How To: DIY Raw Wood Finish Furniture

Today on the blog I want to show you how I created this Raw Wood Finish on a piece of furniture I found on the side of the road.

Would you believe me if I told you that I scored this piece on the side of the road in my neighborhood?! My Hubby was going to the store to pick something up the evening before our bulk trash pick up and he saw this and Facetimed me immediately and asked if I wanted him to grab it. Of course I said yes to free! One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

This process is surprisingly easy as long as you have a solid wood piece! I have tried to do this same process on another piece that was wood veneer and I didn’t have as great of a turn out. Each piece will react different and some will take longer than others but I promise the work you put into it will be worth it!

Raw Wood Finish

The raw wood look is a trend that I think we will see grow in popularity as more and more people are getting tired of the painted furniture look. I know I personally am loving the natural feel these pieces give a space.

Trash to Treasure

This piece looked ROUGH. It was extremely orange and the legs were broken off the right side of the piece. However, it has great bones and is solid wood which made the refinishing process so much easier.

I had my Hubby take the left legs off because we figured we would just add our own legs from Lowe’s since my style isn’t mid century modern. We took off the hardware as well. I deep cleaned the wood with some Murphy oil soap and then it was time to start the stripping process.

I like to use a stripping agent over sanding because I want an even color throughout the piece and I feel like sanding can sometimes look inconsistent.

I use CitriStrip because it seems to be the least “fumey” product, which is something I appreciate always but especially right now while I am pregnant.

One tip I recommend is to layer on a thick layer of stripper and then cover your piece with some plastic wrap. CitriStrip has about a 30 minute processing time, but to get the best results you want to keep the stripper covered so it doesn’t dry out and stays activated. Plus, you can get your entire piece covered and then walk away and let it do it’s thing while you work on something else – or take a break inside in the AC!

Once I was ready to remove the stripper, I took off the saran wrap and got to work scraping the residue off with a plastic putty knife. This is probably the most time consuming part. I tried to scrape as much as I can off and then I use an after wash with steel wool to get the last of the sticky residue off. This time I had my hubby use the after wash just because it’s such a strong chemical and we didn’t want me to be around it.

Once the piece was free from any leftover stripper, I left everything outside in the sun to completely dry out. This is extremely important because you don’t want to be sanding anything that is still damp.

I lightly sanded everything down using my handheld sander and 120 grit sandpaper. This truly did not do much to alter the color, so I knew I was ready for my next step.

Bleaching Wood

After sanding the piece I filled up a bowl with regular household bleach and used a paint brush to evenly coat everything. I left everything out in the sun again to help speed up the bleaching process but to also use the sun to my advantage to lighten the wood even more.

In total I did about 3 coats of bleach. Once I was done I wiped the wood down with water and brought it inside to dry.

New Legs and Whitewashing

I picked out a simple leg from Lowe’s and had my Hubby attach them for me.

Once the piece was back upright I got to work on adding the finishing touches. I love this Limewash Glaze product! I have used it multiple times and I think it gives you a gorgeous white wash finish that is also protecting the wood underneath.

I love that I can add more product to certain places and create that old antique look on anything. It’s super easy to use. I like to use a thick buffing brush that I found in the chalk paint section of Lowe’s many years ago. I even had a super cute helper while I was finishing the piece!

I kept layering the Limewash on until I got to my desired tone and then I called it good! I ordered new hardware pulls from Amazon and once they arrived we installed them and the piece was officially complete!

In total, we spent about $40 on refinishing this piece which covered a new bottle of stripper and the drawer hardware. For something that I found for free on the side of the road, I think $40 is a steal to give something a whole new life! Plus, I am loving the fact that I have some storage in the drawers. You can never have too much storage in my opinion!

Thanks so much for being here and I hope you feel inspired and ready to tackle your own raw wood refinishing piece!

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