My antique washstand is one of my favourite pieces of furniture.
Despite my love, I haven’t been kind to it.
At one point, I decided that the washstand was a great spot to display my black cast iron teapot. After the contents of said teapot spilled onto the wood one day (and I neglected to clean it up in time), I moved the teapot to a safer spot.
I pretended the stains didn’t exist.
Most of us, myself included, have more important things to do. A little bit of junk mail and some nice ceramic plates covered the spill with ease for several years.
But after it was sanded, how was I going to get the antique patina back?
I researched my options for finishing products before going to the store.
Full polyurethane: I’ve worked with this before. It’s listed as being top notch for protecting surfaces like floors and cabinets, and it’s the most durable one in my list. My washstand isn’t a high use item, so I didn’t think it needed the full gambit. I also learned that polyurethane can yellow over time.
Polyurethane and Mineral Spirits (1:1): I didn’t go for this one because I couldn’t find the mineral spirits in the store. I’m intrigued to try this on my oak cabinets at some point. This one is the second most durable in the list.
Danish Oil: I really wanted to try this one because, like linseed oil, it’s a “dip and wipe excess away” type of finisher. This one came in many different colours. I ultimately left it because I felt more comfortable with linseed oil. I think it’s the second-least durable on this list.
Linseed Oil: This is the one I chose. I once used this in woodworking class and admired the way it brought the grain out. It’s ridiculously easy to apply and most coats can be done 12-24 hours apart (once the previous coat has dried). You have to be careful with the rags, they say, because they may be dangerous if not properly disposed of. It’s best used indoors because it might attract mildew. This one is probably the least durable of the finishes I’ve listed.
With this in mind, here was my list:
- A bottle of finishing product (see above)
- Sandpaper in 80, 100, 150, and 220 grit
- A few tack cloths for removing dust
- A sanding block and/or a small electric sander
- A pack of wood stain application towels.
The Iron Trick:
Before I began, I tried a trick I’d heard about from my sister.
She told me that some liquid stains can be removed using an iron on high heat. I tried leaving the iron in its spot, moving it around, and pressing hard.
The iron trick didn’t work for me, but perhaps it will work for you.
Here’s how I refinished the surface:
- I wrapped the 80 grit sandpaper around a sanding block and moved in a circular motion around the surface.
- I removed the sanding block and went over some of the more difficult areas with a small piece of sandpaper.
- I re-sanded the entire surface when I was done.
- I moved onto the 100, 150, and 220 grit sandpaper. I wiped it down with a tack cloth in between each grit change. The picture above shows it after using 220 grit sandpaper.
- I poured a small amount onto the staining cloth. Then, I went in a circular motion from one end to another. I did small, 2″ circles as I moved along. If I had too much on the surface, I wiped it off.
One coat is all I can do tonight. The instructions say to wait twelve hours between coats if a second one is needed.