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Thread: Whitewashed Straight Open Grain (White oak?)

  1. #1
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    Whitewashed Straight Open Grain (White oak?)

    I'm bidding on a project for a dining table and the desired finish is a low sheen whitewashed or greywashed straight grained wood. I'm thinking rift sawn White oak or White ash veneer (on some engineered board ... possibly Nidacore, balsa or other) with a flat sheen waterborne such as General Finishes conversion varnish. But I am concerned the WO could have rays or flecking which would be undesirable. . I'm just looking at different options for how to washout the variation in the wood. This is not my strength in finishes at all. I showed this picture and the client liked it .. but they would also like something whiter. How would you approach this?

    WRA_V1_Table.jpg
    Last edited by Bill Adamsen; 10-29-2018 at 3:46 PM.
    "the mechanic that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools. Confucius

  2. #2
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    An open grained timber is a prerequisite, as you said. Either white oak or ash have worked for me. The white oak did not present any problems with rays or flecking with my preferred finishing methods.

    Sand with your finish grit not higher than 150 and use sharp paper so there is no risk of glazing.

    Hand apply a white pigment stain. This is important as it needs to be rubbed into the grain and pigment stain will be slightly lacking in clarity which helps to even out the colour.

    Colour match as required by fogging on a small amount of thinned pigment stain.

    Apply first 2 coats of clear with usual sanding in between.

    Make up a thin white toner based on the clear coat and complete the colour matching. This is where you can get the whiteness to the level you want. Apply multiple thin coats if necessary.

    Let it dry and apply a full clear coat over it

    Final de-nib and apply a final coat.

    I have used proprietary white pigment stain and also thinned white paint as a pigment stain. Whatever you use, it must be fully compatible with your clear coat.

    Cheers
    Every construction obeys the laws of physics. Whether we like or understand the result is of no interest to the universe.

  3. #3
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    If you get truly rift sawn WO there won't be any ray flecks. Rift sawn ash will work, too, but it's not as hard. After you finish sanding it go over it with a brass brush to clean out the pores so that the stain gets into them. Vacuum and compressed air alone aren't nearly as good as brushing. White pickling stain works well for the look you are after.

    John

  4. #4
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    Thanks Wayne ... I need to test a few boards. Read a bit about Bona Nordic Seal and that's something to test as well. They recommend sealing before application but I suspect a big part of that is the large application area.

    I'm still working out how to create the table-top structure. Size is 5' X 8' and I'm looking for an approach that produces a lightweight yet solid table ... likely best for a different forum section. Photo below shows an illustrative example of the grain appearance sought.

    RiftSawnWhiteOak.jpg
    "the mechanic that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools. Confucius

  5. #5
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    Look at Rubio Monocoat. They have 55 colors.
    -Lud

  6. #6
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    In the past I have bleached white ash using a two part wood bleach and it always came out white white.
    Steve Jenkins, McKinney, TX. 469 742-9694
    Always use the word "impossible" with extreme caution

  7. #7
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    Thanks folks for the feedback. I have not worked with the Rubio products. Can anyone elaborate on how well the product finish works? I had anticipated using a conversion varnish as the top finish but am skeptical Rubio's wax-based coloring would be a suitable underbody. As an aside, the client has moved towards grays rather than white so the approach is shifting in that direction. I'm just wrapping up another project now, but will make up the color/finish test boards likely early next week.
    "the mechanic that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools. Confucius

  8. #8
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    Rubio is putting their product on floors. You don't get more traffic than that. I would contact them directly, they are very responsive and have good customer service. No affiliation.
    -Lud

  9. #9
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    Bill, the usual rule applies. Get your system worked out using coating products from one manufacturer. That way you know you don't have to worry about compatibility. If something doesn't work as it should, you can go back to the supplier and they will help because it is totally their coating system.

    What you are doing doesn't require specialised products however. Check the flooring material for price. You may pay for attributes you don't need. White/grey pigment stain and your conversion varnish will work fine. Cheers

  10. #10
    Im not sure if this grey is too dark for your needs. This is General Finiahes Pewter dye on Ash.

    EEAA0C80-7667-48FF-B802-D8494D7CC9A4.jpg
    34201358-7A04-4C21-8763-48E0876AC19F.jpg
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