I purchased this table back in September at a garage sale.

I loved the detail on the base of the table, but didn’t love the dated dark, shiny, reddish finish which also was not in very good condition.  So of course I planned to give it a makeover.

I started by stripping the top of the table using Citristrip.  Although I stripped this piece outside in my driveway back in September, I like using the Citristrip because it can be used indoors also and it’s not as toxic as some of the stronger strippers.  But the trade off is that it doesn’t work as quickly as the stronger strippers.  Usually it works great to just remove some old varnish, but this piece had some serious red colored stain that just kept coming up.  In fact, even after three passes with the stripper I still hadn’t gotten quite all of it.  So I put the table in the back corner of the workshop to think about its bad behavior for a while.

Then over a frigidly cold weekend recently I pulled it into the house to finish the job.  Since the tabletop was not a uniform color, I decided to forgo my original plan of just waxing it and instead try the Homestead House Stain & Finishing Oil All in One (or SFO for short) in Cappucino.

Homestead House sent a complimentary sample of this product to me a while back, but this is the first chance I’ve had to try it out.  Although this product isn’t designed to cover up discolorations, my hope was that the dark color of the Cappucino would help disguise the fact that the wood tabletop was still just a little bit splotchy from that red stain.

First things first, the SFO is ideally meant for bare wood.  It is designed to soak into the wood rather than sit on top of another finish like a gel stain does.  Also, it is color and topcoat in one, no need for the multiple steps of stain followed by poly.  Once cured this stuff is even durable enough to use on floors.

Here is what Homestead House has to say about the ingredients:  “Our Stain & Finishing Oil is composed of plant products, Safflower oil, Tung oil, Linseed oil, Vegetable wax, safe odourless mineral solvent and cobalt free siccative which means effective drying without toxic cobalt dryers while being virtually odourless.”  And based on that, I felt comfortable using this product inside my home with no windows open.  It was -12F outside when I was working on this, so opening a window was definitely not an option.

To prep the table top I sanded it with 220 grit sandpaper, vacuumed the dust, and then wiped it down with a clean microfiber cloth.  I applied the SFO with an old brush, but next time I think I would just use either a lint free cloth or a stain applicator pad either of which can then just be tossed.  This is not a water based product and cleaning an oily brush is just not something I enjoy spending time on.

After applying the product I let it sit for about 10 minutes to absorb into the wood.  Then I used an old t-shirt to wipe away the excess.

And that was it.

Yep.  Done.

No need for an extra topcoat.  After 3 days this finish is cured enough for normal use and after 10 days it is fully washable making it a great choice for table tops.

Although you can use multiple coats to deepen the color, I found that just one coat was plenty dark for my table.  However, keep in mind that multiple coats will also improve the durability and increase the shine slightly with each coat.  If you don’t want to darken the color, but do want to increase durability or shine you can do your first coat in the color you want (Cappucino for example) and then add subsequent coats of SFO in Natural (allow 24 hours of drying time between each coat).

Seriously though folks, I am pretty much a novice stain-er.  I don’t have a lot of experience with wood stain and I am pretty intimidated by it.  It seems like you have to be very careful to keep the color even, etc. etc.  But this stuff was super easy to use.

I mentioned that the SFO is best suited for bare wood, but it also works great over milk paint.  I did a double take the first time I read that one myself.  I do a lot of painting with milk paint so I’m always interested in alternative top coats.  When you think about it, it makes total sense that the SFO will work well over milk paint since the paint itself is porous and will allow the finish to soak in.  I did a little practice board to see how the Cappucino SFO would look over both some Coal Black (top) and some Midnight Blue (bottom) Homestead House milk paint.

By the way, please try to ignore those white specks in my paint.

Don’t use sandpaper that was previously used over white paint to sand your dark milk paint, it will leave little flecks of white paint behind.  Lesson learned.

But hopefully you can see that the SFO looks fantastic over the milk paint.  It adds a richness to the color, but not a lot of shine.  I plan to try this technique on a piece of furniture that I’m working on currently.

With all this talk of SFO being an oil, designed to soak into porous surfaces like bare wood and milk paint, you might be thinking that you can’t use it over an existing sealed surface (such as Fusion or other acrylic paints).  While it’s true that it’s not ideally meant for those surfaces, you can do it.  Much like you can put hemp oil over Fusion paint.  It won’t soak in like it does over bare wood or milk paint, but it will harden as it dries and provide both color and added protection.  I tried a practice board for that too, using Fusion’s Plaster and Park Bench.

The difference when using the SFO over non-porous surfaces is that you need to wipe carefully.  If you wipe too vigorously you will just wipe away all of the SFO.  Wipe gently leaving a thin coat behind and then let it dry.  I think it gives a similar look to using a glaze, but again with very nice matte finish.  I love the Cappucino over the Park Bench.

