Sanding, Staining, Sealing

If you’ve been following our renovation journey then you know that we completely gutted the farmhouse kitchen shortly after moving in.

Here’s what it looked like at the beginning of demo (I forgot to get a before)…


I am standing in a doorway and taking this shot.  In pure Joanna Gaines (Fixer Upper) style we removed this wall (and everything else!), added our version of shiplap and started building the cabinets and putting everything back.

When it came to the countertops, in order to save a ton of money we chose to use 2×6’s.  CountryBoy and his brother secured the boards from underneath then I went at them with the sander then stained and sealed them.

I chose a Summer Oak to help keep the kitchen light…


and they turned out great!

But, as time went on and the wood began to dry out the boards started shrinking and twisting leaving large gaps between each board.  We ended up with all kinds of crumbs in the drawers below.

So, last March, while I was away at the annual quilt retreat, CountryBoy dismantled the countertop, took it outside and began the process of gluing, sanding and putting it all back together.

He did a great job and there were no more ginormous cracks!  Yay!  But… the wood was almost raw and was beginning to show wear and tear and stains.  Think pink from strawberry juice (wink!).

So, one day I got a wild hair and removed everything from the countertop and got my trusty orbital sander out and lots and lots of sandpaper.  (Making for lots and lots of dust in the house.  sigh.  oh well – had to be done eventually.)

I started with 80 grit to remove the stains and the marks from the belt sander CountryBoy used.  Next was 120 grit and lastly was 220.

While the countertop was drying after removing the dust I made the decision to use a dark stain this time.  I thought the kitchen could use a nice ‘pop’ to break up all the light colors.

I used a wood conditioner then Espresso stain.  It was looking good.  whew.

After the stain dried I applied two coats of polyurethane and here is how they turned out…



I never thought I would ever want dark countertops but I really LOVE the dark stain!  I think it ties in with the hardware and faucet, brings out the color of the cabinets and it’s definitely the ‘pop’ that I was looking for.


That, right there, is where lots of goodies are made.


It may not be magazine-worthy and it’s definitely NOT staged but this is our fully functional and practical farmhouse kitchen for everyday use.  And I love it!

My next sanding project was the coffee table CountryBoy made.

We’ve been using it for a while now and liked its rustic look but it was never fully sanded down or sealed so it was difficult to dust and was easily susceptible to stains in its raw state.

Of course I forgot to get a before photo but here is a shot of the end tables he made and is what the coffee table looked like…


Rough barn wood with an overall gray tone.

So yesterday, while CountryBoy was out fishing with a neighbor, I took the coffee table outside and started my sanding process using the three different grits.

I didn’t want to sand off too much because there was so much character in the wood – saw marks, knots, and a beautiful grain.

After removing the dust I, again, used the wood conditioner but skipped the stain and went straight to sealing it with three coats of polyurethane.


Pardon the light spot, I had the overhead light on but it really turned out great!  These photos really don’t do it any justice.


We were afraid it would turn out too dark and disappear in our dark living room but, thankfully, it stayed on the lighter side.


Now to see if I can keep from piling my books, magazines and projects on it, ha!

Still to do are the two end tables he made.

I think we make an awesome team… he makes/builds whatever project we’re working on and I do the finishing work to show off his handiwork and usually end up with all the compliments (wink!).

Till next time friends!

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