against the grain
The founder of Little Green Notebook gives us a lesson in lightening up.
photographs by SARAH WEBB text by JENNY KOMENDA
HERE'S HOW IT'S DONE
1. Remove any paint, varnish, or stain on your oak furniture with a stripping product. Use a brass-bristled brush (scrubbing in the direction of the grain) to safely remove any stain without damage.
2. Aniline dye powders, which are used to tint stripped oak, are available online in practically any color (I chose indigo). Water down the dye powder as directed and, using a paintbrush, apply three coats to the raw wood, allowing each coat to dry in between applications.
3. A few hours after the final coat of dye has dried, seal the dyed oak with two coats of clear shellac. (Shellac protects the dyed surface of wood without filling the grain.)
4. An hour or two after the shellac has dried, apply a generous amount of liming wax—which is similar to ceruse but lead free—with a soft white cloth. Buff the surface until no white wax remains on the surface, only in the grain of the oak.
• stripping product (such as Citristrip)
• brass-bristled brush
• aniline dye powder
• soft-bristled paintbrush
• clear shellac (such as Bulls Eye SealCoat by Zinsser)
• liming wax (such as Briwax)
• soft white cloth