Achieving a Raw Wood Finish

The raw wood look is definitely in style. Although I do tend to refinish pieces with paint, there’s just no denying how popular the raw finish is. Gone are the days of dark and dated! Getting that old finish off instantly gives a light and airy feel to the piece and to any room.

I tried my hand, (emphasis on hand, as in ‘hand sanding”) at this look on two Vintage Morganton Furniture Co. dining room pieces. Here’s a look at the before photos.

Dark and dated!
Great bones, but needed an update for sure.

Attempting the raw look was not my first idea. With a prep sand of 220 grit, the finish began to melt away and revealed the most beautiful wood grain, and that was it, the choice was made for me! Here’s a look.

Look at that beautiful grain! These pieces were unique as pine and cherry were hidden under that dark finish.
Getting there! Just love what was hidden under that stain.

To be honest, hand sanding and 220 grit sandpaper, usually won’t remove much finish, but it does knock down the shine for prep. So, here’s the process broken down:

  1. As always, clean your piece!
  2. Using an orbital sander, begin your sanding sequence with 80-100grit
  3. Wipe down with a tack cloth and and use a finer sandpaper 120-150grit
  4. Wipe down again with a tack cloth and sand with 180-220 grit
  5. Vacuum your piece thoroughly
  6. Finish your piece as desired

For these pieces, I wanted to showcase that beautiful cherry wood grain, so I used a white wax for a cerused look. Because I ended my sanding with 180 grit, the woodgrain was raised and the wax sunk right. I absolutely love that beachy and weathered look. After I finished waxing, and the pieces sat for atleast 24 hours, I used 0000 Steel wool to remove any excess. It creates such a smooth, silky finish.

Cherry wood takes the wax so beautifully. Pine is a much simpler grain.
Isn’t that incredible?!

Some other finishes to protect the raw look include:

  • clear wax
  • dark wax
  • polycrilic top coat in the desired sheen
  • wood oil

Ready to see how these beauties turned out?

I’d love to hear what you think of this look! For now, I’m signing off to ice my sanding hand!

6 thoughts on “Achieving a Raw Wood Finish

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