Oh that raw wood look. It is indeed a favorite of mine. From old weathered planks on a table to unfinished oak or pine beams to natural finish doors and more.
There is just something about that unfinished, unstained, untouched wood that speaks oodles of patina and charm. It is a favorite look to mix and mingle in several rooms in our home.
But have you noticed what happens with unfinished wood as it ages and is exposed to the everyday? It darkens. It stains. It gets grubby garden fingerprint smudges and it just starts to look a tad dingy with everyday wear and tear. No different than painted pieces really- they pick up stains and smudges too- but they are much easier to wipe down and clean. Raw wood just soaks it up and then you are looking at sanding it down to get back to that beautiful natural look.
So, I tried a thing that helps you to have the best of both. A furniture wax that doesn’t darken the color but that adds a layer of protection from everyday. Is it even possible?
Which wax to use for a natural look?
While I was working on those antique pieces that I was stripping down and treating for bugs and leaving in a raw finish- I was researching all the ways to add a wax without adding color or darkening the natural wood. It apparently is not easy folks. It seems almost everything I found had those negatives. And after all that work to remove the dark finish- I was not about to add something that would take away that beautiful raw look.
I texted a friend of mine to ask her opinion on what to use. Lisa owns Jolie Paints and I knew that if anyone would know exactly what wax would be the one- she would. She suggested Jolie’s White Wax. Which I had not really thought of to be honest- but her reasoning made sense. She said the white would keep the finish lighter – and so even though the wax darkens the wood- balancing it with the white tint would keep it looking more ashy rather than golden and looking more raw. So, I tried it.
First up – I want to clarify that I actually did Not use the wax on the furniture. By the time that the wax arrived, I had decided to leave it natural for two reasons. #1. It won’t be handled all that often like a door would be- so it can wait for a bit. And #2. Just in case we have to treat the pieces for the beetles again- I don’t want to have to strip or sand anything off.
But I did use the white wax on our French and dutch doors. I tested it on one spot and at first was concerned it would be too white- but as I rubbed it in with the brush I could see that it was mellowing and was more of a ‘slight wash’ look – and knew instantly it was perfect for the look. And I literally ran around and waxed every single one of the raw finish doors in the house that afternoon. haha. Here are the Before photo of the French doors in our living room and the dutch door. Note- the darkness on the dutch door grids is shadows. You can see more about this dutch door HERE
White Wax | Raw Wood
You can see the difference close up here- one side has the white tint wax and the other is raw. The white wax mellows the yellow tone and brings in an ashy finish- which depending on the light can lean a tad warm blush I would say.
Here is how that same door looks now after being finished with the wax. I am in LOVE with how these doors turned out. They are so beautiful- and the still have that raw finish look that I love.
As you can see- there is a slight ‘wash’ look to the wood- even a touch of rosy warmth and these photos show it before it was fully cured and dried so it is even lighter as it ages- but it really looks so very similar to the unfinished wood when the doors were first installed – before they started to darken. Before & After below.
I love the look so much that it had me thinking about just where else I could use this wax and get that beautiful look… and the answer is the cottage. We have double barn doors for the bedroom that have been unfinished for several years and have started to darken and yellow much more recently. So, that can of wax and I have a date with those doors coming up soon.
What do you think of how these doors turned out? I will update you on how the wax weathers and wears over the next few months but – so far- the finish is looking beautiful.
Happy Monday all.