Monthly Archives: April 2015

Faux Cerused Dining Table

This is another project Nik found in the neighborhood dumpster, which has turned into a new dining table for us. We had a run-of-the-mill dinner table before, that primarily was used for stacking all our woodworking and painting supplies:


We could’ve refinished it since it is solid wood, the the thought of all those legs and chair back spindles made us less enthusiastic about this option! Nik found a round oak table and base in the dumpster that was also very plain. He had the idea of trying to faux-ceruse this table. Cerused wood is a style that has white embedded in the wood grain, kind of like this:


I call our method “faux-cerusing” since I think true cerusing uses liming wax or something like that to really get some substance down into the wood grain…as opposed to just paint over the top, like we did! To start we stripped and sanded it down, only with medium grit paper:

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Instead of wetting it down and doing a fine sanding, we gouged out the wood grain with a stiff metal brush:


And then we stained it as dark as we could. We started with dark walnut, then moved to Jacobean by Minwax (normally a very dark stain) but this wood didn’t take up as much as we were hoping, unfortunately.

IMG_1636        stained table

After staining, we did a light coat of water-based poly. Next, we diluted white paint about 1:2 in water, and rubbed it all over the table (especially into the gouged wood grain):

ceruse 1

It looked like lots of white paint…but then kind of before it dried, we buffed it out with a rag. Then we rubbed the whole table down with fine steel wool to removed excess paint that wasn’t in the wood grooves.

ceruse 2 ceruse 3 This is kind of what it looked like at this point:

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After rubbing off as much paint as we wanted to, we fixed up some areas we’d rubbed too hard and removed stain (in retrospect, 2 coats of poly after staining and before applying the diluted paint might’ve been better…), and then sealed it up with 2 coats of water based poly. Oh, and we had painted the table base with white paint in the meantime. The pics of the top came out making it look kind of blotchy, but in person it looks pretty cool, I think.

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The last thing to do was to find new bolts to attach the table top to the base, and paint the table top skirt white to match the pedestal. We had 2 mid century chairs floating around so we’re going to put them with this table. They don’t quite match now, but perhaps a re-upholstering or paint job in the future will make them a perfect pair for this table!

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And even better, I think the cerused wood matches my hand-made placemats!

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Artsy Antique Dresser

It’s been a while since I’ve posted here – it seems the “scientist” part of our lives has been taking over recently. Nik and I are planning to graduate this summer/early fall, so unfortunately furniture has to take the back burner sometimes. But, we’ve still managed to wrap up a few projects in the past couple weeks, so I’ll write about one of them today.

We picked up this antique-looking dresser from the guy with the huge furniture warehouse in Durham, for $85, which is more than we usually spend on a dresser but it was unique and we didn’t want to leave empty handed from his warehouse, so we went for it.

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Nik started off by removing the weird back panel, and although I was against this at first, I think I like it better without it in the end.


We had discussed doing some varied pattern of paint and stain in the little cut-out sections, so Nik decided to strip/sand the inside portion and the top and stain that, and then just do a rough sand/prime the rest of it. In an effort to save money since the piece cost us more than usual, we decided to go with a strange color that we actually found in the dumpster in our neighborhood earlier that week. It was more than half a gallon of good Valspar paint…flat sheen and a strange mint green color, but importantly, it was free! After testing out different stain options with this paint, we decided on dark walnut – the special walnut was too red, and we thought the classic gray stain with the green paint would look too coastal.


So, on the stain went, then priming and painting! We sealed the whole thing in water-based poly. We had thought about sealing with wax since the paint was flat and you need porous, flat paint for wax to really seal a piece, but we were concerned about wax getting into the little wood carving lines and being difficult to buff out.

Here’s how the finished piece came out, with original hardware:

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And for good measure, a before and after:

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