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:

IMG_1426       IMG_1632

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:

ceruse 4        IMG_1646

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.

IMG_1672        IMG_1673

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!

IMG_1688   IMG_1684

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

IMG_1690 IMG_1689


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