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working with reclaimed red oak

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  • working with reclaimed red oak

    I am completely new to this type of work and am trying not to make any mistakes.
    I am making a dining room table. I am going for a look that is rustic, but not picnic table rustic. I want a nice dark, antique worn looking finish. I want to keep the skin on the wood for a lot of texture and feel.
    I have been experimenting on a scrap piece and so far I am planning on sanding it down so some areas are smooth and others rough - some show saw marks, some don't etc.
    Then I will stain with minwax red mahogany or red oak - not sure just yet. I notice that some area of the wood are much more porous than others and quickly turn very dark. ( should i adjust for this with sanding those areas smoother or using less stain or both.)
    I will finish with waterlox original.
    Thats it.
    Does anyone have any other suggestions tips etc.

  • #2
    Re: working with reclaimed red oak

    Oak can be kind of tricky to finish. The grain will raise depending on the type of grain cut you have. A quartersawn piece will raise different from a flatsawn piece. You can try using a sanding sealer before you put your finish on, and even experiment with the sealer before staining. Although with a rustic look, the inconsistencies can be part of the beauty of the project.

    I'm not sure what you're referring to as "skin". If you mean bark, you'll need to stabilize the bark and secure it to the board. I've been experimenting with CA (super) glue and found that to be the best way to get bark to stick on the piece. I use a thin type of CA and let it soak into the bark near the join. Repeated applications are generally required to really stabilize the join and the bark itself. Let it dry overnight between applications. To really do it right would take a mild heat and some pressure to really set the CA into the bark, but repeated applications do pretty good. It's something that takes lots of patience to get the result, but it's definitely worth it.

    If you're looking for a hand-cut look on the boards (i.e. old saw mill marks), you can take a jig saw blade and scrape it over the boards at a flat angle. It should leave marks similar to what an old band saw mill would leave. Use a blade with fewer teeth per inch. You don't have to dig in, just let the teeth scrape over the surface. The little gouges will stain darker than the surrounding areas.
    I put it all back together better than before. There\'s lots of leftover parts.


    • #3
      Re: working with reclaimed red oak

      If I remember correctly on the waterlox, you can mix your oil stain into the waterlox, (original), which may give you some more control over the color,

      by taking the wood down clean, you will have control over the entire surface, (if you want a old look do a search on "fuming" basically make a plastic tent over the finished product before finishing and place strong ammonia under the tent, the ammonia will react with the tannic acid and will "age" the wood in mins that would take years naturally, (some of what causes wood to turn color with age is the tannic acid in some woods reacting, cheery mellowing out, oaks and other woods.

      If you have any extra my suggestion is to do some expermating to see what works for you as it is a real frustration to get a project made and then basically disaster it in the finishing process.

      What about staining my wood floor?

      As for staining and Waterlox, you can use any type of stain... we do, however, recommend using an old-fashioned oil-based stain that DOES NOT contain urethane. Minwax, Zar, and Duraseal are all adequate choices.

      There are 2 basic methods for adding color to the wood surface:

      1. Staining before finishing with Waterlox Original finishes: You may stain the floor following the manufacturer’s directions for cure time or wait 72 hours, whichever is longer, before applying coats of Waterlox Original Finishes.

      2. Adding stain to your first coat of Waterlox Original finishes: You can also add stain to your first coat of Waterlox Original Sealer/Finish (up to a ratio of 4:1 Waterlox/stain. This method of staining eliminates a separate step and provides a smooth, even color change even on soft woods like pine which normally become blotchy. Simply brush on the mixture and let it dry-- wiping off is not required.

      Waterlox Original Tung Oil Finishes produce a slight “patina” or amber coloration that brings out the character of woods. Try finishing a test area before staining …You may find that Waterlox alone makes your wood look so beautiful that you’ll want to forgo staining altogether.
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