Becca at From Gardners 2 Bergers had been obsessed with the idea of getting a Restoration Hardware style table in her dining nook for a couple years.
Since they were way out of her budget, Becca came up with a plan to get the look for less. She purchased a maple pedestal table and stripped off the original finish before applying a reactive wood stain that turns into driftwood color.
Becca includes a video on her site showing exactly how she got that gorgeous gray color!
How to Get a Driftwood Color
There’s a few important steps to follow in order to transform a hardwood into a different color. Follow along as Becca shares her own process.
Choosing the Right Stain
First, you have to have the right stain. In this case, it’s two-fold:
One, use a special formula from Weather Wood Stains (the name says it all!).
And second, choose one of their products that is designed to take a particular wood color and make a new, “reclaimed” wood color.
Not sure what wood or color you’re after? No problem…Weather Wood makes it easy by providing a comprehensive color chart (see here) to see how each type of wood reacts with their products.
This will give you all the information you need to decide what wood you’ll need in order to get your desired end-result.
So in Becca’s case and the aged, gray table…she wanted a “driftwood” tone. This meant she needed to start with a maple wood table. And that’s exactly what she did!
See if you can land one at an unfinished furniture store. It might not be likely when it comes to maple. Becca scored because she opted not to do the chairs too.
So, she bought a table and chair set for $200 and sold the chairs separately for $150. Nice!
The Best Way to Sand
Sanding is inevitable in most cases. Unless you’re starting with a raw, unfinished table you’ll be removing any existing coating by hand. This is because the Weather Wood products react with the wood and needs to penetrate it directly.
Don’t despair though, you can use the help of stripper chemicals to get you started. Or, as Becca found out, sanding alone can get you where you need to be.
The sandpaper grit sequence she used was 60-, then 80-, then 120-grit paper. Becca admits this was overkill but felt more comfortable knowing she’d gotten the wood good and exposed before adding the “magic” stain.
Get the Stain On
Once you’ve sanded and wiped everything down it’s time to brush and/or roll on your stain.
Becca confides that she wanted to be messy with her application…you want good coverage of course – that said, a little bit will take you far.
She chose to do it outside, but a garage would be fine too if you’ve got the room.
She took a video of her applying the stain on the table, then sped it up to make a time-lapse. Weather Wood has time-lapse videos on their main site as well.
It really is amazing to watch the light, raw wood “age” in just a few minutes…darkening and giving up its natural color like some CG effect in a high-production movie.
The special reclamation stain goes on like any other stain. For example, ensure it goes on as completely as possible, and cover every square inch evenly as you work it in.
But that’s where the similarities with regular stains end.
The Weather Wood stain does not get wiped off like typical stains. Once you apply, you let it soak and dry.
And while you do, check if you can see the amazing transformation occur in real time!
Becca did two coats of the stain. She feels this was because the darker color she was after required a second pass due to her table having already been previously finished.
Want a tip?
Disassemble your table as best you can. This will help the stain penetrate evenly as it dries. Just lay everything out and apply the stain.
Another tip when putting your stain on as a “refinish” is to look for any places you might not have removed all of the previous finish off of.
If this happens, it will stick out like a sore thumb, as the reclamation stain won’t react with the wood underneath. Simply sand down and apply the stain again.
Your final step is to seal the entire table. Becca used what’s called “maintenance oil white”. It’s a European hard wax that should be applied carefully so you get ample coverage into all of the wood’s pores and along the grain. You’ll wipe it on, then after several minutes wipe it down with a fresh rag.
Becca has an awesome demonstration video where she does this and describes every last detail needed to do it just right.
Once you let it all sit for a day or two, you’re ready to rock n’ roll and start using your way-cool table.
Becca was inspired by the 17th C Priory Round Dining Table in Weathered Gray from Restoration Hardware. I truly believe Becca’s efforts were worth it.
Of course it was work, but she saved a lot of money and honestly took on an interesting project with the magical powers of the reclamation stain. Really neat stuff!
Find the tutorial for achieving a Restoration Hardware inspired finish at From Gardners 2 Bergers. Becca has a couple videos along with all of her really helpful photos. She’s got you covered, so go for it!