6.30.2009

Furniture Renovation Part IV: Using Stain and Polyurethane

Time for the fun part!

Remember this table when I started? I still think it looks like a public library table from the 1970s. The wood is a little too orange and the legs are a little too modern for my taste.

So, I sanded the heck out of the top of the table, and my sweet husband replaced the old legs with these cottage-looking ones. Now, it's on to the rewarding stuff: making it pretty again!

Choosing a stain color can be overwhelming. That's why in Part I of this series I recommended that you go out and look for some inspiration photos before you head to the home improvement store and have a breakdown because there are too many colors. (The guys at Home Depot generally don't know what to do with a woman sobbing in the paint aisle.) Sometimes a little direction and inspiration can go a long way!

I have had a lot of luck with Minwax stain, but I know there are others out there that work well too. For this piece I used Minwax Dark Walnut, which I also used on my dresser. Just use a foam brush and brush it on in a thin layer, going with the grain of the wood. I prefer foam brushes because I am lazy and they are cheap and I can just throw them away when I'm done!

Let the stain sit and soak into the wood. If your piece of furniture is really old, or really dry, it will soak it up quicker. So I would recommend wiping the stain off (using toilet paper or an old rag) fairly quickly, just to check the color. If it's the color you want, great! If not, brush on some more stain and leave it on for longer before you wipe it off the next time.

Here's my table after about 15 minutes of soaking. I wanted it to be pretty dark, so I left it on for longer than I usually do. Let the stain dry overnight before moving on to the polyurethane.

Depending on how durable you need the piece to be, plan on adding 2-3 coats of protective polyurethane on top of the stain. I added three coats to this table, since it will take a lot of wear and tear. I am using a Clear Satin, which will give it just a little shine. You can go with just a Flat if you want it to be more casual, or with a Gloss if you want to be a little more fancy (at least that's how I rate them!). Just brush on with another foam brush, and allow it to dry for a day or two before you use the furniture. Also, it is good to sand the piece in between coats of polyurethane. Sometimes bubbles form when you use a foam brush and the sanding just gets rid of them. Just be sure to do it very lightly!

The last part of this series is coming up in a few days! It'll be all about painting and "antiquing" your furniture. See you soon!


20 comments:

Annie said...

OH MY GOODNESS! I can't wait to see the final product... and I've got a dresser and an old wardrobe that I want to do this to. Now my DH has something to look at that will assure him of my plan! HA!

Thanks again for your inspiration and instructions...

duchess said...

That's looking great. If you need more projects, I'd love to refinish my bed - wanna help?

Tasha said...

It is looking so good! I cannot wait to see your final product!

SoBella Creations said...

I love the new legs you have chosen! The table/desk will make a great work surface.

Jboo said...

Wow -- looks great -- can't wait to see the finished product!

Janet

Queenmothermamaw said...

I am no pro, but I think you are doing a great job. I love Minwax also.I am looking forward to the antiquing since I have not done that.
Blessings
QMM

Ticklish Mermaids said...

Thanks so much for the tips!

Lana said...

I am learning a lot! Thanks!

It's lookin' great!

Karen said...

looks great but what about the stain and poly in one kind? I was thinking of using that and being "easy" when re doing the top of my kitchen table. Hmm.

Ms. Tee said...

I love the dark color -it's great! :)

Christine said...

Thank you for such a great tutorial on the "how to's". You are taking all the guess work out for all of us.

Richella said...

This is a really good series. Thank you very much for providing detailed directions and photos of everything. It's fun to watch you work! And it's fun to see what you've done. :)

Buzzings of a Queen Bee! said...

TO KAREN:
I am sorry, I have never used the combo stain/polyurethane. I always want to add extra coats of polyurethane so then I worry that the stain would be too dark if I kept adding coats of the combo stuff. But let me know if you try it, I am curious now! :)
Carrie

its so very cheri said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog. I love all your re-dos. My husband has been telling me for 20 years he is going to buy me my own set of tools.

Michele said...

Hi Carrie ~ OMG, it looks awesome! You are doing a wonderful job at it...I'm not very good with stain...need to practice some!

Have a wonderful 4th!

Hugz,
Michele

Rachel said...

I need to refinish my craiglist bed...and an already stripped and sanded antique vanity (gonna be my bedroom desk)...I know what I *want* to do--ivory, antiquing..a wee bit of distressing...but my local Home Depot doesn't have the standard 'kit' type stuff to use (I used a kit years ago to do that to a three tiered table).

PLLLLEEEAAAASSSEEEE get to it soon! LOL

Genny said...

Looking good! It will be fun to see it when it's done!

Jennifer said...

Looks great! It is so much fun to turn something 'so-so' into something you really like!!

jennykate77 said...

I love your work! How about I find a way cool piece of furniture and you "renovate" it for me?! :) Can't wait to see the final piece of work! I'm sure it will be fabulous!

jewelryandgiftsbyrebecca said...

Boy, you're a busy bee, aren't you?

I like what I'm seeing so far. Can't wait for the end result.