be labeled “damage”. But we like fixing damaged goods around here. 😉
There was a long, deep cut in the surface along with rogue “W” and “O” shaped scratches that needed to be toned down. It definitely possessed the aged characteristics I was hoping for – but there was some work ahead of me to balance out the distressing. Had it not been for those deep, long scratches I might have kept this finish intact.
And it was sooo dirty. No way was I keeping the existing finish. Cleaning and stripping (and gagging while I cleaned it) became a priority. I’ll leave you with this image to give you a feel for what I was working with. You’re welcome 😉
Cleaned, stripped and sanded:
Cleaning and stripping the table took more than a full day of work. Once I was done cleaning every nook-and-cranny, this is how it looked. I was rather pleased. It was so clean…and really beautiful!
To strip the table I originally tried stripping agent (as you can see on the floor below) but the old varnish was soooo stubborn. So I abandoned that idea and eventually resorted to using a detail sander to remove the finish.
First we tried to reduce the appearance of the long gouge and the crazy “W” and “O” scratches. Here is Mark demonstrating a tool that you use to reduce some of the unnatural, obvious scratches. We used a cabinet scraper (also called credit card scraper) to lessen the deep grooves of certain scratches. Then followed by hand sanding with 60 grit sandpaper as best we could.
I added my own “faux” distressing which was achieved by a variety of things we had laying around the shop as seen in the pictures below.
Creating wormholes was fun. I did these in little clusters in various parts of the table. There was zero precision, I just moved my hand and hammered quickly and randomly to get this look:
And I banged the tabletop with this big bolt as well as some random hammer spots around the top.
The key is to do this in clusters…not a precise line. The randomness of the distressing was the fun part!
Open the pores of the wood
A tip I learned was that water does an adequate job of opening the pores of the wood and raising the grain. It acts as a pre-stain wood conditioner and improves the evenness of the wood finish you choose.
Why I Chose Danish Oil
I wanted a mostly natural wood old world, European style table. I didn’t want a dark stain. Only to tone the white oak and enhance the natural wood grain and distressing, Danish Oil in Dark Walnut was the answer.
Danish oil is a lighter application of stain. It tones the wood and darkens the distressed areas. I didn’t want a solid color finish. And now I eliminated the orange finish and gave it much richer tone. I sanded lightly in between coats, then applied a water based polyurethane in matte.
You’ll see more pictures of this in our booth display!
Other Weathered Finishes to Try:
I’ve experimented with several finishes using different products. All different looks and different outcomes using different materials. Which one do you like the best?
Personally I love them all, but I’m happy to finally have a warmer tone wood finish to add to my repertoire. This piece will be for sale in our booth during our upcoming shows.
More projects are in the works for our spring markets. Feel free to ask questions or leave a comment below, I love hearing from you.