Monthly Archives: May 2016

New Wax and Old Socks

Leigh Ann and I are antiques collectors, but we also live with our collection, which means our antique dining room table occasionally needs some extra protection — without looking over-refinished and brand new.

When that time comes, I reach for Minwax® Paste Finishing Wax, available in “Natural” for light-colored woods and in “Dark” for stained pieces, such as our dining room table. I applied the wax with a heavy-duty paper towel, then let it harden, which only took about five minutes.

I then reach for my favorite buffing tool:  a soft, often-washed, worn-out cotton sock. I slip it over my hand like a mitten, then begin buffing the wax in the direction of the grain of the wood. When the cotton fibers fill up with extra wax, I simply rotate the sock for a fresh, clean surface.

What I love about a hand-rubbed Paste Finishing Wax finish is that the results are not dramatic. Antiques don’t like drama. They like a natural, protective finish that preserves their sometimes worn appearance while at the same time giving them more protection so that we can use them in our busy lives.

Until next time,

Save a family heirloom!



An Organizational Board

How can an ordinary board, perhaps leftover from one of your previous projects, help you stay organized?

After applying a coat of stain to the front, I simply wrapped the board with heavy twine, securing each end on the back with a tack, then attaching a picture hanger for mounting it on the wall.

Minwax’s new “Perfectly Pink” Water Based Wood Stain added some unexpected color to the oak board, and the stretched string holds pictures, shopping lists, school project deadlines, and business cards without having to look for a push pin.

Until next time,

Thanks for stopping by!


Bring the Outdoors in with Hanging Herb Shelves

As every cook knows, fresh herbs can make any meal a memorable one, so I took an idea for a hanging shelf made from a pallet board and suspended with twine from a pair of brass cup hooks and adapted it for an herb shelf designed to hang in a kitchen window.

I worried, however, that the clay pots might slip off the board, so I decided to use a piece of new half-inch thick wood wide enough for me to cut holes to suspend tapered 4-inch clay pots.

Our kitchen tiles are blue, so I selected “Island Water” from the Minwax® Water Based Wood Stain line to stain the board. After it dried, I protected the shelf with Minwax® Helmsman® Spar Urethane, since it will be exposed to the sun’s ultraviolet rays.

Before moving it into our kitchen, I gave the shelf a test run in my workshop. The clay pots slip in and out easily, and the holes will keep them from sliding off as Leigh Ann and I are taking cuttings when we are cooking. I know I’ll be making more of these in the future as house-warming gifts!

Until next time,

Thanks for stopping by!


Add Color to Any Room with These Hanging Vases

Flowers are a great way to add color and brighten any room. There are many ways to display these beautiful petals. Here are two ways you can make creative hanging vases using scrap pieces of wood and other things you may have around in your workshop.

I never want to waste wood, including these pieces I salvaged from a couple of old pallets a friend gave me. But when my pile of wood began getting in the way, I knew I needed to come up with some projects to utilize them.

For one project, I cut two boards each about fifteen inches long, then attached an inexpensive radiator hose clamp to each one with a small screw.

Old, dry pallet wood always looks better under a clear finish, so after a light sanding to round the edges and remove any roughness, I brushed on a coat of water-based Minwax® Polycrylic® Protective Finish. It dried in just minutes and brought out the beauty of the grain. (Tip:  the hose clamp gave me a way to hold the board without touching the wet finish.)

I then slipped a reproduction milk bottle into the clamp and tightened it with a small wrench. This same technique could work for antique medicine or soda bottles, small jars, wine or olive oil bottles, or whatever else you find.

Complete with a small picture frame hook on the back and some flowers — either real or artificial — my two pallet boards have quickly been transformed into wall art. I especially like the planned contrast between the shiny, industrial hose brackets and the vintage patina the clear Polycrylic finish brings out of the old pallet wood.

Another way I made a hanging vase is with a piece of oak I had on hand.  Since I wanted this project to be a specific color — “Coffee” in the Minwax® Gel Stain line — I selected this six-inch wide piece of oak, knowing it would absorb my stain more evenly than rough pallet wood. Any idea why I drilled two shallow holes for the 3/8-inch diameter dowels on the right?

I rubbed the Gel Stain into the pores of my oak board, then wiped off the excess stain going in the direction of the grain of the wood. Notice how the stain highlights the contrasting grain lines in the wood? After it dried, I protected the stain and the wood with two coats of Minwax® Fast-Drying Polyurethane.

As for my two holes and the dowels, they were precisely placed to allow me to slip the neck of this tall glass vase between them. The flared top rests securely atop the dowels, enabling me to lift it off to replace the flowers or add water without taking the board off the wall. As you can see, flowers and flower vases don’t always have to sit on tables — giving you a creative solution to those nasty water marks and white rings!

Until next time,

Thanks for stopping by!