What’s black and green and red, all over?

I’ve tripped over the unfinished lowboy for the last time.  Well, nearly the last time.  A number of other projects that have delayed the lowboy have been concluded and now it’s time to move ahead with the job that was started back in May.

From the start, I’ve planned to use a black painted finish for all surfaces except for the top.  But black can be pretty boring so I decided to use a process of underpainting with milk paint.  Many folks will recognize the process as one of a number of different methods of “antiquing”.  But underpainting was widely used by late Renaissance and Baroque painters to render blacks with deep rich luminescence.

First a coat of Lexington green was applied.


After a light buffing with 0000 steel wool a coat of Barn Red was applied.


Both the green and red were applied as fairly thin “wash” coats.  Then two coats of Pitch Black were painted on and, again, these were relatively thin.  Buffing with steel wool was done after each coat of black.


Upon closer examination, the red and green undercoats are very obvious.


As I wasn’t quite satisfied with the resulting affect, I decided to apply several coats of linseed oil pigmented with lampblack to deepen the color.


Ultimately the goal is to make this thing look like it’s several hundred years old.  Several coats of straight linseed oil, followed by a good waxing  (perhaps some black wax) should get me there.  BTW, the upper drawers are the same height.  A “wear” highlight on the left drawer creates a different shadow line, making the drawers appear somewhat uneven.  Hey!  I’m serious!  Honestly, in the flesh they’re okay.

With any luck, I’ll have the top affixed and the pulls installed by the end of the week.  And, this little lowboy will be pressed into service just in time for the Christmas Holidays.

Explore posts in the same categories: Finishing, Period furniture building

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