Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Faux Finish vs. Natural Finish

The debate goes on! In a couple of recent posts, there have been a ton of comments on whether or not the majority of us are at least a little bit tired of white rooms, white furniture, and magazines with page after page of white photographs.

I mentioned a couple of alternatives to white, such as seafoam green, or maybe just adding a little silver to an otherwise white piece of furniture, to give it a little zing.

The one alternative that I left out was good , old, natural. You don't hear about it much anymore, but I love a beautifully done, natural finish, more than anything else. Perhaps, I am just an old school guy.

I know that there are sometimes a multitude of problems when applying a natural finish. Numerous clear coats, stripping, staining, sanding by hand, and polishing is a little more work than most people want to go to and it is really time consuming to do it right. But consider this...

White and seafoam green paint may not be in demand when the next fad rolls around, but beautifully finished furniture is always in style, even if it is not the "trendy" way to furnish a room. Here is an example of a table I refinished, instead of painting.





This one was done with 3 coats of polyurethane, sanding between each coat, and polishing to perfection. Yes, it was a ton of work. Yes it took some skill. But it turned out to be a real showstopper, and will probably be admired long after seafoam green and white are forgotten.

And, with today's green earth thinking, having a table or chair that is practically "fad proof" seems like a good idea to me.

I would love to hear this discussion continue. What does everyone think out there?


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35 comments:

Patti said...

IS THAT TIGER MAPLE????????? I love it...and all wood! I gotta admit, I too have been caught up in the "blizzard"! but only to have a matching set of furniture lol!

Melissa said...

If it is good wood - fad-proof is brilliant.

Mandi said...

Rory I'm glad ya posted this-- see I come from a family where there is no forgiveness in this life or the next for painting, yes PAINTING over solid oak. Or any solid, expensive wood for that matter. I've got a kitchen nook I'm using as my craft table-- it got a new coat of varnish and is as good as new. My brain tells me to paint it white so it will go with the style of the room. But then my brain also tells me to leave the dang thing alone and it's perfectly good as it is.

GrannySue said...

While I have painted (or had painted) over old golden cabinets that were all over the house, I like nothing quite as much as nice wood. In fact, I just bought a new entry piece that is all inlaid wood. Is that table a duncan fife? It's gorgeous. And believe me I know how much work you did on it. Just perfect!

Rory from Tools Are For Women Too! said...

Hi Granny,

The table would be considered Duncan Phyfe Revival and was probably made in the 1940s. The incredible tiger wood grain you see on the top is a nice quality Mahogany veneer. Thank you for your comment and compliments. Rory

Kate said...

I worked in a high end cabinet shop for a few years after college and will never get that gorgeous, hand made, naturally finished furniture out of my head. This table is beautiful and it would've been a sin to cover up that veneer.

Liz said...

Rory! I'm with ya here! I have a few really nice old antiques. Part of the value is that they have their original finish. I love the white look but I think that the trendy pendulum is going to swing back to the natural finishes. It always does... I keep mine moisturized with Old English Lemon oil. I do my cabinets to. It makes them shine like crazy!

~Liz

Aleisha Z. Coleman said...

i also have a hard time painting over real wood...so i love, love, love the natural look. it is beautiful. i need a tutorial because i have a table and a dresser in the arts and crafts style that need some tlc such as that!

Lisa said...

I think a medium to dark wood will always be classic and traditional. Some of the trends go in and out so fast that it's hard to keep up! I would hate to take something that's very nice and ruin it by adding some kind of trendy color or stain that would look weird in a couple years.

BTW, I just found your blog today and I think it's such a fun concept! I'm more of a crafty girl but my husband is teachng me how to use tools and I'm learning a lot! I just keep begging for a pink toolbelt!

Nikki said...

Beautiful! Thanks so much for linking up to gettin' crafty on hump day :)

LV said...

That is much prettier than any paint job. Very nice table and you did an excellent job refinishing it.

Gail @ Faithfulness Farm said...

You did a beautiful job and made the right choice for this piece. No reason to cover up such gorgeous wood :)

Blessings!
Gail

Postcardy said...

