Is a “ceruse” finish something an ordinary person can accomplish?
Great question. Ceruse finish, or limed oak finish, was first popular in France in the 1500’s and is gaining popularity now because of the aged look! It’s great because it really breathes life into old furniture.
Ceruse finish is an achievable DIY look as long as you take some small but necessary steps. For example, taking a couple spare boards and practicing the technique on those first so you are more familiar with the technique. We recommend you start by cleaning the wood that you are planning to use. You can raise the grain with a wired brush and then smooth the grain down with sandpaper. Be sure to clean the sawdust up with some tack cloth.
Then, begin mixing the materials you have chosen to use. If you are planning on thinning out paint, make sure the proper amount of dilution is put into place. You can even take some time to tint the color to any shade you would like, whether it is an off-white or egg-white. Then, apply your filler in an even layer. You want to make sure you are applying your filler in the direction of the grain, as that will be the key to accomplishing the look you are going for. You will probably want to take this step in smaller sections while being cautious of absorption time so that your wood is staying the same shade. You may want to go over the filler addition with a cloth that will not rub onto the finish to keep things level.
Then, you will brush a top-coat on it when it is completely dry. Seal it again to ensure it stays the way you want it, sand the finish, and repeat until you’re satisfied with the way it looks. Though you have to be patient with it, ceruse finish looks beautiful when it’s finished!