Naturally Refurbishing Wood

I need to use a cane, but balk at the prices I've seen. I recently found a nice folding cane for $1.00 at a second hand store--the kind that usually costs $20 to $30. The cane is metal with a wooden handle. The handle looked terrible because the wood had been coated with a dark plastic finish that had partially flaked off exposing the white pine wood underneath. I used my Dremel to sand off all of the plastic and sanded the handle smooth. I then made some very strong tea and painted the handle with it. The tea stained the pine a nice golden brown hue. When it was completely dry, I used furniture oil as a finish.


I will NOT use a varnish or paint on it, several good coats of oil is all the finish it needs. I did not waste money buying wood stain and varnish, I simply used the same techniques our forefathers used and have a really nice cane for $1.00. There are many things you can use to stain wood or dye fabric if you think about it, I could have used coffee for a darker stain. My husband had actually suggested that I use blackberry juice to give the handle a reddish brown color. Using natural dyes is economical as well as being eco friendly.

Source: My own idea, but there are many books on natural dyes if you want to experiment.

By Dianne from Wilsonville, OR

July 2, 20080 found this helpful

Refinishing furniture is one of my loves but I had never thought about using natural stains! What a great idea! Painted wood furniture almost makes me cry because natural wood is so much prettier. Thanks for the tip. I'll try it!

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July 4, 20080 found this helpful


I agree w/you, I could just cry when I see beautiful wood covered w/layers of paint. I have a similiar problem, I recently moved into a Craftsman style house w/lots and lots of wood. Thankfully, it is not painted, however it is stained or something a kind of orangey darker color than I care for. How do I go about lightening it up? Do I strip it the same as with paint? Thanks for any help, Robbyn in Wisconsin

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July 6, 20080 found this helpful

Robbynb Paint only covers the surface. A stain actually absorbs into the wood. Stripping won't really remove stain. You either have to sand it off or use a bleach. I've never bleached wood, but I think there are some bleaches made specifically for wood that you can purchase at lumber stores or maybe even at a hobby shop.

Glenn's mom--test your homemade dyes out on unfinished pine before you commit to dusing it on your furniture. All those little wood designs you find in the hobby store are unfinished pine and can be used for testing.

Good luck! Di

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