27 November 2007

Trimwork Question Answered

Recently, di asked...
"Hi again. Just curious: what color stain did you use on your trim, and what
species of wood is it? Thanks!"
Well di, all of the original wood trim and doors in the house are American chestnut. The few places where we had to replicate trim in a room full of chestnut, we used red oak. The floors are white oak with white pine centers.

As for the stain... the simple answer is that nearly every room is different. The long answer is that every room was made to match itself because of the variety of conditions. In some rooms the trim had been painted white, when this was stripped, there was some white paint that simply would not come out of the grain. So, what the guys did was to wipe a stain or dye on, and wipe it right back off. It stuck to the paint, leaving the rest of the wood mostly its original color.

In other rooms, the trim had been painted wild colors like lilac, mint green, and even black. Yes, black. We kept coming up with this black, tarry stuff as we stripped the living room and entry, including on the fluted columns. We might never have known if I hadn't had a surprise visit from some ladies who grew up in the house around 1950-1970. They told me their mother was the first to paint the trim. She loved the mint green wall color she chose to go with the black trim. I can only assume this took place during the 60s. Anyway, these wild colors required a bit more work to get the wood back to a normal color. Different stains and dyes were mixed, and different combinations were used for different rooms. I'm sorry I don't have a more definitive answer.

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