I hope that some of this info about the Stain & Finishing Oil has helped give you a better understanding of how this product works.  I definitely plan to use it on a couple of upcoming projects, so I’ll be sure to keep you posted on that.  But meanwhile, back to my little table.

For the base of the table I pulled out some Fusion paint in a color that I’d never tried before called Cathedral Taupe.

I’d always thought this color had a bit too much pink in it for me, and it definitely does have a pink undertone.  I think the pink shows up more in photos than it does in real life actually.  The combination of the Cappucino colored top and the Cathedral Taupe base is gorgeous in person.  I feel like I didn’t really capture it well in my photos.

Once again I applied a little beeswax before painting to help make distressing the edges of the table base easier.

I plan to bring the table in to Reclaiming Beautiful to sell, unless one of you wants it first?  If interested, check out my ‘available for local sale’ page for more info.


38 thoughts on “s.f.o.

  1. Thank you for the information on the S.F.O. I have used stain quite a bit and used miniwax wood primer on soft woods prior to staining to prevent blotchiness. I just finished a solid wood end table that had a reddish stain on it which I spent a long time sanding to get the red out. S.F.O would have saved all the time with poly coats!
    Thanks again! I love your tutorials. Love the table!


  2. First, thank you for all the product inspiration and lessons you’ve learned! It is so valuable to those of us who love to paint and refinish furniture. I have loved all the projects you have shared this week and am amazed that you are still painting in the frigid weather. I have covered my dining room table and am painting small projects like boxes and mirrors. The furniture is piling up in the garage! Oh nd I used a free fusion tester on a small recipe box and it turned out fantastic, really no brush marks so I am a little more relaxed about the cabinets. And last, the table is so much better painted, it looks much happier to me. Fussy before, cottage ready now.


    1. Cottage ready, I like it! As for frigid weather painting, I paint in my ‘piano room’ in the winter. I cover up the baby grand with drop cloths and use it like a giant work bench, and I have an empty section of the room that is about 6′ x 6′ that gives me just enough space to paint one piece of furniture at a time. Luckily I have an understanding husband who is willing to overlook the mess right smack in the middle of the house 🙂 If you’re curious, you can sort of see my set up in {this post}.


  3. Re your response above: My husband isn’t as understanding as yours, but the dining room has become my hobby room anyway! Thanks for the info on Homestead House SFO. I’m doing a table right now and want to change the ugly top color. I’ll be buying some HH SFO as soon as I can find a local source. I hope they know how much you do for their products.


    1. I think they do 😉 Homestead House and Fusion are great companies to work with. I did ask them for clarification regarding some of the questions I had about this product before I wrote this post. I wanted to be sure that I was sharing good info here. I hope you can find the SFO locally. Sometimes I think that is the biggest challenge for people!


  4. Charming…it’s all about the legs for me and this one has it going on. The paint brings out all the details and the contrasting top is beautiful. Thanks for all the info on the SFO and staining tips. Stay warm!


  5. LOVE Homestead House SFOand I stain with it all the time !!!!! How long did you leave the SFO on the milk paint and fusion before you wiped it off ?? This little table is gorgeous !!!!


    1. I applied the SFO to the milk paint using the same technique as over bare wood. So I applied, then let it sit about 10 minutes and then wiped away any excess. With the Fusion paint it was a little different. I basically wiped on just the amount that gave me the look I wanted, then let it dry without touching it again. I’m currently working on a desk that I’ve painted in black milk paint and am using the SFO over the milk paint and I love how it’s turning out. Hopefully I’ll be sharing it next week, so be sure to stay tuned.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Adorable!! Love all your work. When you use beeswax, do you use the hard block form or …..? I have Fusion’s block of beeswax and hope that is what you are using as I’ll be trying it iut soon. Thank you for all your sharing!!


    1. I use the Homestead House Salad Bowl Finish, which is also sometimes called Beeswax Finish, and is also the same as Miss Mustard Seed Beeswax Finish. It’s softer than the block of beeswax and comes in a jar. Both products will work in a similar way to provide a resist to make distressing your paint easier, they are just applied a little bit differently. The beeswax finish is soft and I apply it with my fingertip (picture applying lip balm that comes in a pot with your finger, same idea). The block is hard and you rub it directly onto the furniture where you want to get a resist. You should be able to get the same result with your block tho 🙂


  7. As you can imagine I love and adore that table, it Is stunningly beautiful even with the etchy legs and feet. You are so helpful with all your guidance with paints etc Lucky people who do this to have you. Love to Mom and Sis (still freezing cold here in Ontario)Betty


    1. I knew this table would be nearly perfect for you Betty! I’m glad you like it. I hope the warm up we are getting here this week will make it’s way to your neck of the woods too!


  8. Love the table and especially the colors. There really is a pink undertone to the Cathedral Taupe paint color…I have noticed it on the Fusion blog. Good Q-tip and general info too…as always. Thanks for a great way to start the day…as late as it is…lol


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