Found some salvaged wood, How do i finish it?

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Forum topic by Mr Jones posted 12-19-2013 06:46 PM 1291 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Mr Jones

13 posts in 3020 days

12-19-2013 06:46 PM

Hey guys,

I picked up a piece of old lumber in hopes to top for a small hallway table.
I’m trying to go for a salvaged, stressed type of look.
Unfortunately, I do not know what species of wood it is. (Pine?!?, spruce)
This piece is weathered to the point where it’s a light grey.

I don’t want to plane it to expose new wood as I fear I would loose all the dings and cuts it has.

How would I preserve the natural character of the piece but change the colour to something darker.

Do I just apply stain ontop and hope for the best (obviously I would test it out on a scrap piece)

I have enclosed a picture of the piece I picked up. and a picture of the piece I want it to look like!

Thanks a lot for reading/helping and Merry Christmas!

7 replies so far

View mahdee's profile


4291 posts in 2822 days

#1 posted 12-19-2013 07:47 PM

You can hand sand the piece with no worry of losing too much of the marks. Hard to tell what it is, but once you start sanding, you’ll know if it’s a pine family.


View Kwit's profile


104 posts in 3014 days

#2 posted 12-20-2013 02:15 AM

It may just be the picture – but it looks painted???

If that is the patina only – you got a nice piece there

Here’s my 2 cents:

Decide it’s function first; a decorative piece – light duty or a functional piece – heavy duty

If you want to use it as a floating shelf or mantle (light duty)- you may not have to do anything except a stiff wire brush and compressed air to clean up

If you want a coffee table or something that gets a lot of use (heavy duty) – clean with wire wheel or brush – blow off with compressed air – then choose a polyurethane; a water-based matte finish will keep the original look and feel the best. Oil base poly will give it a darker, more golden tone – more durable

Here’s some stuff I’ve done

restored warehouse cart; cleaned and oil-based Minwax high-build poly

console table; cleaned – no finish whatsoever

-- don't talk about it - be about it

View Tennessee's profile


2936 posts in 3569 days

#3 posted 12-20-2013 12:38 PM

This piece of wood looks like a 2 X 10 or 2 X 12 concrete form, or maybe it was a walking board on a construction site. You do not want to stain this right off, it will absorb all the stain immediately and become very very dark. You should do what mrjinx says, hand sand it somewhat to take off the fuzz and whatever dirt is on the wood. You will reveal some of the natural wood, but 99% of the patina will stay. What you are trying to do is lock up the wood a bit so the stain puts on the right shade, not over absorb. I’ve built a couple of dining room tables with this kind of wood, they look great as in the pictures above, but an initial sanding is just about imperative.

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


17272 posts in 3673 days

#4 posted 12-20-2013 01:08 PM

Ditto to what Paul said on what the piece looks to be in it’s past life. And to the absolute dark it will take on if when stain is applied. In addition to sanding, as he said, you might consider per-stain conditioner. Get a quart of that and apply before going with the stain and you’ll get a more consistent finish.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. - OldTools Archive -

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Mr Jones

13 posts in 3020 days

#5 posted 12-20-2013 02:20 PM

Thanks for all the wonderful responses guys!

This weekend I will clean it with a wire brush and go once over with sand paper to see what I get.

Paul is right, it’s from a construction site, and I believe it was used to walk across on scaffolding!
It’s looks like a 2×10 but the thickness is actually 2” 1/4 !.

I also have some pre-stain left over from another project, couldn’t hurt to use that before staining!

i’ll update this thread after the weekend!

Thanks again everyone!

View hydro's profile


208 posts in 2807 days

#6 posted 12-20-2013 02:55 PM

I hope this does not sound sarcastic, but here’s an “off the wall” idea to try. Since your board is about as rustic a wood gets, try a real rustic finish.

Find a couple of chunks of old asphalt, the kind roads are made of. Crush the asphalt and soak it in mineral spirits until you have a dark brown liquid. This makes a nice warm brownish colored stain that might look just right on that piece. (Try it on a sample first to see if you like the effect)

-- Minnesota Woodworkers Guild, Past President, Lifetime member.

View TheGermanJoiner's profile


847 posts in 2692 days

#7 posted 12-20-2013 03:01 PM

+1 Paul. It’s probably some kind of framing material DF or SYP. THe gray is probably from being used on a job site either absorbing dirt, rain, concrete juice or all of the above. I’ll also plus one the hand sanding. See what happens. Have fun with it. And let us know how it goes

-- Greg - Ferdinand and Son Construction: Do it right the first time. Like us on Facebook

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