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For this project, I stained over a piece of furniture that was previously stained, but these tips will work with raw wood as well.
Oil base is better for large surfaces, because it dries slower, giving you a more even finish. First up you want to clean off your surface really well to remove any grease (or food if it’s a tabletop).
After the wood conditioner has soaked in for about 15 minutes, it’s time to apply the stain. Tip: For the best, most even results, let each coat dry completely, then sand with 220 grit sandpaper.
My post does contain affiliate links, which means that if you end up buying a product after clicking the link, I will earn a small percentage. Thanks for all your tips – this is exactly what I was looking for to restain my kitchen table – and my two chests, if it ever stops raining!!! This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 United States License. There it sat on the counter, surrounded by beautiful veggies, passed by every time for the ugly plastic cutting board I actually knew how to care for —until that fateful Thanksgiving when I wasn’t in the kitchen to reroute a chef in need of a carving board. 1: Use a damp cloth or paper towel to wipe the board with a small amount of vinegar and water to loosen any leftover food residue and disinfect the board.
The amount of usage your board sees and the climate where you live will determine how often your board needs conditioned.
1: Apply the mineral oil to your board with a soft cloth (Walnut oil, and almond oil are good alternatives, but stay away from olive or vegetable oils, as they turn rancid quickly). Whether you use a store-bought wood conditioner or make your own from varnish and mineral spirits (more on that later), these so-called "washcoats" work the same: Solvent carries a small amount of varnish extra-deep into the absorbent, blotch-prone areas, partially sealing them. You can use an oil-based washcoat beneath oil-based or water-based stain (photo - bottom right) once it dries thoroughly. Now the downsides: Partially filling the pores with a washcoat leaves fewer places where stain pigments can catch.
Apply the washcoat generously to a test board until the spongy areas and end grain become saturated.
Conditioner labels may say you can apply stain sooner than that, but resist the temptation. If using water base products there is a blotch control made by Charles Niel Woodworking that is excellent.
Once all the pieces were glued, large furniture clamps were used to set the pieces tight overnight. After the glue fully cured, the clamps were removed and the table was marked to a 14? length and cut using a level as a straight edge to guide the saw.

The table ends were marked and then cut so they were even and so that the table was made to it’s desired length. The breadboard end was checked for fit and then marked for biscuits, slotted, and then glued and clamped. When staining soft woods, wood conditioner needs to be applied prior to stain to ensure stain is taken in evenly by the wood. We wanted to create any antique looking finish so a multiple layered finish was to be applied, starting with an early american stain. Once the danish oil was applied, we waited a day for it to dry and then sanded the entire surface with fine steel wool to create a nice smooth finish.
Final paint of the frame was “Slate” blue milk paint that, once dried, had a white glaze applied over it. The chairs were all antique store finds (with the exception of the head chairs that actually came from our first house) which Steph’s mom spray painted a gray that coordinated with the table frame. Pavlo says he may not be able to be your son-in-law but he’s looking forward to being your neighbor VERY soon!
Conference, I was able to take a wood staining class from Bruce, the spokesman for Minwax stain. So if you are using an oil base stain, also use an oil based wood conditioner and oil base polyurethane and vice versa.
In a pinch, I’ve used baby wipes or a slightly damp rag, but for the very best results, you gotta wipe the wood with tack cloth.
I could only sit there and watch, wide-eyed and terrified, as the juices of the bird soaked deep into my prized board.
I figured since this was in fact a “cutting board," it really should be used for that purpose.
I use mine daily and live in a more humid environment, so I’m only conditioning 3-4 times a year, while our friends in Colorado should probably be conditioning their wood boards once a month. Wipe down the board, going with the grain, making sure to condition all areas including the sides and the back of the board. This equalizes the absorbency so liquid stain penetrates more evenly without blotching (photo - right). To create your own, mix two parts of the varnish you'll use as a top coat with eight parts mineral spirits. Yes, believe it or not I’ve actually written the last two posts about this farmhouse table. Now that I’ve gotten in touch with my feminine side discussing coordinating colors, I think I’ll leave you with some photos of the completed table.
I’m working on a few posts about our house now, so much more has gotten accomplished!

As I’m going along, I like to suck up the excess dust with the brush attachment on my vacuum. After I stain it, wait the 15 minutes, and then wipe it down I end up with visible streaks. I either found an encyclopedia on refinishing or major information was skipped… again thanks… now I can proceed with confidence!! Afraid to add dangerous bacteria and ruin the beautiful finish, I decided I should probably just keep it for "looks" and displayed it proudly on the counter in my kitchen. So I did some research and educated myself on the art of caring for wood boards and have been using it regularly ever since. This conditioning method is simple, inexpensive and will keep your boards looking gorgeous!
Washcoats also require some experimentation to prevent blotching while still coloring the wood.
Allow an oil-based washcoat to dry overnight and water-based washcoat to dry for three hours.
If blotches appear, gradually add varnish to the homemade mix or apply additional coats of conditioner until it blocks the blotch.
It just seemed easier for me to give you the step-by-step “how to” since Steph said she couldn’t remember every little detail and I admittedly work a little bit faster then she’s able to snap photos and ask questions. Wood fillers shrink a bit when they dry, so make sure you use plenty and mound it up a little on top. For some strange reason our kids actually need some attention and that inhibited Steph’s ability to keep up, demanding little ones!
I know that oil based products can be applied over water based, but not the other way around. I made marks on the pieces of wood every 12 inches and then cut the slots for the biscuits using a biscuit joiner. This little storage box gets a lot of use, so I did three coats, letting it dry completely between each one. If the color of the two stains is exactly the same shade, you might have luck using them next to each other, but I don’t think you would be able to add a second coat over the oil coat you already put on.
Then just try a very small amount next to the oil based stain to see if the look blends well.

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