I’m making a pair of Boomerang tables from a series of pictures I saw for an end table on E-bay. I’ve been looking at contemporary furniture in the stores. I like the look of really dark wood, but not the tones from the 70’s called “walnut.” More contemporary tones have some black in the stain and refer to it as “espresso.”

Stains have changed since the last time I refinished any furniture. Most of the better quality ones are gel stains. I was going to use MinWax, but the dude at the woodworking store steered me away from that because it contains wax in the stain and can yield less than satisfactory results.

Since I come from the school of “what else do you know?” I decided to ask a few more questions about my project. I was directed to master woodworker Tom Noffsinger of The Sore Thumb Woodworking Studio in Raleigh, NC. He graciously agreed to meet with me at his workshop, and on a rainy Sunday morning. I brought my cutouts, boards, hardware, and stains and got a quick rundown on the steps I needed to take to accomplish my task.

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I am so grateful I got advice from Mr Noffsinger. Because I am working with cheap pine, he advised I prep my wood with a mixture of shellac and alcohol to preseal the wood. That way the stain would spread more evenly. And, I also got to view some of the projects he was working on and different finishes. I hadn’t considered finishes because I originally thought the stain and the finish would go on together. I picked a satin, rather than semi-gloss, finish after viewing the beauty of some of his projects.