Have you ever wondered how to bleach and age a wood table?
It is surprisingly easy.
A little background…….
My wood patio table refresh was a very necessary DIY.
We love to dine outdoors the bulk of the year when the weather cooperates.
However, our table and chairs had seen much better days.
The table has consistently been covered in dirt and grime due to the never ending construction.
And, the sun had faded the table and chairs and left them blotchy.
I decided it was time for a major facelift.
Thankfully, the table was still in good shape and I did not need to repair any split wood or damage to it.
First, I decided to get rid of the red/orange tones of the table, and bring the table down to its natural rustic state.
This was the perfect DIY to try my hand using plain old household bleach.
But, I also wanted to highlight the elm’s natural character.
So I created my very own stain/topcoat combination to age, as well as, protect the wood.
For the chairs, I wanted to make a huge contrast with the table. So, f you want to see how I tackled the chairs, I wrote a separate blog post.
This post does contain affiliate links. This means if you click on certain links and purchase a product I recommend, I will receive a small commission.
Dawn Dishwashing soap
Scotch-Brite Pad (non-scratching)
lint free rags
3 inch foam brush to apply topcoat
2 inch synthetic paint brush to apply bleach, stain, and feather in topcoat
shop towels (lint free)
General Finishes 450 Topcoat in Flat
General Finishes Black Walnut Exterior 450
80 grit sandpaper or sanding block
Chip Brush to apply Citristrip
220 grit sandpaper or sanding block
seran wrap or plastic to cover Citristrip
1/2 cup baking soda
Steps to Strip Table
- I liberally brushed Citristrip over the entire top of the table and then covered the top with plastic to prevent it from drying out.
- By dividing the table into 6 sections, I could apply and remove the Citristrip without it drying out on me.
- After I had covered the entire table with citristrip and plastic, I placed a large drop cloth over the table to keep the wind from blowing the plastic off.
- I let the Citristrip sit on the table top overnight.
- The next morning, using a putty knife, I ran it along the top of the table following the grain of the wood.
- The putty knife lifted the red/orange stain off the table.
- As I scraped the stain and Citristrip off the table, I wiped the putty knife on a paper towel.A
- After I removed the stain from the table top, I repeated the entire process on each leg and the underside of the table.
- For the remainder of the table, I only needed to allow the Citristrip to sit covered with plastic for 4 hours before I scraped the stain off.
Photos of Stripping Process
Steps to Clean Table
- After removing all of the previous stain, I then sanded the table gently using my orbital sander and 80 grit sandpaper.
- I used an 80 grit sanding block for any hard to reach corners and small trim pieces.
- I wiped any residual dust off the table using a lint free cloth.
- Next, I gave the table a good cleaning with dawn dishwashing soap and water mixed in a 5 gallon bucket.
- I liberally applied the soap and used a Scotch-Brite pad to remove the dirt and grime.
- I rinsed the table off and allowed it to dry.
Steps to Bleach the Table
- After the table had dried completely, Poured some bleach in a metal bowl.
- Using a foam brush, I wiped bleach over the entire table.
- I allowed the table to dry completely for 1 hour.
- Then, I wiped bleach onto the table again and allowed it to dry a second time.
- I repeated this process one more time and then allowed the bleach to remain on the table overnight.
- The next morning, to neutralize the table and stop the bleaching process, I mixed 1/2 cup of baking soda into a bowl of water.
- I liberally brushed this mixture over the entire table and allowed it to dry.
Photos of the Bleach Process
Steps to Prep Table for Stain
- Next, I gave the table another good cleaning with dawn dishwashing soap and water mixed in a 5 gallon bucket.
- I liberally applied the soapy water and used a scotch brite pad to scrub the table gently.
- I rinsed the table off and allowed it to dry.
- After I allowed the table to dry, I then sprayed it with a 50/50 mixture of denatured alcohol and water.
- Using a lint free cloth, I wiped the table down again to remove any remaining residue that might hinder the staining process.
- I allowed the table to dry and then sanded it down with a 220 grit sanding block.
The Dry Brush Staining Process
I had previously mixed 1 cup of black walnut exterior stain with 7 cups of Exterior 450 Clear Topcoat in Flat.
This custom topcoat was what I used to seal and protect the chairs that go with this table.
You can see that DIY here.
This process is called toning.
I did not want the table to be dark. I only wanted to highlight some of the naturally dark areas in the wood.
Steps to Dry Brush the Stain
- I very lightly dipped my synthetic paint brush into the the custom topcoat.
- I then blotted the brush on a lint free shop towel.
- Then I gently dragged the brush over the table being careful not to apply too much of the custom topcoat in any one area.
- If I did get it to heavy in areas, I sanded that area gently with 80 grit sandpaper.
- I repeated this process over the entire table.
- I allowed the table to dry for 4 hours before proceeding to the final step.
Photos of the Dry Brush Custom Topcoat Process
Steps to Topcoat the Table
- Once the table was dry, using a three inch foam brush, I applied the clear Exterior 450 in flat to the top, sides, and legs of the table. I used a synthetic brush to feather any thick areas of topcoat.
- I worked in manageable sections so that I could catch any potential topcoat runs down the legs or on the table.
- First, I worked on the top by dividing it into five lengthwise sections just as I had with the custom toning topcoat, then each leg, and finally I brushed topcoat on the sides.
- Then, I allowed the custom topcoat to dry for two hours before I gently sanded the entire table down with 220 grit sanding block.
- Next, I wiped the sanding residue off the table using a lint free cloth.
- Then, I applied a layer of clear topcoat and allowed that to dry before I sanded it with 220 grit again.
- I wiped the table down and then applied two more layers of clear topcoat, sanding between each layer.
- Once the table was completely dry, I flipped it over.
- I then sealed the underside of the table with three layers of topcoat, sanding with 220 grit sanding block between each layer of topcoat.
Photos of Clear Topcoat Process
WITHOUT FURTHER ADO……..
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BeckyApril 19, 2021 3:48 pm
Oh my stars! It looks amazing. I mean it looks like a bazillion bucks! Well done Jennifer 😊