Highland Woodworking Wood News Online, No. 161 January 2019Welcome to Highland Woodworking - Fine Tools & Education Learn more about Highland Woodworking View our current woodworking classes and seminars Woodworking articles and solutions Subscribe to Wood News
 
A Primitive Wood Finish
By Alan Noel
Professional Wood Finisher

Way back when I was in college I worked for a time with a fellow named Otis who would disassemble very old tobacco barns, cut the wood into slabs and then build a tent to fumigate the slabs to kill any critters that were still in the lumber. After that he would build reproductions of primitives and some simpler versions of federal furniture with the slabs.

When it came to finishing the primitive repros he would have me paint them with oil-based paint and then let the paint dry for four or five hours, but not fully cure, depending on the weather. Then I would paint the same piece with water-based latex paint which would dry within an hour or two. We would then set these pieces in the shed and let them stand for a couple of days so the underlying oil paint could dry. By doing this the oil paint would shrink and "pull" the latex creating a very cool crackle effect that would reveal the color of the oil paint in the cracks of latex. This would normally take years to achieve naturally.

He would then just simply throw mud all over the piece and I would help wipe it off and let dry. All of the cracks and crevices would still have a little dirt in them when I finished wiping them down and then he would have me apply several coats of different colored waxes to achieve a very convincing antique finish that looked very old.

Lastly, he would have me coat the inside of the piece with orange shellac to reveal the piece was a fake so buyers knew exactly what they were getting. Otis would never try to fool anyone...and he had a few other tricks up his sleeve as well...

Click here to visit the Highland Woodworking Finishing Department


Alan can be reached directly via email c/o Alan Noel Furniture Refinishing at anoelfurniturere@bellsouth.net.

Visiting Atlanta? Attend one of Alan's upcoming highly informative Highland Woodworking wood finishing seminars:

January 16, 2019  Finishing the Finish
January 26, 2019  Finishing 101
February 23, 2019  Finishing 101
February 27, 2019  French Polish Workshop
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