I was really excited to start building the countertop because I had a vision in my head, and I had to figure out if I could extract it from my brain and make it a reality. I wanted to do something a bit rustic, I wanted to use pallet wood if possible, and I wanted it to be dark to offset the monotonous whiteness of the rest of the piece, but I also wanted it to have some color. Since I didn’t have a clear plan of how I was going to achieve my desired color, I turned to the webs and found a site describing exactly what I was looking for.
Becky from Beyond the Picket Fence has a great tutorial for a really cool technique that combines paint with stain on top. It really works well on rough-sawn pallet wood. You can see the overlapping curves from the big circular saws they use to cut these boards at the mill. Since this wood is for shipping pallets, no effort is made to make clean cuts. All the better for us!
Since the pallet wood wasn’t thick enough to make a sturdy countertop on its own, I first cut a piece of 1/2″ plywood to the required dimensions to act as a base. I then laid the pieces on the plywood to get a rough pattern and fit.
I marked and cut the overhanging boards and refit the trimmings into the pattern until I ended up covering the plywood. With everything cut to size and in their places, I glued and brad-nailed the pallet wood to the plywood. I didn’t worry about small imperfections in alignment or fit. The little gaps between the boards were part of the rustic look I was going for. When all was dry, I trimmed the edges with the table saw.
To achieve the look I was going for, I decided I’d paint 4 coats of 4 different colors before I stained. I went to our paint shelf and found 4 little sample bottles of different blues and greens. Using a cheap $1 chip brush, I dashed some paint on the wood. There was no need to be careful here. I was just trying to get a thin coat of color onto some parts of the wood.
Using the same brush, I slapped on some green.
Then more blue of a different shade.
And finally a little bit of a darker blue.
The topcoat would be Minwax Dark Walnut stain.
But first I needed to sand off some of that paint to expose the wood. Those heavy saw blade marks were perfect for trapping some paint in their grooves.
Ready for stain.
Using a new chip brush, I applied a heavy coat of stain so it would seep into the spaces between the boards. Instead of waiting 10-15 minutes for the stain to absorb, I wiped it off immediately so it didn’t get a chance to dull the pain too much. I ended up applying another coat after this to darken up the stained areas a bit.
I love how it turned out. This is a fantastic technique that I’ll definitely use again on future projects. Check out some of the detail.
All that was left was to add a strip of wood to the front to conceal the plywood base. I found a piece of pallet wood that had a rounded edge. Perfect for the countertop.
Here it is glued and brad-nailed in place. I stained it dark walnut after this, but didn’t take a picture. You’ll see it in the next post.
Next post: Putting it all together!
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