Confession – most of our dinners are eaten in the living room on the coffee table. I am not proud of this but have long given up on the idea setting the dinning room for dinner every night. It’s just not going to happen. I am very proud, however, of the new coffee table my husband built for us last month. The old one was on its last legs (literally and figuratively) and last year it got the most unfortunate paint job. Finding a table that was the right size proved challenging so we (well not so much me) built one instead. It fits perfectly in the L shape of our couch and the top lifts up on a hinge for storage.
My decorating philosophy has always been “it’s easier to ask for forgiveness than permission” so whenever my husband goes away I take out my DIY list. This week I gave myself the task of finishing the coffee table. It has been sitting in its unfinished pine state in the living room for a solid month now (maybe more) and since Thanksgiving is right around the corner and my husband is in New Jersey what better time to work on it than in the evening.
For this project, I chose General Finishes Gel Stain in Brown Mahogany for a coupe of reasons. First, pine is soft and porous so I had a little more working time with the gel stain. It’s oil based which means it doesn’t dry right away, giving me plenty of time to distribute it evenly on the wood without leaving streaks and blotches. Second, it’s super easy to put on with a clean cotton cloth like an old t-shirt. Finally, because the gel is thick, I didn’t have to worry about the stain dripping all over the carpet. I’m pretty scrappy but taking this table outside by myself was not an option. TIP: Don’t forget to put on some gloves. The stain will not come off your skin easily!
When wiping the stain, you always want to work in the direction of the wood. I started by putting on a generous coat and then wiped back the excess until the colour was even.
The entire table top (the bottom is going to be painted – more on that later) took about 20 minutes to complete. The warm mahogany colour is the perfect compliment to our leather couch and matches our (unused) dining room table perfectly. One coat was enough for me but don’t forget stains get darker with each additional layer. Just make sure to wait 4-6 hours between applications.
The stain is only the first part of this project. Since in its unprotected state it will be difficult to keep the table clean, after twenty-four hours it will get a coat of General Finishes Clear Satin Gel. The time between coats will ensure the stain is properly dry and won’t wipe off when I apply the finish.
Want to see more of this project? Check out Part 2 here!
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