Many, many months ago (ok, it was almost two years ago.. but who's counting?), I blogged about building a table for my wife. I finished the woodwork quite quickly, but never could decide on a finish. I knew that it would be milk paint, not strictly historically accurate, but I'm not going to fool around with oxides of lead. I enjoy not having cancer. But the color confounded me.
Original tavern tables run the full range of colors, from reds to blues, even pastels. Ultimately, I decided on Bayberry Green Milk Paint from Old Fashioned Milk Paint. I think it looks pretty good.
One thing I really like about milk paint is that, if mixed on the thin side, the grain will still peak through in some areas. That's kind of neat, and actually simulates quite nicely the wear and tear on a piece over 300 years. I helped that along with some judicious rubbing with steel wool. This represents three coats of milk paint, 3 rubbed in coats of linseed oil, and a hand-rubbed amber paste wax over it all.
There are some areas that are missing paint. This is done with calculated indifference. I don't want total coverage, as the originals I referenced were not painted carefully. They were working tables and, as such, weren't made fastidiously. The top shows plane marks and plenty of tearout, if you can see past the nail heads that hold the top down to the stretchers.
I like my stuff to look old, beat up, and well used. I think this table qualifies.