First I had to cut about 5" off the length to make it fit in my space.
Then I sanded the original finish all the way down to the raw wood. I mixed my own stain, because the "Special Walnut" was too light, and the "Dark Walnut" was way too dark. Sooo.... I got a quart of Special Walnut and added one of those tiny little cans of Dark Walnut to it. I shook it up real good, and wa-la the perfect color. If you decide to mix stains make sure you wear gloves!!! I didn't and had stain all over my hands for about 2 days.
I did two coats of stain, letting each coat sit for about 15 minutes, then rubbing the excess off. I let it completely dry for about 4 days.
Above, how it looked with one coat. Below, working on the second coat.
I used Waterlox Original Satin to protect it. I almost broke down and used a regular old oil finish from Home Depot, but decided I should do it right. I heard that Waterlox was the best, and I am so glad I listened. It was hard to find, as no body seems to carry it around here. I had to order a quart from their website.
In the following photo you can see how the water just beads up. It is super easy to keep clean and dry. I love my new counter! I can't wait to do the rest of the kitchen.
My kitchen was looking very cold, with the white cabinets, blue paint, tin backsplash, and stainless steel appliances. The warmth of the wood gives it a perfect contrast I think. It really makes the kitchen look more homey, warm and livable.