I agree with you 100%!

Ann said...

Hi Rory,
I completely agree with you, 100%. The thought of painting over a wonderful old wood piece of furniture makes me sad. I just can't see covering up wonderful wood.
Thanks for the discussion.
Ann
@
The Tattered Tassel
PS Your Duncan Phyfe table is gorgeous. I inherited quite a few pieces of DF from my grandmother...and no they have not been painted!!

Fawnda said...

It turned out beautiful! I like to paint and hubby likes to refinish... so, I guess I am not a lot of help! :)

Cass @ That Old House said...

Beautiful old mahogany! You are inspiring me -- we have an old, very good quality mahogany dining table whose top has crazed -- and we are hoping to re-amalgamate the finish. Tricky.

Cass

★All Thingz Related★ said...

Hey...Im totally for REAL wood! BEAUTIFUL! My hubby and I refinished an antique dresser for our room...its really nice!
~Bridgette

ourlifeinaclick.blogspot.com said...

That table is absolutely stunning! It would have been a crime to cover it.

-heather

Lanie Ree said...

Beautiful.

Thank you for participating in the Creative Therapy session at Life in the Pitts.

Tamber said...

I am guilty of painting everything. I do have a table that I am about to start. I love your idea and might just use it. I found you at Remodelaholic link party.
Tamber
http://colorfulcravings.blogspot.com/

Suzanne said...

What do I think? WOW! It's gorgeous, and painting that wood would have been a real shame.

Now if it had been just a plain old ordinary kind of wood, I'd say paint away, but not this. Beautiful!

★All Thingz Related★ said...

The grain is gorgeous!
{Rebekah}

Sheri said...

Gotta say - I really don't care for white- -the seafoam green was a yuk for me - the silver didn't help. But I LOVE NATURAL!!! The wood is gorgeous!!! A Nice, unfinished, or varnished piece of furniture with the grain showing through stopsd me everytime! You did a great job with this! Thanks!

Lori said...

I love this table!!

Thanks for joining Get Your Craft on Thursday at Life As Lori. Please join me next week for another great party.

Anita said...

Your table turned out beautiful! Love the graining. There are some pieces I will paint and then there are some that are a big fat no! If the wood has a good patina and it has some history to it I will refinish. I don't even strip it all the way down, just give it a face lift! Like this piece. http://goingalittlecoastal.blogspot.com/2010/05/extravaganza-its-fun-word.html

Laura said...

What a gorgeous table!

Thanks for linking up to Saturday is Crafty Day!

simplydesigning.blogspot.com said...

Wow! So beautiful! I do love the natural wood look...ok...I do love wood.

Thanks so much for linking up!

~Ashley @ www.simplydesigning.blogspot.com

40daysof said...

Love the finish on the table. It would have been a crime to paint it.

LovelyBlogger said...

Very nice! Thanks for linking up to Mad Skills Monday!

Ginger
SSB

Rhoda @ Southern Hospitality said...

That's a gorgeous table, Rory! And one that should never be painted. I would never paint anything that was in good shape like that & I still have LOTS Of brown furniture in my house that will never be painted too. No all white for me!

Kathleen said...

Beautiful job. I so agree. Paint is ok for cheap wood, but to take a beautiful solid wood and oaint it..nope..
And a solid brass chandelier is classic..I cringe when they spray paint them..

Stephanie Lynn said...

That is simply gorgeous. Who could ever choose paint over that natural beauty. Fantastic job! Thanks so much for joining The Sunday Showcase. I greatly appreciate it! Hope you have a wonderful week! ~ Stephanie Lynn

Room to Inspire said...

I think that natural is a fabulous way to keep a piece of furniture! Especially one as beautiful as this table. Thanks so much for linking up to Be Inspired last week.

Chelsea

Cheryl said...

You're so right about natural - trends come & go, but natural is timeless. Thanks for linking this to Craftastic Monday too!

Ethnic Girl Fun said...

This is beautiful. I agree...NO PAINT on that baby!