Pickle wood by mixing 1 cup of water with 1 quart of latex primer, applying the diluted primer and wiping away the excess. If the wood is previously finished, use steel wool or sandpaper for the removal of the old finish and sealer before applying the primer. Another option is using alkyd primer and diluting it with paint thinner in the same ratio.
Pickling is a finishing technique that lightens the color of the wood. The faux finish is applied like wood stain and wiped away to leave some stain in the depressions of the grain while allowing the raised grain to show through the surface. It works well with oak or similar tight-grained woods. Primer makes a good choice because it does not leave a shine on the finish.
Remove any hardware before applying the stain. If you plan to use new hardware, fill any holes using wood filler. Apply the stain to small, manageable sections using a paint brush, and wipe away with a dry cloth. Change cloths as necessary to prevent wiping more stain back onto the wood. Allow the pickled wood to dry overnight before proceeding.
Protect the new finish by applying clear varnish or polyurethane to protect the stain. Once the varnish dries, replace the hardware.