Guest Blog: Ben Fox Woodworking

In our last blog we invited guest bloggers to write about using our products and we were delighted when Box Fox got in touch.  Ben runs a popular Instagram page showcasing his wonderful projects, often finished with our products. In this blog, he talks about our Water Based Sensual Soft White Wood Dye. Take it away, Ben...

Littlefair’s Products for Outdoor Furniture

I undertook a fun project recently, making a trellis and planter for my balcony’s wisteria plant using reclaimed 2x4s from an old project that were cluttering up my workspace. The project was built entirely with hand tools, using a variety of joinery techniques and came together quickly; I integrated a single-length of organic hemp rope and it was complete. Or so I thought: it all looked… very brown! And in fact, I had to concede - it quite simply looked unfinished!

The vast majority of my furniture design relies on the colours and textures of the wood I’m using. This is fine when I’m working with rich timbers such as walnut or oak, but can look a little lacking if I’m using some reclaimed pine from construction 2x4s…

So, what to do?

Thinking that paint would hide the handmade wooden look, and conceal the joinery, which is an integral part of my design and work, I explored some ideas. I personally don’t think pine stains well at all with oil-based products designed to transform its pale complexion to darker hues. However, I spotted Littlefair’s Water Based Sensual Soft White Wood Dye and thought this could work! I’m normally dubious of stain quality, but had by now used two bottles of Littlefair’s Danish Oil and was sure that their Littlefair’s other products would meet the high standards of the oil.

I ordered a bottle, and after some vigorous shaking as per the instructions, applied the first test stroke… and it looked great! It went on easily and thick, and worked its way into the wood evenly without much work at all from me. I soon got to work splashing on the white paint: watching the milky concoction seep into the wood and transform it was very satisfying. I then left it to dry for 20 mins, and gave it a second coat. After coat two, the stain was thick enough to command a nice, white, polished look, that still offered glimpses of the wood and joinery beneath. I was surprised as I was expecting to do at least three coats, but two was more than satisfactory.

Sensual Soft White Water Based Wood Dye/StainSensual Soft White Water Based Wood Dye/Stain

Sensual Soft White Water Based Wood Dye/StainSensual Soft White Water Based Wood Dye/Stain

(Click on photos to enlarge).

This project was fairly big, but I really didn’t have to use much of the stain at all - a little goes a long way! Great, plenty left for future projects!

The stain is water-based, and organic (so no harmful ingredients to you or the environment). Being water based has a bunch of advantages:

  • It applies easily and naturally spreads/soaks in an even manner. 
  • It soaks into the wood, and takes on the tones of the grain pattern
  • No harsh chemicals, or noxious odours
  • It dries into the wood meaning the wood can take an oil finish (my preferred finish), or varnish/lacquer
  • brushes (and hands!) clean up easily in water - no need for white spirits!

Because this piece is for the outdoors, I had to seal and protect it. My go-to wood finish for indoor and outdoor is Littlefair’s Danish Oil, which is in itself an outstanding product with no market comparison… but I’ll save talk on that product for another day!

Just one last aside: the stain comes in a variety of colours and I have my eye on the “Beach Hut Green”! Oh, the possibilities…!

Thanks for reading & be sure to checkout Littlefair’s Sensual Soft White Wood Dye, which I fully recommend, and of course my woodworking projects - Instagram @benfoxwoodworking if you fancy!