This might be my new favorite thing for a while. I was going to just stain this project then paint over it with milk paint and have some of the dark show through after sanding, but was pleasantly surprised with how the stain itself turned out.
Most milled lumber is cut with a bandsaw that leaves saw marks going perpendicular to the edge of the board. Most of the are planed out even in rough cut lumber, you rarely have them the length of the board.
However when I was buying lumber this last trip the loading guys introduced me to “Sawtooth Alder”. I had told them I wanted some fir, or pine or other softwood to do a rustic bathroom cabinet and I wanted to leave the saw marks showing when I was finished. To start with, they were out of fir. Then they told me it wouldn’t have texture I was looking for anyway…but they did carry alder that has circular saw marks on it, and it would be cheaper than the fir. I like cheaper, especially when it’s what I’m actually looking for ;0)
Since this was a rustic project, the wood didn’t need very much prep and in a short while I had my rustic “barn door” for my bathroom ready to finish. This is where the dilemma’s started….I had first thought I wanted to use vinegar/steel wool to darken the wood, then paint it. But I didn’t plan far enough in advance and didn’t have enough to “stain” the entire cabinet.
I have a cupboard full of paint and stain, so I rummaged through it and came up with a can of Old Masters Natural Walnut. It came with the house, just in case I ever needed to touch up the Kitchen Cabinets I had already repainted. Walnut isn’t my favorite brown stain, it’s a dark cool color with no warmth at all. It wasn’t going to matter though, I was painting over the top of everything and just a little of this would show through.
The rest of the cabinet is cheap pine plywood (that will still be painted) and the walnut stain tiger striped it into light and dark cool brown ugliness, just like the stuff my grandpa use to build. Solid, but not my favorite color. When I got to the alder I was surprised, shouldn’t have been with how many art classes I’ve taken and taught, but was still surprised. It was a bit of a face palm moment, all the color theory I’ve learned came back in a rush. I had a professor in college tell me “Red is the great equalizer, if you need to warm up your paint color, just add a little red.”
Alder is a rather red wood. So when you add cool brown to on top of it, it warms up the brown and looks a lot more like a mahogany colored stain. I didn’t know what to do!! My original plan wasn’t making as much sense anymore, if the stain was pretty….why would I paint over it just because I used something different than my original thought to darken he wood?
I let it sit over Sunday and went out Monday morning because I had a brainstorm, if I sanded it now, the saw marks would show up even more!! That is where it sits now, ready to have a sealer coat put on!!
I still want to try this wood with paint, in the hall perhaps where I need to build a really narrow broom cupboard door. I’m really happy with how this door turned out!
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