Staining and Finishing Furniture

March 25, 2010 § Leave a comment

I mention (here) that I was working on finishing furniture for our guest room.  We didn’t set out to buy unfinished furniture, but after spending a couple of Saturdays trekking around visiting furniture stores, it became very clear that we weren’t going to find exactly what we wanted going the traditional route.  Inevitably, our conversations started  ‘I like it, but …’  and ultimately we talked ourselves out of everything we looked at in regular furniture stores.  That was when we decided to hit a local unfinished furnitures store.  We were able to custom order solid alder wood bed frame, dresser and nightstand.

Finishing furniture is a time-consuming process.  First, everything is sanded down with 220 grit sandpaper.  Be sure you remove all of the dust before apply the stain.  Using a water-based requires that you apply the stain in sections and that you wipe of excess stain with a soft (lint-free) cloth.  Once the stain has dried, lightly re-sand everything  with 220 grit sandpaper to remove any rough spots.  Then, apply a double coat of poly before lightly sanding the dried poly with 400  grit sandpaper.  After applying another coat of poly and once everything is dry you lightly sand everything with 600 grit sandpaper.  Finally, apply one last coat of poly.

Sounds like a lot of work, right?  It was.  I have to admit it took me over a week to complete this project.  However, it saved us several hundred dollars (even after purchasing an orbital sander). It also allowed us to choose exactly the right color and use low-VOC products.   Here’s a look at the before and after of the dresser:


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