Furniture Facelift – Part Two

Welcome back! If you followed along with our last post, you’ve been patiently waiting for your furniture to dry, and now it’s time to finish this project! Remember to go back and review Part One if you need a refresher course – we’ll be here waiting when you’re done.

Your furniture is now ready for the finishing touches. After a little little exfoliating and a bit of “make-up,” you won’t even recognize it! Ready, set… sand and stain!

We’ll need a few more materials for these next steps:

– Grain Filler
– Orbit Sander
– 120-grit and 220-grit Sanding Disks
– Sanding Block
– Detail Sander
– Wood Filler
– Rags
– Tack Cloth
– Rubber Gloves
– Wood Stain
– Foam Brush
– Lacquer or other finish coat such as polyurethane
– Natural Bristle Brush

1. If your piece is made with an open-grain wood, like oak, you will need to use grain filler before sanding. Tighter-grained wood, like cherry, will not need this step. Application will vary depending on which type of grain filler you choose.

2. Lightly sand smooth edges with an orbital sander, using the 220-grit sanding disks if the piece is in relatively good shape and doesn’t require much sanding. Sand flat-yet-uneven surfaces with a 120-grit sanding disk, followed by a 220-grit disk to remove any remaining swirl marks.

3. For detailed areas or smaller spaces, you can sand by hand with a sanding block or with a detail sander. Corners and crevices are best sanded with a sanding block. Just be sure the piece is sanded evenly so the stain applies uniformly.

4. Wipe off all excess sand dust from the piece with a tack cloth.

5. Use wood filler to repair any cracks and wipe any excess off with a rag. If you discover any rotten or unsalvageable pieces of wood, you can either try to replace them yourself or get in touch with a local woodworker for repairs.

6. Now we’re ready for the part you’ve been waiting for — staining! Apply the stain evenly with a foam brush, ensuring your strokes flow with the grain of the wood. Let the stain sit for about ten minutes.

7. Wipe off the remaining stain with a soft cloth, first moving against the grain, then again moving with the grain.

8. Place the furniture on its side and apply stain, repeating the previous two steps. It’s much easier to avoid stain runoff when the surface is horizontal. Continue repeating these steps until all sides of the furniture have been stained.

9. If you want the color to be darker, apply another coat of stain to the entire piece and wipe off excess, just as before.

10. A finish coat is a necessity. Different finishes will give you different looks (such as shiny or satin) and different levels of protection. Be sure to consider how your piece will be used when selecting a finish. It’s best to apply your wood finish with a natural bristle brush specifically designed for finish coats. Allow it to dry and apply additional coats according to manufacturer’s instructions.

A little time and elbow grease can transform old pieces from drab to fab! Next time you see a piece of furniture that looks like it’s in great shape, but the finish is terrible, don’t pass it up. Now you know how to give antique or well-loved furniture a new life and home!


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