A couple of weeks ago my mom stood in the middle of my lawn, looked around—at the unfinished garden fence, unfinished garden arbor, unfinished raised beds, barely-started large pergola, and the unfinished fence around the propane tank—then she furrowed a brow and was like, “So… all of your outside projects count as one thing on your Five Project List then?”
Ha. Ha. If you’re ever wondering where my smartass comes from, there you go…
But she’s also right. Unless you count the entire 5.90 acres of land that occurs outside of the actual house as one project, then I think it’s safe to say I’ve blown my Five Project Rule all the way out of the water. But after that winter? I’m giving myself a little leeway to just build the heck out of some things.
And since I’m in the middle of a million projects, I figure now might be a good time to start thinking about finishing at least a few of them before this twitch in my left eye becomes permanent.
Like this one…
Oh yeah, and this one…
And this one…
The trick is, I’ve got a bunch of different woods going on here, and I need to make some decisions about how to keep them cohesive.
For the beds in the garden, I used cedar for its naturally bug and rot resistant properties. The salvaged fence, however, is probably a pressure-treated (and unstained) pine… however it’s worn to a nice gray color.
The new pressure-treated posts for the arbor, pergola, and propane fence are, of course, a different color entirely. Because why not.
I don’t know what the hell I’m going to do with the garden fence, but I figured everything on this side of the yard could use a nice coat of stain.
Now, most of the time when people reach out and want me to test out a product for them, it’s like “Oh, hey, do you want to try out this new furniture polish?” And I’m like, “Um… maybe you haven’t been reading my website for the last three months, but my entire life is covered in freaking sawdust and garden soil… and I don’t clean.” So I was really surprised when Olympic Paints reached out to me a couple of weeks ago and wanted to know if I had any outdoor projects going on that I could test out some of the Olympic ELITE WOODLAND OIL stain on. (And while this is SUPER exciting, I’m not capitalizing the name for effect… that’s just how it’s spelled.)
Try out a new product at the exact time I’m working on projects that need said product? Oh, Olympic Paints, DO I EVER. (That one was capitalized for effect.)
And, actually, this turned out to be a really good thing for me because I have been understandably gun-shy about picking stain colors ever since the Great Maroon Beam Debacle of 2010. (For those of you who weren’t reading about the bad decisions I was making four years ago, it wasn’t pretty. And required buying a hand-planer and planning down all the wood. It still pisses me off, even though I don’t even live in that house anymore.)
The big lesson I learned from that was NO SOLID STAINS on anything that I still want to look like wood.
Here’s where Woodland Oil falls in the scheme of things:
Word on the street is that this Olympic Elite Woodland Oil is all about enhancing the beauty of wood though, not covering it up with an ugly, solid maroon color. Which seemed like a much, much better idea than, you know, the last time. My biggest concern was choosing the color… I basically just wanted something to look like a deep, rich wood, without being too dark or too orange.
I decided to give the cedar color a try, even though I’ve seen cedar stain that is basically the wood equivalent of a bad spray tan.
The nice thing for a girl who has a million unfinished projects to tackle is that this is a one-coat stain plus sealant. Just one swipe of the paintbush. That’s extremely doable, and actually looks really good.
(Took me two evenings after work to get this much done, so one side is still slightly darker than the other.)
This is the rich color I was looking for, and I’m hoping it will look good against the eventual barn-red of the wall behind it. And you can still tell that it’s actual wood! Very exciting. It also makes the boards of the fence look more cohesive and finished (so that’s one thing in my life that can be said for…)
I love the fact that it’s a one-and-done kind of project, and that the level of color/stain was perfect. Of course the real test of an outdoor wood-stain around here is how it holds up to the sun, rain, snow, hail, and other insanity that makes up Michigan weather, so I’ll check back in on this one in a few months. And probably again next Spring. I really appreciate a company that stands behind their product though and Olympic guarantees satisfaction with the application and performance properties of the stain (when you follow the directions, of course) or they’ll replace the product or give you your money back. So that’s awesome. It’s available exclusively at Lowe’s, which suits me just fine because I spend half of my time there anyway.
In the next couple of weeks as I finish up the arbor and pergola, I’ll likely stain them the same color. I’m not sure about the weathered garden fence yet… I kind of like that one the way it is.
(Also, thanks to Olympic Paint, who sponsored this post about all of my unfinished projects and bad decisions, and also provided the stain so that I could check at least one thing off my list. Don’t worry everyone, they didn’t tell me to say nice things about them… you’d know if they tried because then I definitely wouldn’t have said nice things about them. I’m contrary like that.)