There's some exciting stuff! So exciting that I get to post twice today!
You guys remember when I mentioned that I was reviewing a stain when I revealed the collapsible potting bench?
Well, it's also the same brand of stain that I used on the book caddy.
These are high-end finishes from Italy that are low VOC and made mostly from natural sources, as far as I've noticed. You can check out the products here, but I will link to the giveaway at the bottom of the post.
I want to start with the Pareo line, which is an outdoor stain.
I've been on the search for a good outdoor stain since I built my cedar shed over a year ago. And this one? I love it.
I chose to sample "medium oak" and after reading the directions, made sure to sand the surface to 120 grit.
After wiping all of the sanding dust off with a tack cloth, Baby Goats and I sat in the garage and stained the boards individually, to make sure that they were protected all around from the elements.
I was running low on stain towards the end, so I didn't cover the bottom of all of the boards, but I figured that I could get them covered with the second step, so I wasn't too worried.
The stain went on really easily. It was thicker than a water-based stain but not nearly as thick as a gel-stain. The instructions said to allow a few minutes for it to penetrate before wiping it, so I would do one "area" at a time and then wipe down the previous "area".
It also didn't make me feel like I'd taken a few too many Benadryls.
Let me explain!
I am really affected by the fumes finishing supplies give off. Even low VOC paints make me feel "off" for the rest of the day. With these, I still stained with an open garage door for good ventilation, but the fumes didn't affect me. They were so uninvasive that I felt okay letting Baby Goats help me!
This was a huge step from my other outdoor staining experiences, which left me light-headed and feeling awful, even when doing them completely outdoors.
Instructions say to do at least 3 coats of the finishing product on soft woods, so I made it a point to do just that. On the third coat, however, it seemed that the oil didn't sink in in some areas and it was tacky when wiping it off, so I don't think I could've gotten a fourth coat in if I wanted to!
It was also fairly easy to clean up, came off the brush with mineral spirits and Dawn.
Now, with all of the praises that I've given, I do want to say that there was something about this that I just did. not. enjoy.
The instructions say to wait 12 hours between coats.
It killed me. This, coming from the girl that uses one brand of spray paint because it specifically says to recoat within an hour.
Fortunately I was able to get two coats in a day, but with two coats of staining and three coats of finishing, it took three days to get this finished.
All in all, will I buy this?
Now, let's talk about the Uno/Secondo line!
This is a line that's meant for indoor use and is said to be durable enough for hardwood flooring. It is also made from natural materials and says that it lets the wood breathe.
I chose to use this on the book caddy that I posted earlier today, and it was quite a different experience from the Pareo (outdoor) line.
The first thing I noticed was that there wasn't a wood conditioner available on the website. Having had such a great experience with the potting table, I figured I'd just dive right in and use it. I'd recommend that, if you do use this, you do find a good wood conditioner to use with it.
This time, the instructions say to let the stain sit for at least 5 minutes, but no more than 15.
When it got close to the 15 minute mark, it was extremely difficult to wipe the stain off as it was really sticky. I was able to let it sit for just over 5 minutes and wipe it off with ease, but I had to pay close attention to which part I had stained and how long it was sitting there. This was in 70-80 degree temps with relatively low humidity.
I couldn't find instructions on a second coat (whether or not to do one, how long to wait, etc.), so I did a second coat and didn't notice much difference. It didn't deepen/darken the color at all, so I love that it's a one-coat application.
The Secondo (or clear coat) had similar instructions to the Uno (if you can read through the stain). But you know what? The smell reminded me of bananas!
I was unable to find #000000 steel wool, but I found #00000 and used that between coats. I LOVE the silky smooth finish and that the sheen isn't super glossy. It's a nice satin that your finger just slides over.
Two things about this one that I wasn't in love with.
24 hours between coats.
It killed me.
I also didn't find that it was as easy to clean as the Pareo line. I know it's supposed to be more durable, so that may have definitely affected it, but it was something that I noticed.
All in all, will I buy this?
I wouldn't question it if I had to refinish some built-ins that I couldn't get outside (the durability *and* low VOC paired with the natural oils make it attractive). But, even with the green aspect of it, it just didn't exceed expectations enough to justify the cost to me.
But hey! There's a giveaway!
Go here to enter for a chance to win a $75 gift certificate good for the finishing oils of your choice! If you try them, let me know which you're gonna pick and the end results. I'd love to know other people's experiences with this line!
* I was provided with a sample of the product to use to write this review, but all opinions expressed are my own.