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Staining an old 60's dresser

netrate's picture

I received an old 60's dresser in good shape from a friend.  It really needs some updating and I was thinking about painting or staining it.  I would rather stain it because the wood is in good shape and I like the natural look.  But, the questions is : what prep do I need to do before I stain?  Can I just stain over top of it?  Or do I need to strip it first?  Thanks in advance.

David amateur

Searching for glazing over (post #207099, reply #1 of 4)

Searching for glazing over polyurethane says yes.  The article recommends epoxy glaze.  I've come to prefer paint over natural look, and not all wood deserve the natural look, especially the panels that are assembled with smaller pieces.

Stripping is not difficult.  Use the stripper that you don't have to wash or neutralize.  If the finish comes off easily and wood doesn't need sanding, you can even keep the age. 

One project for me was discarded oak chest with curved face top drawers and claw foot front legs, all solid wood.  It was painted and survived the leaky basement, but stripping it was easy and patina stayed.  Finished with water base urethane without stain.

Searching for glazing over (post #207099, reply #2 of 4)

Searching for glazing over polyurethane says yes.  The article recommends epoxy glaze.  I've come to prefer paint over natural look, and not all wood deserve the natural look, especially the panels that are assembled with smaller pieces.

Stripping is not difficult.  Use the stripper that you don't have to wash or neutralize.  If the finish comes off easily and wood doesn't need sanding, you can even keep the age. 

One project for me was discarded oak chest with curved face top drawers and claw foot front legs, all solid wood.  It was painted and survived the leaky basement, but stripping it was easy and patina stayed.  Finished with water base urethane without stain.

Metal joint compound trowel (cheap flexible ones), plastic trowel, and brass wire brush and cheapest natural bristle 2-3" brush is about all you need with lots of newspapers and good ventilation.  Best place is outside under a shade when weather is dry but not hot, but with a fan running, you can do this in basement too.  I apply about 1/8 thick and cover with newspaper to slow the evaporation, and if in a low temperature, give it longer time to work than the direction.

Stain needs to be absorbed (post #207099, reply #3 of 4)

Stain needs to be absorbed into the wood.  This means that any existing finish must be removed, or at least made thin and porous enough to permit absorption. 

(If the item is veneered, be wary of using "strippers"  --  the stripper may cause the veneer to come loose.  But with sanding you run the risk of sanding through a thin veneer, so sanding's not an ideal solution either.)

You can, in some cases, carefully restain/revarnish damaged areas (to match the original) without having to strip the entire piece.

There are colored varnishes that look more or less like stain but remain on the surface.  These can go over an existing finish, but they won't "show off" the grain like a true stain.


Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

sand with 320 grit to get rid (post #207099, reply #4 of 4)

sand with 320 grit to get rid of any gloss, seal with shelac, spray with "toner" to get the right color, seal with shelac again and finish with whatever you like.   '

Oh yes, also go to knots and ask this question - most carpenter/homeowner types dont understand refinishing.

 

Beer was created so carpenters wouldn't rule the world.